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Get up and dance

Triennium attendees do just that during Thursday’s vibrant concert

by Paul Seebeck and Mari Graham Evans | Presbyterian News Service

Representatives of the Minahasan Tribe of Indonesia danced for Triennium attendees Thursday. (Photo by Rich Copley)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Indiana — As thousands waited for the Presbyterian Youth Triennium’s Loudest Praise concert to begin Thursday night, one could feel the pre-event excitement building.

“I love being in Elliot Music Hall,” said Rebecca S. from Whitewater Valley Presbytery. “It’s a great place to hear music, and those Chicago kids were really good at worship (Thursday afternoon).

The Soul Children of Chicago sang and danced during a Thursday night concert at the Elliott Hall of Music. (Photo by Rich Copley)

The energetic Soul Children of Chicago was the evening’s final act. The group brought vibrancy, enthusiasm and charisma to the evening. Attendees leapt to their feet and danced during the entire hour-long concert.

“They’re really talented,” said Andrew C., from West Jersey Presbytery. “They’re very good singers.”

Before the Chicago-based group performed, young people from the American Indian Youth Council (AIYC) of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) opened the concert with a prayer blessing the East, West, North and South.

Representatives of the American Indian Youth Council danced and made a presentation during Thursday’s concert. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Representing six states and more than a dozen tribes, AIYC members spoke of how their dances are used to tell their people a story or lesson that could be carried on by generations.

The Native American students came dressed in full regalia and shared facets of the tribes to which they belong. Demonstrations included dances performed during a pow-wow. One, the Choctaw Stealing Partners Dance, allows young people to “examine eligible youth by switching from partner to partner.” Students also performed the Snake Dance, a contemporary dance seen at pow-wows which imitates the movements of a snake.

Students also demonstrated the Indian Taco energizer, which got everyone in Purdue University’s music hall on their feet dancing. The energizer had a culinary bent to it: Triennium participants had fun and learned how to create a new recipe while they’re at it.

The Soul Children of Chicago invited dancers from Indonesia and Native American dancers to join them on stage. (Photo by Rich Copley)

About a dozen Triennium Global Partners from Indonesia thrilled the crowd with their singing and dancing. Representatives of the Minahasan Tribe performed three dances and sang an a capella version of a traditional folk song.

The Rev. Marci Glass, a pastor in Boise, Idaho, introduced the Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency. Glass, who’s on the Presbyterian Mission Agency Board and has attended every Triennium since 1998, said, “We want the church to use Matthew 25 as the way we do our witness.”

Moffett said a few words about the Matthew 25 vision that invites PC(USA) churches to focus on building congregational vitality, dismantling structural racism and eradicating systemic poverty.

“We are grateful for lifting up the vision to be a Matthew 25 church,” Moffett told Triennium attendees. “That is the vision that we want you to join, because not only are you the church of tomorrow, but the church of today. And we need you right now.”

The Rev. Dr. Diane Moffett, president and executive director of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, spoke to Triennium participants about the Matthew 25 invitation. (Photo by Rich Copley)

Moffett said the Matthew 25 invitation extends to churches large and small, urban and rural.

“It’s not based on how large your congregation is,” she said, “but how faithful you are.”

Emphasizing that faith is more than just what we say, Moffett encouraged Triennium participants to serve people in need by addressing those systems that keep people in need.

“We want to dismantle structural racism,” she said, “because we are all children of God.” That statement drew a large ovation from Triennium attendees.


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