Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Songs and Hymns for Blue Christmas / Longest Night (updated for 2017)

Our congregation has a small Blue Christmas service every year on an evening before Christmas itself. It's specifically for people who are mourning, or have other reasons for not feeling particularly joyful at Christmas. It's small, and quiet, and for that reason, we sometimes don't sing together - people feel more fragile when their voices feel small. But sometimes we do. And sometimes the musicians just play some music that might help. Here are some ideas that might work for small or large gatherings, and either sung by the congregation, or by a soloist or group of singers.

See also General Advent Suggestions.
  • *Online Resource Dry (Paul Somerville) An excellent song seeking refreshment from the living water and grace of Christ. It will need a little time for teaching, or ask your musicians to sing it. Sound sample and sheet music
  • *Online Resource Christmas come close (Shirley Murray) Excellent words, sung to a simple hymnlike tune with some really beautiful images about difficult things and the hope that Christmas brings. Sheet music and lyrics.
  • *Online Resource Drawing Nearer (Christopher Grundy) An excellent contemporary song about the lack of peace within the world and within our souls, and the desire for God to "steal our hearts - like a baby". It's great. Free sheet music. Sound sample (youtube). I would use this first by a soloist, and invite the congregation to join in as they get the hang of it.   
  • TiS 693 / AoV1-031 / GA212 Come as you are that's how I want you (Deidre Browne) This song is beautiful, gentle, simple, and very well known. Lyrics (search for "come as you are"). Slow and mushy sound sample. A good song to start the service. 
  • Unknown Source After the ride / He was born (Robin Mann) Not easily accessible, but this has been sung at Brunswick by a soloist at our Blue Christmas service and it's really beautiful. 
  • ATW 475 / NCYC'01 / SP&P008 Come to the banquet there’s a place for you (Faye White) An excellent song by Melbourne singer and songwriter Faye White. "Though you maybe have no money, though you maybe feel unworthy, in your strength and in your weakness you are welcome, come." If you are celebrating communion, this might be an appropriate choice - sung in a more meditative way.  Lyrics.
  • *AoV1-192 / NCH092 / VU433 / GA540 / PH544 / GtG676 / GC758 / GC(II)751 / G(3)858 / CP020 / URW191 / Lau676 Day is done but love unfailing (James Quinn) This is specific for evening services; I think the words for this are really beautiful, the tune very familiar (AR HYD NOS) and the image of unending Light in the midst of death and darkness is full of hope. Lyrics and sound sample. New words to old tunes  
  • AoV2-043 / ATFG520 / CoC40 / NCH538 / SFFS 2095 / GC(II)355 / SP&P174 / W&R223 / ZSS63 Star-Child (Shirley Murray) A lovely lovely carol. Very easy to sing. A big favourite. This might work well to end the service. Lyrics and sample sheet music.   
  • ATAR606 / StS121 / FFS50 Nothing is lost on the breath of God (Colin Gibson) A beautiful song and very easy to sing even if new. "Nothing is lost on the breath of God, nothing is lost for ever; God's breath is love, and that love will remain, holding the world for ever. No feather too light, no hair too fine, no flower too brief in its glory; no drop in the ocean, no dust in the air, but is counted and told in God's story." Words and full sheet music. Sound sample. 
  • Tune In: God's Mercy (Sheree Anderson) A beautiful ballad of healing: "Like the sun upon my skin, I can smile and take it in, and my wounds begin to heal, that's God's mercy". Free songbook. 
  • Taizé / CH276 / VU22 / GtG090 / ELW262 / GA283 / A&M053 / G(II)256 / GC332 / GC(II)340 / G(3)406 / CP094 / W&R166 / PfAS037B / SP28 / URW396 / Lau088 Wait for the Lord (Jacques Berthier) Wait for the Lord whose day is near, wait for the lord, keep watch, take heart. A lovely simple Taize chant. Sheet music, translations and sound samples. 
  • *CoC28 I didn't hear the angels sing (Iris McCoy) Lovely statement of faith despite not having witnessed the Christmas events. Simple tune. 
  • TiS 647 / AoV2-012 / ATN 25 Comfort, comfort all my people (Robin Mann) Easy to sing, beautiful lyrics; largely a paraphrase of this passage. Chorus is “Comfort, comfort all my people, with the comfort of my word. Speak ye tender to my people, all your sins are taken away”. Lyrics, mp3 sample. 
