“What just happened here?”
The All Souls Ensemble have just returned from a short visit to Geneva where Noel was leading worship at a French speaking conference. Lucy Downer, one of our talented musicians tells us a little about it…
“In the words of Bryan Chapell, ‘We’ve had an Irish, traditional hymn – played by an English orchestra – with a jazz beat – sung by a French congregation – In Switzerland!”
And, in fact, “French” encompasses many other nationalities as well – with French as the common language between them. The Gospel Coalition’s Séminaire Évangile 21, held in Geneva last week, was a meeting of hundreds of pastors from francophone countries, joining together for Bible teaching, mutual encouragement and singing praise to God. The ASO was privileged to be invited back, after playing for the first time in 2016. Noel enthusiastically led the singing, alongside French musician and pastor Philippe Viguer. With half an hour of music at the beginning of each session we got through a lot of songs and hymns in a variety of styles – teaching some new ones alongside well known popular items. Philippe’s Hymnes 21 project is about translating Christian songs into French, to expand the repertoire of French-speaking churches. The majority of these are well-known to All Souls Music, with a few exceptions, most notably Philippe’s own song, ‘Awake, my soul’.
The music was very well-received – and more so as the week went on. The congregation joined in with all the styles, praising God together and encouraging one another. With many of the participants coming from all sorts of areas that feel quite isolated in the proclamation of the gospel, it felt like an important gathering, and we were privileged to be a part of it. We even managed to follow some of the French Bible talks on the topic of Jesus’ return – finishing with a powerful exposition of Revelation 21 by Don Carson.”