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Seniors see premiere of heaven-bound train trip

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–Paul and Martha may have bought their train tickets for a day trip, but they wound up getting a journey for eternity.

“Well, we’re back where we started this morning,” said Martha, a character in “Bound for Glory,” Greg and Gail Skipper’s newest senior adult musical.

“Maybe we’re back where we started, but not how we started,” answered Paul, another central character in the musical who boarded the train knowing about God but left knowing Him as his personal Savior.

“It’s never too late to follow to God,” said Greg Skipper, director of music events and sales at LifeWay Christian Resources. “That’s the message [of the musical].”

It’s also a significant message that senior adult choirs can use to communicate the Gospel, said Katie Kinman of Southcrest Baptist Church in Lubbock, Texas. “It’s a great opportunity to be involved in ministry and not just sit on the sidelines.”

The new musical, published by LifeWay and based on Ephesians 2:8-9, premiered Oct. 26 as part of Forever Praise, a national senior adult music event hosted by Two Rivers Baptist Church in Nashville, Tenn. Written by the Skippers and arranged with Stan Pethel, its setting is on a one-day train trip to Scenic River Falls. On the trip Paul and his wife, Ruby, meet the Hillview Senior Saints. Through their conversations, memories and stops, the members of the Hillview Senior Saints help Paul and Ruby realize that salvation isn’t about good works, but faith and grace.

“Ruby and Paul think they’ll go to heaven because they’ve done good, but works don’t get you there,” Skipper said. “Ruby and Paul realize they’ve been missing something.”

Senior adults from more than 10 states representing 37 churches came together in a mass choir to make a live video recording of Bound for Glory during Forever Praise, the first event of its type geared toward senior adult musicians. The nearly 800-voice choir filled the choir loft, covered the stage and spilled onto the open areas surrounding it.

While Bible study and worship are vital parts of the event, its main focus was music.

“This type of event is important because senior adults are a very active group,” Skipper said. “We’re living longer, staying healthier and if anybody should be on the forefront for providing spiritual and musical opportunities for senior adults, it should be LifeWay.”

“Senior adults are such a vibrant, growing part of the church,” agreed Kathy Franz, LifeWay music events consultant. “Some churches brought big groups — 40 or 50 people — and some brought only a few. Just the chance to be in a mass choir of 800 people, what a great opportunity!”

Worship at Forever Praise was led by Robert Wagoner and Bible study by Charles Lowry. A concert performance by the Annie Moses Band was accompanied by plenty of rehearsals and free time. LifeWay is planning to make the conference an annual event with the next conference set for fall 2004. Dates have not yet been determined, but more information will be available at lifeway.com/events or from Skipper, who can be contacted through e-mail at [email protected].
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: SENIORS SING.

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  • Mandy Crow