  • Online Resource Creator God (Margaret Rizza) Lovely words, and a very simple tune - though I think it would be best for a soloist. Thanks for the suggestion Jo Rand. Sound sample (track 5) Lyrics.
  • Online Resource Kindle a flame within our hearts (Philip Garside) A beautiful gentle song, with lyrics that can be altered for each week of Advent. Sheet music and lyrics. 
  • Music by Heart 59 Come light of lights (Ruth Cunningham) A lovely two-part meditative chant: "Come light of lights into my heart. Come wisdom of spirit into my heart". It can be sung quite slowly and meditatively, or more energetically and joyfully, depending on your context; it can also be split into a round! Two videos: A quick version and a slow versionSound sample. Good for kids.
  • Iona (Enemy of Apathy) Sing my soul when hope is sleeping (John Bell and Graham Maule) "Sing, my soul, when hope is sleeping. Sing when faith gives way to fears; Sing to melt the ice of sadness Making way for joy through tears." Simple to sing. 
  • *AA141 / CoC44 The wind blew keen (Colin Gibson) A beautiful carol, with simple straightforward Celtic type tune. I hope this becomes popular, because it's really lovely, but also acknowledges pain and discomfort. 
  • *Taizé / GtG814 / CP563 / PfAS062D In God alone my soul can find rest and peace / Mon Ame Se Repose (Jacques Berthier) A very beautiful chant from Taize. Music and sound samples for practice. Good for kids.  
  • NCH476 /  CH565 / VU716 / WoV781 / LBW294 / ELW596 / GA454 / SFFS 2212 / GtG821 / HPP395  / G(II)427  / GC603 / GC(II)598 / G(3)685 / CP401 / W&R424 / Cha619 / SP296 / URW170 My life flows on in endless song (Robert Lowry) A wonderful hymn. Lots of great recordings of this are available too. It's not so great if it is not familiar to your congregation, but once known, it is worth hanging on to. This is not known so well in Australia... Might be good to end the service on a note of hope. Lyrics. Oldy-but-a-goody.
  • Recorded music Like Mary and Joseph (John Coleman) A song about a man whose family is broken in a Summer Christmas. Worth a look, particularly if there has been a recent break-up in your congregation. Sound sample and lyrics. 
  • Unusual Resource It is love (Scott Kearns) This beautiful song is straightforward to sing, and fits well with this service - a song of hope. Youtube and lyrics
  • Online Resource Lullaby (Christopher Grundy) Oh, this is so beautiful; this song has been used in services at hospices at longest night services, but could also be used at a Blue Christmas service. And I just wanted to list it so you could listen to it too. Youtube.
  • Online Resource May you find a light (The Brilliance) Great song about searching with integrity. Thanks Jon Humphries! Youtube. Could also be used at Epiphany.
Sometimes it's good to sing a standard carol, just slowly and quietly. Some good ones:
  • *TiS 321 / AHB 245 Coldly the night winds winging (Morris Martin) I think this is one of the most beautiful carols in existence.
  • TiS 317 / AHB 243 / NCH165 / CH316 / UMH242 / HPP95 / CP131 / CP(E) 59 / W&R210 / 82Hml-084 / StF201 / MP451 Love came down at Christmas (Christina Rossetti) Needs one small change in AHB to make it gender inclusive for people. NCH does this by replacing "all men" with "neighbour" in the last verse. I prefer the tune in TiS / AHB. Lyrics and odd-looking angels. Oldy-but-a-goody.
  • TiS 265 / AHB 193 / AoV1-174 / NCH116 / CH273 / UMH211 / VU001 / LBW034 / ELW283 / GA285 / HPP92 / PH009 / GC317 / GC(II)323 / G(3)395 / CP089 / CP(E) 32 / W&R154 / Cha119 / 82Hml-056 / Lau112 / StF180 / MP493 O come O come Emmanuel (Psaleroilum Cantionum Catholicarum) A very well known ancient Advent carol. Most versions are pretty inclusive. Lyrics and sound sample. There are also two alternate versions (one by Sue Wickham and one by John Henson), set to the same tune, but with more modern lyrics and ideas. See the Facebook Group for lyrics. Oldy-but-a-goody.  There are also some lyrics written specifically for a Blue Christmas service
  • Recorded music Be Still (The Fray) Not specifically Christmassy, but could be very helpful. Thanks to Claire for this suggestion. Youtube. Lyrics
  • NCH131 / CH303 / UMH218 / VU44 / LBW054 / ELW282 / HPP128 / PH038 / GtG123 / GC367 / GC(II)379 / G(3)433 / CP140/1 CP(E) 56 / W&R191 / Cha153 / Srce2-289 / 82Hml-089 / Lau135 / StF205 It came upon the midnight clear (Edmund Sears) You may not have thought of this (I hadn't!), but look at verse 3, listed in the comments below (though check your hymnal as they vary a bit). Sung slowly and carefully, this could be really beautiful in the setting of this service. Thanks Adrianne for this idea. Lyrics & Sheet music.
