The ministry of music: a case study on the United Church Of Zambia and the New Jerusalem Church
This research project is situated in the history of Christianity in Zambia with specific reference to the relationship between the United Church of Zambia and the New Jerusalem Church, one of the so-called African Instituted Churches (AICs). Since the 1950s numerous members of the UCZ have become attracted to the New Jerusalem Church. Why is this case? One may identify several factors in this regard, including the administration of sacraments such as Baptism and Holy Communion also the ministry of faith healing, the ministry of pastoral care the confession of sins and the assurance of pardon. In this research project I have investigated one such factor namely the role of the ministry of music in these two churches. The term ministry of music in this context refers to praise and worship in the liturgy, to the significance of church choirs, the role of music leaders, the appropriation of melodies from various sources, the use of musical instruments and then of course to the actual text of the hymns that are sung. In this research project the focus has been on a description and analysis of the lyrics of selected hymns. This is based on the observation that the hymns that are frequently sung constitute the “theology of laity”. This project has first identified those hymns that are frequently sung in selected congregations of the United Church of Zambia and the New Jerusalem Church. For this study five urban and five rural congregations of both churches were selected. The identification of such hymns was done through interviews with the local pastors and the musical leadership of the selected congregation. On the basis of this process of identification ten of these hymns in each of the four categories mentioned above were subjected to closer analysis. The question that was addressed is this: What similarities and differences may be identified in the text of hymns sung frequently in urban and rural congregations of the United Church of Zambia and the New Jerusalem Church? The point of comparison that was used in this regard is the soteriologies embedded in the text of the selected hymns, that is, the notions of salvation expressed through these hymns. The study therefore sought to identify, describe and analyse the underlying soteriologies in the ministry of music in these two churches. It also assessed the significance of the similarities and differences identified in this way. The assumption was that there may be different images of salvation embedded in such hymns and that these may partially account for attracting people to a particular church.