Monday, July 24, 2006

Stamps-Baxter - Sunday

Another relaxing and wonderful day. It's nice to have a bit of slow time, but I'm also really anxious to get back at it all tomorrow. I'm excited about the duet and the quartet, and we'll be performing both this week.

This morning, I attended Trevecca Nazarene Church. From what I understand, the Nazarene denomination comes from the Wesleyan-Methodists, and there's some kind of Baptist influence too. The church we attended is on this campus, but it has a full congregation that has nothing to do with the university. I think the university is sort of a ministry within the church. The church was packed this morning. (No one has cottages to go to!) We started with about 30 minutes of music and prayers. The music was lead by a 16 piece band, a 5-voice praise team, and a huge choir. We sang a mix of hymns and praise choruses, and it was really great. Very singable. The prayers included the Apostles creed, and a confession, but it was a confession of weakness, as opposed to a confession of our sins.

After the music, we had a 30 minute sermon based on the letter to the church in Smyrna from Revelations. The pastor talked about staying faithful in the rough times. It was long by Anglican standards, but he was a very engaging preacher, so the time passed quickly. There was an invitation for prayer, and some people came to the front of the church and knelt by little benches, where they were met by a prayer partner. (Maybe these are 'prayer benches'? Pretty sure they're not called 'little benches'.) During this time, the congregation sat and we were engaged in corporate prayer. The service ended with a rousing song and a benediction.

It was a really refreshing service, and I'm glad I went there. We actually went in a little group and just walked there together, so the whole experience was lovely. The church offers a little present to visitors, so we all walked away with a cd of the choir and band. Free stuff!

This afternoon, the school hosted a picnic. We all gathered under the picnic pavilion for Mrs. Winner's fried chicken and biscuits (soooo good!) and lots of music. Some people sang with tracks, but the best stuff was the jam session with some of the instrumentalists here. Such awesome musicians. You know, those kind of people who can pick up anything with strings and just play along on any song in any key. It was great. I, of course, am a champion tambourine player, so I jumped in the percussion section. I've offered to give a masterclass on tambourine playing next year, but, so far, I haven't been taken up on it. Fingers crossed!

I had to leave the picnic early to fit in one more rehearsal for the duet. It's going well. Just a few more parts to figure out. We're going to sing it for Allison tomorrow or Tuesday.

After a little rest (a.k.a. nap!), a group of us went out for a late dinner. It was just so nice and relaxing. Chatting, telling jokes, sharing favourite songs, getting to know each other. These are the things I'm loving this year. I'm just finding more time to connect with people and share good life-stuff.

Going to get to bed as soon as I can. I want to be able to take in every second of the next week, and I won't do it without a good night's sleep!

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