"I sure hope this is what heaven is going to be like"
Changing lives through worship
The Collinsville Chorale, a community choir from the St. Louis area, worshiped with Foundry while on an October trip to Washington, D.C. The visiting choir, which is made up of singers from several churches and the public at large, sang with the Foundry Choir and on its own. They also listened to the powerful testimony of our youth who shared their stories from the pulpit. They heard of our commitment to full inclusion of LGBTQ people in the life of the church. They started to form a connection right there with God and with our church that they would not soon forget.
Andy Waggoner, the conductor and artistic director of the chorale, sent Stanley Thurston, Foundry's director of music ministries, a letter almost as soon as the chorale returned home.
The letter, printed below, shows how God works through Foundry to change lives in ways we often do not appreciate until later. Remember how fortunate we are to call Foundry our spiritual home as you consider how you might support Foundry with your time, talent, and treasure in the coming year.
Long before we arrived, I imagined I would write you this THANK YOU letter when I got back to St. Louis from our D.C. trip. I planned on thanking you for your help in planning and allowing us to participate in your worship service. I planned on thanking you for your hospitality and the way your people made us feel very welcome. And I planned on thanking you for giving us the opportunity to worship with your congregation. And, of course, I DO thank you for those things!
What I didn't really plan on was the incredible moving of the Holy Spirit on Sunday morning. Although I can't thank you for that, I indeed thank God for giving all of us this amazing worship opportunity. My people were all drawn to tears through the testimony of your students, the beautiful combined choral singing and, most of all, the energy and the spirit in the air on the closing hymn, "Great Is Thy Faithfulness."
Many of my community choir members are Catholic, so they typically don't get a worship experience like that, and they absolutely loved it. All of us at my church are in the midst of "battles" as our congregation is trying to figure out our worship schedules, styles, etc. It has gotten really ugly, and my choir was hungry for the Spirit's presence. And a good number of the community choir, probably 11 or 12 members, are all from the same (United Church of Christ) church in Collinsville, where they are getting ready to split on the issue of gay marriage. Needless to say, God wanted us all there at Foundry on that particular Sunday morning. With tears in her eyes, a woman in my choir came up to me and said, "I sure hope this is what heaven is going to be like."
I'm sure Foundry has its issues, as all churches do. And I'm sure you're in the midst of them. I just want you to know that your ministry, for that hour on Sunday, had a huge impact on me and my people. We toured the White House, the Capitol, sang in the rotunda and saw numerous sights and landmarks. But the thing they are talking about is worship at Foundry.
Thanks again to you, the choir and to the staff for your hospitality (and for the goodies for breakfast!). I hope this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship.
Blessings on you and your ministry.
The Collinsville Chorale
For more information on The Collinsville Chorale, click here.
Watch the video of the 11 a.m. service the chorale attended in our video archives here ("Great is Thy Faithfulness" begins at the 58-min. mark).