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Transcript: General Conference: The Global Church Worships

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During General Conference, United Methodists celebrate the many voices of the global church.

The Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett, Worship and Music Director for General Conference 2016: “I do believe that worship shapes the flavor, the atmosphere, the very foundation of how we work together as a denomination in General Conference.”

The Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett of Oregon is the worship and music director for the 2016 gathering. Her goal is to provide balance during 10 days of debate and voting.

The Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett: “As a denomination we’re going through some pretty divisive times right now. It’s scary for a lot of us. It’s heart-wrenching for us as well. Most all of us want to be as one.”

Opening worship sets the tone for the more than 4,000 participants.

The Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett: “The Spirit is leading us as a denomination in the future and certainly for the next 10 days. The worship is about how can we create a sense of community for these disparate folks.”

Three times a day, delegates can take time for a spiritual respite.

The Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett: “Eight o’clock each morning...We will do that around the Lord’s table at noon each day. And we’ll do that when the delegates break for the night. We’ll send them out into the night resting on the wings of the Spirit.”

The worship team auditioned dozens of performers and selected 27 choirs. A third are from outside the U.S.

The Rev. Laura Jaquith Bartlett: ‘Growing up as a white westerner there’s certain styles of music that speak to me simply because of the way I grew up. They’re not gonna be the same ones who resonate for somebody who grew up in India or even The Philippines. Even if we can’t find one piece of music that’s going to resonate for every single person in that room at the same time, we at least want to provide a depth and breadth of music experience so that in one worship service hopefully every person there will have an opportunity to sing their heart music at some point.”