By Ansley Brackin
Communications Specialist for North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church
The band Greater Lights has set a new standard for playing at Spiritual Life Retreat. They wrote an original song specifically for the event. Receiving the opportunity to perform at SLR in their first year together further reassures the band that they are going where they have been sent.
Spiritual Life Retreat, or SLR, is the annual gathering of youth from across the North Georgia Conference that happens each year over several weekends in March.
Greater Lights lead singer Tim Nugent felt that starting a band was a “God Set Up”. He crossed paths with most of his bandmates through various jobs within The United Methodist Church, and when he felt the call to music he knew that with their backgrounds they were the right fit.
Singer and pianist Jessica McRee met Nugent through Powers Ferry UMC’s youth program. Trent Watson currently works for Kennesaw UMC and plays the bass guitar. Mason Rudder plays lead guitar for Greater Lights but has a history of playing drums, and Kacey Johnson was the sole responder to their Craigslist ad for a drummer.
A calling is not measured by distance, but by the ambition of those who answer it. When Tim Nugent, Mason Rudder, Jessica McRee, Trent Watson, and Kacey Johnson decided to form Greater Lights they accepted the challenge even though they each live in different cities.
Despite being from Marietta, Kennesaw, Athens, and McDonough everyone feels it is a “God thing” connecting them while they are spread across the state.
Greater Lights had been practicing for seven months when the received a request for their first performance.
Watson once worked at Glisson for summer camp, where he met Spiritual Life Retreat coordinator, Rev. Sam Halverson.
After a meeting with Halverson, the band wanted to play a song that best fit the SLR theme, “Reach”. After some brainstorming they decided to meet at Powers Ferry UMC, where Nugent works as the youth and worship leader, to write a song of their own.
Forty five minutes later, “Reach Out” was composed and ready to make its Spiritual Life debut.
Greater Lights performed for the second and third weekend of Spiritual Life Retreat at Glisson Camp and Retreat Center. Their song was well received by the young worshippers, and the group was in awe of the energy of the retreat.
“It’s uplifting to see them so excited about it,” Nugent says, “especially within The United Methodist Church.”
Listen to “Reach Out” here.