Music, Memories and Miracles

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As a retired hospice chaplain, I often used music in my practice. For people who struggled with dementia or expressive issues, music resided in a place deep in a part of the memory and heart that was untouched by illness. As a music lover my entire life, I would sit in awe of its power to open language and bring smiles to the faces of my patients; it was miraculous to watch someone come to life as they sang along to old favorites. For people who had difficulty finding a peaceful space, music was soothing and lessened anxiety. Music feeds our souls and lightens our hearts, it brings us back to memories of our childhoods, courtships, and holidays. Once, when I brought my Sunday School children caroling at a nursing home, we all watched in wonder as a woman who had not spoken for years sang every word and verse to Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer and then said, “One more time!”

Music is very much at the heart of West Suffield Congregational Church. It was one of the many things that drew me into this special congregation. Our organist, Ed, is not only a talented musician, but has a knack for engendering a sense of community within the choir. Everyone is a friend, and the door is always open for more to join the family.

When I first started with regular worship, I would often forget to pick up the collection plates because I would be lost in the music. The congregation decided it was easier to do away with collection, rather than see me sitting up there oblivious every other week (although it did cause some hilarity). Most Sundays the choir anthem is greeted with silence, as the congregation wants to sit for a minute with the emotions the music brings up. My particular favorite thing the choir does is sing “Amen,” it gives me goosebumps.

Come on over some Sunday, when you feel you need refreshing, a place to find rest, or a place to raise your own voice in joyous abandon.

You will love the “Amens,” I guarantee it!

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