On Sunday, October 11, four partner congregations gathered together to bring to life the 12th Annual Interfaith Choral Concert benefiting Home & Hope. As an organization dedicated to providing emergency shelter and services to help families experiencing or facing homelessness, we rely on our partner congregations to house, feed, and provide emotional support to these families. And each partner congregation is made up of generous individuals who are the lifeblood of Home & Hope’s support.
This year, our partner congregations including Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Congregational Church of San Mateo, U.C.C., First Presbyterian Church of Burlingame, St. Catherine of Siena Catholic Church, and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church of Burlingame had to ask each other the difficult question, “Can we do this amidst the challenges of COVID-19?” And fortunately for Home & Hope and our families, the answer from these committed congregations was a resounding YES.
Each congregation delivered inspirational addresses and moving musical performances as well as an interview with Home & Hope’s Executive Director, Prinsess Futrell, who spoke about the challenges facing Home & Hope and our families, how we’re facing these challenges head on, and our exciting plans for the future. With the theme of “For God is my Hope,” it was an afternoon filled with faith, hope, and community.
We’re grateful to all the congregations and their participants, but we’d especially like to thank Jennifer Jacobsen, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, who was the producer representing all of our congregations. It was her commitment, creativity, and leadership that made this event possible. In Jennifer’s words…
A Message from the Concert’s Producer
“When the board reached out to me in July to see if I would be organizing the interfaith concert fundraiser this year, I wasn’t sure what to say. Choir singing, like so many activities our society has taken for granted, was now a super-spreader activity for the COVID-19 pandemic. And yet I hated to cancel the event in the twelfth year of this beloved faith community tradition because coming together in music and worship across faith traditions has become a highlight of the season for so many people for so many years.
“I reached out to the choir directors of the various churches involved in the concert from previous years and floated the idea of a virtual concert with pre-recorded music. There was an overwhelming positive response and desire to move forward with it. Had I known all of the technical challenges involved in putting this together, I don’t know that I would have suggested it! It required each of us to develop new skills and put old skills to work in a new way.
“Thankfully, each church came through with quality musical content and inspiring spoken words and prayers from clergy. Home & Hope’s new Grants & Development Manager, Shannon Titus, was literally a Godsend with her event planning and production skills! For those able to tune in, the live broadcast was flawless. So many who watched the concert commented on how wonderful it was to watch and how glad they were we did it.
“Despite the challenges of producing a fully online concert, there were many silver linings that made the additional effort well worth it. First, it strengthened the connections between our churches and Home & Hope even further. People who normally wouldn’t or couldn’t attend a live performance were able to gain inspiration from the music and messages of hope safely from their homes, whether near or far. And the concert lives on past the event itself. You can see it on Home & Hope’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HomeHope and we hope that donations continue to come in from future views online. And most importantly, the many donations that were collected will help shelter and feed families in one of the most devastating years for unemployment and homelessness.
“Our hope and prayer is to continue this tradition for many years and perhaps next year, we can congregate in person. I was so moved while singing the final line of the congregational hymn “Be Still, My Soul” during the concert: “All safe and blessed we shall meet at last.” There is no truer hope than this during 2020.”
We highly recommend viewing the concert, which is now being hosted on our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/HomeHope/videos/. And if you feel so moved after watching this online concert, please consider donating to help Home & Hope continue to deliver services and support to mothers, fathers, and children working to regain their self-sufficiency.