Augustine of Hippo (354-430 AD) said that "singing is praying twice." We agree. That's why music forms a necessary and integral part of the liturgy at Metropolitan United Church, and is considered a ministry of its own. The power of music can speak to people in a way that words alone cannot.
At Metropolitan, congregational song is important and we sing the great hymns of the past as well as newer hymns and hymns from around the world. All the hymns we sing during our Sunday service can be found in the red book called Voices United located at each pew. We stand up to sing almost all hymns, unless noted in the Order of Service. You are welcome to join in or not, as you like.
The congregation also sings responses at different times in the service, and these vary from traditional to modern and global refrains.
Our congregational song is accompanied primarily by the organ, but sometimes piano, drums and other instruments are used as well. Several times a year, we are joined by the Metropolitan Silver Band at our Sunday morning service.
An instrumental "prelude" precedes the service and most often is organ music chosen to reflect the season and theme of the service. Anthems are sung each week by our adult choir, and the various youth and children's choirs. Our handbell choir also participates in some services. All the music in our Sunday service - hymns, choir anthems, instrumental pieces, and the concluding "postlude" - are thoughtfully and deliberately chosen to support the readings and themes of a particular service.
Our Minister of Music, Dr. Patricia Wright (pictured above at the organ), tries to connect the music you hear at Metropolitan to the rest of the service right in our Order of Service. For example, we include the lyrics from each anthem (including English translations of anthems that are sung in other languages), as well as an explanation of why a certain prelude or postlude has been chosen. Often one of the choir anthems is drawn directly from one of the Bible passages or relates to the theme of the sermon.
Next time you're at Sunday service, why not take a few minutes to reflect on how the music helps emphasize and underscore the messages delivered by the sermon and Bible readings.