Plymouth: First UMC choir to sing at 2012 General Conference
by Paul Thomas, director of communications
The choir from Plymouth: First UMC
The choir from Plymouth: First United Methodist Church has been selected to sing during the 2012 General Conference session, which will take place April 24-May 4 in Tampa, Fla. The choir will sing on Tuesday, May 1, performing a 30-minute concert during the lunch break and then singing during the evening worship service.
The choir was one of 55 musical groups that applied to perform at General Conference, and one of 19 selected to participate in the nine worship services that will occur over the 11 days of the session.
General Conference meets every four years to set policy and direction for The United Methodist Church. It is the only entity that speaks for the church.
Being selected to sing at General Conference feels like a validation of what we have been trying to accomplish with our choir ministry," said Dr. Marcia Van Oyen, minister of music, worship, and fine arts at Plymouth: First UMC. "Since I starting leading the choir, I have been striving to increase our emphasis on worship leadership and outreach to the greater community. My choir members have responded wonderfully to both of these goals. They are deeply committed to their role in helping to proclaim the Word and lead and inspire congregational participation, and they have a real heart for sharing their ministry beyond our own congregation."
According to Van Oyen, approximately 34 choir members will be traveling to Tampa. During their performances, they will be singing eight anthems and a selection of hymn arrangements written by Van Oyen for General Conference.
"The message of our anthem texts is marveling at God's greatness, seeking to do His will, and following God's direction in building the church," Van Oyen said. "The closing piece for our lunch concert and evening performance is 'Come Build a Church' by Ken Medema, which ends with the line, 'it shall be built by the hand of God.' That's our main message for General Conference."
The choir at Plymouth: First has grown under Van Oyen's leadership. According to the Rev. John Grenfell, III, senior pastor at Plymouth: First UMC, only 14 people were in the choir when Van Oyen was hired in 2006.
"She (Van Oyen) has tripled the size of the choir in a short window of time, and at the heart of this has been her understanding and appreciation of ministry," Grenfell said. "Few things touch our souls the way music does, and Marcia nurtures the souls of our musicians, which in turn nourishes the life of our congregation and surrounding community. Their selection to sing at General Conference is yet one more affirmation of the ministry afoot here at Plymouth: First and we celebrate this opportunity to glorify Almighty God."
In addition to singing before the General Conference, Van Oyen said the choir also plans on performing a few anthems at the entrance to the Florida Aquarium on the morning of May 1 and taking in a dolphin cruise during the afternoon. They also plan to tour historic Ybor City.
To follow all of the news and activity from the 2012 General Conference session, and watch the live stream of the plenary sessions and worship services, visit the conference website (www.detroitconference.org/gc2012
) or the official General Conference website at gc2012.umc.org
. Smartphone users can also download the 2012 General Conference app
for Apple and Android devices.
Plymouth: First UMC is located at 45201 N. Territorial Rd., in Plymouth, Mich. They offer two worship services at 10:10 a.m. on Sunday mornings. For more information on the congregation, visit www.pfumc.org