Ministering With Music

Pam and her husband, Paul,  both grew up in Wadena, MN. They were married and moved to Buffalo 22 years ago, just before the Halloween Blizzard of ’91. They have three children: Jesse and his wife Paula have two sons, Liam (3) and Brady (6 weeks), Delaney is a junior at NDSU, and Ethan is a freshman at St. John’s University.

Pam loves kids and music, and is a collector of silly songs. She also enjoys gardening and reading and says her house is overflowing with books.

Music brings so much joy. It makes housework go quicker, gardening more enjoyable and long car rides more tolerable. It makes people smile. It even makes some people dance.

Pam is a substitute elementary teacher in the Buffalo School District, teaches Musical Maestros and Jammin’ Gym Jamboree for Rockford Early Childhood Education, and teaches a summer class called Camp Rock where students make music videos of songs like “The Lady With the Alligator Purse.”

The kids love it when I teach their class because I bring my guitar. I taught myself how to play the piano and guitar. I learned how to read music in band (thanks Mr. Lindlief).

Her biggest involvement at Zion has been with music.  In 1996 when Pam joined Zion, she began directing the SONshine choir, and later the Joy Choir. Many young adults will remember being part of a Joy Choir spring musical like Oh Jonah, Technicolor Promise, Rock Slinger and His Greatest Hit, Rescue in the Night, or Malice in the Palace. Pam continued working with the Joy Choir for ten years, and retired when Delaney and Ethan were too old to participate.

Pam has also served at Zion as a Sunday school and VBS music leader, confirmation guide, Meals on Wheels volunteer, as a member of the Joyful Ringers, and as a member of Pastor Luke’s Call Committee. She currently serves on the Pasta team, the Worship and Music Committee and coordinates the First Sunday Praise and Worship Team.

It has been very rewarding to sing, pray and be friends with the wonderful people in our group. Our notes might not always be spot on but we all have good hearts.

When Pam entered the unknown realm of the empty nester, she considered volunteering to lead Sunday school music again, and ended up coming out of retirement to direct the Christmas program.

You can thank or chastise Karen Olson after December 8. I think she was the little birdie who whispered my name in Kirsten’s ear. The musical is called “Chimes in the Night.” There is no Grinch or Scrooge – no Darth Vader (maybe next year) but it is a very sweet story with a wonderful message that I think everyone will enjoy.

Pam reminds us that most Christian praise and worship music is based on verses from the Bible. For example, there is a song by Lincoln Brewster with the words of Luke 10:27,”Love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind and with all your strength.”

I am so passionate about music here at church because it is one thing that will stick with you forever. Maybe a song comes on the radio that you haven’t heard since elementary school but you still remember the words. You may have heard of studies of Alzheimer’s patients who don’t know their own names but can sing songs from their childhood. When Pastor Luke was preaching about Zacchaeus how many of you were singing to yourselves “Zacchaeus was a wee little man…?” Which also reminds us, things are easier to memorize when set to music. None of us will forget the story of Zacchaeus because everything we need to know about him is in that song.

Pam says music is therapeutic and can help some through the rough patches of life.

My favorite bible verse, Isaiah 41:10, has been set to music by Jana Alayra in a beautiful children’s song. Whenever I have friends with kids who are suffering from anxiety I give them a copy of that song. “Do not fear for I am with you. Do not be afraid for I am your God.” How reassuring for them to hear that. And if they sing it over and over they won’t forget it.

Pam’s hope for both the kids and adults at Zion is that the lyrics of the songs they learn at church sink deep in their brains and the message of God’s love and grace sinks deep in their hearts.

It doesn’t get any more rewarding than that.