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Second Chapter of Acts

Second Chapter of Acts
The {{Second Chapter of Acts}} made an indelible mark on the Christian music world, and in the minds of many, planted the seeds that led to the worship movement that now permeates the church. The act was comprised of two sisters and a brother, and when they began performing two of the members were 13 and 15.

Elder sister {{Annie Herring}} and her husband Buck took in her younger brother and sister, Matthew Ward and Nellie (Ward) Greisen when they were orphaned. Their mother died in 1968 and their father passed on soon after in 1970. Annie knew the family needed healing, including herself, a woman who not only lost her parents but had also became an instant mother to her siblings. Annie had just learned to play piano and we sang together--there was real healing in that worship, says Nellie Greisen. There was ministry between God and the three of us. Those private worship moments led to public singing opportunities. They landed a record deal and recorded together for the first time in 1973. Those first sessions yielded songs for MGM, including Jesus Is and Im So Happy.

From there the history is well known. Their landmark first album, ...with footnotes, contained their signature song, Easter Song. They continued releasing albums like In The Volume of the Book, ==Mansion Builder==, ==Roar of Love==, (a concept album based on the C.S. Lewis classic, The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe) through their last regular release, ==Hymns II==.

The group, feeling that God was calling them individually to other things, dissolved in 1988. Annie continued on, writing and recording songs for her own singing ministry which sees singing in 50 - 60 churches a year around the country. Its good. They (the concerts) are fun. And I am having the time of my life, says Annie. For me personally its a thrill. Buck and I are having fun, but more than that we are seeing God moving in really wonderful ways. Now I am able to go to any church that has a sound system. For me the whole key to ministry is that if you bring people into the presence of God, their lives will be changed. And that is our purpose.

Still based in Lindale, Texas she also continues to record. I have done five solo records, Annie offers. The fifth was called ==Glimpses==. The album was released with a devotional book published by Bethany House, says Herring. It is a thirty-day devotional and I wrote all of the devotionals. Her latest release is entitled ==Wonder==. Matthew Ward, too, has remained based in Lindale, Texas and lives there with his wife Deanna and their three daughters. Matthew began his solo career years before the group ended with the project, Toward Eternity, and has continued to record and perform since the book on the band has been closed. I have done five solo albums and three since the group ended, states Matthew, the last being Point of View on Benson.

Nellie (Ward) Greisen and her husband Steve moved away from Lindale in 1993 to Colorado Springs where they raise their two teenage sons, Andrew and Jesse. As for performing, Nellie, unlike her siblings, hasnt embarked into a music ministry. I really dont want to be a solo artist, confesses Greisen. That has never been a thing for me. I really love to sing. If there was the right group in our church I would sing in it, but I wouldnt want to be the main artist. I have done some worship things and I love doing that. My life is supporting Steve in his video business -- everything is different now. I am not even aware of music.

And so ends the career of the {{Second Chapter of Acts}}? Not really. In December of 1994, the group performed for the first time since they split in 1988. Together they performed at a church outside Seattle performing songs (for the first time ever) from the ==Roar Of Love==. They didnt even rehearse. They worked on their parts separately and then performed. The result? Buck turned on the tape and we started singing, remembers Annie. And we started crying because it was all still there. And he (Buck) was just crying like a baby. There is just something about the {{Second Chapter of Acts}} identity -- both musically and spiritually -- that is its own identity. Its not something you strive for.

It wasnt five seconds until it just clicked, Nellie added. It was like we had never stopped singing together. It was good because even as I was there enjoying the experience, I knew it was a done deal. I saw that all of us had changed and gone in different directions. And Matthews recollection? We sang to tracks and it was kind of unique. It was strange standing there with the two of them singing again. It was magical. People loved it.

The season for the {{Second Chapter of Acts}} seems to have passed, but their music and their legacy continues to live on. Is it because of the many tours they undertook? Was it because of the many great musicians and producers that worked with the band at many times (including but not limited such greats as {{Michael Omartian}}, Lee Sklar, Joe Osbourne, Jay Graydon, and Richard Souther, not to mention the early incarnation of the band that included Michael Been and other members of the Call)?

No, they live for one reason--best stated by Matthew Ward. Mostly because of Annies heart and what the Lord placed in her, the Second Chapters music has endured. She will tell you she is not a songwriter, she is a song-receiver. She feels like the songs she gets are really from the Lord, to her or through her, for people. I think that is the reason you can listen to them. They still do something to your heart.