Janes Memorial UMC in Philadelphia will host what promises to be a powerful worship experience in sermon and song on Tuesday, March 15, at 7 PM. “Preaching with Power” will feature Bishop Violet L. Fisher (retired) as one of seven guest pulpiteers for the 2016 Forum on Black Preaching and Theology, sponsored by the Urban Theological Institute of the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia, now in its 35th year.
The annual forum, March 13-17, will include four days of workshops and worship services with noted African American preachers at several campus and church locations. The traditional United Methodist Night worship service, March 15 at Janes Memorial, will feature not only Bishop Fisher but also the new Philadelphia United Methodist Mass Choir, comprising singers from several local, predominantly black UM churches.
Choir members of several such churches gathered to sing together at a Christmas celebration in December. “It was a very uplifting and exciting experience to fellowship and minister with our fellow brothers and sisters,” according to the Rev. Eric Carr Jr., pastor of Wharton-Wesley UMC who directed the mass choir. The experience inspired them to seek an encore opportunity, which the “Preaching with Power” United Methodist Night service offers.
“This mass choir calls upon all singers of United Methodist Churches in and around the Philadelphia area to join together in music ministry not only for this event but also for other possible ministry opportunities that God brings our way,” wrote Carr in a letter. “My prayer is that through this ministry we might form an even greater connectional bond and fellowship while being a great representation of United Methodism.”
Mass choir rehearsal dates for the March 15 service will be on Tuesdays, Feb. 16, March 1 and March 8 at 6:30 PM, at Wharton-Wesley UMC, and on Feb. 27, at 11 AM, at Mother African Zoar UMC.
By John W. Coleman
Eastern PA Conference Communications Director
Photo: Janes UMC in Philadelphia hosted the William Douglass Orchestra and Celebration Choir’s performance of selections from Handel’s Messiah Dec. 19. The choir, which includes singers from various churches, sings at Janes on second Sundays. The church will host the new Philadelphia United Methodist Mass Choir at a worship service March 15, with Bishop Violet Fisher preaching. John Coleman photo