Have you ever been to a hymn festival? It’s a special service featuring hymns and songs of faith, along with short reflections and prayer.
On Wednesday, June 13, at 7:30 pm there will be a hymn festival sponsored by the Institute of Sacred Music at Yale, in the Marquand Chapel at Yale Divinity School. It is part of this year’s Congregations Project Conference. Registration for the conference is now closed, but the hymn festival is free and open to the public, with no registration required.
The hymn festival is privileged to have John Ferguson conducting. He is widely known and admired for his work with hymn festivals. John recently retired from teaching organ at church music at St. Olaf’s College in Northfield Minnesota, but still is active in music-making on the national scene. He will be joined by choir, other musicians, and conference presenters, in leading the service.
The conference is an ecumenical gathering of pastors, musicians, church leaders, and interested lay people. The theme of this year’s conference, which will also be the theme of the hymn festival, is expressed in the title: “As Creation Groans: Worshiping on Holy Ground.” Here is the conference description:
Christians at worship praise God for the bountiful creation of which we ourselves are part, even while we also voice lament at damage to creation caused by human beings, including ourselves. In this time of urgent awakening to Earth’s peril, how do worship, music, and art draw congregations into faithful relationship with God and creation?
Before getting involved with the ISM Congregations Project, I was unfamiliar with hymn festivals, but soon was won over to this expression of church life and faith. (It helps if you love hymns — which I do.) I can assure you from my experience of prior years, the hymn festival at Yale will be wonderful — both musically and spiritually — and well worth attending. All are welcome.