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Trinity Frankfurt’s New Director of Music Helps Congregation Proclaim the Gospel through Song

This article is written by Rev. Dr. Wayne Braun, the Pastor of Trinity Lutheran Church in Frankfurt-am-Main. Dr. Braun is an Office of International Mission Career Missionary serving the English-speaking expatriate community in Frankfurt. This article from his December newsletter is used by permission. All photos are courtesy of Rev. Braun.

–By Rev. Dr. Wayne Braun

Sharing God’s Grace through Music

Christmas and music go hand in hand. God gives us the wonderful gift of His own Son born in Bethlehem—how can we help but sing? This is especially true at Trinity this time of the year. That’s why I waited until December to introduce you to Trinity’s new part time Music Director, Johanna Tierling.

Johanna with Dr. Braun following the concert at the Alte Nikolaikirche. Johanna directed both the sanctuary choir and the bell choir. Pastor Braun sings with the sanctuary choir.

Johanna with Dr. Braun following the concert at the Alte Nikolaikirche. Johanna directed both the sanctuary choir and the bell choir. Pastor Braun sings with the sanctuary choir.

Johanna, who was born in 1990 and grew up near Frankfurt-Am-Main, comes to Trinity fresh out of the university. She studied at the Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst (University for Music and Performing Arts) in Frankfurt-am-Main. She is a skilled organist and choir director (right now completing her training in choral conducting).

Johanna directs and the bell choir while also playing during Trinity's concert in the Alte Nikolaikirche for their Advent Vespers series December 2015. Johanna is the third person from the left. Trinity's DCE, Kendra McNatt, also plays in the bell choir. She is the first person on the left.

Johanna directs and the bell choir while also playing during Trinity’s concert in the Alte Nikolaikirche for their Advent Vespers series December 2015. Johanna is the third person from the left. Trinity’s DCE, Kendra McNatt, also plays in the bell choir. She is the first person on the left.

At Trinity we feel so blessed that God has given us this talented young artist and church musician to lead our choirs and bless our worship services. Many have remarked that we never knew that our little pipe organ could sound so good. This is so very important to the ministry of Trinity. We live here in a culture where music is so highly valued that a quality music ministry is essential to the mission and outreach of this congregation. Johanna puts it this way— “Faith is important for life, the way that leads us to God… Music is everywhere. Music is a connection between people… a way to share the faith in all languages…”

Johanna conducts the sanctuary choir from Trinity Lutheran Church, Frankfurt-am-Main.

Johanna conducts the sanctuary choir from Trinity Lutheran Church, Frankfurt-am-Main.

Trinity has also been a great blessing to Johanna and her faith. She speaks to me often of how wonderful it is to work as part of a ministry team. In previous congregations the Pastor and the organist have had very little to do with each other. At Trinity she has experienced a new way of doing ministry—where musician, pastor, church staff and congregation are a team blessed and guided by God in the work of telling people about Jesus. Johanna has truly experienced the loving and welcoming nature of Trinity. Recently she conducted the Sanctuary Choir at the “Night of the International Church Choirs” here in Frankfurt. She told those gathered for the concert that she loves Trinity because we are one big family—God’s family.

Johanna sings with the choir as she conducts during the concert in the Alte Nikolaikirche.

Johanna sings with the choir as she conducts during the concert in the Alte Nikolaikirche.

Johanna’s ministry, though part time—is wide ranging. She helps plan worship, plays for our services, leads the Sanctuary Choir and Bell Choir. The Advent and Christmas season have been busy. Recently, the Choir sang at the Train station mission, and at a Saturday concert of Christmas Carols at the Alte Nikolai right down in the midst of the Frankfurt Christmas Market. On the Sunday before Christmas the Choir, Bell Choir, Youth and Children’s choirs lead the congregation in a traditional Lessons and Carols service. Then of course there is Christmas Eve service. In the Spring Johanna is hoping to lead the choir in a special musical program on Palm Sunday evening.

Johanna again conducts the choir during the Advent Vespers at Alte Nikolaikirche, an event which allows the congregation to proclaim the Gospel to people who may otherwise never enter their church building, which is in another location. This event has been something the sanctuary and bell choirs have participated in for several years. Johanna carried on the tradition.

Johanna again conducts the choir during the Advent Vespers at Alte Nikolaikirche, an event which allows the congregation to proclaim the Gospel to people who may otherwise never enter their church building, which is in another location. This event has been something the sanctuary and bell choirs have participated in for several years. Johanna carried on the tradition.

Of all this Johanna writes, ”Missionary work includes the sharing of Gods grace. Choir concerts with Bible passages are a vital way to tell God’s story. God has blessed Trinity with many ways to share His message through music— organ music, hand bell ringing, a singing congregation, children’s choir and many more. Trinity Lutheran Church is a missionary church. Working here is an honor and blessing.”

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