OASIS creates a space for rejuvenation for worship leaders

BUIES CREEK, North Carolina – With temperatures on the rise in central North Carolina, area worship leaders are finding relief in the aptly named OASIS Church Music and Worship Conference. The three-day conference, hosted by Campbell University Divinity School, aims to assist attendees in renewing, replenishing, and restoring the creative foundation on which their particular skill set is built.

“It is all too easy for ministers to find themselves in a 24/7 mindset – always on call, always responding to needs, always planning the next event. Every minister needs an oasis – a time and a place to pull away from the endless demands of ministry, not just to relax but to be renewed,” shared Campbell Divinity School Dean Andy Wakefield.

To aid attendees in renewal and inspiration, choir directors, worship leaders, musicians, and ministers are immersed in reading sessions, morning worship services, and an evening concert series.  Eleven clinicians, renowned in their fields of interest, are on campus to offer their expertise on subjects ranging from incorporating hand bells into worship services to exploring the Psalms as a hymnbook for Christian faith. Clinicians include Grammy Award winner Cynthia Clawson, former Campbell Divinity professor Dr. J. Daniel Day, and Hope Publishing Company editor Jane Holstein.

“Thus the name of our annual music conference: OASIS: Renew for the Journey,” continued Wakefield. “Though the primary focus is on music and worship, this conference is not just for musicians; it is for any minister who will be refreshed by experiencing [rather than leading] worship, uplifted by inspiring concerts, rejuvenated by chances to share and learn in breakout sessions.”

Over 150 participants made their way to Buies Creek from distances as far as Tennessee, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, and Georgia on Monday for the sixth annual event.

“It is our hope that together we can know rest this week in an otherwise fast-paced world,” shared OASIS planning committee members, Larry Dickens and Mike Eller during their welcome address.  “We hope these days will refresh your spirits as well as your ministry resources and creativity. And through our time together, we know that you will head back with a sense of renewal to continue the good work that God has begun in you and through you.”

OASIS offers three concerts that are free and open to the public, in addition to Overture.

Monday night featured To Tell Your Ways, a hymn festival composed and arranged by Benjamin Harlan. Harlan was featured on piano and was accompanied by Jane Holstein on organ, a choir comprised by singers from area churches, the North Carolina Brass Quintet, and timpani.

Tuesday night boasts a festival choir concert directed by OASIS planning team member and Campbell University Divinity School Duncan Chair and Associate Professor of Church Music & Worship Larry Dickens. Dickens will lead the Campbell Divinity Festival Choir, Cynthia Clawson, and Ragan Courtney.

OASIS will close its festivities on Wednesday night with a concert featuring the North Carolina Baptist All-State Youth Choir.

The remaining concerts open to the public will be held at 7:00 p.m. in Butler Chapel on Campbell University’s main campus in Buies Creek.

Overture, a separate concert series held the weekend prior to but in conjunction with OASIS, saw remarkable attendance and created energy and passion for church music throughout the church communities in Clinton, North Carolina. Overture is hosted by First Baptist Church of Clinton and featured a festival choir concert comprised of choir members from fifteen ecumenical churches in Sampson County and Eastern North Carolina.