Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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Mt. Zion Memorial Singing

Mt. Zion, Georgia

Sunday, July 26, 2020

A very reluctant decision was made to cancel our singing this year because of the Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic. As far as we know this is the first year since our singing began in 1893 that singers and the local community have not met to sing Sacred Harp at Mount Zion. Instead it was agreed that a memorial lesson should be sent by email to the Fasola Singings List by Rebecca Over.

Gary Davis, former Vice Chairman, became Chairman on the death of Richard DeLong in May, 2020; Secretary—Lela Crowder; Memorial Committee, as appointed last year—Rebecca Over and Charles Woods.

The memorial lesson is as follows.

We begin our memorial lesson by thinking of those who are sick and shut-in, and of those caring for them. This year that word shut-in has never been more true for so many. It describes those who are sick, some of whom we hope to sing with again even if that now means waiting until next year, and others who we know we may not see at a singing again. It describes those who are caring for them. We think of and miss them all. But this year shut-in also very accurately describes the plight of those isolated in their homes, their counties, their states and their countries by rules brought in to fight the spread of the Covid-19 Coronavirus. For these people as well as for the sick and their carers a letter, a card, a telephone call or an email has never been more important. The need for ongoing communication and care, when so many cannot meet to sing and to enjoy even a socially distant fellowship with loved ones and friends, has never been more great. Let us hold all these people in our hearts, wherever they are in the world, and spare a special thought or prayer for those living and coping entirely alone. In our thoughts today are Judy Henry, Ricky McGraw, Barry Rollins, Philip Denney, William Futral, Glenn Keeton, Betty Shepherd, Louise Ivey, Lucy Heidorn and Susan Rice. For all these our song is 70t.

Now we remember those who have died during the twelve months since we last met. Our thoughts and prayers go out to all those families and friends who mourn for them. Some on our list sang at Mount Zion for most of their lives. Some passed away after long illnesses. Others were taken suddenly in relative youth. All will be greatly missed not only by those close to them but by the wider Sacred Harp community, whose chords of love, fellowship and song span continents and countries across the world. Even as we mourn we find comfort in knowing that those loved ones and friends are surely singing in heaven with those who have gone before, and that one day we will see them again. Those who we remember today are Velton Chafin, Mark Hyatt, William Napier, Ottis Sides, Margaret Spurlock, Bill Windom—Alabama; Aubrey Barfield—Florida; Richard DeLong, Bentley McGuire, Robert (Robby) Rivers, Irene Kerr Snow, Charlene Wallace—Georgia; Barbara Jean Grossman, Helene Rice Perkins, Tierre Quantrell Williams—Kentucky; Dorothy Crawford Connor—Maine; Bill Beverly—Michigan; Sonny Erwin—Texas. In the lesson sent to the Fasola Singings List Rebecca shared memories of each of the many deceased on this list who she had personally known. For all these deceased our song is 381.

The prayer to close our lesson comes from Karen Rollins of Bowdon, Georgia, who regularly attends our singing. Our Heavenly Father, you command us in John 15:17 that we love one another. Please help us to keep this commandment, to show your love, in these uncertain times. Our hearts are heavy, Lord, as we struggle with the fear and the isolation. We miss the singings and the singers. Please help us to hold close the memories of those who have gone before, to reach out to those who are sick, bereaved, and alone, and to reflect your love in our lives. Dear Lord, let our prayers, words and actions exemplify your love. Amen.

Respectfully submitted: Rebecca Over and Charles Woods (Mount Zion Memorial Committee) and Karen Rollins on behalf of the Officers and Singers of the Mount Zion Memorial Singing.

Chairman—Gary Davis; Secretary—Lela Crowder; Memorial Committee—Rebecca Over and Charles Woods