Originally created 08/15/98

Amphitheater to be site of musical worship



An 11-member ensemble, including four vocalists, a flutist, acoustical guitarist and organist, will lead an upbeat worship event at 8 p.m. Friday at Riverwalk Augusta's Jessye Norman Amphitheater.

Casual dress is welcomed, said the Rev. Reece LeRoy, who will be on keyboard and leading the group. He is associate pastor and worship leader at Vineyard Christian Fellowship of Augusta.

The 11-year-old Vineyard congregation, one of about 700 worldwide, is part of an association founded by the late John Wimber of Anaheim, Calif.

The evangelical denomination has had a major impact on worship beyond its association, he said. "Each church has its own style, but a lot of people have been embracing this music and getting away from the more traditional hymns and choral music."

Before he became a clergyman, John Wimber was a successful musician, playing in clubs in California. He played keyboard with the Righteous Brothers and was the arranger for Unchained Melody, but he dedicated himself to the Lord and left the secular stage in 1963.

He founded Mercy Records, which became Vineyard Music Group, known for contemporary rock with a mellow twist.He wrote several songs, including Isn't He, Oh Let the Son of God Enfold You With His Spirit and His Love (Spirit Song) and Sweet Perfume.

The Rev. Wimber's philosophy was that every Christian had a part to play. The music is easy to pick up, said the Rev. LeRoy. "It will be a fun time to celebrate God's love."

The event

What: Musical worship

Who: Vineyard Fellowship of Augusta

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Jessye Norman Amphitheater, Riverwalk Augusta at Ninth Street