Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Family and Friends Day A Rousing Success...

Holy Cross was packed for the 76th Annual Family and Friends Day sponsored by the Rector's Guild, and the congregation was treated to a great worship experience from processional to recessional. First, in a musical prelude, Choirmaster and Organist Phil Cynar on piano and saxman Dr. James Wilson led off the proceedings with a powerful and soulful jazz rendition of "Blessed Assurance" which set the early tone for things to come. I had never heard that grand old hymn of the church done with that much spirit. Then your's truly came out to sing Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday" with Phil and Doc backing up, and I can just say that after I was done, I had chills up and down my spine. Phil and Doc were awesome, and they deserve much of the credit for making that piece work.

Next the choir came out and performed the classic Negro Spiritual "I've Been 'Buked" with the Honorable Kim Clark directing, and the harmonizing was tight, the choir was dead on, and it only got better from there.

After the processional hymn, Holy Cross favorite "We're Marching to Zion", the service got underway with Rite Two liturgy. The featured speaker was veteran KDKA reporter Harold Hayes who brought a strong message from the pulpit exhorting the congregation to not be content in staying home, but to get out into the community to make change happen. The message was well received by the congregation and we are thankful to Mr. Hayes for bringing God's Word to us.

The Children's Choir then came on to perform a charming version of "Woke Up This Morning with My Mind (Stayed on Jesus) " Ever since the Children's Choir was formed about six months ago out of the Sunday School department, they have received much encouragement from the congregation for the great job they perform. These kids sing with real enthusiasm, and they enjoy singing for God and Holy Cross.

The Anthem at the Offertory was " The Prophet's Song" sung by the choir which was in full voice with all four vocal parts well represented. The Anthem at Communion was African spiritual "Come, Let Us Eat", and the post-communion solo was delivered by a favorite soloist of Holy Cross, Mr. Morgan Thomas, who at the young age of 94 can still bring a big sounding tenor shaped by classical opera training to the slave spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"

I had tears coming from my eyes listening to that man put his heart into that song. I only can pray that God gives me enough life to sing like that at his age. All in all, it was a great day of fellowship, singing and reconnecting with those members of Holy Cross who were away for one reason or another.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Moving Forward in Grace...

From the Pgh Diocese (TEC)


A discussion and post-convention update for those who are considering staying in the Episcopal Church. Should answer some nagging questions from Holy Cross faithful concerned about who's who, what's what, what we're up against, and who's got our backs.