It started with a simple vision of churches of all stripes and sizes worshiping Christ together.
“A lot of churches don’t affiliate with one another during the week,” said Gerald Kelly, the minister of music at Greater St. John Baptist Church on Ellis Street, where the Rev. Melvin Ivey is pastor.
Eight years ago, he launched the first Augusta Community Mass Choir. The group assembles every spring for an annual concert featuring local church choirs, dance ministries and praise teams. On Sunday, the adult choir brings a variety of praise songs and worship anthems, both contemporary and traditional, to a Gospel Explosion worship event. The Rev. Patricia Scott at Tender Sprout Christian Life Center is the host.
Members of the Augusta Community Mass Choir – including Baptists, Pentecostals, Methodists and members of nondenominational churches – began rehearsing together Thursday.
Psalm 133:1 provides inspiration for their work: “Behold, and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.”
That’s the whole goal of the mass choir, said Kelly, who organized the first Gospel Explosion at Pierce Grove Baptist Church in Augusta after a three-day workshop in 2005.
“We have new members every year. I don’t care what their background is. I just say, if you want to come, come,” he said. “You have to put aside your own beliefs that Catholics are right or Baptists are right. If we can’t worship together on Earth, how can we worship as the body of Christ in heaven?”