You may also like to include a Kyrie.

Longest Night / Winter songs

  • Recorded music Longest Night (Peter Mayer) This is a lovely and very appropriate song, which you might like to play. Lyrics and source. Sound sample.
  • NCH128 / CH305 / UMH221 / VU055 / ELW294 / HPP115 / PH036 / GtG144 / CP122 / CP(E) 55 / W&R196 / Srce2-275 / 82Hml-112 / Lau144 / StF204 / MP337 In the bleak midwinter (Christina Rossetti) Beautiful. Very Northern-hemispherific though. Oldy-but-a-goody. Lyrics and warbly sound sample. 
  • TiS 321 / AHB 245 Coldly the night winds winging (Morris Martin) I think this is one of the most beautiful carols in existence. Oldy-but-a-goody.
  • HiOS139 Through winter cold (Shirley Murray) Lilting Celtic tune and lyrics of hope in the depths of Winter.
  • NCH434 / VU530 / HPP275 / PH292 / CP427 All beautiful the march of days (Frances Wile)
  • URW418 God comes to us (Dirk Damonte) Very lovely simple song. Could be used as a chant, or at various points during the service.   
  • Taizé / A&M847 / GtG294 / G(II)456 / GC644 / PfAS088A / SP330 Within Our Darkest Night (Jacques Berthier) A lovely chant of continuing hope in the face of despair. Lyrics and sound samples. Good for kids. 
  • NCH151 / Iona (SBL) / UMH244 / VU071 / LBW072 / ELW284 / HPP119 / PH061 / GtG142 / G(II)272 / GC361 / CP146 / W&R213 / Cha166 / 82Hml-114 / Lau132 'Twas in the moon of wintertime / Huron Carol (Jean de Brebeuf) I love this one, and it does a good job of adapting the Christmas story to a Native American context. Lyrics and history.
  • NCH432 / CH234 Tis winter now; the fallen snow (Samuel Longfellow) Simple words based on Psalm 74, sung to O WALY WALY. The words are beautiful, though not completely inclusive in CH234. New words to old tunes  
 Over to you... Do you have some ideas that you might be using in a similar service this year?

Thursday, October 27, 2011

General Advent Songs and Hymns (Updated for 2017)

Advent Candle-lighting songs and other songs you make like to start looking at as you think about Advent… Updated November 2016. I will keep adding to these as the weeks go by, so check back from time to time. There will also songs for each week of Advent 2016 - see the panel on the right hand side for links (or the Coming Up in the Lectionary tab) as they are updated.

A specific song for blessing the Christmas Bowl
  • *Online Resource An empty bowl, uplifted hands (Bob Faser) Good words for just before the start of Advent, when the Christmas Bowl is blessed, ready for contributions during the Advent season. Sung to the tune WINCHESTER NEW. Lyrics.
Specific Candle-Lighting songs
  • Online Resource In a world so filled with chaos / Advent Prayer (David Lohman) This simple song reflects on candle-lighting as a fervent sign of hope in the midst of difficulty. Free sheet music.
  • Online Resource Shine a candle (Lucy Graham) A simple and quite lovely song that could be sung each week of Advent. Free sheet music and notes for bringing the song to life.  
  • *Online Resource Kindle a flame within our hearts (Philip Garside) A beautiful gentle song, with lyrics that can be altered for each week of Advent. Sheet music and lyrics.
  • Iona (M&G) / CH359 / MV033 / ZSS54 / StJ / GtG127 / ELW253 / GA293 / SFFS 2085 / G(II)276 / GC370 / GC(II)364 / G(3)429 / CP368 / W&R402 He came down that we may have love / Jesus came bringing us hope (Traditional Cameroon) The translation in "More Voices" (Jesus came bringing...) seems particularly appropriate for Advent and it could easily work as an Advent Candle lighting song. Just sing hope, love, peace or joy, depending on the week. Would be more exciting and energetic with some African drums, rather than a quiet reflective candle lighting song. Lyrics and sound samples. Good for kids.
