PITTSBURGH — Deftly alternating among three different Peruvian instruments—the charango (ukulele), the quena (flute) and the zampoña (pan flute)—the Rev. Noe Juarez joined with four other gifted musicians to call Assembly participants to worship at the 220th General Assembly Breakfast.
Led by the Rev. Chip Andrus, music leader for the Assembly, the musicians included Nathan Young, the Rev. Wilson Gunn, the Rev. David Gambrell, and the Rev. Elizabeth Campbell.
A native of Peru, Juarez is one of ten pastoral residents in the “For Such a Time as This”Class of 2011. “For Such a Time as This,” a program of the General Assembly Mission Council, pairs small, under-served congregations with recent seminary graduates in a two-year pastoral residency relationship. Juarez pastors both an English and a Spanish-speaking congregation at Sunset Presbyterian Church in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., which has welcomed 14 new members since he arrived last year.
“When I was in seminary, I always dreamed of being called to a church where I could develop bilingual and cross-cultural ministries,” Juarez said. “I prayed that God would match my dreams and longings with the needs of a congregation like Sunset who needed my leadership.”
Juarez added, “I want to encourage any of the presbyteries here that if you have small churches, you can have a wonderful time together.”
Campbell, who plays the saxophone, is a fellow pastoral resident serving the Waverly-Bethel Presbyterian and First Presbyterian of Williamstown congregations in W. Va.
“When Noe and I were told that we were going to be doing worship, I was thinking it would probably be for a small group,” Campbell said. “I did not think it was going to be a large part of the Assembly at all. I was grateful for the opportunity to play and also to share briefly about the program and the story of my churches.”
Andrus, a singer, songwriter, musician and pastor of the South Salem (N.Y.) Presbyterian Church, said that he was honored to be asked to volunteer to lead music before and during plenary meetings of the Assembly.
“One of the tasks is to make sure the music and musicians reflect the diversity of the church, theologically, culturally and stylistically,” Andrus said. “It was a joy to work with Noe and Elizabeth, who are not only great musicians, but also part of the exciting “For Such a Time as This” program. Leading morning worship together was a highlight of my time here so far. I’m not only blessed to play to with them, but also to become friends with these amazing young pastors.”