Area churches join together for interfaith concert

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By Deborah Swearingen

Churches across South Jeffco came together last Friday for the annual Columbine Interfaith Concert, and church-goers from across the area packed St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Parish for an evening of musical delight.

The event began 20 years ago when Melinda Baird of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints heard a recording of an orchestrated version of a hymn called “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and began to dream of a day when choirs from many faiths could come together and worship through song. Her vision soon became a reality and various Columbine churches have been participating in the concert ever since.

The Rev. John Paul Leyba, priest at St. Frances, welcomed the crowd prior to the music’s start but said he felt a bit strange doing so. As a new member of the church, he felt more like the concert was welcoming him.

“Music is prayer,” he said to the crowd.

“This evening is a special event because it’s the 20-year anniversary of this event and so we’re marking a great milestone in this part of the metro area,” Leyba added.

For last weekend’s event, St. Frances Cabrini Catholic Church, St. Philip Lutheran Church, Columbine United Church and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints joined forces in song. Each choir performed a piece of its choosing and the four choirs later combined for four songs to close out the evening.

Often, there is a focus on difference, said the Rev. Brad Doty, priest of St. Philip Lutheran Church, but for the interfaith concert, people of various spiritual backgrounds unite.

“This is a wonderful event, one that brings us hope. One helps us to see that we are here together in our common faith in Christ,” he said.

The evening of music concluded with a joint rendition of “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” in honor of the initial inspiration for the concert.

Contact reporter Deborah Swearingen at dswearingen@evergreenco.com or 303-350-1042. Follow her on Twitter @djswearingen.