Music at the 182nd Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Chicago

This past weekend, the Diocese of Chicago gathered in Lombard, IL for their 182nd Convention. This convention was a little bitter sweet as it is technically Bishop Jeffery Lee’s last convention as the Bishop of Chicago. The Diocese of Chicago is in full swing of a Bishop Search to find the successor of Bishop Lee—which, will be some pretty big shoes to fill! Our Diocese is an amazing Diocese that is huge, and my prayer is that we get a lot of amazing candidates to fill this very important position in our church.

This year’s convention music was amazing. The Rahabs—the music team for the Diocese of Chicago—lead the 50+ volunteer choir in song throughout the two day convention. Members of the Rahabs are: Dillon Shipman, Lorraine Langer, Beau Surratt, Bradley Linboom, Stephen Buzard, and myself.

Leading the music for convention is always a great joy, but it is very challenging. On Friday morning we assemble for a short morning service, and then the choir rehearsal begins. From 9:45 to noon, we rehearsed all the music for the rest of the convention with the focus on Saturday morning’s Eucharist. Over 50 volunteers arrived to rehearse this year making this the largest volunteer choir we have had in a very long time. We warmed up, learned a few hymns including some Spanish hymns, and moved our focus to the two big pieces we planned for the Eucharist. This year we did Mary McDonald’s Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace, and Keith Hamptons True Light.

The rehearsal went very well and the choir learned everything quickly! True Light brought the house down in the service on Saturday and Make Me an Instrument of Thy Peace was absolutely stunningly beautiful.

Lorraine arranged Jubilate Deo and This Little Light of Mine and was able to work with the children. It was such a beautiful sight to see over twenty children singing these joyful arrangements during communion on Saturday morning. The children are our future, and I am grateful that Lorraine is talented with working with children and teaching them choral music.

We ended the service Saturday with a New Orleans arrangement of Just a Closer Walk with Thee. There was joy, clapping, and at the end—unanimous praise.

I view leading music at our church’s yearly convention a huge honor. There is a ton of work that goes into it that no one will ever see, but it is absolutely worth it. Thank you to the Rahabs, all the volunteers that showed up to sing, and the Diocese of Chicago for allowing the Rahabs to continue to lead you in song.

Westley Hodges
Asscoiate of Music Ministries
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church, Evanston, IL

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