Hosted by Reformed University Fellowship at Erskine, the hymn sing featured Jeremy Cassella and Jason Feller of Indelible Grace, a group of artists which has led a movement to compose new melodies for historic hymns. The early evening event took place on Chaplain Paul Patrick’s property, popularly known as “the Barn,” just outside Due West.
Conceived in 2008 as a community event, the hymn sing focuses on hymns with “depth and breadth of gospel-rich substance,” Patrick said.
“The RUF Hymn Sing is a unique ministry opportunity,” senior Rachel Talbot said. “Many students afterwards expressed that they enjoyed how it brought communities together and encouraged them in their walk with the Lord.”
The hymn sing included a barbecue supper catered by Skinner’s Chicken and drew some 180 people. Student Services (with the assistance of Coordinator for Campus Life Kaley Lindquist), the Student Christian Association, and the ARP Student Union “all joined forces with RUF to help sponsor this year’s hymn sing,” Patrick said.
A Halloween snowfall alerted students and others that they might need to bring blankets to the outdoor gathering Sunday. Patrick said students helped to build a bonfire and also “helped cook and serve alongside the caterer, directed parking, and as usual, helped with set-up and clean-up after the event as they do each week with RUF and the cookouts we offer students.”
Formerly called “Student Fellowship at the Barn,” Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Erskine meets on Patrick’s property during the spring and fall semesters, weather permitting. “Erskine students are such willing helpers, and always have been since we started meeting at the Barn in 2003,” Patrick said.
In addition to about 25 faculty and staff members, seven churches—Greenville ARP, Huntersville ARP, Greenwood PCA, Chester ARP, Hill City ARP, King’s Cross ARP-Charlotte, and Redeemer ARP-Spartanburg—were represented at this year’s hymn sing.
“Students and visitors bundled up in jackets and blankets to sit outside the Barn on bales of tightly packed hay,” Talbot said. “Huddled together for warmth, participants were able to enjoy the rich texts of hymns which speak clearly and beautifully of grace, redemption, and hope.”
The final stanza of one of the hymns on the program at this year’s hymn sing, from John Newton’s “How sweet the name of Jesus sounds,” expresses just such “grace, redemption, and hope”:
Weak is the effort of my heart,
And cold my warmest thought;
But when I see Thee as Thou art,
I’ll praise Thee as I ought.