Wheaton church to present Robert Ray's Gospel Mass May 20

  • Robert Ray's "Gospel Mass"

    Robert Ray's "Gospel Mass"

Submitted by Gary United Methodist Church
Updated 5/14/2018 5:55 PM

Dedicating a Sunday in May to sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ through music is a long-standing tradition at Wheaton's Gary United Methodist Church.

On Sunday, May 20, during the 9 and 11 a.m. services, the church's Festival Choir, along with a top-notch ensemble of jazz gospel musicians, will present Robert Ray's "Gospel Mass."


Thirty years ago, when Ray was teaching at the University of Illinois, he wrote an experimental work, paraphrasing the Mass in common English and setting it to the rhythm and harmony of African-American music. Although he intended "Gospel Mass" for a one-time performance, this exciting piece caught on and has been performed by choirs and churches across the world.

In describing the appeal of this work, Gary's Music Director Jennifer Whiting explained, "Music has the power to express our spiritual connection to all believers across time and across cultures. Immersing ourselves in gospel music gives us tangible communion with our African-American brothers and sisters who share faith in Christ. And by singing the ancient text of the Mass in our own language, we are connected to believers who have spoken these words for 1,400 years!"

Senior Pastor Chris Pierson added, "There are different ways the Good News can be communicated to us and shared in community--proclamation of the Word, reading scripture, music, art. Music has a way of lifting the spirit."

Gary United Methodist Church is located at 224 N Main St., just north of downtown Wheaton. Ample parking is available in the church lot and on nearby streets. Visit www.garychurch.org.

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