Ministering through the arts
Performing has always been a passion for Eric Williamson. From singing, to dancing, to acting he has always loved being in the spotlight. “When I was younger I always used my different talents to express myself,” says 21 year old Williamson. The future music teacher now likes to express his love God.
When Eric was 4 years old he began singing alongside his mother in their church choir. It wasn’t a surprise when Williamson announced to his family that he wanted to attend Penn State and study music education. The junior from Teaneck, NJ, now receives professional vocal lessons and has expanded his talents and skills.
Eric is now an active member of United Soul Ensemble where he is the captain of Alpha Omega step. Traditionally, members of black Greek letter organizations usually do step performances. Being able to use these skills to praise God immediately attracted Williamson to the group. He is also a member of Silent praise mime ministry.
Williamson believes that it is important that people know that when he ministers, he is not a performer. “I don’t like to call anything I do a performance,” he says. He also explains the general difference between performing in general and ministering. “It is a totally different thing when you do it for God. I’m not doing it for accolades or awards. I am doing it to show gratitude what better way to show appreciation to the God that gave me this talent than to minister his word."
Eric says he loves to be in God’s presence, and that is the most important part of ministering. “On top of singing, dancing, and stepping I am ministering, and by doing so I am in his presence. Now that is what I love the most."
United Soul Ensemble also known as U.S.E is a student organization that prides itself in praising and worshiping God. The organization was first founded when black students would gather by one of the pianos in the east dormitory. As the group grew, the choir itself started to grow in terms of talent. Today, the choir has over 40 members and now has a dance and step team ministry within the organization. The organization recently celebrated its 40th year anniversary by hosting a concert featuring the founding members of the organization.
40th Anniversary Celebration
More than 100 members attended the 40th anniversary celebration held on March 26, 2012. Former members, including Priscilla King, a founding member, were invited on the stage to sing with the choir.