To me, the best part of any worship service is the singing of the hymns, especially those familiar ones of long ago. They bring back nostalgic memories of incidents, places, and people. Of special reference is my grandmother who sang hymns and spirituals whenever, wherever and at any time the spirit led her to do so. During the years I have added my own favorites to those that had been imbedded in me over the years, and now I sing whenever, wherever, and any time the spirit leads me, as my grandmother did. I realize that I do not have the voice of a nightingale, but that is of no consequence to me.
It is not surprising, therefore, that as I went through the list of workshops slated for today at General Synod 2017, the one on "Experiencing the African American Spirituals" became a 'must' for me. Attendees were informed that spirituals originated from the enslaved African people and were regarded as work songs, signal songs, meeting songs, etc. We spent the best part of the hour enthusiastically singing to several familiar spirituals. There were some that I and some others had not heard before but, as is usually the case with spirituals, we quickly picked up the words and joined in the singing. Thanks to Jeannette Brown and her co-presenter for spearheading a relaxing hour to end my second day at Synod.
Jael Williams is a member of First Church of Christ 1652, Farmington, CT and a Synod Delegate for the Farmington Valley Association