Week 5 Part 3 in review

Summer Research Week 5 Part 3

Week 5: August 2nd-8th

Saturday, August 8th

I had been looking forward to Saturday for quite a while because we were going to a hymn-singing convention at Wetumpka Baptist Church. The convention lasted from around noon to 5 o’clock in the evening. Individuals and groups from all different regional churches were in attendance, including a children’s singing group and an all-women’s choir who sang hymns of all different native languages. All of the hymns were in the Maskoke language. The convention was held outside, under the wooden arbor attached to the church. Jack, Ryan, and I sat on benches near the back and followed/sang along as best as we could with the help of our Maskoke-to English hymnals. It was beautiful hearing the variations in melody, pronunciation, and leadership style across the various groups. There were Baptists, Methodists, and even some Presbyterians (who, I hear, are a bit rare to find). Jack had leant me a Creek hymnal, and I spent my time trying to catch the titles when they were announced so that I could quickly look them up and follow along in the book before I became lost. I heard quite a lot of hymns that I hadn’t heard before, but also a fair number that I had. I was always excited when they began one I knew, because it meant I could sing along! The convention ended in a handshake circle, where everyone began by exiting the arbor and standing in a huge circle on the grass. One by one, everyone in the circle filed past one another and shook each other’s hands, all the while singing hymns. It was truly a beautiful, inspiring, and eye-opening afternoon.

 

Sunday, August 9th

On the Sunday, the three of us headed to Rewahle (pronounced “the-wah-thlee”) Indian Baptist Church for an 11am church service. M. from the school was a member of the congregation and she had invited us. Ther service was definitely something new for me. Men and women were separated on either side of the church, with newcomers (i.e. me) sitting in the back. The members alternated between singing hymns and speaking prayers, and any member of the congregation could lead a hymn if they wanted to. The singing was strong, loud, and heartfelt- I was moved by the simultaneous simplicity and depth of the hymns. Afterward we stayed for lunch, and then drove to Norman to check out Oklahoma University’s campus and restaurant scene. A successful close to week one!