O be joyful in the Lord all ye lands, serve the Lord with gladness and come before God’s presence with a song. Psalm 100:1
James (Jim) Murray was Minister of Music for my home church in Greer for decades, leading a program of choral and handbell groups for children and adults. He was an energetic leader in every worship service, a conductor, a diplomatic director of many 1970s-era Christian musical productions, a coach for nervous singers, a mentor to aspiring professional musicians, an amateur radio operator, a pilot, and a pretty good tennis player. But more than anything else, Mr. Murray’s devotion to serving God through music and worship inspired generations to sing to the Lord and to carry on with music in that church and beyond. Mr. Murray, now in his eighties, still attends church at every opportunity, singing with joy in God’s presence.
Here in Spartanburg, Holt and Marcia Andrews serve God joyfully in music and in other important ways. I remember a call from Holt more than twenty years ago, when he reached out to invite me to be part of our church’s multi-talented and multi-generational Chancel Choir. I joined the choir even before I joined First Pres in 1995. Since that time, I’ve learned so much from Holt’s and Marcia’s leadership, not only musically, but also in the way that they genuinely care for every person in the church, consistently striving for excellence in worship with patience, humility, joy, awareness that God is at the center of our world, and that coming before God’s presence with joy—a song—is at the core of worship. Being in the choir loft with Holt and Marcia is a special experience as they juggle the moving parts and pieces of a worship service. Marcia may move from organ to piano to leading a children’s choir, and back again during the course of a service. As every choir member knows, Holt’s face tells us whenever the hours of rehearsal result in singing well—he beams with what I know he must be feeling—the joy of singing God’s praise. That joy and service carry over into other areas of life as well. Holt and the choir minister to each other and to others inside and outside our congregation. It’s so fitting that Holt is now completing requirements to be a Commissioned Ruling Elder in the Presbyterian Church USA. Like Jim Murray, Holt and Marcia provide strong examples of ministry and joyful service in the Lord.
About the Contributor
Mary Dixon is a Ruling Elder and sings with the Genesis Choir and Chamber Singers. Mary and her husband, Mark, have two grown children.