Home Musician Association of Pastoral Musicians Gathers for 45th Convention

Association of Pastoral Musicians Gathers for 45th Convention

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Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas gave the first commencement address at the opening ceremony of the National Association of Ministerial Musicians convention. (Recording photo by Ruby Thomas)

Pastoral musicians from across the country gathered at the Galt House Hotel in downtown Louisville for the opening ceremony of the 45th convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians on June 28.

Bishop Shelton J. Fabre welcomed the gathering, telling them that he hopes the event will serve to strengthen them in their ministry. He also thanked the musicians and said music, like prayer, should “call people to action”.

Those gathered heard from Bishop Mark J. Seitz of El Paso, Texas, who gave the first keynote address titled “Veni Creator Spiritus.”
Bishop Seitz opened his speech by asking the musicians “Have you received the Holy Spirit?

“I don’t expect you to walk out of here speaking in tongues,” he said, noting that he wanted them to be filled with the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit. “We cannot do our job, we cannot live without the work of the Holy Spirit,” the bishop said. “The glory of God is a fully alive human being. We cannot be a Christian without the gifts of the Spirit.

Participants sang at the opening ceremony of the 45th convention of the National Association of Pastoral Musicians at the Galt House Hotel on June 28. (Recording photo by Ruby Thomas)

The theme of the convention was “Tested by Fire: Renewed and Transformed”. Bishop Seitz said renewal and transformation is “what the spirit does.” Over the past two years, the bishop said people have been tested. “This tiny little virus came in and turned things upside down,” he said. Instead of the music that filled the churches, it was silence. “Singing was bad for your health,” he said. For pastoral musicians, it may have felt like “the spoken word has been taken out of your life’s work,” he said.

Bishop Seitz told the gathering that although their ministry has been tested, their work is essential for the church. “I believe you are an essential cog in the renewal to which God is calling us,” he said. “Let us pray for the Spirit to guide us.”
Jennifer Kluge, who is the association’s national director, said the theme for the convention speaks to the challenges that pastoral musicians have faced over the past two years.

The 2020 convention has been canceled due to the pandemic. As parishes emerge from the pandemic, pastoral music directors across the country are trying to find a “way forward,” she said. “As churches continue to reopen and congregants return, liturgical music directors are finding things have changed,” she said. They find that the choirs are smaller because some worshipers are not ready to return. Some parishes are grouped together and only require one musical director. “Headmasters are realizing that parishes haven’t gone back to the way they used to do things,” she said. Yet the mission to improve liturgical music remains the same. “We are always looking for ways to improve,” she said.