Local church members hope to make the world feel a little smaller as they welcome an African children’s choir.
Harlem Baptist Church, located at 105 W. Milledgeville Road, will hold a free concert of the Watoto Children’s Choir at 6:45 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 6. The performance will be a part of the choir’s latest tour, “Beautiful Africa: A New Generation.”
The Rev. Philip Vestal, the pastor of Harlem, said church members first heard about the choir last year when Watoto, an organization dedicated to serving the needs of the African people, sent them an informational packet. After familiarizing themselves with the choir, Vestal said the staff fell in love with it.
“We’re a church that loves children, that loves music, and that loves missions,” he said. “They captured our hearts and we knew that this was something that we wanted to connect to and wanted to bring them to Harlem.”
Vestal said one of the things about the choir that really encouraged him personally was that the missions of the choir and his church are parallel. The choir is made up primarily of orphans who have lost their parents to AIDS, war or poverty, which really touched the church as members have been a part of missions that work directly with orphans in Guatamala, Peru, Honduras, Haiti and South Africa.
“Out of those experiences, our church has been blessed,” he said. “We’ve been impacted by ministering to the orphans of the world. We even have families in our church that have adopted orphans. We take it seriously.”
Vestal said the choir gives a high-energy performance of African music with video and lights.
He said the performance would also be meaningful for families who want to experience a new culture.
“These kids being from Africa and just being in Georgia, particularly in Harlem, is a way, I think, to experience the global community, to also hear and know and be more aware of the needs that orphans have, to be more in tune with reaching out to children and families in our own community,” Vestal said.