“Through dialogue and shared witness we are no longer strangers.”
– Joint Catholic-Lutheran Commemoration of the Reformation, Lund, Sweden, October 2016
The Together In Hope Project works to advance reconciliation through shared song. We believe choral music communicates wisdom and truth that transforms human relationships. We seek “reconciled diversity” in the global Church—renewing bonds of mutual affection and partnership while graciously honoring differences. Choral music serves as our common language, giving people of many spiritual commitments a voice at the table. Our goal is to move people of goodwill from shared musical interests to shared action.
The Together In Hope Choir will bring this message of Christian reconciliation to Rome in late October 2018. This professional-caliber ensemble of 64 voices will premiere So That the World May Believe: A Motet for Unity and Service, a new composition by Kim André Arnesen dedicated to Pope Francis in honor of his reconciliation efforts. It was conceived as a companion piece to Arnesen’s Holy Spirit Mass. The Together In Hope Choir will sing landmark performances of both pieces at the Papal Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls to open the 17th annual Festival Internazionale di Musica e Arte Sacra. Additional choir appearances are scheduled for the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, from October 29-November 1, 2018.
Long-term, the Together In Hope Project will develop future initiatives that advance reconciliation and unity through the transformative power of music.
October 31, 2017, marked the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of standing, official, and international dialogues between Lutherans and Catholics. This is the first Reformation anniversary to take place in an ecumenical context, within an atmosphere of significant reconciliation between Catholics, Lutherans, and other Protestants. We believe the time is right for music-making that catalyzes Christian reconciliation and unity.
In light of this complex history, we’re thrilled that our efforts follow an encouraging wave of ecumenical cooperation! As one joint statement last year by the Lutheran World Federation and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity put it, “We recognize that while the past cannot be changed, its influence upon us today can be transformed to become a stimulus for growing communion, and a sign of hope for the world to overcome division and fragmentation.”
Gary Aamodt and Celia Ellingson, Lutheran laypeople with a passion for advancing Christian unity and for choral music, are the founders of Together In Hope Project. They commissioned Holy Spirit Mass and So That the World May Believe: A Motet for Unity and Service to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and 50 years of productive Lutheran-Catholic dialogues. They are joined on the Board of the Together In Hope Project by Diane Shelgren and Todd Smith.
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