  • *GA279 / A&M56 / SP019 Word of Justice / Advent Litany (Bernadette Farrell) A good call and response for Advent, with many many verses. Only use a few each week. The cantor says one line, then the congregation respone "Allelulia!", the cantor again, then "Maranatha! Lyrics in English and Vietnamese!  Sound sample.
  • Online Resource Light a candle bright and tall (David Wood) Excellent words to the tune for "As with Gladness"; a new verse for each week and one for Christmas day. I'm thinking we might sing this at home when we light our candles! Lyrics and free sheet music.  Good for older kids.
  • Online Resource In twilight's calm and gentle space / Season of Gifts (Helen Wiltshire) Based on the themes of GIFT: Grace Illumination Faith Transformation. Free book download.
  • CH284 / StS015 Hope is a candle once lit by the prophets (Richard Leach) Excellent words for candle lighting, including a verse for each candle and one for Christmas Day. Sung to a nice Scottish folk tune (GALLOWAY TAM). Lyrics (downloads a Word document)
  • MV221 I am walking a path of peace (Janet Tissandier) A simple song for a benediction or an Advent Candle Song; words can be altered to paths of love, grace, hope, joy etc. Good for kids.
  • GtG467 / STB058 Give Us Light / Jyothi dho Prabhu (Charles Vas) This song in Hindi or English is simple and repetitive and could be sung in either language (with a little teaching time). You could sing all 5 verses or just a few. It might also work during Advent as a candle lighting song, although you will need to consult with a Hindi speaker to change the lyrics.  
  • *MV220 Hope shines as the solitary star (Catherine Maclean) A nice song seeking personal growth and connection that reflects the love of Christ. It will need to be taught, but once taught it's easily sung. Lyrics
  • Online Resource Be still and know (adapted) (Richard Schwedes) An adaptation of the old familiar tune (ATN9) with a verse for each week. Lyrics sheet New words to old tunes.
  • GA272 Maranatha Maranatha Come Lord Jesus Come (Jane Wood) A good, simple Advent chant with some nice verses and prayers to go with each week. 
  • VU007 / HPP109 / W&R165 / Cha132 Hope is a star that shines in the night / When God is a child (Brian Wren) A candle lighting song with a chorus sung each week "When God is a child there's joy in our song. The last shall be first and the weak shall be strong, and none shall be afraid". Lyrics.
  • *GC(II)326 Lead Us to Your Light (Carol Browning) Good advent song. You could sing one verse each week, concluding with the final verse on Christmas day. Youtube.
  • Online Resource:  Prepare the way of the Lord (Jeffrey Lowery) An upbeat song, good for kids and teenagers, I think. The verses are kind of wordy, but they're good words. Free sheet music. The verses follow the traditional advent themes of peace, hope, joy and love, so you could also sing it every Sunday of Advent. 
  • Online resource The Advent candle shines with hope (Jay Padgett) New words for each week of Advent to a nice traditional hymn tune (MARYTON). This would go very easily in most congregations. Best sung fairly slowly. New words to old tunes. Free sheet music.
  • Online Resource Hope is a light (Daniel Damon) A simple and quite nice Advent candle lighting song. Free sheet music.
  • SP&P088 The Universe is bending (Jeremy McLeod) While not specifically an Advent candle lighting song, I think this could work for such prayers, as it is simple to change just one word every week. Lyrics.
Anytime in Advent songs (some could also be used for candle-lighting, or sung each week as a theme song)
  • *Online Resource Come Christmas Child (Shirley Murray) A wonderful new song that fits the themes we are exploring this year: that Christ will come amid the pain and hurt that exists in the world (oh, maybe we explore that every year?). The tune is not easy - it will need to be taught, but the lyrics will make it worth the time! Lyrics and sheet music.
  • *Online Resource Drawing Nearer (Christopher Grundy) An excellent contemporary song about the lack of peace within the world and within our souls, and the desire for God to "steal our hearts - like a baby". It's great. Free sheet music. Sound sample (youtube). I would use this first by a soloist, and invite the congregation to join in as they get the hang of it.
  • Online Resource Christ comes again (Barbara Hamm) Very easy to sing, and good lyrics about where Christ can be found in our everyday lives. Lyrics and sheet music
  • Online Resource Hey Mary! (Sam & Malcolm Gordon) A lovely children's song about the annunciation. It captures the surprise and the universality of God's arrival to each of us. Youtube and sheet musicGood for kids. 
