On every second Sunday of the month in the Campus Center, there is a hymn sing. This may seem like a typical event at EMU, but this hymn sing carves its place out in a diverse fashion among the typical EMU singing events. At 7:30 every second Sunday of the month in the Campus Center, Safe Space holds an inclusive hymn sing.
At the first event there was a humble circle of chairs and couches. Of those attending, five directly connected to Safe Space and the other six being students, professors, and community members.
The coffee table in the middle held the unique communion of bread, grape juice, and Oreos.
For the music, a djembe, a rope tuned and skin covered instrument that originated in West Africa, was off to the side and utilized for several of the hymns.
The spiritual event included meditation, discussion, poetry, and communion, with the format open to change each month that it occurs.
On hymns such as “God Loves all his Many People,” each singer has the option of using the gender pronoun that they find most fitting to them.
Senior Laura Keppley, who led the singing, said that the first time she encountered an inclusive hymn sing was at the Mennonite Convention in Phoenix, Arizona. “I cried. It was a powerful, beautiful experience. All spiritual thinkers of faith or non-faith came together. This Safe Space hymn sing combines gender and spirituality to create an au- thentic place to worship.”
Sophomore Shawn Treichel said, “I thought the hymn sing was good as far as hymn sings go. I am agnostic but I wanted to come, not necessarily for worship, but to support the people here.”
The event intends to emphasize a theme of acceptance, community, and faith, rather than allowing them to fade into the background.
Deanna Durham, Assistant Professor of Social Work/Sociology, believes that an inclusive hymn sing is important to the campus.
“We have to humanize each other. Jesus never refused to sit, dine, or associate with anyone. All is all, and any less is inconsistent with my understanding of Jesus.”
The spiritual gathering also consisted of a “passing of the peace,” an opportunity for each person to greet people they did not know. The community gathering ended with the song “You’ve Got a Place,” and an encouragement to return to this space next month at the same time.
The hymn sings are trying to build a sense of community by accepting people of all kinds. The next inclusive hymn sing will be held in the Campus Center on Oct. 13.
-Devon Fore, Feature Editor
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