The UniteBoston Celebration of Worship is only two weeks away, and we’re excited to introduce you to the members of this year’s UB worship team! This year’s team includes people of incredibly diverse races, denominations, backgrounds, and generations, which both broadens and deepens its range to authentically reflect the notion of unity within diversity found in Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2). At the Celebration of Worship, this team will be inviting participation in many expressions of worship, including dance, art, and spoken word. Meet each of the musicians below to see how preparing for this event has strengthened their music, their values, and their faith!
Name: Luisamaria Hernandez
Instrument: Soprano singer
Home Church: St. Paul Catholic Church
“I am excited to perform music that worships God in a place that has the potential to reach many. At its core, the Celebration of Worship is a great way to witness God’s love and share that with others. We have a loving God who is open to everyone, and having a place where people can come together is a great way to show this.”
Name: Shanell Alyssa
Instrument: Vocals and Acoustic Guitar
Home Church: Liberty Life Church in Avon, MA.
“The Celebration of Worship is a great opportunity for artists with mission-driven music to share it with Boston in one of the most public places in the city. I believe the goal of artists is to engage with communities, to be the cultural barometers of the times, and to speak to the hearts of humanity. “Engage Boston” promotes the idea of engaging the city from a Christ-centered perspective, and I’m all about doing just that through my art.
I think it’s really cool that we’re doing older and newer gospel songs, some contemporary Christian, and some hip-hop. The different genres of music speak to the diversity found in Christianity, and that you can experience this sort of celebration with Christ.”
Name: Vidya S.
Home Church: Reservoir Church
“I am excited to join with others in song to give thanks to God. In so many ways, we are siloed in our church congregations. It is a privilege to get together and sing praise as one body in Christ. Reservoir Church envisions “a day when many in North Cambridge and Greater Boston are connecting with Jesus and our church in deep ways and absolutely thriving as a result.” The Engage Boston theme is certainly aligned with Reservoir’s vision and with our values of Connection, Everyone, Action, Freedom, and Humility in order to reach across barriers and engage one another with the love of Jesus.”
Name: Crystal Dixon
Home Church: Life Church in Boston
“To me, the word ‘engage’ means being intentional about participating in the lives of one another. I’m excited about this event reflecting the unity of the church body, and folks really believing and acting on the fact that we are one body. If we are one body, this means we need each other to actually function and to be who we are called to be. I think we can get lost in our churches and our denominations, and only focus on our piece of the body. Sometimes we say, “I’m the arm, and I’m only going to do arm things. I’m not going to worry about the foot–it may be hurting and crying, but I’ve got the arm to worry about” (1 Corinthians 12). I love when we push ourselves to get outside of our comfort zones, and really pay attention to one another.”
Name: Noa Carter
Home Church: Neighborhood Church of Dorchester and a part of Freedom Journey Outpost in Plymouth MA
“This will be my first experience with UniteBoston’s Celebration of Worship, so I most look forward to seeing everyone engaging in worship together. The act of engaging is the gospel. As the body of believers, we are to attract and involve people in our lives so that they can see Christ and in turn be drawn to Him.”
Name: Ada Ruiz Betsabe
Instrument: Vocals/Rap–both with the band and her own original music.
Home Church: International Family Church in North Reading, MA
“I’m excited to see different races and denominations come together to worship Jesus. I believe that for us to impact our city as Christians, we must unite first. I am non-denominational, but I believe that engaging our city and community is at the core of what Jesus’ taught and did while on earth.”
Name: Cliff W. Chuang
Home Church: Reservoir Church
“I am excited to be in a worship band led by the amazing Music Director, Bil Mooney-McCoy again! Finding common group across lines of difference of all kinds is so important today. The Engage Boston theme aligns well with our values of connection, everyone, action, freedom, and humility at Reservoir.
Name: Calvin Limwell
Home Church: Anchor Church Boston
“I have lived in Boston for about 7 years now. It feels like a lot of the people here are transient, with people coming and going for work and study. Boston is such a diverse city, and people come here from all over the world to study in top universities or colleges, or start companies. At this event, we are a symbol of God’s love being sent out not only to the city of Boston or the United States, but to the whole world, and engaging with people from every nation.”
Name: Richard Mussachio
Instrument: Electric Guitar and Acoustic Guitar
Home Church: Grace Community Church
“The Celebration of Worship symbolizes the Kingdom of God, as opposed to a homogenous group of people, like so many other worship events. This event incorporates different ages, different cultures, different colors, and that’s really important, in this time especially, because that’s what the Kingdom of God looks like.”
Name: Doully Yang
Instrument: Electric Guitar
Home Church: Symphony Church
“If you start going to one church or one type of church for too long, you start associating your relationship with God with a very specific culture that doesn’t necessarily have to do with God, it just happens to do with the people you worship with. Something like UniteBoston’s Celebration of Worship reminds you that God is outside of all of these distinctions. There are a lot of different ways to participate in a relationship with God, and you don’t always see that when you are involved with your own church all the time. So, I’m really looking forward to seeing all of us come together and yet still be united in Jesus Christ.”
Name: Kyla Wright
Instrument: Electric Bass
Home Church: Holy Tabernacle Church
“The Celebration of Worship is about making sure that we stay united through love. Together, we can show love and worship together.”
Name: Andrew Turner
Home Church: Light of the World Empowerment Center and Emmanuel Gospel Center in Dorchester
“I’m so excited for the Celebration of Worship this year because I love worshipping God and meeting new people. People in Boston need to see that Christians can all worship God together, and are not as different as they may seem. We often have different denominations, but we should all come together and serve one God.”
Name: Bil Mooney-Mccoy
Position: Music Production Director
Home Church: River of Life Church
“As the Music Director of this event, one of the exciting things for me is seeing people build friendships with others whom they never had met before. The highlight of my night [in our first rehearsal] was watching Rich and Duay talking. They played fantastically, but there’s these two people who never would have met if it weren’t for this event. They found they had so much in common, and if you looked at the two of them, they never would have realized that. It’s a gift to see people who have have nothing but Jesus in common to meet each other and grow in faith.
The audience can expect high quality music: some songs they know and a lot of songs they don’t know, with a lot of variety.”
Name: Chloe Gaydos
Position: Production Coordinator Director
Home Church: Reality Church
“A lot of pastors tell their congregations to come to the Celebration of Worship because you’ll hear your favorite worship songs but you will also step outside of your own Christian bubble to experience something different. Engage Boston means that as a Christian, I have been called to step outside of my comfort zone to relate to other Christians from different backgrounds. If I prioritize those relationships, then I will be able to repaint a picture of what my non-Christian friends see as the role that faith plays in my life.”