Church life

Church life
photo by Kevin Kalunian


Messiah Baptist Church is one of the oldest and most active African-American churches in Brockton, Massachusetts. From youth programs to financial investment groups, the church finds new ways to engage members across generations.
Community service is the foundation of both the church and the members, a quiet tradition spanning decades.
Journalism students at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, enrolled in Advanced Newswriting and Reporting taught by Prof. Maureen Boyle in the Spring of 2016, highlighted some of the service programs at Messiah Baptist Church to give the outside community a glimpse of the work church members do. As part of this class project, students used iPads to shoot photos and videos for the stories.
Special thanks to Rev. Michael Walker, pastor of the church, and everyone at Messiah Baptist for their help with the project. Also, thanks to the Community Based Learning program and Prof. Corey Dolgon at Stonehill, the iPad initiative programs sponsored by the college and Information Technology Department, Stonehill librarian Patricia McPherson and student liaison Liam Dacko for their assistance and support.

Service to community and the church

About Me

These stories and videos were written and produced by students at Stonehill College in the Advanced Newswriting and Reporting course, taught by Prof. Maureen Boyle. Students were supplied with iPads for the semester thanks to a technology grant and partnership with the Stonehill technology department. All of the student videos were shot on iPads and edited with the iMovie iPad app.

Alexandra Hudson: All Shades, All Hues, All Blues

Alexandra Hudson


JRN  101 

All Shades, All Hues, All BluesMiles Davis

BROCKTON — The pianist, John Clemonts of High Park, closed his eyes as his hands flew across the keys of the piano, opening them only to coordinate a beat with the drummer. 
The bassist, Keala Kaumeheiwa of Weymouth, had a faraway look in his eyes, his body movement matching the rhythm of his instrument.                                
This rendition of “All Blues” by Miles Davis was almost entirely improvised. None of the musicians read music during the service and the only information they revealed was the title and the artist.                   
“We read the material maybe once, and use it as inspiration to create our own flare,” Clemonts said. 
Every Sunday at 8 a.m. the Messiah Baptist Church, at 80 Legion Parkway, holds Jazz worship services for the community.                                                              

Kaumeheiwa said the three of them have only been playing together for two years but individually they have always harbored a deep love of Jazz music. 
The origins of Jazz can be traced back almost a hundred years, but only truly emerged as the groundbreaking genre from African American communities in New Orleans at the turn of the twentieth century.   
Jazz is difficult to define as it incorporates many different types of music and uses improvisation, poly-rhythms, syncopation, and the swing note. It includes European harmony, American popular music, the brass band tradition, blue notes and ragtime.
Deacon Ada Riggins of Boston has been at Messiah Baptist for 10 years and said the program was inspired by the Jazz Worship at Old South Church in Boston located at the corner of Dartmouth and Boylston Streets.  
“Rev. Michael Walker had a vision and talked about putting together a jazz worship service,” Riggins said. “The church committee visited Old South Church and collaborated with their music director to develop a jazz service with similar flare and harmony.”       
In the early beginnings of the program, the church committee would choose monthly themes for the services such as compassion, hope, or justice. 
“We needed to differentiate the jazz worship services from regular services,” Riggins said. 
She said a more inclusive and casual atmosphere is what makes the jazz worship services different and important to the community.
During the service Riggins spoke during “meditation” which serves as an opportunity to allow people to think as citizens. 
“Soul, joyful, jazzy music,” she said. “Practice compassion. Helping the world to wanting trouble is often like a switch on a railroad track.It is an itch between a track and smooth prosperity.” 

1 comment:

  1. The Jazz Services bring special music to he soul. Sometimes only jazz music is able to reach the depths of joy or pain. I am grateful for both.