Social Justice through Song
The Gordon College Men’s Choir took a unique kind of field trip, driving three-and-a-half hours to perform and serve at Capital City Rescue Mission in Albany, N.Y. Capital City Rescue Mission is a nonprofit organization dedicated to whole-person care for the region’s homeless, serving their immediate needs while teaching them about Christ.
“We didn’t quite know what to expect as we entered the building,” says Men’s Choir Director and trip coordinator Dr. Jamie Hillman. “Although we arrived early, as we walked into the chapel there were men sitting in the seats waiting for our concert to begin. During our warmup, this group slowly grew until there were about 250 to 300 guests in the room for our concert.”
After their performance, Dr. Hillman didn’t want the Gordon College Men’s Choir to be a volunteer group that simply sang and left, so he encouraged the students to sit with all of the guests during the sermon that followed.
“It was my goal that relationship-building would be part of this visit to the Rescue Mission,” Dr. Hillman said. “Part of singing at the Rescue Mission was for us to be building bridges of understanding and to build relationships.”
The group made sure to stay for dinner, bonding as they shared their life stories.
“Mason Strawderman and I ate dinner with an older gentleman,” Carter Bish ’20 shares. “We asked him about his work, childhood and his family over a plate of corn, steak and rice. He shared with us the struggle it was for him when his son passed away. It caused a great deal of turmoil within his family. What a blessing it was for us to perform at the Rescue Mission. I hope that we can continue to worship and serve in this way.”
The Men’s Choir at Gordon has a strong social justice mission, and focuses on reaching out to help destigmatize fellowship in prisons and homeless shelters, by sharing the gospel through their gift of music. Men’s Choir students are becoming more active than ever, engaging in their communities and sharing their faith along the way.
“I think Men’s Choir must continue to push boundaries in terms of social justice and reach out to further communities,” says Grant Cannon ’19. “This visit to Capital City Rescue Mission was a great stepping stone towards taking further trips and sharing the word of Christ.”
This short trip taught the group of students about courage, love and community. According to Bish, “The value and power of service cannot be overstated. Trips such as these remind me of the beauty of serving and loving in the name of God.”
By Megan Harvey ’19, communication arts