Dear Trinity Community:
I wanted to spend a few minutes talking about the subject of Singing Together when we resume “in- person” worship on June 20/21.
I am reminded of God’s Word found in Psalm 137 when God’s people were in exile in Babylon:
By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept
when we remembered Zion.
There on the poplars
we hung our harps –
How can we sing the songs of the Lord
while in a foreign land?
The world we live in – for now – is a foreign land indeed. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought devastation and calamity on many fronts, and one casualty – for now – is singing together. Based on the best current scientific research available, the worship committee has decided we will initially not be having congregational singing to minimize the risk of virus transmission. Singing communally has been connected to ‘super spreading’ events by health experts and the act of singing (even when utilizing masks) has been shown to be a significant source of aerosols that can transmit the virus. Therefore, we will refrain from group singing for the safety of those physically present in worship and as another way to show love to our neighbors. The congregation will be asked to silently follow the words of the hymns and songs, singing with your heart, not your voice.
This is perhaps one of the hardest pieces of information I have ever had to share in my more than twenty years of music ministry. Singing beloved hymns and songs is such an important part of Trinity’s DNA to “sing our theology” and it saddens me that what we love to do together appears to be a risky activity for infection because of the breathing and projection it requires. However, for this interim time we are working hard to find other ways to bring faith expression to life in worship using instrumental music (strings, percussion, piano/organ duets), sign language, liturgical dance, live painting presentations, Global music, handbells, and other creative solutions. I am committed to re-imagining what our worship can look like.
Simply put, for now, we cannot have corporate singing. This is a tragedy for now – but it is for now.
Nothing keeps us from singing together in family circles. Nothing keeps us from singing along to recordings, or to our online worship services. Nothing keeps us from singing when on our walks outside.
Singing will continue, and when it is safe again there will be a joyful noise of gratitude heard all over the world as we blend our voices in the chorus “lost in wonder, love, and praise” as the hymn Love Divine, All Loves Excelling exclaims.
I know we will sing together again and what a glorious day that will be!
Peace be to you,
Ben A. Spalding
Director of Music and the Arts
Chair, Worship Planning Committee