Sunday, August 30, 2009

Songs and Hymns for Weddings and Commitment Ceremonies

Here are few suggestions for Weddings or other Commitment Ceremonies, including same-sex commitments. I have focused on songs that don't demand the production of children or a heterosexual union, simply because I prefer to err on the side of inclusion, and these are the sort of songs I would have been happy to sing at my own wedding.

Remember that you will probably want to sing a range of songs, including some traditional hymns, or a meditative chant, depending on the type of service. Most of the songs I have listed here have a specific focus on weddings, but I have listed a couple of other songs that might give you some ideas for other types of songs you might like to sing at the end of the entry. 

  • GA221 / AA25 / CP287 / W&R609 / StF603 Come to a wedding (Murray) Good wedding words that are not heterosexist, and simply celebrate love. Sung to BUNESSAN (Morning has broken), so easy for congregations that include lots of non-church-goers. Some versions (StF does) include the possibility of including the names of the happy couple in the final verse (which works well, unless one of them is named Methuselah). Lyrics and sound sample. New words to old tunes
  • AoV2-086 If I speak in words of wisdom / Love Is The Greatest Gift Of All (Marshall Good) This is not exclusively a wedding song, but is very good for weddings, especially if 1 Corithians 13 is part of the service.
  • G(II)633 / GC870 / GC(II)859 / G(3)971 May God bless you hold and keep you (A Nuptial Blessing) Excellent words with a very community-focused view of marriage. I wish I had known about this when I got married! Simple tune. Lyrics, sheet music and sound sample (search for "nuptial). 
  • G(II)630 / GC867 / GC(II)860 / G(3)968 Wherever You Go (Haas) Good words based on Song of Songs / Song of Solomon and Ruth. Needs a cantor. Sound, lyric and sheet music (refrain only) sample here (search for "Wherever you go (Haas)")  
  • NCH364 God today bless this new marriage (Post) Good simple words celebrating a union of love and service to the tune of "Brother, Sister, Let me serve you". Lyrics and sound sample. New words to old tunes  
  • Iona (LFB) / A&M345 / CP288 / SP132 Lord and lover of creation WESTMINSTER ABBEY Good and sung to a very familiar tune (WESTMINSTER ABBEY). Can be used for any romantic union commitment ceremony. Lyrics here. New words to old tunes   
  • TiS 603 / AHB 526 / UMH645 / A&M348 / VU491 / LBW287 / HPP290 / PH533 / CP(E) 343 / W&R610 / StF605 / Lau415 / MP517 O perfect Love all human thought transcending (Gurney) Sources vary in how old-fashioned the language is. Although this hymn is very old, it is still very relevant and beautiful today. Lyrics (older style) and tune sample. 
  • TiS 654 / NCH362 / UMH643 / VU489 / WoV749 / G(II)628 / GC865 / GC(II)856 / G(3)966  / W&R612 / Cha499 / StF607 / Lau416 When love is found and hope comes home (Wren) Lovely words to the tune O WALY WALY, which also talks about the challenges faced by those committing to a lifelong loving relationship. Lyrics. New words to old tunes  
  • CH696 We come dear Lord to celebrate (Bell) A lovely joyful wedding song, to the familiar tune REPTON. Celebrating love, asking for God's blessings on the new family. New words to old tunes  
  • CH697 / AA86 Let’s praise the Creator (Murray) Joyous wedding song. Not all verses are appropriate for same-sex unions as the words "husband and wife" make up a critical rhyme, but the words are so lovely, I wanted to list it. "The love that we wish them, the love that we pray for is stronger than storms and more gentle than breath, endures every trouble, is selfless and faithful, more precious than life and more lasting than death". 
  • ATW 507 Where you tread (Beavis) A very simple and beautiful song based on Ruth's commitment to Naomi. A congregation would pick this up very quickly. 
  • VU490 Our God creation's loving source (Patterson) Lovely words celebrating God's love and love for each other sung to the familiar tune O WALY WALY. Lyrics. New words to old tunes  
  • MV035 Holy one O Holy one (Farquharson) Gentle blessing song for a marriage or commitment service. Probably not immediately easy for a congregation to join in.

Song for Marriage Equality
  • Online Resource Praise the source of all creation giving life through all the earth (Aldredge-Clanton) These new lyrics to the tune ODE TO JOY are about many excellent things, not just marriage equality, but I wanted to put this somewhere it may be found! Lyrics. New words to old tunes 
Songs that are not specifically about marriage that you may like to include: 
Really, you should just sing some hymns that are generally about God's goodness that you really love. 

  • TiS 217 / AHB 148 / NCH43 / CH519 / UMH384 / VU333 / A&M721 / LBW315 / ELW631 / A&M721 / GA463 / HPP48 / GtG366 / PH376 / GC622 / GC(II)613 / G(3)641 / CP485/6 / CP(E) 516 / W&R358 / Cha517 / Srce457 / URW100 / 82Hml-657 / Lau801 / StF503 / MP449 Love divine all loves excelling (Wesley) A beautiful classic song and most hymnals use a very inclusive version of this hymn, even the AHB. Lyrics and sound sample. You may also like to give Rend Collective Experiment's version a listen (hard for congregations to sing, but nice for listening). Oldy-but-a-goody. 
  • Taizé / AoV2-109 / CH772 / GA429 / GtG654 / A&M334 / SFFS 2195 / G(II)396 / GC566 / GC(II)546 / G(3)639 / SP128 / URW381 / Lau944 / W&R448 / StF776 / MP865 In the Lord I'll Be Ever Thankful / El Senyor (Berthier) A joyful and bouncy short song. Works well in English, German and Spanish at least. Good for kids. Sheet music, translations into many other languages, sound samples.  

