A former South Carolina United Methodist pastor has released an album for Advent that she hopes will capture what she calls “a season when we celebrate God’s taking on our flesh—and a season during which we are reminded, forcibly, that all is not yet well.”
Singer/songwriter and author Elise Erikson Barrett, wife of late United Methodist pastor the Rev. Chris Barrett, who died of cancer in February 2016, now lives in central Indiana, and she and two musician friends united as Sister|Sinjin, a creative collaboration that has just released their first studio album. “Incarnation” is in limited-release hand-stamped version, traditional and digital formats. (“Sinjin” is a phonetic spelling of the English pronunciation of St. John.)
Barrett, a mother of three who has released two full-length studio albums, “Awake” and “Valley,” is a former UMC pastor who came into full communion with the Catholic church shortly before her husband’s death. As Advent neared, she connected with two friends—Elizabeth Duffy, a writer, cellist and mother of six, and Kaitlyn Ferry, a worship minister, classically trained violinist, music educator, singer/songwriter and mother of three—to explore how to create an album for Advent in the midst of the everyday demands of life.
“Something felt immediately fitting and right about the project,” Barrett said. “Three mothers, with varied challenges to our time and energies—three creative types, wanting to do art in a way that would connect people, and ourselves, to God. Three human beings, frustrated with an idealized model for creativity that requires freedom from dependents and large chunks of uninterrupted time.”
She said they thought about incarnation, about the real demands of parenting and working and providing for the needs of others, and about a creative life.
“We decided to try an experiment,” Barrett said. “We would do an album that was truly incarnational—music that could be born in our real lives, just as they were—and we would do it for Advent.”
Songs include “In the Virgin’s Womb He Lay,” “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” “In These Long, Last Days” and more.
The trio hopes the music will serve as a reminder that God shows up among us and a reminder that no matter how painful the waiting becomes, our hope is in Emmanuel.
To learn more about the album and their collaboration, visit www.sistersinjin.com.