These denominations have also assembled their individual choir to chase the top prize of N2 million and a trophy. There are also cash prizes, plaques and trophies for the second and third place; along with consolation awards for every participating choir.
Convener of the National Hymn Festival, Nigeria’s Reggae gospel star and author, BuchiAtuonwu explained the vision, “With the National Hymn Festival, we will not only revive the singing of hymns, we will bring together the churches of Jesus Christ under one roof. Every song has a spirit, has a story, has its essence. It is time to unite the church through hymns. On one leg, we are revitalizing our worship through hymns. On the other leg is the unity of the church.”
Working with known music ministers like Dr. Panam Percy Paul, Joe Praize and Ada, the Convener of the National Hymn Festival will lead the congregation in popular hymns. Buchi strongly believes that he is led by Spirit of God to break down the barriers of segregation and disunity which promoted exclusivity among the denominations; making them look like cults.
“The enemies of the church have taken up arms against the church seeing that we are disunited. They are convinced that if they burn down a Catholic church the people in the Redeemed church may not do much. They are convinced that if they hit the Methodist church or kidnap the Prelate of the Methodist church, nobody will take up arms in his defense because we are disunited and they know. This disunity has caused too much. We have presented ourselves as weak and vulnerable.”
The National Hymn Festival is Buchi’s way of ensuring that these great hymns that built us up and sustained our faith, inspired us to do things and to live for Jesus Christ are not allowed to die.