Stillman Choir to be featured in 2011 Christmas Joy Offering video

October 3, 2011

A choir

Members of the Stillman Choir prepare to sing While by My Sheep to benefit the Christmas Joy Offering. —Photo by Emily Odom.

Tuscaloosa, Ala.

The internationally renowned Stillman Choir has been selected to be featured in a new video resource to promote the 2011 Christmas Joy Offering.        

A cherished Presbyterian tradition since the 1930s, the Christmas Joy Offering is one of the four special offerings of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). Gifts to the annual Christmas Joy Offering are distributed equally to the Assistance Program of the Board of Pensions and to support student scholarships at Presbyterian-related racial ethnic schools and colleges, of which Stillman College is one.

“The choir and I are very honored by this invitation to be recognized on a national level,” said Phillip Todd Westgate, DMA, the Stillman Choir’s director. “We believe in our music and perform for the music, not for ourselves. We’re thrilled to be able to share our joy with the whole Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) in order to inspire generous giving to deserving college students and to the families of active and retired church workers.”

The choir, which was recorded here last month at the Brown Memorial Presbyterian Church on the Stillman College campus singing While by My Sheep – a traditional German carol also known as How Great Our Joy or The Echo Carol – has been acclaimed in numerous reviews that highlight the choir’s ability to perform distinct areas of music such as spirituals, contemporary gospel, and other genres. The text of the carol – especially its joyful refrain – was chosen to emphasize the Christmas Joy Offering’s 2011 theme, “Good News of Great Joy.”

Established in 1875 by the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the United States as a training school for African American ministers, Stillman College has since evolved into a coeducational college that serves primarily African American students. “We must constantly seek to be and do better than we are today,” said Dr. Ernest McNealey, Stillman’s fifth and current president. “The level of what the Stillman Choir does is first rate. In all that they do, they truly reflect the college’s commitment to excellence.”

The Christmas Joy Offering is usually received the Sunday before Christmas – which this year falls on December 18 – but may be received anytime during the Advent season. Resources were mailed to congregations in early September.

For further information, visit the Christmas Joy Offering
website. To learn more about the Stillman Choir, email Dr. Phillip Westgate.

Click here to download the Christmas Joy Offering video.

  1. The video as well as other helpful resources and information in support of the Christmas Joy Offering video may be found at Thanks for your inquiry and your interest.

    by Emily Odom

    November 8, 2011

  2. How do we access the Christmas Joy Offering video featuring Stillman College Choir? I have not been able to find that. Would like some information and link for our upcoming December newsletter and our deadline is this week. Thank you.

    by Martha Clay, Conyers Presbyterian Church

    November 7, 2011