To God Alone be the Glory

September 6, 2011

Dear Church Family,

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

 


Give Grace…by Thomas Coker

October 15, 2010

By Thomas Coker, Minister of Music

This is a story of how grace is given and received in unexpected ways when one is following the Spirit through inspiration – in this case, the inspiration of text and music written by John Rutter and being rehearsed by the South Main Sanctuary Choir.

At the end of July this year, I completed a two year stint as Church Vice President of the Texas Choral Directors Association, a wonderful organization which brings together choral directors from all over the state and beyond to encourage choral singing in our state.

One of the duties of the Church Vice President is to plan and execute a worship service for the convention.  We were remarkably fortunate this past year to have Mr. John Rutter of London, England reprise his visit of 30 years ago to TCDA.  We built that worship service around the three anthems, For the Beauty of the Earth, Open Thou My Eyes, & Lord, Make Me an Instrument Mr. Rutter had written for TCDA in 1980.  I asked Mr. Rutter if he would be so good as to write a new anthem for us in 2010 to complete the service we were planning.  Mr. Rutter agreed to this even though he no longer accepts commissions and keeps an incredibly busy schedule as composer/producer/arranger.  The anthem he wrote for us, With heart and hands is being prepared in October and November for the South Main worship service November 21 just before Thanksgiving.  Our choir loves it, and you will too.

A little background for those who do not know Bruce and Kristy Wade and the twins, John and Christian:  Kristy lost her husband, Bruce, to brain cancer – the same kind of brain cancer that took Senator Ted Kennedy.  Bruce was in his early 40’s and in spite of his relatively young age, had accomplished much.  He was a geo-physicist who was a very important part of the discovery teams for Exxon (10 years) and Shell (13 years).  He was instrumental in uncovering oil reserves in the Gulf of Mexico, in Oman, and natural gas reserves in Malaysia.  These discoveries have helped make energy reserves available to many more people in different parts of the globe.

In 2008, Bruce’s cancer was discovered and the Wades relocated to Houston – Shell’s US headquarters and the location of the Texas Medical Center’s MD Anderson hospital, one of the world’s finest cancer treatment hospitals.  Just before the cancer was diagnosed, Bruce & Kristy had decided to begin their family.  Bruce’s very first question to his neuro-oncologist after arriving in Houston concerned the effects of the chemo and radiation on fathering a child.  In the midst of beginning treatment, the plan to start a family paralleled the treatment.  Following several disappointments, Kristy and Bruce wound up with “a miracle or two.”  Kristy conceived twins!  She was “great with child” – children actually – as Bruce was rapidly declining.  The twin boys (Christian and John) were born shortly before Bruce died.   We (South Main) and numerous friends from across the globe walked with them through this terrible and blessed time.  I remember Bruce’s coming to the Christmas Eve Choir rehearsal with Kristy last year and sitting on the side near the tenor section.  It was to be the last time he would do that.  During Bruce’s illness, Kristy chronicled his progress and her thoughts on the Caringbridge web site during treatment.  She continues to post her thoughts there following Bruce’s death.

Fast forward to this month and the choir’s rehearsing With heart and hands. I had noticed three weeks ago that Kristy left rehearsal when we began rehearsing the anthem.  The next week she remained in the room and wept and sang when she could.  That night, she talked with me following rehearsal and told me part of what she would post later that evening.  Below is an excerpt of Kristy Wade’s post in Caringbridge September 29, 2010.

So…after all that, tonight at choir rehearsal we practiced a piece composed by John Rutter, With heart and hands, for the Texas Choral Directors Association Convention in July of this year.  Last week I only tried to sing the first two lines before exiting the room for the duration.  This week I stayed and listened — and occasionally tried to sing a line here or there.  Hopefully I’m not infringing on any copyrights or anything, but Rutter’s text is as follows:

“For all the blessings you have granted us, Lord, give us thankful hearts, we pray:  For life and health and happiness, And for the gift of each new day;  For all our families and loved ones, The friends we meet along our way, We thank you, Lord, they are your gifts: Lord, we praise you, In your service let us all your love repay.

“Look all around you:  You’ll see a miracle or two; Ev’ry valley, hill and mountain is calling to you.  For all the wonders of creation, a world whose marvels we behold:  Where winter turns to spring again; The changing scenes of life unfold, But there is One who never changes:  Through all eternity the same:  Be with us, Lord, for evermore, alleluia, Lord, we praise your Holy Name.”

That first section is like going back in time and hearing again nearly every prayer I and others heard Bruce say from the time of his diagnosis until his death.  And the second part is like hearing his voice right now.

Yours,
Kristy

I have written Mr. Rutter to let him know of the grace given and received through his text and music.  My prayers are that grace will continue to abound through the life of Kristy, Christian and John and the music and life of Mr. Rutter.

Give Grace.

 

 

 


Sharing Our Stories….. Hart Brupbacher

April 21, 2010

By Hart Brupbacher, South Main Member

Hart and Linda Brupbacher are both members of the Discipleship Committe.  Hart sings in the Sanctuary Choir and Linda teaches Sunday School to our Young and Median Adults.

During the year we spent looking for a church home, Linda and I went to many different churches. We visited South Main for the first time in August. The mountain of shoes that greeted us as we entered the Welcome Center told us that South Main is a church focused on missions and helping people in need. We proceeded to the church service where the special offering taken to help provide water for Houston’s homeless further reinforced South Main’s mission emphasis.  The missions emphasis was appealing to us.

Equally appealing was the warmth and friendliness we encountered as well as the theology we heard expressed and saw lived out. We visited Sunday School, and one of the first Sundays we were invited to go to lunch after church. We found the worship service to be very meaningful and Steve’s sermons to be thoughtful, challenging, and inspirational. Steve spent time with us discussing our beliefs and helping us figure out that South Main would be a good fit for us. After only a few weeks, we joined–and our lives have really changed in a positive way because of that decision.

We are constantly amazed by the way the family of South Main has embraced us. The Christian fellowship and friendships that we have encountered in our Sunday School Community, South Main at Home groups and choir have been a wonderful experience. Through some potential health problems we found out that we do not have to travel the road alone – we have a family at South Main who will be with us and support us in the journey. We also have friend to celebrate with us.

At South Main we’ve found friendship, service opportunities, meaningful growth and worship opportunities and much needed support—all of which make us really glad we are a part of this family of faith and totally comfortable recommending South Main to others.

We are never more like Jesus than when we SHARE…. As we learn to share our stories, we learn to share our faith…

Share Campaign 2010


Carlos Lee sings National Anthem with South Main Choir at Astros game

August 23, 2009
Carlos Lee and South Main Choir

Carlos Lee sings with the South Main Baptist Church Choir

Astros left fielder, Carlos Lee, surprised South Main Baptist Church’s Sanctuary Choir by joining in the singing of the National Anthem today.  This clip shows Lee singing with the choir as well as Minister to Music, Thomas Coker leader the choir.

SMBC Choir and Carlos Lee sing National Anthem

SMBC Choir and Carlos Lee sing National Anthem

Carlos, we are always looking for new choir members.  Come join us any Wednesday night or Sunday that you have free!

http://houston.astros.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=6253739

www.smbc.org