Imagery of Regent people and campus

ICW Hosts Community Hymn Sing

By Brett Wilson | November 14, 2013

Craig Adams.
Photo courtesy of Danielle Boudreau.

During a time in Christianity when both illiteracy rates and book prices were high, the words of Scripture were passed from song to song, bringing believers closer together as they sang in one accord. Early in November, Regent University's International Center for Worship (ICW) revisited this classical form of worship by hosting a Community Hymn Sing and worship seminar.

The weekend-long event, dedicated to paying homage to the classic hymns from which many current-day worship songs are derived, featured former U.S. Attorney General and distinguished Regent professor John Ashcroft, as well as Craig Adams, Dove Award-winning musical artist and creative director of LifeWay Worship.

Friday evening, members of the Hampton Roads community gathered to worship in the same attitude of the traditional worshipers before them, singing classic hymns together, led by Ashcroft, Adams and David M. Edwards, musical artist and creative director of ICW.

The evening of worship hymns also featured a combined choir of singers from local churches including New Life Providence, First Baptist Church of Norfolk, First Presbyterian Church of Norfolk and Atlantic Shores Baptist.

On Saturday, ICW presented a seminar titled, "Hymn Story: Hymnology & the Modern Church." There, Edwards, Adams and Ashcroft shared their expert insight into the theology of hymns, hymn writing, and leading a congregation through a worship repertoire including hymns.

Adams spoke on incorporating hymns into the 21st century church. This is a phenomenon in the church that Edwards is also familiar with.

"You can go anywhere in the country, whether people are 'saved' or not, most of them know the words to songs like 'Amazing Grace,'" said Edwards. "You can even reconfigure those hymns with a different tune and it takes a whole different life of its own."

Edwards and the "healthy" mix of denomination members spurred an ecumenical form of worship, which encouraged attendees to focus on what unifies the Church body, rather than what separates them. This Hymn Sing, Edwards expressed, is one that he hopes will continue to grow.

"I've always loved hymns, I actually grew up singing them," said Edwards. "I don't think I've ever been in church setting where we didnt participate in hymns."

However, Edwards explained the need to recapture this form of worship that is absent from many of today's church settings—especially when harmonizing, hymn books, and participation in worship are nearly absent from sanctuaries altogether.

"So much of worship we see today is just a person singing on a platform," said Edwards. "A lot of people will clap and hum along to worship songs in church today, but it's almost as if the singing is already done for you."

Edwards said that hymns, while growing congregations together, also weave in theological truths, displaying a "spiritual polaroid" for those who wish to understand scripture from creation to revelation.

"The lyrics of hymns have schooled untold millions in God's character, creation, redemption, love and grace," said Edwards. "Even now, they teach us. Whether set to a modern tune or in its original setting, the beauty of language from another era causes our minds to take note as we sing truth between the staffs."

Learn more about the International Center for Worship.

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Mindy Hughes, Public Relations

Phone: 757.352.4095 Fax: 757.352.4888

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