All God’s children are returning to Merrillville

The Festival of Worship Arts and Commissioning weekend, June 6-8, will prove to be one of those not-to-be missed experiences. With the theme of All God’s Children, the event will challenge Salvationists in their walk, worship and service.

“Although past gospel arts weekends have achieved the desired goals of inspiration, participation and affirmation of our music and gospel arts forces, this June we will especially focus on our young musicians, our future,” commented Bandmaster William Himes. “We want our youth to experience the fulfillment that comes from using their talents for the Lord. We are counting on this generation to rise up and answer the goal for ‘Live music in worship in every corps by 2020.’”

A tangible step toward this goal will be the debut of the Territorial Youth Band and Youth Chorus (TYB and TYC), comprised of aspiring vocalists and instrumentalists from around the territory, led by the territorial team of William Himes, Peggy Thomas, Joe Caddy and Meghan Pierson. Selected through online auditions or previous placement at Central Music Institute, the TYC and TYB will rehearse February 28-March 1 at Camp Wonderland and Friday afternoon, June 6, in preparation for their performances. Sectionals, prayer groups and mentoring will be provided by members of the Chicago Staff Band and Bill Booth Theater Company.

The Friday evening keynote (All God’s children sing) and Saturday morning meeting (All God’s children seek) will feature Christian artist Ken Medema who has inspired people through his storytelling and music for four decades. Though blind from birth, Ken sees and hears with heart and mind, custom designing every musical moment of his performance with brilliant improvisation.

“There are only two or three instances where I would use the term ‘genius’—and Ken Medema is one for whom the term applies,” said Himes.

Commissioners Dick and Vibeke Krommenhoek, territorial leaders of the Norway, Iceland and Faeroes Territory, also will be featured guests for the weekend. During their 30 years of officership they have served throughout Europe and most recently at International Headquarters where he was the General’s representative for global evangelization and she was responsible for opening the Army’s work in Poland. Well known for his compositions, Commissioner Dick Krommenhoek also will serve as guest conductor of some of his choral and instrumental works.

“With anticipation, we are looking forward to participating in the 2014 Central Territory Commissioning and Festival of Gospel Arts,” said the Krommenhoeks. “We pray that through our ministry God’s Kingdom will be strengthened for growth and Jesus Christ will be uplifted.”

The emphasis on musical development also will be seen through much of Saturday morning and early afternoon events known as Bravo! a solo competition for young instrumentalists, vocalists, guitarists, pianists and percussionists divided into four age/ability brackets. Winners of the “open” category will be featured soloists in Saturday evening’s Territorial Youth Band and Youth Chorus Festival (All God’s children praise).

On Sunday morning (All God’s children worship) delegates will join together for the commissioning and ordination of the “Disciples of the Cross” session of cadets. In dramatic contrast Sunday afternoon will bring a jubilant celebration as the new lieutenants are appointed throughout the territory (All God’s children serve).

Of course our territory’s own Chicago Staff Band, Bill Booth Theater Company and The Singing Company will be on hand to provide top-notch support throughout the weekend.

All good reasons for God’s children to beat a path to Merrillville this June!


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