The First Congregational Church of Darien

United Church of Christ

A community of faith since 1737



Last week I wrote here about what an unheralded asset and living spiritual gift our choir is to us. Hoping to stir interest, two church members have since told me they’re inclined to join the choir. Hurrah! Here’s more on the real but unseen difference our choir makes.

1)  Choirs help singers develop, improving their musical gifts. Church choirs offer a free musical education. They refine abilities of amateur musicians who otherwise would never grow in such ways. This is obvious to me having grown up in Detroit. For the Marvin Gayes, Smokey Robinsons, and Aretha Franklins of Motown honed their skills in city church choirs. (Two of the aforementioned are pastor’s kids.) Much of the general population has experienced singing in a choir at some point in life. This is a huge group that’s primed to either sing in a choir or at least to appreciate well-crafted choral music. 

2) The choral process reflects the heart of our mission.  This is not only because our choir centers our most essential act—praising and adoring God. It is also because a choir must always find ways to reconcile differences and harmonize for the good of all. Let me explain. When we’re immature in our faith, we think of ministry in utopian ways. We imagine it is easy to get everyone pulling in the same direction. As it happens, this is hard, because we all operate narrowly out of our “ideals”, and they clash.  Once we get over our facile utopianism, once we submit to a bigger agenda–God’s reign working through fallible people like us–we find others having to love us despite our quirks and idiosyncrasies, and ourselves similarly accepting others. Yes, choirs are that close. It is a massive accomplishment, coming together to serve despite our flaws and differences. 

3) A church choir is open, welcoming, and diverse.  This point is related to the foregoing one. Entering a choir to share your voice in song isn’t predicated on being cool enough, young enough, or stylish enough, like most other places of performance. If you love to sing, can carry a tune, and willingly work cooperatively with others, then here is a choir robe.  Choirs model the extravagant welcome and radical inclusivity of Jesus’ ministry.

4) Choirs bring creative artistry and beauty–items in short supply. The deep poverty of artistry and imagination heard in today’s popular musical output is staggering, and it is not improving. Our choir, led by Dan and Max, let a highly cultivated sense of beauty, across many centuries and genres of music, be our watchword.  We are wise to trust them, because despite our wide variety, we offer our best to God, not our shoddy worst.

5)  Choirs are a paradigm for our small group ministries. You’ve heard us lift up small groups at FCC to better know and be known by one another. So far we have groups reading books, gardening, networking young mothers, on and on. Still, as I describe the vitality of small groups or the connective tissue they bring to unite us, some still don’t get it. I just say, “Ok, just picture our choir, a fellowship group that sings, getting caught up in each other’s lives.”   Then they almost always get how small group ministry works. 


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