  • *Music by Heart 59 Come light of lights (Ruth Cunningham) A lovely two-part chant that would be a nice meditative song for any week of Advent: "Come light of lights into my heart. Come wisdom of spirit into my heart". It can be sung quite slowly and meditatively, or more energetically and joyfully, depending on your context; it can also be split into a round! Two videos: A quick version and a slow versionSound sample. Good for kids.
  • CH256 / VU424 / GtG765 / StF411 May the God of hope go with us every day (Alvin Schutmaat) Simple joyful song with a focus on working for peace, working with the "God of peace" who fills our lives with "love and joy and peace"; I would sing just the first verse and chorus. A good song for the end of the service; be careful it doesn't get too pedestrian or childish - think of traditional Argentinian music, which is what it is. Good for kids.
  • MV019 Maranatha (Louise Skibsted) This simple chant, simply “Maranatha, Maranatha, Come Lord Jesus, come” might work well if you are having a more meditative approach to the Advent season. We used this in 2013 and 2014 and I'm not sick of it yet.  
  • *NCH121 / UMH210 / VU005 / WoV629 / ELW266 / W&R163 / Cha139 All earth is waiting / All earth is hopeful / Toda la tierra espera al Salvador (Alberto Taule) Fun Catalonian tune, good words, although the English translations vary between sources. Could be good for kids. A nice recording from Chile in Spanish. Slow and majestic organ sample and English lyrics. I particularly like this translation.
  • *MV028 / StJ / FFS25 / GC(II)507 / G(3)587 God of the Bible / Fresh as the morning (Shirley Murray) Good words. I particularly like the tune by Alonso, as the chorus is really very wonderful. This is a song worth learning for Advent, but can be sung all through the year. I think this song would be a really good "fit" for our congregation. Lyrics, sheet music sample.
  • AoVK-52 O Emmanuel, come into our hearts (Michael Mangan) with 3 verses. In 2008 we sang just the chorus on Advent 1, then added one verse for each week. Verse 1 “We your people are waiting for you..” Verse 2 “ We, your people are longing for you”. Verse 3 “ We your people are ready for you”. Could use a cantor for the verse and congregation join in the chorus. Would be great with good Latin or African percussion. We sang this in 2013 during Advent, and it worked well. Good for kids.
  • *CoC30 Look toward Christmas! (Shirley Murray) I particularly like tune (i); very joyous! A fun song looking forward to Christmas. I don’t know if it would last the distance of singing it every week before Christmas. Quite good for kids. I like the image of the angels flexing their wings! 
  • Taize / CH276 / VU22 / GtG090 / ELW262 / GtG090 / GA283 / G(II)256 / GC332 / GC(II)340 / G(3)406 / CP094 / W&R166 / PfAS037B / SP28 / URW396 / Lau088 Wait for the Lord (Jacques Berthier) Wait for the Lord whose day is near, wait for the lord, keep watch, take heart. A lovely simple Taize chant. Sheet music, translations and sound samples.
  • CH784 Come light light of God / Lumière de Dieu (Grandchamp Community) A lovely simple chant. Would be beautiful for Advent candle lighting. Simple harmonies. 
  • *MV045 Hamba nathi (Zulu) This is the song we sang during Advent 2009 for the (usually silent) procession at the start of our worship service, and we wrote verses for each week. We sang it in Zulu followed by one line in English on the repeat. Week 1: You are holy, you show us the way. Week 2: Justice is coming, prepare the way. Week 3: Singing and shouting, we're walking the way. Week 4: We're walking to freedom, come join in the song. There are a lot of other translations and variations of this song. I like "Come walk with us, the journey is long". Good for kids.
  • ATFG 514 Emmanuel Carol / God of light we are waiting for you (Gael Berberick) This is probably not one to sing every week, but is definitely worth looking at as a general resource for Advent. 
  • MV011 / StS007 / GtG091 / GC(II)338 / G(3)405 Come, come Emmanuel / Advent gathering song (James Chepponis) The simple chant is quite lovely, and the cantor soars beautifully. It could be quite formal if you like. Can work as a chant without the cantor part; you could choose particular cantor verses for each week, or even make up your own, which is what we've done at Brunswick. At other times of year it can be used with the Cantor for confession. Slow sound sample. Sheet music sample.
  • Iona (HSNW) / VU019 / A&M839 / SP326 Kindle a flame to lighten the dark and take all fear away (Iona) This song would also work well as a simple candle lighting chant during Advent in the Northern Hemisphere. Sound sample.
  • GC(II)339 When the wind of winter blows (Ruth Duck) Northern Hemisphere-specific Advent song. Best if you live somewhere where it actually snows.
