Apr 29, 2008

Alicia Garcia leaving Liberty for personal ministry

by Daniel Martinez
After two years of serving Liberty University and Thomas Road Baptist Church (TRBC) as a worship leader, Alicia Williamson Garcia, head of the ministry team LU Praise (LUP) and teacher of a women’s Bible study, is moving on to pursue her growing women’s ministry. “My husband and I are relocating our conference and itinerate ministry to Mobile, Ala.,” Garcia said. “We will reconstruct our office staff and board of directors so we might fully develop the non-profit In Worship ministry and Women In Worship (WIW) Conferences. We also have four remaining WIW conferences this year.” Hired by Dr. Jerry Falwell in 2006, Garcia has been busy since arriving at Liberty and TRBC. She has taught as a guest lecturer in worship classes, performed as an artist-in-residence at TRBC, taught the Bible Principle of Worship at TRBC and led a Tuesday night women’s Bible study for the past two years. However, her greatest efforts have been focused on developing LUP, a traveling concert and worship choir. “LUP was never work,” Garcia said. “LUP was my calling and my absolute pleasure. God gave me the vision to develop a multi-cultural, ethnically diverse team of worshippers. He showed me that my assignment was to develop a team that would show what he has done here; a team that would be a picture of worship around his glorious throne.” However, now that she is moving on, students who worked with her have a chance to reflect on what they have learned from her. “She is just a natural worship leader,” junior Lorenzo Jackson said. “She has helped me see what true worship to God is. She helped me see the importance of worship.” Other members of LUP also benefited from Garcia’s teaching. “Probably the most valuable lesson I’ve learned is the paramount importance of knowing the Scripture and applying it daily to my life,” senior Rachel Rizzuti said. “I watched how she led worship,” senior Adrienne Dutilly said. “I learned more about stage presence and the importance of communicating with the audience that you are singing in front of.” All three students said that one of Garcia’s foremost principles of worship was that “Worship is a response to truth — not a reaction to circumstances,” according to Garcia. She also encouraged the team to celebrate its differences “ethnically, culturally, geographically, denominationally — you name it.” “That’s because we know Romans 6 — that our true and eternal identity is in Christ Jesus,” Garcia said. Apart from working with her worship conferences in Alabama, Garcia will also continue to pursue her Master of Arts in Worship Studies Degree via Liberty’s Distance Learning Program. She has also invited members of LUP to join her at several events, such as Women In Worship conferences in Virginia and New York. “LUP has impacted me so much this year (with) the traveling, singing in front of thousands at convocation and hundreds of thousands on TV,” Jackson said. “I believe the friends gained from LUP will remain friends forever.” Those memories are ones that Garcia will “not just walk away” from and the students will not soon forget. “Our time this past year has been anointed,” Dutilly said. “We have sung together, prayed together, laughed together, cried together, gotten irritated with each other…. I would do it again in a heartbeat.” “LUP has influenced and shaped my life more than I can really express. I don’t think I’ll figure it out until a few years from now,” Rizzuti said. “But it’s really not about LUP. It’s about Jesus Christ.” “God loves all people, and he has given us a love for all people, especially here at Liberty,” Garcia said. “Our heart is to see the nations worship.” Contact Daniel Martinez at dpmartinez@liberty.edu.
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