Music plays an important role at Chelsea First United Methodist Church

Chelsea First United Methodist Church Pastor Joy Barrett summed it up well when asked how music fits into the service and why it is important.

“Music is essential in Christian worship,” she said. “Music expresses what words cannot express. Music draws us into the presence of God. Through music we experience awe, wonder, passion, joy, faith, encouragement, comfort. Music helps us learn and remember; music brings people together. , speaks to the part of us that wants to be better emotionally, spiritually.

Randy Umfleet, director of music ministries at Chelsea First United Methodist Church, understands this well. Since arriving at Chelsea First in November 2021, he has worked hard to continue to bring a vibrant, unique and meaningful musical experience to the church.

After hearing the compliments paid about the music in the church, The Sun Times News (STN) reached out to Umfleet to find out what the compliments were all about.

We started asking him: What is the goal of the music program?

“My goal and mission is to apply exciting and meaningful music, along with other elements of the arts, to the life of the church to elevate corporate and private worship times,” he replied. “The music ministry at Chelsea First exists so that teams and individuals have the opportunity to serve God through their gifts in music and the creative arts. A wide variety of music, including traditional and new hymns, hymns, service music, contemporary praise music choruses, and gospel music, is God’s Used to glorify.”

He concluded his answer by saying, “Colossians 3.16 really sums it up… ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, psalms, and spiritual songs, with grace in your hearts. Sing. Lord’.”

Before coming to Chelsea, Umfleet lived in the West Palm Beach area of ​​Florida and served as minister of music for St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Port Salerno. This new role brings him to Michigan after three years in Florida. Previously, he served a church in Lansing for 17 years and before that he was at a church in Grand Rapids for 10 years.

He brings 39 years of experience to music ministry with an educational and working background in five different denominations and in music education, theater and production. He said he has had the privilege of working with songwriters ranging from 35 members to 300 members, as well as orchestras and instrumental groups; Working with secular and Christian recording artists to provide backup singers and orchestras, serving as program director for a crusade ministry for a few years as well as performing in professional theater for a few summers.

“Randy is a talented musician and worship designer/leader,” Barrett said. “Based on his personal convictions, his many skills and years of experience, Randy is a catalyst for renewed passion, energy and engagement in worship at Chelsea First. Randy transforms worship into a way that speaks to the whole person, encounters God’s loving grace, learns and practices faith, and goes out into the world.” Creates empowering opportunities to serve.

And in keeping with an important part of Umfleet’s style, Barrett said, “Randy honors the gifts and talents of others, intentionally creating opportunities for people to share their gifts and engage in leading worship.”

STN asked Barrett if there was anything in particular she would like the community to know.

“Randy is challenging us to remember that we have a message to share with our community: trusting in a God of eternal grace and love for all people, we are a church that welcomes all people, without judgment or reservation,” she said. “We base ourselves on the great commandment: love God with all that we have and love our neighbor as we love ourselves. Following the example of Jesus, we embrace those who are often neglected or marginalized, we encourage questions, we promote social justice , stand for the common good, respect the traditions of other faiths, work for understanding, reconciliation and peace.”

STN asked Umfleet what the community wants to know about what’s happening with music at Chelsea First.

“My goal is for the community to know that music is an important part of Chelsea First United Methodist Church,” he said. “I also want the community to know that the music that is heard and performed in church is probably not the stereotypical music that many people think is church music. I believe in using a variety of musical styles and instruments. I welcome instrumentalists who want to perform in a place where their talents are appreciated and I I encourage young people to get involved in music here at Chelsea First.

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