Song Leader Called to Music and Mission
Gospel recording artist De-Rance Blaylock is quite at home as a song leader at Assembly – and not just because she lives in St. Louis, Mo. She’s been a United Methodist Women member at Union Memorial United Methodist Church in St. Louis all of her adult life.
“My family is in United Methodist Women – my mother, grandmother, sister,” she said. “My grandmother would always take my sister and me to United Methodist Women meetings. I’m in our unit’s Teresa Hoover Circle.”
Ms. Blaylock grew up in the United Methodist Church, playing the piano, the violin, serving as song leader and becoming a seasoned vocalist.
“I was born singing,” she said, adding that both her parents were singers as well. “I knew that I was going to be a musician one way or another. I loved singing. I just wanted to use my voice. But when I was 20, I received a calling to music ministry.”
The call came with a cross. Just out of college, Ms. Blaylock was sexually assaulted.
“I became depressed; I was not in a good place,” she recalled. “That’s when God came to me and told me in his own way, ‘I’m not done with you. I want you to sing my song.’”
As she moved out to answer that call, she met a young musician who invited her to sing on a demo recording he was preparing for the Gospel Music Workshop of America.
“After we recorded, he said, ‘I’m going to make a group with these people,’ and that’s how I started singing and recording with Oscar Williams and Perfected Praise.”
Ms. Blaylock also records and tours with Chris & Kyle with True Spirit, another gospel ensemble. Touring with these award-winning gospel groups has taken Ms. Blaylock literally around the world. Still, performing in her hometown for United Methodist Women’s Assembly in St. Louis has special meaning for her.
“I just enjoy the camaraderie of United Methodist Women,” Ms. Blaylock said. “When we meet, we talk about business, but we also joke, eat and fellowship. The group is filled with women who are models of what strong women do. I love the fact that we are all about mission. It’s not just about what we do in our church, it’s what we do in our community. It’s not your average group. Mission is a ministry.”
Ms. Blaylock said she’s been preparing for Assembly for months and is excited.
“I want women to leave Assembly rejuvenated and refreshed in their relationship with God.”
*Yvette Moore is staff writer for Women’s Division and editor of United Methodist Women News.