by Richard Froese
An evening of popular hymns and choruses of worship is uniting churches of the High Prairie region with the Christian Community Gospel Sing held the fifth Sunday of the month at the Nazarene Church.
Everyone is welcomed to present their musical talents, with the next scheduled for Jan. 31 from 6-8 p.m.
“It’s like a rehearsal for heaven,” says Pastor Brian Gilroy, who initiated the event after he became pastor of the church in September 2014.
“Singers, musicians and groups are invited to share in music in a celebration of the Christian faith.”
Now into its second year, the event is growing in spirit.
“It’s great to see the support of the various local churches,” Gilroy says.
“We have a wide variety of music, from traditional hymns, to country and story-telling songs, and various instruments.”
Sometimes, the words of the songs are from a hymn book or on the screen through PowerPoint.
“We originally came up with the idea that we want to focus on things we have in common as Christian churches in the High Prairie area,” Gilroy says.
“We focus on the fact that it’s all about Christ, worshiping together.”
People can express their worship in various and personal ways, as they clap, stand, sit, raise their hands, or verbally state their praise to God, he says.
As musicians perform individually or in groups, others join in by word or other expressions of worship.
Music reflects the region’s various languages and cultures, which includes First Nations and aboriginal.
Anywhere from 18 t0 80 people have attended and participated in the Gospel Sing.
“It would be good to have more people,” Gilroy says.
That usually depends on the weather, the season of the year, he says.
After the two-hour time of celebration, the gathering continues with fellowship and food.
Christian Community Gospel Sing is regularly held at the Nazarene Church to provide consistency in the location and better promote the event, Gilroy says.
Lighthouse Community Church Pastor Pat O’Rourke and his wife Elaine lead the time of worship in song on their guitars.
“It’s very edifying and has a lot of freedom,” says O’Rourke, pastor of Lighthouse Community Church since 1985.
“Whenever you have God’s people come together, you have a sense of being free.”
“When people from different fellowships (churches) come together, you see another side of God that you didn’t know existed.”
As people from different denominations gather, it helps individuals see the bigger picture than what they can in just one denomination, he says.
“It’s eye-opening, spiritually, O’Rourke says.
Since he arrived in High Prairie 30 years ago, he has seen a similar concept where churches gather regularly for worship and fellowship, although he says it usually lasts for about five years and then stops for various reasons.
“This is probably the third or fourth time I’ve seen this,” O’Rourke says.
“It’s enjoyable for me, participating in whatever way.”
Upcoming in 2016, Christian Community Gospel Sing evenings are set for Jan. 31, May 29, July 31 and Oct. 30, always from 6-8 p.m.
For more information, phone Gilroy at 780-523-8284 or O’Rourke at 780-523-4139.