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Release date: Nov. 15, 2000
Contact: Elaine Justice, Assistant Director, 404-727-0643, or

Oxford Presents Southern Folk Advent 2000

WHAT: Southern Folk Advent 2000: When Shall I See Jesus?

WHO: Tom Long, Bandy Professor of Preaching, Candler School of Theology, Emory, preacher; Steven Darsey, music director; The Meridian Chorale; The Sonny Houston Band

WHEN: 7:30 p.m., Friday, Dec. 1, 2000; 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, 2000

WHERE: The Old Church, Wesley Street, near the corner of W. Fletcher Street, four blocks east of the Oxford College campus of Emory University, Oxford, Ga. (From Atlanta take I-20 east for 38 miles to Exit 90.)

COST: Free. No tickets required. An offering will be taken. Seating is first-come, first-served. 404-727-6020.

As Christmas approaches, Oxford, Ga., is host to a unique worship service based on materials native to Georgia. Southern Folk Advent, a tradition in Oxford for the last several years, uses hymns from the historic Sacred Harp tune book, compiled in Georgia in 1844. These hymns arose from the life experiences of poor folk struggling to survive in the early 19th-century South. Their haunting music embodies the struggles and dreams of generations of Christians singing and praying for the coming of Christ.

Southern Folk Advent uses Sacred Harp tunes as a structure through which preacher Tom Long of the Candler School of Theology will weave brief, folk-style sermons. The Meridian Chorale will sing folk tunes in original arrangements, and the congregation will sing others, both a cappella and with folk instrumental accompaniment. The service will be introduced with a set of bluegrass/Gospel music led by the Sonny Houston Band.

Named one of the nation's top preachers by Newsweek magazine, Long, who was reared in Georgia, speaks from a deep appreciation of the region and its folk traditions. He is the newly appointed Bandy Professor of Preaching at Emory's Candler School of Theology. An ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Long has taught preaching and worship for more than 20 years at Erskine Theological Seminary, Columbia Theological Seminary and Princeton Theological Seminary, from which he holds a Ph.D. Long is author or editor of more than a dozen books, including "The Witness of Preaching" (1989), which has become a standard preaching text in seminaries in this country and abroad.

Darsey is music director at Glenn Memorial United Methodist Church in Atlanta.

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