Hundreds of community members gathered for East Texas Baptist University’s annual Great East Texas Hymn Sing on Friday, Sept. 23, in Baker Chapel of the Rogers Spiritual Life Center. ETBU welcomed the campus, alumni and local church community to come together for a special time of worship, fellowship and celebration of Christian faith.
“It is so sweet to be able to worship with everyone again,” Director of Alumni Relations and Intercessory Prayer Ministry Coordinator Cari Johnson said. “ETBU has produced phenomenal worship leaders over the years, and it is a rich opportunity to have them return and lead us today. It was a joy to hear hundreds of people praising God together! When believers gather for corporate worship, we are not only unified in our love for the Lord, but we enjoy a time of communion that would not have existed had we not been in attendance and collectively drawn our attention toward the goodness and faithfulness of God.”
Several ETBU alumni were in attendance and helped lead segments of the worship, including Gary Chevalier (’95), Katie Ashcraft (’19), Kermit Tandberg (’70) and Ricky Hall (’88).
“It is such a blessing to be back on the Hill and to have this opportunity to worship together in spirit and in truth,” Ashcraft said. “I am a big fan of hymns, and attending ETBU made me fall even more in love with the hymns and appreciate the rich theology within them. We learn so much more about truth in singing these songs as we declare the character of God and sing praises to Him.”
Along with the University community, various church groups from Texas and neighboring states attended the event to praise the Lord through hymns and celebrate traditions of faith. Following the worship service, a reception was held for attendees to fellowship with one another.
ETBU President J. Blair Blackburn reflected on how some younger members of our church families are not as familiar with the great hymns of our faith that our older Christian believers have clung to generation after generation.
“We must preserve our hymns of the faith, the songs of our forefathers, our parents, and grandparents. Historic reflection is historic preservation,” Dr. Blackburn said. “ETBU has been called by God to stand for our Christian faith as a University that raises, equips, and empowers generations of anointed servant leaders and sends them to the communities of our nation and the across countries of our globe.”