  • GC(II)352 / G(3)442 Gift of God O Emmanuel (Marty Haugen) A nice chant-like refrain and Cantor line. Note that this one needs a cantor. Would be excellent for Advent and then Christmas day. Many verses which can be sung, so choose the most appropriate for your congregation or write your own. Sound sample. Sheet music sample.
  • *HPP216 / GtG092 While We Are Waiting Come (Claire Cloniger) A lovely simple chant of anticipatory praise.
  • GC324 / RS 492 Here in this world where darkness surrounds us / Come O Hope of your people / Advent Gathering (Rory Cooney) Excellent questioning words. Cantor and response. Simple to sing, and quite beautiful "Show us your face, O promise of dawn". It's in 7/8 so it immediately appeals to me.... Sheet music sample.
  • Online Resource An ancient story told (Leonie Percival) New words to the very familiar tune LEONI, inspired by a refugee family within the author's church community. Sheet music
    New words to old tunes.
  • *Seeds of Faith Prepare the Way For Love (Richard Bruxvoort-Colligan) A good song for kids. I think it would be fun to make up additional verses for this one so it could carry through the whole of Advent. Sound sample. BUC people, I have this book. Good for kids.
  • Tune In: Dare to Dream (Elaine Loukes) A great song about having a vision for the future, being lead by the light of Bethlehem’s star. "Dare to dream of new beginnings, Paths untried, by faith supplied".  Free downloadable songbook.  
  • *AoVK-58 We wait in hope for the Lord (Nethaniel Ford) Simple a cappella round "We wait in hope for the Lord, God is our help and our shield. And so our hearts rejoice, for we trust in God's holy name". Good for kids. 
  • STB268 / VF033 The grain is ripe (Shirley Erena Murray) Hopeful words of harvest, sung to a familiar-ish tune. It has some tricky timing, so be clear when you lead it.
  • URW424 Come Lord Jesus (Carey Landry) An extremely simple chant that could be used in Advent. 
  • CH281 / UMH202 / VU009 / WoV626 / LBW626 / ELW248 / A&M47 / HPP83 / GtG105 / PH012 / G(II)337 / GC318 / GC(II)337 / G(3)409 / CP091 / CP(E) 35 / W&R161 / Cha142 / SP015 / VF034 People look East, the time is near (Eleanor Farjeon) Bouncy and joyful Advent song. Note that it is cold-climate Northern Hemisphere specific. 
  • *Iona / VU33 Watch watch and pray (Iona) A very short Advent chant; could be used at various times during the service, maybe even during intercessions. Also has lyrics specific for Maundy Thursday. 
  • Music by Heart 63 Tar a thighearna (Ruth Cunningham) Advent A simple and beautiful chant based on ancient Celtic words meaning "Come Lord, come thou Being". Youtube.
  • AoV2-123 / AoVK-59 Twilight then darkness (Phil Porter) A lovely Advent candle song, which could be good for Northern Hemisphere people. In the Southern Hemisphere, you could possibly use this at dinner time, if you live closer to the equator than me. Darkness comes pretty late in a Melbourne Summer.
  • AoV2-043 / ATFG520 / CoC40 / NCH538 / SFFS 2095 / GC(II)355 / G(3)449 / SP&P174 / W&R223 / ZSS63 / VF035 Star-Child (Shirley Murray) A lovely lovely carol. Very easy to sing. A big favourite! Lyrics and sample sheet music.
  • ATFG542 / CH480 Word of the Father / Come Lord Come (John Bell) A simple call and response with more verses than you need, adapt them for each week.  
Choral works
We don't usually have a choir at Brunswick, but we often pull one together at Advent. Here are a few choral ideas.  
  • Online Resource There is a yearning / The Yearning (Craig Courtney) This is quite beautiful, and will appeal to a range of congregations, as it can be interpreted quite broadly. It has arrangements both for SATB and TTBB choirs. Sheet music & sound sample.
  • Iona Lullaby Lullaby God comes tomorrow / Advent Lullaby (John Bell) Just gorgeous. This is not necessarily a choral work - it could also be sung by a (clever) congregation, or the congregation could sing one part, accompanied by a choir. Sound sample
 Advent Blessings
  • SP&P201 Peace peace deep peace (Thomas) A very simple benediction, that could also work well as a blessing to someone who is leaving the congregation. Could be used creatively in Advent - by changing the verses each week (Peace, Love, Joy and Hope)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Songs to welcome new church members

At Brunswick Uniting we have a special service twice a year to welcome new people to our community. Those who want to be part of the community (but who may not necessarily be seeking membership by baptism, confirmation or a confession of faith) are invited to name Brunswick as their community of faith.

