In the spring of 1987, while serving Columbia Baptist Church in Falls Church, Virginia, the Cokers were approached by a dedicated and enthusiastic search committee regarding the position of Minister of Music at South Main Baptist Church. Following some agonizing days of pondering and praying about what God would have us to do; we ultimately felt the call to lead this music ministry. We believed in and committed ourselves to building and maintaining a music ministry at South Main that could help the church inspire people, lead them in worship,develop fellowship, and help people find their ministry.
By early fall of 2012, I will have served actively as a Minister of Music for 50 years. I will also have served South Main for half of those 50 years. I am extremely blessed to have been able to spend a large part of my life doing what I felt God has called me to do. Now it is time for me to pass on the baton to the next generation. Therefore, I will be retiring from the position of Minister of Music at South Main Baptist Church on June 3, 2012.
In these past 25 years with you, we have tried to honor the traditions of the past while strengthening church music for the future. We inherited a music ministry program that had been carefully and lovingly developed by those who had gone before us. That ministry had been built on the concepts of teaching children, youth, and adults how to sing, play, and lead music–using the musical varieties of “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” in worship and ministry. We believed in this ministry and focused our efforts on building and maintaining a music ministry that could help the church continue to inspire people, lead them in worship, develop fellowship, and help people find their ministry.
In more recent days here at South Main we have rightly called these: Worship, Discover, and Share. I am firmly convinced that these three ingredients must be the foundation of the music ministry as well as a part of each individual involved in the ministry.
In order to celebrate our musical past, present and future together, the ministerial staff, Music Council and I are working on a plan for the music ministry for this year. We anticipate the music year as follows:
October 30, 2011, 6:00 p.m.
The Sanctuary Choir will combine with the Houston Children’s Chorus to present John Rutter’s Mass of the Children.
December 11, 2011
Unwrapping Christmas is our theme for Advent. Unwrapping Christmas/Unwrapping Glorias: A Christmas Concert, will feature the Gloria of John Rutter (with brass, percussion and organ) and the Jazz Gloria of Houston composer Rob Landes as well as other glorious Christmas music.
Ash Wednesday Evening – February 22, 2012
A possible presentation of the Ralph Vaughan Williams Mass in G Minor (an a cappella double choir work of great beauty and historic text; it will beautifully set up the Lenten Season).
Glorious Easter – April 8, 2012
June 2-3, 2012
A Joyous Musical Festival celebrating the vibrant music which is one of the hallmarks of South Main’s ongoing ministry.
Youth and children’s choirs will have significant plans for this year, with a terrific mini-tour and a full musical scheduled for youth and Bach to Broadway Jr. for children. Let me invite you all to join with us in the music ministry to celebrate Christ through the gift of music at South Main. I hope to see many of you active in choirs, handbells, orchestra and congregational singing.
I firmly believe the years ahead are to be years of growth and vibrancy. It is my prayer that South Main continues to teach and reflect the work of Christ through the psalms, hymns and spiritual songs learned by children and adults at South Main and that the beauty and majesty of our Creator will shine through these our gifts in the indigenous worship style of South Main.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to serve our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, here with you at South Main Baptist Church in Houston, and I look forward to this special year as your Minister of Music.
Soli Deo Gloria (to God alone be glory),
Thomas Coker, South Main Minister of Music