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Posted: December 4, 2009 10:05 a.m.

Meridian Herald comes to Old Church

Renowned preacher and author Dr. William Willimon will preach at Meridian Herald’s 16h annual Southern Folk Advent Service at 4 p.m. Saturday at Old Church, Wesley Street, near the Oxford College campus in Oxford, Georgia. Admission is free. 

As Christmas approaches, Meridian Herald is host to a unique worship service based on Georgia traditions. Southern Folk Advent uses folk hymns from The Sacred Harp tunebook, compiled in Hamilton and published in 1844. These hymns arose out of the life experience of poor folk struggling to survive in the early 19th-century South. Their haunting music embodies the struggles and dreams of generations singing and praying for the coming of Christ. Old Church was built in 1841, and thus springs from the same era and region as The Sacred Harp itself.

Southern Folk Advent utilizes Sacred Harp tunes as a structure through which preacher William Willimon will weave brief folk-style sermons. The Meridian Chorale will sing some folk tunes in original arrangements, and the congregation will sing others, both a cappella and with folk instrumental accompaniment. The service will be introduced with a set of bluegrass/Gospel music led by the Sonny Houston band.

A Bishop of the United Methodist Church, William Willimon was for 20 years dean of the Chapel and professor of Christian Ministry at Duke University. A devoted minister of the Gospel, Bishop Willimon is among America’s most renowned preachers.

Old Church is near Oxford College of Emory University in Oxford on the corner of Fletcher and Wesley Streets. Admission is free, and no tickets are required; an offering will be taken, and there is general seating. For more information and directions, see www.meridianherald.org/advent.htm.

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