*CH198 / MV001 / GC753 / GC(II)741 / RS 846 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. Lyrics (scroll down a little).
*MV 145 / CP418 / SP&P123 Draw the circle wide (Light) A great song about welcoming all people. Lyrics (downloads a Word document). 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”.
*Online Resource: Welcome to this circle (Bruxvoort-Colligan) A lovely song of “radical inclusivity” which is kind of what our welcoming service is about. This song is more a promise coming from the congregation that welcomes all regardless of their level of faith. We’ve sung this a couple of times at welcoming services already. Youtube. Sheet music available here.
*Tune In: Community (Brown) “Part of a fam’ly, interconnected, this is community”. A big favourite at Brunswick. Excellent words and very easy to sing; really good for a welcoming service. Sound sample, lyrics and songbook available here.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Songs for St. Francis Day / Blessing of the Animals (October 4th)

  • *Online Resource All of us belong (Bruxvoort-Colligan) A very simple song, with two parts that can be sung simultaneously about welcoming all creatures into the church. I especially like the second part "We have wings and paws and tails and toes and instincts and souls". Good for kids. Sound sample and lyrics
  • *Online Resource Brother Sister Creatures (Bruxvoort-Colligan) A simple and really lovely adaptation of Psalm 104. The chorus is very simple, and I think would really stick in the minds of kids "Oh I love my brother sister creatures!". Sheet musicSound sample, lyrics Good for kids.
  • Brunswick Song Project For all beings without voice (Perrin / Whelan) This song is a Brunswick only song at this point, so we'll sing it and when we get it up on line, I'll list it here. 
  • *HiOS022 Creator God, we give you thanks (Gibson) Fun song for kids and adults. The tune is very  joyful, but there's a LOT of words to fit in. "Creator God we give you thanks for those who live in nest or tank, in basket, kennel, bowl or shed, on sofas, perches, straw for bed."  
  • NCH032 / UMH122 / VU229 / HPP32 / GtG022 / PH272 / CP414 / W&R29 / Cha070 God of the sparrow God of the whale (Vajda) This is a beautiful song, but for some reason it sounds kind of odd with an Australian accent. Works especially well this week with the lyric: “God of the rainbow, God of the cross, God of the empty grave”. Lyrics.
  • *TiS 100 / AHB 3 / NCH017 / CH147 / UMH62 / VU217 / LBW527 / ELW835 / A&M532 / GA395 / HPP261 / GtG020 / PH455 / GtG015 / GC534 / GC(II)523 / G(3)611 / CP(E) / 250 / W&R23 / Cha022 / 82Hml-400 / Lau694 / StF099 / MP007 All creatures of our God and King (Francis of Assisi) A good classic sing! Hymnals vary a LOT in their translations and verses included. Using only Alleluia Alleluia or "Sing your praises" as some hymnals do, eliminates the "Oh praise him" which makes it annoyingly male exclusive. NCH has "To you, O God, all creatures sing" and eliminates all kingly language. ELW has "All creatures worship God most high". Lyrics and sound sample. Oldy-but-a-goody.
  • Cha697 Creative God You Spread the Earth (Duck) A song asking forgiveness for our disdain for the earth and animals. Sung to the familiar tune KINGSFOLD. The animals are largely European or North American, so maybe not great for Australians. Lyrics. New words to old tunes.
  • AoVK-35 O good and almighty Lord (Raimondo) Canticle of St. Francis. Good words of the earth.
  • *TiS 607 / AoV2-126 / ATN 95 / CH528 / VU684 / StJ / A&M725 / SFFS 2171 / HPP406 / GtG753 / G(II)524 / GC726 / GC(II)721 / G(3)828 / CP(E)519/ W&R587 / Srce 462 / Lau898 / StF707 / MP456 Make me a channel of your peace (Temple) Based on the Prayer of St. Francis, although it doesn't specifically mention animals. Nice if you can just start a capella...  Youtube video of Sinead O'Connor singing it and lyrics Oldy-but-a-goody. 
  • *CH527 / A&M717 / SP290 / 82Hml-593 Lord make us servants of your peace (Quinn) A nice alternative to "make me a channel of your peace". This is sung to the very familiar tune "O Waly Waly". It is also sung in the plural (us and we rather than Me and I), which is nice too. Lyrics can be found here. New words to old tunes.
