Spring Valley United Methodist Church (SVUMC) has raised more than $11,000 in an effort to bring the gift of music back to members of a sister church in West, Texas. On July 17 and 18, SVUMC will present “Lamb of God,” an epic concert work depicting the final days of Christ, for residents and members of First United Methodist Church of West (FUMCW) who witnessed immense devastation after an explosion rocked their small Texas town last year.
“This congregation and community has experienced unbelievable destruction and suffered tremendously as a result of last year’s tragic events,” said SVUMC Choir Director Bert Johnson. “We wanted to reach out to our brothers and sisters in West in a way that would uplift their spirits. I believe our faith is crucial in helping us all understand events like this and ‘Lamb of God’ helps answer relevant questions like, ‘how do we begin to heal?’”
Johnson learned earlier this year that several of FUMCW’s members were forced to relocate after the West plant explosion last April damaged their homes or businesses. As a result, the church lost roughly one-third of its congregation and the choir, once an integral part of church gatherings and Sunday services, has not performed since then.
“As soon as I heard their story, I felt I had to do something,” Johnson shared. “Our church wanted to help financially, but more importantly, we wanted to bring restoration to their souls and give the community a bright outlook for the future.”
The concert work, originally composed by world-renowned conductor Rob Gardner, is comprised of 13 movements and will include more than 40 SVUMC members of all ages. Necessary funding for the production was collected last month at SVUMC’s Mission West Gala, a semi-formal event which raised $11,500, surpassing the church’s initial fundraising goal of $5,000.
“Our entire church has made an incredible effort to help bring this profound message of hope and healing to the residents of West,” Johnson added. “We are incredibly excited and grateful to be a part of this town’s restoration.”