FPC News and Announcements

Interview with Jesús Gomez, Composer of New Requiem Premiering in Tacoma on Good Friday, April 14

At 7:00 pm on Good Friday, April 14, Tacoma’s First Presbyterian Church will host the world premiere of a new Requiem composed by Jesús Gomez. Gomez graduated from PLU in choral conducting and is now teaching choral music at Glacier View Jr. High as well as serving as a worship intern at First Presbyterian Church. His Requiem will be heard as part of a Good Friday communion service, and it will be performed by chancel choir, chancel singers, chamber orchestra, and pipe organ. Gomez recently described how he came to write his Requiem and what he hopes people will take away from it.

Q. What is a Requiem?

Gomez: The Requiem is one of the most significant texts in choral history. It is the mass for the dead, and has been set by composers from as far back as a thousand years ago, and by all the greatest composers since (choral composers who did not write for the Church is a fairly recent phenomenon— beginning roughly 150 years ago).

Q. What are the various parts of a Requiem?

Gomez: Musical settings of the Requiem Mass normally contain seven parts: Introit, Kyrie, Sequence, Offertory, Sanctus (and Benedictus), Agnus Dei, and Communion. Each of these serves a very specific purpose, and each is connected to the other within the context of the liturgy.

Q. What inspired you to write this particular Requiem?

Gomez: I first had the idea to write a Requiem in November of 2015, as I was at a national convention for the National Choral Conductor’s Organization. It was during that conference that word came streaming in that there had been a terror attack in Paris, and my friends and I looked on in horror as the casualty count continued to rise throughout the day. Experiencing true grief and devastation at world events for the first time in my adult life, I responded by setting a French text—Priez Pour Paix (pray for peace).
As the ensuing year unfolded—with terror attacks throughout the world (but very prominently in France, Istanbul, and very recently in the U.K.), school shootings on both college and K-12 campuses, and the rise in “us-against-them” rhetoric on a global scale—I became increasingly distressed. It seemed to me that our world was coming unglued, and that every day brought a new death to mourn or yet another injustice to be broken over. I found my prayers turning from whispered requests for violence to desperate cries for mercy—for a simple respite from the seemingly never-ending store of tragedy.
It was this time last year that I wrote the “Sanctus,” and over the course of the next six months, the rest of the Requiem came to me: sometimes bit-by-bit in a struggle for every note, and sometimes in almost overwhelming waves of inspiration.

Q. Can you walk us through what the various parts of the Requiem mean?

Gomez: For me, this Requiem tells the story of a Christian who struggles to reconcile the failings of the world he or she lives in—the death and destruction and hatred we seem to be so surrounded by—with the perfection of Christ.

The first half of the work is filled with angst, grief, and doubt. We begin in the Introit (“grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them”), which is a depiction of how often attempt to mask our grief by saying the right things and “putting on” a stoic face in public. It is appropriately solemn, a little haunting, and purposefully lacks drama. The Kyrie, however (“Lord have mercy, Christ have mercy, Lord have mercy”), is a cry for mercy: the constant dissonance and shape of the lines is meant to represent the rising and falling of uncontrollable sobbing.
Next follows the Sequence. In a typical Requiem mass, the Sequence is a fiery, dramatic work (the first two words, “dies irae,” mean “day of wrath”). It is a text about God’s wrath and judgement on the wicked, and the fearful trembling of all those who bear witness to it. I did not set this traditional Sequence for two reasons: first, my response to tragedy is grief, not anger. I do not easily identify with the fiery imagery of the text, so it would not have been an honest setting. More importantly, to tell the story I wanted to tell, I needed to make a switch in tone here. Therefore, I compiled three smaller texts—O Vos Omnes (“all you who pass along the way, see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow”), Ave Verum Corpus (a text about Jesus’ death on the cross), and Adoramus Te, Christe (“We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee: for by thy holy cross thou hast redeemed the world”). O Vos Omnes is the final piece with “crying” imagery, while Ave Verum Corpus and Adoramus Te move the focus to the cross, and the wonderful tragedy that occurred upon it.
The Offertory pleads, “Lord Jesus Christ, King of Glory, liberate the souls of all the departed from the pains of hell and from the deep pit”—refocusing on the idea that it is Jesus who brings hope of eternal life in the presence of God. This is followed by the Sanctus (“Holy, Holy, Holy”), where we rest in the holiness of God, and take refuge in His perfection, despite everything going on around us. Next, the Agnus Dei, is a hybrid of texts from both the regular Mass and the Requiem Mass to create a progression (“Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world… have mercy on us; grant them rest; grant us peace”). This encapsulates the story of the Requiem—from crying for mercy, to mourning the dead, to finding peace.
Finally, Communio leads us directly into communion with a request for God to shine His eternal light on them. It concludes with the same words with which we began—“grant them eternal rest, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.” This time, it is in a major key, signaling the hope we cling to in Jesus, but ends with the carrillons ringing seven times on the fifth note of the scale, which represents the idea that while we have hope, the promise of peace is not yet fully realized—spurring us on to work fervently in expectation of that most elusive promise.

