GIBSON CITY — Gibson Area Music Foundation will host its fifth annual Hymn Festival at 3 p.m. Sunday at the Gibson City United Methodist Church.
The Rev. Jim Davis of the American Evangelical Lutheran Church in Gibson City will lead this year's festival, which is themed "Promises of Our Loving God."
Davis has been a Gibson City resident for three years and previously lived in Normal for 20 years. He plans to open with the favorite "Standing on the Promises of God" as a counterpart to the modern tendency "to overlook our countless blessings from God."
Each year, those attending are invited to sing along and also to learn the background of composers, lyricists or the history surrounding hymns. Davis said he accepted an invitation to lead this year's sing because it provides an opportunity to bring a pastor's perspective to the event.
He said hymns help to bring alive many ancient Biblical teachings and make the words "vital and relevant" for today. He said church founder Martin Luther introduced music to worship services he led "because God instructs us to make a joyful noise."
The event will also feature special performances by area residents, according to Bill Ogg, co-chairman of the foundation.
Instrumental performances will be by Gibson City residents Kelly Tompkins (flute) and Jacob Dickey (piano solo). Special vocal music will be presented by husband and wife pastors Bud and Norma Roberts of Bloomington, and Sam Horsch will lead a call and response song with the audience.
Ogg also hopes to feature the church's chime choir during this year's festival.
This year's event is dedicated to the late Lauretta Kerchenfaut, who was the longtime organist at Gibson City's First Presbyterian Church and First Christian Church. She gave music lessons to many area youngsters.
The venue features an elevator for easy access to the sanctuary, which has plentiful seating, a baby grand piano and a nearly 100-year-old pipe organ. Ogg will again volunteer as organist.
A free-will offering is taken to help support the work of the foundation, which brings musical events to the area, including an annual performance of George Frideric Handel's "The Messiah." This year's singing will be Dec. 1.