The Chamber Choir Summer Tour to New York City had packed days of seeing and experiencing new things, laughter, flexibility with unexpected schedule adjustments, strengthening community and friendships! Friday’s bus ride included getting-to-know-each-other games, singing, and quiet time. After singing at the Bowery Mission’s noon chapel service, we learned about NYC with a tour guide who joined our bus (Mel Lehman, originally from Lancaster, who has lived in NYC 30+ years).

The Evangelical Garifuna Mennonite Church warmly welcomed us for a homemade Honduran meal; we shared music in the special Friday evening church service led by their youth. Our team fell asleep quickly at the New York School for Urban Ministry dorm. Saturday started with a competitive Statue of Liberty partner quiz on the bus. We took a ferry to Liberty Island and went up Lady Liberty’s pedestal. Heading to our Broadway show was an adventure; traffic was intense and sometimes at a standstill. When it became clear that we would not make our 2 p.m. show, we got off the bus to run/fast walk the final 1.3 miles; we made it into our seats with 30 seconds to spare!

The evening drive to Blooming Glen Mennonite Church was calmer (traffic) but lively with singer-created bus seat partner wraps, singing, games, and devotions. Our time with Blooming Glen Mennonite Church’s Sunday morning service was a beautiful time of worship and we were blessed by their hospitality with host homes and meals.

Here is glimpse into the tour from the team. . .something I enjoyed ….

  • was the Garifuna Church because their worship was so beautiful and from the heart. They were kind and the food was delicious. Justin’s testimony was very inspiring and got me thinking.
  • running through the city to get to our Broadway show on time. 
  • was learning about the Bowery Mission and then being able to sing there, because the story of how it was started and how it was kept afloat during difficult times was inspiring.
  • the bonding we had as a group because through having more time the conversations got better.
  • when we went to McDonalds with a mix of singers I didn’t know as well because we bonded in such a small amount of time and laughed so hard. I genuinely enjoyed their company so much!
  • our concert at the Bowery Mission and sharing music there, because I felt honored to be able to provide a space for rest and peace for people whose life experiences may be weary and hard. I enjoyed seeing the different ways people responded to the music.
  • music and worship with the Garifuna Church, because it always amazes me how much music can connect us as we worship even when we don’t fully understand the words said (Nathan Bowman) (the worship was in Spanish) 
  • getting to have amazing conversations with my group and being friends with people I never thought I’d be friends with, because it’s always fun to make new friends.
  • growing my faith, because I was able to feel truly energized by the spirit at the Bowery Mission, singing from my heart about how Jesus has genuinely done so much for me, to people looking for that encouragement. I truly felt so blessed and privileged and I wanted people to know that Jesus is so marvelous and wonderful.