World Communion Music Highlights

This Sunday is our annual day of World Communion. Begun in 1933 by Hugh Thomson Kerr, pastor of Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, his idea was to bring churches together in a service of Christian unity—in which everyone might receive both inspiration and information, and above all, to know how important the Church of Jesus Christ is, and how each congregation is interconnected, one with another. By 1940, the idea spread to churches throughout the world.

Here at BMPC, the music team has long seen World Communion as an opportunity to explore musical traditions of other countries. To that end, during communion, you will hear music from Korea, India and France. Singing words of praise in Korean, Hindi and French reminds us that we are joined in our shared belief in Christ on this special Sabbath day.

We are excited to present the world premiere of a new work written for the Children’s Choir and Youth Chorale of BMPC by Tina Davidson, a renowned composer now living in Lancaster, Pa. Ms. Davidson has written for various instruments and ensembles, and eagerly accepted this choral commission. Before any melodies were penned, we had an engaging discussion about the text for the anthem, eventually settling on Daniel Berrigan’s interpretation of Psalm 85 from his 1978 publication Uncommon Prayer: A Book of Psalms. Ms. Davidson writes that the text is a “brilliant reweaving of its themes into contemporary reflection and prayer that is boldly new, yet fundamentally faithful to the original.”

Finally, at the offering, the Sanctuary Choir will exhort everyone to “live in harmony… live in peace…” in a new work by American composer Mark Hayes. This anthem challenges us to live in harmony with the stranger, with the refugee, with the frightened, and even with the enemy. This challenge is an appropriate one for a day in which we are reminded that all people are interconnected.