Community Lutheran and Voices of Worship Team for Passover to Resurrection Celebration
More than twenty churches were represented by pulpit speakers, choir members, praise dancers and musicians.
On Saturday, April 9, Community Lutheran Church (CLC) collaborated with Sterling-based Voices of Worship (VOW) community choir and praise band and invited the public to “Praise without Walls,” a community-wide worship celebration. “From Passover to Resurrection” was the theme for the celebration service which is presented only four times a year.
The free and open public worship service included musical collaboration by VOW Director Felicia Kessel Crawley and CLC Director Luke Frazier. Corporate prayer, praise and fellowship was provided from CLC Pastor Dr. Joseph Vought and pulpit guests Pastor Ralph Duke, Beacon Hill Missionary Baptist Church, Herndon; Reverend Jack Stagman, Transformation Forum, Purcellville; Elder Jeff Berry Savannah Praise, Worship & Healing Center Rippon, WVA; Pastor Cary E. Johnson, New Life Church, Sterling; Pastor Emeritus Enoch Butler, Christ Fellowship Church, Herndon; and an empowered word from world-renowned guest minister Ron Bailey of Gettysburg, PA.
Those attending early had the opportunity to experience pre-celebration instrumentals by VOW’s talented and melodious musicians. The 5:30 PM program opened with Quincy Jones’s Handel’s Messiah performed by the combined VOW, CLC Choirs and Ministers of Movements (MoM). During the evening a number of selections were performed by joint choirs and musicians (see program listing below).
VOW is a volunteer Christian community choir and music ensemble comprised of singers and musicians. “Praise without Walls” is a quarterly public prayer and praise service sponsored by VOW and made possible through collaboration with local churches, singers, praise dancers and musicians. The purpose for the public worship events is intended to provide an opportunity for diverse communities of faith to gather together in unity and friendship to celebrate and worship Jesus Christ and His gifts of salvation and love through the Cross.
Ministers of Movements or MoMs are those called to deliver and equip God’s people with the word of God to go forth and minister to the nations about the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ in movement. They are required to receive formal training through Holy Camps and must pass a written exam upon completion of the camp. They are certified as MoMs and become eligible, after a minimum of two years of service, to become ordained Ministers.
Praise and Worship program was as follows:
Opening Selection (Joint Choirs and MoMs), “Soulful Celebration,” Handel’s Messiah by Quincy Jones, Felicia Crawley, Conductor.
Call to Worship given by Pastor Ralph Duke, Beacon Hill Missionary Baptist Church.
Opening Prayer was provided by Pastor Cary E. Johnson, New Life Church.
Scripture read aloud by Elder Jeff Berry, Savannah Praise, Worship & Healing Center (Exodus 16:1-5 and John 6: 48-51).
Praise & Worship performed by VOW Choir and MoMs, “Hosanna,” “I’m Chasin after You,” “Lion of Judah,” “So Easy to Love You” and “I’ll Trust You.”
Reverend Dr. Joseph Vought, Pastor Community Lutheran Church gave the Welcome:
“On behalf of your brothers and sisters in Christ here at Community Lutheran it is my pleasure and honor to welcome you to this place and this Service of Resurrection and Praise without Walls.
“We all come from different places tonight, different Christian denominations, Christians with different names, yet Christians just the same. Tonight we gather to worship, praise and celebrate our common faith, in the words of St. Paul, that ‘we have One Lord, One Faith and One Baptism, that there is One God Father of us all.’
“While we gather tonight in what we are calling a Service of Resurrection, we are indeed Easter People proclaiming Jesus Risen from the Dead. And yet, there are those of us here who are also walking through the Season of Lent, that springtime season in the life of the Church, when we recall Jesus’ walk through the wilderness, His walk to Jerusalem and the events of the cross before the resurrection. We have seen Jesus in our Scripture texts meeting other would-be disciples and transforming their lives. We remember Jesus meeting Old Nicodemus (John 3) with his PhDs and his long robes and his thorough rabbinic knowledge of scripture and Jesus saying, ‘Nicodemus, that don’t impress me much, you got to be born of the Spirit and born from above.’ And at the end of John’s Gospel Nicodemus is right alongside Joseph of Arimathea placing Jesus in the tomb, (John 19: 38-39) a disciple right alongside Jesus, dying and being raised up with Him. We remember Jesus meeting a Samaritan Woman at the Well (John 4) in the heat of the day, all alone and by herself, ostracized and estranged from her community. She came for well water and she met Jesus who became the Living Water for her life. She left her jar at the well because she was already filled up with Living Water and went and told her town about Jesus and they came to faith. Then Jesus going to the tomb of Lazarus his friend (John 11), dead four days which in the language of the Bible means good and dead! Jesus speaks to Lazarus and he got up. Only God can speak to the dead, only God and Jesus can bring new life.
