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Nashville Moment: Steven Curtis Chapman

The Grammy winner discusses his new music, Ryman concert series, and faith in the face of tragedy.

Written By:  Sarah Skates

Photographers:  Robby Klein

Steven Curtis Chapman, Singer

Legendary Christian artist Steven Curtis Chapman has been helping others for years, particularly through international adoption. “When you do things for the least of the least in our world, you realize why God told us to do this—because we are actually the ones who become richer,” he says. As he preps his 23rd album, this month’s Worship and Believe, the five-time Grammy winner discusses his new music, Ryman concert series, and faith in the face of tragedy.

Age: 53

Full of hope: In 2000, Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, brought home the first of their three daughters, Shaohannah Hope, from an orphanage in China.

“At the Nashville airport, we had people coming up and saying, ‘We’d love to experience the miracle of adoption, but we can’t afford it,’” he recalls. “My wife knew that shouldn’t stand in the way.”

The result was Show Hope, an organization that has aided more than 5,000 adoptions from 53 countries, including the United States. Based in Franklin, Show Hope also oversees six facilities in China that give special needs orphans a better chance at adoption. “We wanted to see children who might otherwise pass away have a chance at life,” says Chapman. Show Hope’s Empowered to Connect conference will be held April 8 and 9 at Brentwood Baptist Church.

A place to play: Chapman hosts and performs at the monthly concert series Sam’s Place—Music for the Spirit, which runs through May. Held at Ryman Auditorium, the performances include special guests spanning a spectrum of genres, like Dave Barnes, Ronnie Milsap, Amy Grant, and Matt Maher.

“Sam’s Place is one of the coolest things I’ve had the privilege to be a part of—ever,” says Chapman. “It’s been an amazing blessing for me, and I hope it’s a blessing for Nashville. It’s a night we can come together to laugh and sing and cry a little bit and celebrate.”

Act of faith: After the tragic 2008 death of his five-year-old adopted daughter Maria, Chapman found comfort while singing in church. This led to his first album of worship-style music in his three-decade career. “Through our faith we can walk through difficult days and keep trusting, keep declaring, keep saying it, and singing,” he says. “That is what this new record is about and why it is called Worship and Believe.”

Helping hands: Chapman’s family experienced incredible support following the tragedy. “The Nashville community has come around us in an amazing way,” he says. “Our community has loved us, prayed for us, and encouraged us, as we have taken one step at a time.”

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