By: Peter Paselk, Director of Worship and Music
I read with interest an article by Heather Potter who is the Artistic Director of the Charlotte Children’s choir of Community School of the Arts, and also serves as the Director of Music at First Reformed Presbyterian Church in North Carolina where she directs the kindergarten through fifth grade children. Below is my summary of her article of why singing and teaching hymns to our children is so worthwhile.
Congregational singing is a powerful element of corporate worship. It is a means for communicating directly with God and with each other. Joining our voices binds us in community with Christians around the world and gives each individual an equal place in God’s family. Whether singing hymn texts to tune that are hundreds of years old or newly composed melodies and words, when a congregation sings together, it generates a new identity within the body of Christ.
When we sing traditional hymns that convey shared experiences, we connect worshippers cross-generationally within a single congregation and throughout the span of church history. Children benefit from these connections as they search for their place in the local church family here at Trinity and within the larger Kingdom of God.
Far too frequently, adults assume that hymn-singing belongs only in the Sunday worship service. Children are not bound by these invisible lines between the sacred and the everyday. It is not unusual for little children exposed to hymns to hum or sing as they play in the yard, drive in the car, or even in bed! Others may sing quietly as they do chores or weave familiar texts into prayers. When children know hymns, these tunes become a part of their life “soundtrack”. They have words of comfort, confession, praise, and thanksgiving literally on the tips of their tongues. What’s your child’s favorite hymn? Or better yet, does your child know your favorite hymn?
“He who sings, prays twice” – Martin Luther.