Q. What do you hope the Requiem will mean to others?

Gomez: I am praying that God will use it to bring a message of peace to those who enter feeling the weight of living in this imperfect world pressing in on them.

FPC Work Party

FPC WORK PARTY                                                                                                                                                                                 Saturday, April 8th 9:00am-1:00pm

We need volunteers!!! Everyone is invited to help with a variety of jobs around the church.

Please bring garden tools and gloves if you have them. Rain or shine. Morning snacks will be provided. Call Jerry Heath 253-537-7980 for more info.

FPC Gleanings Fundraiser


Wednesday, May 10th 6:00pm Dinner & Entertainment

Join us in Fellowship Hall for the 2017 Gleanings Fundraiser.
Tickets are $5.00 per person or $15.00 per family. Tickets available at the door.                  




Remember your loved ones this Easter with the purchase of an Easter tulip. The tulips will beautify our Sanctuary. Our Deacons and volunteers willdeliver the tulips to our shut-in members. The cost is $13.00 each.

To order, use an envelope in the pew pockets, clearly print the name of your loved one on the envelope along with your name; enclose cash or check and place it in the offering plate or take to the church office.

THIS SUNDAY is the last day to purchase your tulip and have your loved ones name appear in the bulletin in time for Easter.


Town Hall Meeting at FPC


Sunday, April 23rd at 9:15am in Fellowship Hall

Over the past two years, we have made a commitment to being a church that cares about the people outside of our walls. While that is a great goal, we feel that we could be more effective in striving towards this goal if we were more specific about which people we feel especially called to reach as a church.

Come to the Town Hall meeting to find out more. Coffee, juice, and treats will be provided.



Easter Morning at FPC


Sunday, April 16th  Breakfast at 9:00am & Service at 10:30am

Please join us in Fellowship Hall for a free Easter breakfast followed by our Easter service in the Sanctuary at 10:30am.Celebrate the Resurrection at FPC Tacoma’s festive Easter Sunday celebration featuring our Chancel Choir, praise team, Lindsey Bell Choir, chamber orchestra, and pipe organ. Plus, Pastor Eric will be preaching a special Easter message.  

Members & Regular Attenders                                                                                                                                                            
For all able bodied members and regular attenders, we are asking you to park on the outer edges of church in order to leave room in the parking lot for our elderly folks and new visitors on Easter morning, Thank you!



Good Friday Events at FPC


Friday, April 14th 12:00pm-3:00pm Sanctuary

Come for meditation and prayer in our cathedral-like sanctuary. Drop in for a few minutes or a few hours. This has been a powerful time for connecting with God one-on-one, which draws people from throughout our neighborhood.



Friday, April 14th 7:00pm Sanctuary

This year’s Good Friday service will be a reflective evening of worship as we experience the premiere of Jesús Gomez’s Requiem. This powerful and beautiful work has been written for our Chancel Singers, Chancel Choir,  Chamber Orchestra, and Organ. Jesús, who has been our worship intern for two years, has graduated from PLU in choral conducting and is now teaching choral music at Glacier View Jr. High.

In the context of the this ancient liturgical form, we will receive communion together. Pastor Eric will share devotional thoughts and familiar passion hymns will also be sung. Prepare for a thrilling Easter celebration by experiencing the rich musical heritage of a Requiem written for Good Friday.


World Premiere of Good Friday Requiem on April 14

Join us for the premiere of a new Requiem by Jesús Gomez on Good Friday, April 14 at 7:00 pm in the historic cathedral-like Sanctuary of Tacoma’s First Presbyterian Church. The Requiem will be performed by chancel choir, chancel singers, chamber orchestra, and pipe organ as part of a Good Friday service featuring Holy Communion and a special message. This event is FREE and open to all.

Good Friday Prayer and Reflection in Historic Sanctuary of Tacoma’s First Presbyterian Church

Commemorate the last hours of Jesus on the Cross in the cathedral-like Sanctuary of Tacoma’s First Presbyterian Church on Good Friday from Noon-3:00 pm. In the midst of stained glass and candlelight, pause to pray, meditate, and reflect. Times of silence will alternate with readings and soft music, but most of the time will be spent in silence. Come for a few minutes or a couple of hours. This annual open house for prayer and reflection is a powerful time for renewal and self-analysis. Then come back later at 7:00 pm for our Good Friday communion service, which will feature the world premiere of a new Requiem written by Jesús Gomez.


Sunday, April 9th Palm Sunday Service at 10:30am
Friday, April 14th Good Friday Open House for Prayer  12:00pm:-3:00pm

Good Friday Serviceat 7:00pm Sanctuary

Sunday, April 16th Easter Brunch at 9:00am & Easter Service at 10:30am


Members & Regular Attender
For all able bodied members and regular attenders we are asking you to park on the outer edges of church in order to leave room in the parking lot for our elderly folks and new visitors on Easter morning, Thank you!


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