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North Charleston UMC artists ‘glorify’ through dance

By Ariel Gilreath

CHARLESTON—Sometimes, ministry requires no words at all—just a willing spirit and a little coordination. For the dancers involved with Glorify Dance Company at North Charleston United Methodist Church, Charleston, their movements can bring light, comfort and beauty, all for the glory of God.

“We use dance as a means to minister to the hurting, lonely, lost and unsaved as a visual aid to speak to them when words are just not enough,” said Ruth Singletary, founder of the Glorify Dance Company.
The Glorify Dance Company uses dance as a form of worship and dance movements to act out Scripture during church services. Their mission is to inspire God’s people and those who do not know Him.

Singletary first realized she could worship through dance at a Ballet Magnificat dance concert in 1995. From there, she began helping and starting dance ministries in both North and South Carolina, including North Charleston UMC’s Glorify Dance Company last October. The ministry started out with four dancers and has since grown to six.

“We use a variety of styles to fit the needs of the service,” Singletary said.

Those styles include slow/lyrical dances, fast dances with leaps, African dances, tap, jazz and hip-hop.

Singletary said the minimum age requirement to join the Glorify Dance Company is 10 years old, but she plans one day to include younger children in some of the dances.

Dancer Destiny Barham, 16, said the ministry helps her get closer to Christ while doing something she loves.

“It lets me express my feelings and heart. My goal for worship dance ministry is to help people see God's love and word danced,” Barham said. “When I dance, I tell myself that if at least one person is touched or is led to Christ, my work is done.”

Dances are not performed at every worship service, but are used during Easter, Christmas and other special services.

The Rev. Wendy Hudson-Jacoby of North Charleston UMC said the dance team’s energy and creativity have brought the church a special gift of the Holy Spirit to worship services.

“Our Glorify dance team has enriched our worship in incredible ways. They have brought to life the Scriptures, familiar hymns and special pieces of choral music,” Hudson said.

Singletary said she has gotten positive feedback from the congregation, and she has seen many moved to tears.

“Our purpose is to humbly and joyously share worship dance with our congregation and others as a means of worship, prayer, celebration and intercession,” she said.

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