APRIL BUSINESS: Chapel Hill United Methodist Church

Dr. Randi Von Ellefson and members of the Chapel Hill Choir“It’s been said that nobody walks out of church service humming the sermon,” said minister, Kristopher Tate. Although he knows he has preached important and powerful sermons—he acknowledges that his church, Chapel Hill United Methodist Church, has a special gift for reaching people through music.

Chapel Hill offers a choice of both contemporary and traditional music services. As associate minister of sanctuary worship, Tate oversees the traditional service. According to Tate, the meaning of the phrases “contemporary” and “traditional” varies greatly. For Chapel Hill, the difference is that the contemporary worship is casual, with electric guitars playing praise music and staff wearing jeans. The traditional service includes an established order of creeds and hymns sung by robed choir members to the accompaniment of a piano and organ.

Tate describes the traditional service atmosphere as church pews, a pulpit, stained glass windows and a hymnal which includes songs written by John Wesley in the 1700s. What might be surprising is that surveys indicate people in their 20s and 30s have a greater preference for traditional worship than their parents did. Tate’s research attributes it to the societal pendulum swing in which children don’t typically like what their parents like—and it was the late generation of baby boomers who began contemporary worship.

In addition, Chapel Hill offers an outstanding quality of music, which Tate credits to a professional organist, Ellen Jackson, and choir director, Dr. Randi Von Ellefson.

“Our choir is fantastic! We have 40 singers which includes music scholars. Dr. Ellefson is the choral director for Oklahoma City University and Canterbury Choral Society. He is exceedingly accomplished, and we are very fortunate to have him oversee our vocal ministry. When I started here, I was told to stay on Ellen and Randi’s good side,” Tate said with a laugh. “They don’t have a bad side, but that’s how much the congregation values their musical contributions.”

Tate, Ellefson, and Jackson work together to create meaningful sermon and song services.  As a result, they receive positive feedback every week.

“The music ministry has a special way of evoking emotions. They set the stage for what I’ve prepared to preach,” Tate said. “We give our best every week to provide a worship service that is authentic and relevant.”

For more information, visit mychapelhill.org, or visit one of their Sunday services starting at 8:30am and 11am at 2717 W. Hefner Rd in OKC.

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