It’s amazing what Google can unearth from the bowels of the World Wide Web. I did a search on “New City Fellowship” and a few pages in, I discovered this archived interview that my father, James Ward, did for Reformed Worship in 1987 about being a music director in a multi-cultural Presbyterian church. It’s cool to read his responses and to think about NCF Chattanooga in those days when I was only 8 years old.
Harry Boonstra did the interview. I don’t know what his personal position on worship was but he asked some great questions that Reformed Worship readers would want to know the answer to. As a NCF kid, I never questioned why we do what we do because it’s all I’ve known, but it is a good reminder to see just how bizarre NCF still is to a lot of people.
Some questions that I particularly liked:
Q. The reason for not singing from the Scottish Psalter is that it would be foreign to the church?
Q. How can your church still be recognized as a Presbyterian church?
Q. The Church Growth people say that a church is most likely to grow if it is as uniform as possible in terms of income and race and social status. Why have an intercultural, interracial church? Aren’t you putting up barriers to people joining?
Q. On the question of diversity— most of our readers are from middle class, homogeneous churches. Should white, suburban churches deliberately, in their choice of music, borrow from other traditions, such as black gospel? Or would that seem contrived?
Q. Let me put the music question another way: If New City gets rich enough to buy a pipe organ, would you vote for that purchase?
Read the whole interview; it’s worth it!
James Ward circa 1987