It almost sounds inane to write it, but it is time for us to think about Christmas!!!! Specifically, it is time to think about our Christmas Cantata! For those who may not be in the know, the Christmas Cantata is one of our larger music endeavors here at Aiken’s First Baptist Church. A service that this year will take place at 11:00 am on December 17, it is an experience filled with music. For that hour, you will hear narrative set to music detailing the beauty of this season. The Sanctuary Choir will sing, instrumentalists will accompany, and a beautiful form of worship will occur. This year, we will be preparing Lloyd Larson’s The Glory of Christmas. It is going to be a wonderful experience. We plan on bringing in 11 wonderful string and woodwind players to enrich the presentation that much more. What I would love is to fill out the choir loft and make this a morning to remember! This opportunity is truly open to all, and I mean that. Whether you believe you can sing or not is immaterial. We aim to assemble a group that is passionate about joining together in a wonderful form of worship. All you need to possess is a heart for collaboration. On Sunday, September 10, from 3:00 pm – 6:30 pm we will have our Cantata Kickoff. This is a fun filled afternoon where you can get exposed to this year’s cantata. The Music Council works hard to make this a meaningful event. There will be drawings for prizes, singing, laughter, and the day concludes with a fabulous Italian meal in appreciation of all of your efforts. If you are a parent or caretaker of children, know that childcare will be available for the duration of the event! Even if you cannot attend the kickoff, we still want you to sing! The following Wednesday, September 13, and each Wednesday after, the first thirty minutes of Sanctuary choir rehearsal will consist of Cantata practice. After that 30 minutes, those who are involved only with the Cantata are free to depart! It is my hope that by lowering the bar for involvement, some may feel comfortable singing that haven’t before. I do hope that you will prayerfully consider this opportunity. It is such a powerful way to help lead in worship, and I assure you it will be a memory that you will carry with you for many years to come. Take a leap and come sing with us!

Zach Derr

Director of Music & Worship




This summer was quite a busy one! It felt like something was happening every week leading up to our youth summer camp Unidiversity. My first day of work was right when we kicked off for lunch clubs, so it was a fun segway into seeing some of the youth I hadn’t seen during church or the school year. Along with our usual lunch clubs, Sarah added a new activity called Wacky Wednesdays, where I was free to decide and plan what we would be doing on some Wednesdays throughout the summer! This was the first of many “do it yourself” moments Sarah offered me this summer, which I gladly did, and I enjoyed the freedom to plan some activities. Among the other “do it yourself” moments, Sarah tasked me to re-populate the third floor with current pictures of our youth which I have loved being able to do, and if you have the chance to check it out, I highly recommend you do! This task gave me a great space to reflect on the past two years I have spent with these kids and how much we have all grown together in faith and friendship. Among the many things I enjoyed and felt comfortable doing, there is always something that is not very comfortable: writing/creating my devotion to do with our youth during our Prayer Breakfasts. I struggled with writing the devotion initially, and while it did become easier, it was still something I was new to. But I feel that being pushed out of my comfort zone was beneficial. It made me try things I wouldn’t usually try, perform well, and learn from what I was doing.

Along with spending time with the youth, I also got some time with some of the younger kids during VBS, which was so much fun. I was a crew leader for the first time in I’m not sure how long for the preschoolers, which I always did when I was in youth! So it was fun to expand my reach that week and move out of my realm of youth. Aside from working with our youth and kids, there is also all the other stuff I could do as I did last year: reading scripture, doing a couple of children’s sermons, and different related worship roles. I have always enjoyed being involved in worship. I feel like it shows that anyone can be involved (especially younger people like me)! On that note, some of y’all may have been at Church this past Sunday for children and youth Sunday and seen the kids’ involvement! This is always one of my favorite Sundays, to have everyone hear all the kids talk about their experiences from the summer. This Sunday, I was able to give a little snippet of my summer experience to give y’all an insider’s view into the life of a youth intern!  Along with everything else, I was able to build some stronger relationships with everyone on staff and had lots of fun with them these past two months. Even though this summer was busy, I really enjoyed how supportive everyone has been in everything I have done this summer, and I am so grateful that I could do this internship these past two years, and I’m so excited for next year to continue to learn and try new things!


Emily Berry

Youth Intern