“St. Paul knew the truth of the Gospel when he said, ‘It is by God’s grace that we are saved and this is not our own doing, it is the gift of God lest anyone should boast’ (Ephesians 2:8). That is why it is a good and pleasant thing when brothers and sisters gather together in unity (Psalm 133). There is still more for each and every one of us to learn, more faith to share and Good News of Jesus for us to hear and proclaim. May God bless us all, give us humility and His Peace. Amen.”
Passing of the Peace was initiated by Pastor Ralph Duke. All in attendance, including choir members and pulpit guests, had the opportunity to fellowship, meet and greet each other, while VOW musicians filled the church with their upbeat style of inspirational music.
VOW Welcome/Occasion: presented by Felicia Kessel Crawley, VOW Director and Mark Gunderman, Shepherd’s Table/CLC.
Musical Selection “True Light,” by Keith Hampton, performed by VOW and CLC choirs, Conductor, Luke Frazier, Music Director CLC.
Unity Prayer: “Make Us One,” given by Pastor Jack Stagman, Transformation Forum.
Introduction of Speaker was given by Pastor Emeritus Enoch Butler, Christ Fellowship Church. Pastor Butler first commended VOW Director Crawley, whom he has known for over a decade, for her efforts to use inspirational music and worship to foster unity and bring diverse groups together for pray and praise. He encouraged Felicia and VOW singers and musicians to “think beyond these walls” and cast an even wider net at national and international communities at large.
Pastor Butler then informed the 100 or so in attendance that Our Lord had a mighty plan to use Reverend Ron Bailey in the United States and around the globe.
Musical Selection “Open Your Heart and Let Him In,” performed by Felicia Kessel-Crawley (Original Composition).
Reverend Ron Bailey provided the Sermon based on John 5: 16-27. Bailey cited:
“What I see going on around me in the Christian realm, is that God is changing the focus of our involvement with him. This focus involves a shift in how we are fulfilled and sustained and the needs of the world around us. In fact it is not necessarily a new shift in as much as it is a call to return to what we should have always been about from the beginning. [John Chapter 5, “My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working.”] I am not attempting to brow beat the church into missions, but rather into focusing on the true meaning of what we are really to be about. Across the body there is a weariness of business as usual, a hunger for greater ‘real’ things in our lives. I believe we arrive at this by abandoning our self-interests, even those that we say are being done for God. Rather we must fervently seek to find out what He is doing and join Him in it.” [A full synopsis of this sermon is provided in a separate article.]
Closing Selection, “This Little Light of Mine” performed by VOW and CLC choirs.
At the close of the celebration program, all choir members, praise dancers, musicians, church congregations and guests were invited to the fellowship hall to continue the Passing of the Peace and for discussion regarding status on upcoming prayer and worship events like the Shepherd’s Table in Lansdowne and the Bible Reading Marathon in Leesburg. More than twenty churches were represented by pulpit speakers, choir members, praise dancers and musicians.
Blessings of non-perishables were collected at the door for the LINK Food Bank in Herndon in support of needy people.
Special Thanks to:
Community Lutheran Church Leadership and Music Ministry
Pastor Ralph Duke
Ministers of Movements
Elder Jeff Berry and Ministry Volunteers
Pastor Emeritus Enoch Butler
VOW Members, Friends and Supporters
Churches Represented by Pulpit Speakers, Choir Members, Praise Dancers and Musicians
Beacon Hill Missionary Church, Herndon, Virginia
Breakthrough Prayer Ministry, Lincoln, Virginia
Community Lutheran Church, Sterling, Virginia
Christian Fellowship Church, Ashburn, Virginia
Ebenezer Baptist Church, Alexandria, Virginia
First Baptist Church, Merrifield, Virginia
First Mt. Olive Baptist Church, Leesburg, Virginia
Grace Covenant, Chantilly, Virginia
Heritage Fellowship Church, Reston, Virginia
Living Covenant Church, Centreville, Virginia
Loudoun Bible, Ashburn, Virginia
Manassas Park Bible Church, Manassas, Virginia
Ministers of Movements, Charlotte, North Carolina
Mt. Morris Baptist Church, Hume, Virginia
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Arlington, Virginia
Mt. Zion Baptist Church, Round Hill, Virginia
New Life Church, Sterling, Virginia
Oak Grove Baptist Church, Sterling, Virginia
Providence Baptist Church, Leesburg, Virginia
Rock Creek Baptist Church, Washington, D. C.
Savannah Praise, Worship & Healing Center, Rippon, West Virginia
Transformation Forum, Purcellville, Virginia
Trumpet Ministries, Leesburg, Virginia
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