Gospel concert on the Green: Together in ministry

The gospel group Devoted is coming to the Huntington Green on June 26 from 5-7 pm. The duo is united in a ministry of music as well as in marriage.

At four years old, Edmund Bullock had to be lifted onto a front pew to be seen when he sang lead for his church’s choir in Boston. That same year he began performing with his father and uncle and their singing group, the Bullock Brothers, a renowned gospel group from Boston.

Gisela Morgan Bullock was two when she began singing with her identical twin sister, Myrna, accompanied by their grandfather on banjo back on the island of Nevis in the West Indies. Coming to Boston in 1989, the Morgan Sisters soon became one of Boston’s best loved gospel duos. For fifteen years the Morgan Sisters performed throughout the United States, the Caribbean and as far away as Korea.

In 2006 Edmund and Gisela united in marriage and ministry, choosing Devoted (“to God and to one another”) as their name. Edmund is southern, Baptist and soul. Gisela is Wesleyan and worship. Together, blending their individual styles, personalities, and cultural backgrounds, they are truly unique—their music original, relevant and powerful.

The concert featuring Devoted is being sponsored by the Shelton Clergy Association. A group of churches in Shelton have enjoyed decades of ecumenical collaboration both in worship and in fundraising for community organizations. Every year the churches host a Thanksgiving service in November, as well as a series of five Lenten dinners and worship services in observance of their common bond in Christ. Churches within the Shelton Clergy Association have raised tens of thousands of dollars over the years to benefit the homeless, refugees, seniors, families and individuals in need of counseling, and many others. Many pastors have come and gone over the years, but the tradition of inter-church worship and giving to the community endures.

Recently, the complexion of the clergy group has changed. Rev. Ken Smith, pastor of First Baptist Church for the last eleven years, said, “We have been blessed during my tenure to welcome the ministries of several female pastors, and we have truly been enriched by the arrival of pastors from as far away as Korea and Pakistan. Our conversations over breakfast at monthly meetings have grown in depth and breadth of experience and insight.”

Members of the Shelton Clergy all agree that local churches may better serve the community of Shelton by working more closely together and by partnering with other churches and organizations that serve the community and the valley. Each church strives to address needs within the community. According to Smith, “There may be duplication of efforts when we work separately. By combining our financial and human resources, our shared ministry has the potential to enjoy a much greater impact on the community, as we aim to glorify God by serving our neighbors in Christ’s name.”

Rev. Amjad Samuel, a native of Pakistan and Rector at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Huntington Center, comes from a strong tradition of inter-denominational cooperation. Commenting on the recent interest among some of the Shelton churches to work more closely together to address challenges and to serve the community more effectively Samuel said, “For me, the greatest joy is from the words of Jesus quoted in John 17:20–21, ‘My prayer is … also for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.’ Working together, we fulfill Jesus’ prayer so that the world may know God’s gracious love.”

Rev. Lucille Fritz, pastor of Huntington Congregational United Church of Christ and president of the Shelton Clergy Association, said, “I think it’s really important that we work together as diverse Christian communities to show that despite our theological and traditional differences, that we do seek to be one in Christ.”

The concert featuring Devoted is a first effort to accomplish something together for the community that would be nearly impossible for any one church to do on its own. The concert is free to the public, although donations would be greatly appreciated in the form of a freewill offering at the concert. Bring a chair, bring your friends and family, and enjoy an evening of inspiring music. The concert will take place on the Huntington Green from 5 to 7 p.m. on Sunday, June 26. In the event of rain, the concert will move indoors to the sanctuary of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.