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Refugee and Migrant Sunday - June 21 2015

Also, please look at the booklet from the Hymn Society that has a particular focus on a welcome to Refugees. 
  • *Online Resource In these times (Haugen) A beautiful new song that focuses clearly on the current refugee crisis and God's clear command that we should create a place of welcome. Sound sample & lyrics. Sheet music
  • Online Resource A child a woman and a man (Wren) Excellent words of welcoming the stranger among us. Lyrics & sheet music. There is also a more modern alternate tune by David MacGregor here. Sound sample.
  • *MV 145 / CP418 / SP&P123 Draw the circle wide (Light) A great song about welcoming all people. Chorus is “Draw the circle wide, draw it wider still. Let this be our song, no-one stands alone, standing side by side, draw the circle wide”. Lyrics. 
  • *CH198 / MV001 / HPP550 / A&M365 / GtG301 / GC753 / GC(II)741 / G(3)850 / SP176 / URW058/ Lau458 Let Us Build a House / All are welcome (Haugen / TWO OAKS) This song has wonderful lyrics of hope for what a Christian community can be like, and a chorus that joyfully says “All are welcome, all are welcome, all are welcome in this place”. Sheet music sample. Sound sample.  
  • *FFS60 Stranger standing at my door Amazing words, but a tricky tune. Would be good if you have a good soloist in your congregation who would sing this and the congregation listen to the very meaningful words. Last verse is "I am fearful of your claim, yet I cannot turn away. Stranger with a foreign name, are you angel here to stay? You are messenger and guest, you the Christ I can't ignore, you my own compassion's test, stranger standing at my door; you the Christ I can't ignore." Lyrics and sheet music.
  • *Tune In: See our God with the tear-streaked face / Our God who weeps (Kate Scull) Very simple folk tune and challenging and hopeful lyrics. Sound sample, lyrics and songbook.
  • FFS78 Who are these strangers? (Gibson) Good words of questioning faith; quite sad and challenging. The tune is new, but it quite intuitive. "Who are these strangers? Why do they throng, crowding the place where we belong? Why do they haunt us with their pain, eyes that have seen so many slain? We do not know them, yet we kneel and bring them to this holy place, where bread is broken, wine is shared, suffering met by love and grace".
  • AoV2-102 / GA509 Who will speak if we don't (Haugen) Excellent challenging words. Lyrics (scroll). Good for teenagers.
  • *TiS 690 / CH259 / A&M557 / StS115 / SP237 / Srce54 Beauty for brokenness hope for despair (Kendrick) Themes of healing from personal and universal suffering and an emotive chorus. “Refuge from cruel wars, havens from fear, cities for sanctuary, freedoms to share, peace to the killing-fields, scorched earth to green; Christ for the bitterness, his cross for the pain”. Lyrics.
  • FFS34 I am standing waiting (Murray) Good words of justice for children of poor nations to the well known French melody AU CLAIR DE LA LUNE. "I am standing waiting, waiting at your door, one of hunger's children from a billion poor" Lyrics and sheet music PDF. 
  • Online Resource: The Children come (Winfrey-Gillette) For those in the USA, this new song focussed on care for unaccompanied children entering the USA is particularly appropriate this week. Sheet music 
  • *TiS 629 / AHB 558 / AoV2-136 / ATA 197 / CH544 / VU600 / A&M575 / Lau888 When I needed a neighbor were you there (Carter) A classic folk church song. Well known and fits well with this theme. It's not specifically about refugees, but it makes a very good point that we should remember to be neighbours to all who are in need. "And the creed and the colour and the name won't matter"... Lyrics. Good for kids.   
  • TiS 421 Where the Spirit is there's freedom (Harling) Fun and good. Can be sung with the congregation in two halves singing each part, which is not too hard once they have the hang of singing it in unison. Good for kids Lyrics.
  • Here in this place Come and share this land (Wiltshire) A terrific song to help us learn that sharing our country and freedom is a great thing to be able to do. I think this would be Good for kids sung to ORIENTIS PARTIBUS, but maybe there is a more appealing tune for kids out there? Free sheet music.
  • Recorded music Our God of hope / Carry the Dream (Coleman) A good song about God being with the hope of refugees, protesters, prophets. It would be even better if someone from your congregation sings it. Sound sample and purchasing options
  • Online Resource No longer strangers and aliens (Davidsson) This catchy song is based on Ephesians 2; it would be more appropriate for American congregations, since they actually call people aliens over there... Youtube
  • *VU77 / PH035 / GtG153 / 82Hml-246 In Bethlehem a Newborn Boy (Herklots) Great words acknowledging the danger Christ was born into, the danger that still exists today, and Christ's redemptive power over it. The phrase "but down the ages rings the cry of those who saw their children die" is so powerful, and reminds me of families in Syria, on refugee boats, and in hospitals. The tune is suitably solemn and simple; somewhat formal.  This is a song that may be sung more commonly at Christmas, but would also be appropriate for a Sunday such as this.
  • GtG154 Jesus entered Egypt (Tice) Another song from the Christmas season that also serves as a reminder that we need to reach out to the refugee, migrant and stranger among us. Highly recommended. Tune sample. "Jesus entered Egypt fleeing Herod's hand, living as an alien in a foreign land. Far from home and country with his family, was there room and welcome for this refugee?"....