Annual multi-denominational celebration draws many worshippers
The Festival of Worship, hosted by Fuller’s Fred Bock Institute of Music and The Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, drew a large crowd on Sunday night, February 12, nearly filling the downtown Los Angeles cathedral’s 3,000 seats—not to mention the featured 35 choirs of over 1,000 singers, children, dancers, and musicians offering worship and praise.
In his welcome, Rev. Monsignor Kevin Kostelnik, pastor of the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, commented on the fact that the festival was being held at the same time as the Grammy awards ceremony, also in downtown L.A. “Several blocks away people are celebrating music at the Grammy awards, and they’ll be clapping for each other,” he said. “But tonight, here, we are clapping for God.”
Fuller President Richard J. Mouw, Fred Bock Institute of Music co-founder Lois Bock, and Fred Bock Institute of Music Director Ed Willmington also offered welcoming remarks. Special guests included composers Mark Hayes and Rawn Harbor, TV personality Stephanie Edwards, and a pre-concert interview with Cathedral tapestry artist John Nava.
A unique annual gathering, the Festival of Worship brought together multiple church choirs who joined their voices in a glorious multi-denominational celebration of worship. The cathedral, which has stated its mission to be “a house of prayer for all people,” was an appropriate convening place for the diverse group of worshippers. This year’s festival was entitled, “In Faith, In Hope: Hymns: Ancient and Modern,” and focused on traditional hymns from times past as well as contemporary hymns like those penned by Keith and Kristyn Getty.
The service moved through a cycle of worship, beginning with adoration and then shifting to meditations on the cross, songs and prayers of confession, affirmation of the people of God, and ending in exuberant praise and thanksgiving.
While Fuller and the Fred Bock Institute of Music have been involved for several years in the festival, this year the Institute took on the role of co-hosting the event, which was originally initiated and hosted by the Mark Thallander Foundation. Ed Willmington served ad the festival program coordinator, and members of the Fuller community were heavily involved behind the scenes and on the stage as writers, singers, and instrumentalists, as well as offering scripture readings, prayers, and the call to worship. Provost Douglas McConnell and Associate Provost for Diversity and International Programs Juan Martinez gave a Scripture reading together in English and Spanish, and Dr. Mouw offered the final benediction at the evening’s close.
“We may come from various denominational backgrounds and hold diverse theological perspectives,” said Ed Willmington, “but tonight we focus upward—as one heart and voice—on the One who has given us life and breath.” He added, “He becomes the audience for all of us this evening.”
For more information about the Fred Bock Institute of Worship, or about the Festival of Worship, click here