Sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things;...Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the LORD with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing...with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the LORD, the King.
--From Psalm 98: 1-6
The ministry of Tim Coles has enabled the people of First United Methodist Church in Pittsburgh to sing new songs, shout for joy, burst into jubilant song and make music to the Lord. On Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019 the congregation joyfully celebrated that ministry.
In his time at the church, Tim has grown a choir of more than 30 singers. He composes music for anthems, introits, responses and major pieces for concerts. His theology and spirituality is deeply rooted and grounded and he is able to communicate through his work, both in composition and directing.
The Feb. 10 worship service, designed to celebrate the 21st anniversary of his role as director of music, was shaped around his deep spiritual and profound music. Michael Hammer adapted some of his anthems for congregational hymns. Rev. Dr. Gail Ransom created a “Mash-Up” of his anthems, (adding some anecdotal lyrics amid the theology), which the choir delightedly sang.
The whole service was a total surprise to Tim. By all accounts, he had no clue anything was happening until he arrived Sunday morning and saw the Fellowship Hall decorated in his honor.
Tim was able to experience sitting in a pew with his family thanks to Jeff Miller filling in on the piano and Gail Ransom directing the choir. Dr. Ronald Arnett, a choir member, gave a testimonial sermon.
The service also celebrated the generosity of the congregation, which gave more than $10,000 in Tim’s honor to the piano fund. That moved the fund total to slightly over $25,000, allowing the church to seek an excellent instrument for the sanctuary.
At the end of the service an overwhelmed Tim said, “I see history swirling around. It goes way beyond me, and now the new adventures to come: faith & community, failure & success, light and dark, life and death.
“Faith is a circle of love, how we interact forms us all. It is one and all, the community here and you and me. I thank you for this day. Thank you.”
As Pastor Tracy Cox put it, “It was a great day to BE church!”
Photos and clips can be seen on the church Facebook page facebook.com/fumcpittsburgh/