The Plug In Program at Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts

Plug In Program pic
Plug In Program
Image: grace.org/plugin

For more than five years, Anthony Freddura has served as a senior business systems analyst at MultiPlan, Inc., in Massachusetts. Anthony Freddura balances his professional activities with his commitment to Grace Chapel, a nondenominational Christian church in Lexington.

Grace Chapel offers a number of programs and growth opportunities for congregants, including the Plug In project. Described as an instrument for life change, Plug In involves 10 weeks of small group discussion, personal reflection and study, and faith in action. The program is designed to help participants build their relationship with God and implement faith in their daily lives.

During the Plug In program, participants must engage in a minimum of eight of the 11 group sessions and set aside time every day for personal reflection to connect with God. Plug In participants also are required to support an outreach opportunity, join a focused prayer experience, participate in the commissioning/celebration evening, and complete a three-month serving opportunity. According to Grace Chapel, Plug In is perfect for long-time Christians and those new to the faith.

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Overview of the Grace Chapel, By Anthony Freddura

A non-denominational church, Grace Chapel has campuses in Lexington and Wilmington, Massachusetts. It was founded in 1948, when its total congregation was only a few households. Today, approximately 3,000 people go to Grace Chapel each Sunday.

The Grace Chapel puts forward several beliefs. For example, it believes that the Bible holds the highest authority in all matters concerning Christian faith and practice. It also believes that God created all people and that people have alienated themselves from God, and it is now time to reconcile.

An active part of the Greater Boston community, Grace Chapel provides numerous programs aimed at helping others. It offers financial counseling, and it played an integral part in the development of the church partnership network, Greater Things for Greater Boston. On a global scale, the church also conducts several mission trips each year.

About Anthony Freddura: Mr. Freddura participates in many of the volunteer programs offered by Grace Chapel, including the monthly SoulFood program, which supplies food and clothes to underserved members of the Boston community.

Christian Music Through the Ages

by Anthony Freddura

I participate in the Life Community Through Worship program run by Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts. In addition to traditional Bible study, we engage in music making, performing timeless songs by well-known Christian musicians. Since the dawn of their religion, Christians have employed music in their worship, and many of the world’s most longstanding musical styles evolved in a Christian context.

Historians don’t know much about the music of the first Christians, but there are references to music in three of the four Gospels. Most likely, early Christian music resembled the music of the ancient Greeks, of which we have a few surviving examples; and the music of the Jews, Romans, and other groups from the area. The fact that many Church hymns have roots in the Old Testament Psalms lends credence to this theory. By the sixth century A.D., Christianity had developed its own distinct styles of singing, forming in Western Europe the roots of what we know today as soothing Gregorian chant. Complementary types of chant also appeared in Eastern Christian traditions. Sung as part of Church services, Gregorian chant continued to evolve for centuries.

In the middle of the 1100s, a French composer named Leonin, working for the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, invented what would later evolve into harmony. Before that time, music always consisted of a melody only, perhaps accompanied by drums. After Leonin, musicians quickly began stacking melodies on top of each other, but harmony (or more correctly, polyphony) is a Christian invention, created for worship. Not everyone loved harmony right away. As with rock music in the 1950s and 1960s, many Christians of the time felt the new style was too flashy and didn’t respect the Christian message behind the words. This controversy continued until the Renaissance, when an Italian composer named Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina developed an intricate harmonic style of composition that won over the Church, which deemed the music beautiful and Christian. Church choirs still sing his music today.

Other European composers continued to advance Christian music over the subsequent ages, including J.S. Bach, considered by many the greatest composer to have ever lived. However, other musical traditions began to have an effect on Christian music as well. Spirituals, invented by African-American slaves, played a major role in the development of what would become Gospel, Soul, and Rhythm & Blues in the United States. At first confined to African-American churches, these new styles gained increasingly mainstream acceptance from the 1960s onward. Today, Christian music encompasses everything from the diverse traditions of the European masters to the lively styles developed in America and around the world.

My Favorite Books: The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals & One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

Anthony Freddura relishes in the opportunity to read a good book. Some of his all time favorites include The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals, published in 2006, was written by Michael Pollan. Investigating the foods that make up the average omnivore’s diet, Pollan addressed each of the food chains that create modern diets, including organic food, industrial food, and food that is foraged by individuals.

In his novel, Michael Pollan revealed that much of industrial food is made from corn, which is fed to livestock, processed into sugars, or eaten directly. A main focus of the book, Pollan provides the reader with compelling evidence of our corn-dependent society. The Omnivore’s Dilemma also investigates organic farming, stating finally, we “eat by the grace of nature, not industry.” The Omnivore’s Dilemma enjoyed acclaim and created controversy as well, the secret recipe to any successful publication.

Alternatively, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest represents a very different kind of book. Written by Ken Kesey, an iconic writing figure of the 1960’s, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest delved into the inner workings of the human mind and the strange realities of the institutional asylum process. Later turned into a film, which won five Academy Awards, the novel has gathered heavy acclaim since its publication, and remains a classic piece of 1960s literature.

Other books by Ken Kesey include Sometimes a Great Notion, Caverns, Sailor Song, and Last Go Round, a novel co-written by Kevin Babbs.

Worship at Grace Chapel

By: Anthony Freddura

An avid guitar player, I enjoy the opportunity to share music and God’s Word through worship at Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts. As a volunteer in the Worship Arts Ministry at Grace Chapel, I dedicate my music to my brothers and sisters in Christ. In a community of people who live passionately to serve and worship the Lord, I seek to establish an environment that encourages others to build close, vital relationships with God.

The Worship Arts Ministry allows those of us with creative interests to bring attention to Jesus in any way we can. In addition to Grace Choir, Grace Orchestra, contemporary praise bands, and vocal teams, which lead worship for morning services at Grace Chapel, the Worship Arts Ministry includes diverse opportunities for individuals who want to contribute their talents to worshipping God. Those with experience or an interest in running the technical aspects of worship, including sound, light, and video, possess the opportunity to serve in the Technology Ministry. Actors and other stage specialists can contribute to the Drama Ministry, which includes ongoing troupes, as well as seasonal productions. Finally, the Worship Arts Ministry strives to establish the worship of God as not only passionate, but also accessible through the Media Ministry, which produces weekly recordings of services, and the Signing Ministry, which expresses worship through the art of signing for the hearing impaired.

In addition to volunteering at Grace Chapel, I played rhythm guitar with a few friends at a weekend retreat in New Hampshire for high school students. I helped lead worship with music from contemporary Christian artists, such as Hillsong United, Matt Redman, and Lincoln Brewster. The experience proved enjoyable for the kids and ourselves.