What a challenging year this has been thus far! For some, it has been mainly an inconvenience: having to wear masks, keeping physical distancing, not being able to go out to eat, etc. For others, it has been difficult, even tragic, as people have died or suffered greatly from the virus itself.
Students (and parents) have had to adjust to new school situations, and lots of folks are working at home. Some are doing fine financially, some even prospering, but others have lost work and are in dire straits.
At my church in Austin, we've been meeting since June for social-distanced services, with only a worship band and a few singers onstage, and much of our congregation is still watching services online.There are no other activities besides Sunday morning worship, and the church offices are closed during the week. Our pastor said last Sunday, "Even after this virus is over, things are never going to be the same." Very likely, many things will be quite different for our churches, businesses, schools, and other parts of our society.
Most of you reading this are involved in church music ministry of some kind. In my case, the orchestra I direct has not met for rehearsal since March 11. That's almost a half a year gone, and I'm still not quite sure when we will begin meeting again. No rehearsals and no playing in services means no new music purchased, and here we come to the main thing I want to bring to your attention.
No new music purchased means that church music publishers are really struggling these days. Like any business, publishers have to make a profit so that they can continue operations. Because of the current crisis, many have drastically slowed or even stopped the production of new music. Staff are being let go, and office leases are being cancelled. I personally know of two very capable veteran music editors who have lost their jobs in the last couple of months. Those of us who are freelancers are also caught in this dilemma.
All this to say ... pray for our publishers. Most that I know are in the business to help provide resources for church music ministries, with the ultimate goal being to make disciples and build up the kingdom of God. Their heart is to fulfill the oft-repeated scriptural admonition to "sing to the Lord a new song." So pray for them ... and if you're able to buy some new music at this time, please consider doing so.