Resurrection staffer on center stage with special session praise band

David Burke


When planning for the special session of the General Conference began, the Rev. Ashley Morgan Kirk didn’t think she would be on stage in St. Louis.

Kirk was local host and worship liaison, just as she had been for the past three years in the Missouri Annual Conference sessions.

Rev. Ashley Morgan Kirk (center) joined an established praise team from Brooklyn for worship in the special session of General Conference. Photo by Mike DuBose, UM News Service

But after conversations with Raymond Trapp, the Brooklyn musician who is leading the praise team at the special session, he invited Kirk to sing with his group.

“Raymond is amazing, if you haven’t noticed,” said Kirk, who belongs to the Missouri Conference but is on loan to the Great Plains as senior high youth pastor at Church of the Resurrection’s Leawood campus.

“Sure, sounds like fun,” she told him. “He’s super-invitational,” Kirk added.

However, “I had no idea they were a killer band that had been together for 12 years,” Kirk said with a laugh. She’s one of a handful of Midwest performers added to the band and singers.

Kirk said she was amazed at how cohesive and adaptable the Brooklyn performers were.

“They’re so good and have been together so long that he’ll just call out a song and … we’ll go right into it,” she said.

Sometimes it’s been songs she hasn’t known – “There’s probably photo and video evidence of that,” she added – and she was ready to sit out.

Instead, she got instructions to “Just dance next time” from Trapp.

The singers have had to be nimble, performing for far longer than the time allotted after questions on rulings or equipment malfunctions.

Kirk said she realized the time she and the other singers spent helps the delegates and onlookers.

“It felt amazing to have this opportunity to lead the body in a way that helps relieve some of the tension,” she said.

It’s impressed delegates including the Rev. Adam Hamilton, founding pastor of Church of the Resurrection.

“They are KILLING it! Awesome!” Hamilton tweeted.

Kirk said she loves a quote from St. Augustine, “he who sings prays twice,” and believes it to be true.

“Studies have shown it actually changes the way we think,” she said. “It connects our hearts and our brains.”
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