Sacred Inclusion

I appreciate that the Eugene Sacred Harp Singers got some special attention in the Dec. 20 Eugene Weekly (“Getting in Shape [Note Singing]”), which probably boosted the attendance at our open sing-along, making up for our inadvertently having been left out of the Holiday Happenings.

But I had some serious issues with the accuracy of some things said in that article, especially the “quote” attributed to me that said “Eugene Sacred Harp Singers have removed many of the references to Jesus Christ to
make the hymns more inclusive.”

That is not something we do or that I would ever say. While the music is spiritual, from a Christian tradition, we are not a religious group and are welcoming to others whatever their religious beliefs, while at the same time doing our best to honor the tradition out of which the Sacred Harp arose.

The few minor words we do change have to do more with references to things like “man” being changed to “us” or “all,” and in that respect, yes, we do try to be inclusive.

Beyond that, it is up to each participant as to how they relate to the words and thoughts expressed in the music.

Had I had any idea that such a misrepresentation might occur, I think I would have requested to see the article before it got published. I am sad to see us presented this way, when we love this music and want to feel we are contributing to it, not detracting from it.

Karen Stingle

Eugene Sacred Harp Singers