Thursday, September 13 was an inspiring night. Thanks to the joint efforts from the Front Range and Columbine stakes and the Colorado Catholic Conference, 400+ attendees gathered for a Religious Freedom Forum in Columbine. With a full line-up of speakers, Colorado Mormon Chorale’s powerful patriotic numbers, and a timely message – the combined result was one to remember. Attendees learned the importance of standing for religious freedom, and increasing the ability to do so. Presenters tied together both examples of early leaders who created a framework to protect our freedoms, and the efforts that continue to maintain said freedoms. Elder Thomas Priday, Area Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, opened the evening, sharing gratitude for the opportunity for multiple faiths “to come together in unity.”
Rebecca Jenson, Public Affairs Director, North America Central Area, stands at attention during “The Star Spangled Banner”
As members of the Church of Jesus Christ, we are reminded regularly of our civic duties. Elder Bednar said recently, “There is a paradox in religious freedom — if I want my religious freedom to be protected, then I must protect the religious freedom of those who believe in a basically different way from my own. This is our task. And it will be our ongoing challenge. Religious freedom is more than a right; it is a duty.” (more…)
On Tuesday, March 20, the Reverend Shawn DeBerry Johnson was a noted guest of honor at “The Lamb of God” oratorio held at Denver University’s Newman Center. Performances are opened with a word of prayer, and Reverend Johnson honored the show by offering Tuesday’s invocation. Reverend Johnson serves as the Director of Community Affairs, a senior adviser to Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock. She was joined by friends Jackie Brian and Pastor Lily R. Richardson from My Father’s House International Christian Discipleship Center in Park Hill. Elder Thomas T. Priday, Area Seventy for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and his wife Marva hosted the Reverend and her guests, and as Reverend Johnson reports, “it was a true joy!”
An oratorio that has become an Easter staple in the Denver area, “The Lamb of God” was composed by Rob Gardner and recorded by the London Symphony Orchestra in 2010. With local effort from the Colorado Mormon Chorale and Orchestra, Denver area residents have been able to attend performances every Easter season for the last four years. Depicting the final week of the life of Christ and his resurrection, Gardner’s goal is to “bring to life for you the events depicted from the final days of the Savior’s life, and even more, how ‘in all these things, we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us.’”
Audience members and performers alike shared glowing sentiments. Shalee Jenkins of Centennial, Colorado said, “The talent of everyone involved was incredible…It was an excellent way to feel of the spirit of Easter. We’ll be sure to attend again next year!” Annie Sullins portrayed Mary Magdalene this year (and was a soloist in 2016) said of her experience, “It has strengthened my testimony that God knows me and cares about me and has a plan for me…The music is tremendous and it was such a privilege to be in it!” Not only could Reverend Johnson start the evening off with her prayer, but she also saw Gardner’s goal realized; her take on the performance was that it was “a very moving celebration of the life and resurrection of Jesus Christ.”
Father Michael Richardson, Greg Bashaw, President Chad Larsen
On March 11th, the Parker Colorado Stake of The Church of Jesus of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) hosted the fourth annual Parker Interfaith Easter Night of Music. The Night of Music is an opportunity for members of various faiths in the Parker area to come together and celebrate the Easter season through music.
This year, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church was the honored guest for the evening. Choirs and congregants from both churches performed sacred vocal and instrumental musical numbers. The quality of the performances was nothing short of stunning. There was a beautiful spirit present, with some pieces bringing several members of the audience to tears.
While the many Christian denominations in Colorado have unique doctrines and different approaches to worship, they all share a fervent belief in Jesus Christ and a tradition of praising him in song.
Late in 2017, four congregations in the southwest suburbs of Denver gathered to do just that. The 20th Annual Interfaith Concert featured around 225 musicians from the Columbine Stake of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the Columbine United Church, St. Frances Cabrini Parish and St. Philip Lutheran Church. Around 600 people attended the performance.
“This is a wonderful event that brings us together to make a joyful noise as we focus not on our differences but on our common faith in Jesus Christ,” said Rev. Brad Doty, assistant pastor of St. Philip Lutheran Church.
The unique event began in 1997 with only two churches participating: The Columbine Stake and St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Parish. For twenty years both churches have continued to perform together, while welcoming up to three other local churches to join every year. Held in the fall, the Interfaith Concert has become a beloved start to the holiday season.(more…)