  • *TiS 135 / AHB 70 / AoVK-110 / NCH31 / A&M533 / CH137 / UMH147 / VU291 / WoV767 / HPP35 / PH267 / GtG020 / CP415/6 / CP(E) 251 / W&R30 / Cha061 / Srce21 / StF100 / Lau685 / MP023 All things bright and beautiful The TiS version has beautiful Australian imagery. If you are in Australia and your congregation only has the AHB or other versions of the music, it is worth making copies of the TiS lyrics; the congregation will know the tune. Verse 2 and 5 have masculine language for God. Oldy-but-a-goody. 
  • *TiS 671 / AoV2-121 Made in God's Likeness (Lewis/Spence) "Called to create a new world for the Lord". Excellent images of rainforest birds praising God. This is one of my very favourite songs. It is not difficult if you have a good musician at the helm. If it is new to your congregation, they will be able to join in on the verses by the time you get to the 3rd one. The change in tone with the verse really lifts this song. Lyrics
  • URW086 Creation sings! Each plant and tree (Leckebusch) Thoughtful words about our relationship with the earth and all that is in it. One of very few hymns that connects human creatures with the other creatures of our planet, and questions our desire to control all of earth. Sung to a fairly simple tune, that will need to be sung through once before the congregation joins in.
  • Recorded music: Sarah McLachlan has a very nice recording of the Prayer of St. Francis. Video here.
I'm sure Norm Habel will have written many songs that would fit. One example, including a whole order of worship for a similar service is here.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Songs for Season of Creation 4A - River Sunday (September 24 2017)

Genesis 8:20-22; 9:12-17
God establishes a covenant with Noah, leaving a rainbow as a sign
  • Unknown source Remember the rainbow, God’s promise in the sky. I know this is not very helpful, but I know that at Brunswick we have a copy of the words and chords in our folders. Maybe your church has it filed away somewhere too. Good for kids. 
  • NCH032 / UMH122 / VU229 / HPP32 / GtG022 / PH272 / CP414 / W&R29 / Cha070 God of the sparrow God of the whale (Vajda) This is a beautiful song, but for some reason it sounds kind of odd with an Australian accent. Works especially well this week with the lyric: “God of the rainbow, God of the cross, God of the empty grave”. Lyrics.
  • Tune In: Tune in (Natalie Sims) A simple kid’s song. “Tune in, tune in, there’s a message coming in.” Encourages kids to look for signs of God’s love. Lyrics, sample, songbook. Good for kids. 
  • Online resource: It’s a sign of God’s love (Richard Bruxvoort-Colligan) Not a congregational song – needs someone to sing this to the kids, really. Sample and lyrics Good for kids. 
  • Recorded Music "Just look up" (Eric Bibb / Michael Jerome Browne) On Eric Bibb's album "Friends" and on Putumayo's "Folk Playground". "There's a rainbow waiting for you, just look up". Sound sample. Good for kids. 
  • NCH391 / GtG315 / SFFS 2238 / Cha458 In the midst of new dimensions (Rush) "Now and ever, now and ever, now and evermore". I quite like this one. Good for this week: "God of rainbow, fiery pillar". Hymnals vary in which verses they include. 
  • *MV135 Called by earth and sky (Mayberry) Gentle song about the blessings of water, air, soil and fire. While it doesn't explicitly mention baptism, it is really beautiful and would work well. 
  • TiS 418 / AoV2-075 / Iona (EoA, Common Ground) / CH593 / GA372 / A&M259 / Cha255 / SP94 / URW165 / StF393 / Lau305 She sits like a bird brooding on the waters (Bell) My favourite Holy Spirit song. Beautiful words and very easy to sing, provided it is not played too quickly The Iona recordings are generally very quick, but there are a lot of words to fit in, so keep it elegantly moderate in speed! Lyrics (scroll down).   
  • *ATA 142 / UMH134 / Traditional If I could I surely would / O Mary don’t you weep. Lots of fun, and good for kids, but I’m not quite sure where Mary weeping fits into Pharoah’s army getting (clap) drowned dead… Here's Bruce Springsteen's version, which I love. I've suggested it this week because of the verse "God gave Noah the rainbow sign - no more water but fire next time". Good for kids.
Psalm 104:27-33
All the great multitudes of the earth point to God's glory
  • TiS 135 / AHB 70 / AoVK-110 / NCH31 / A&M533 / CH137 / UMH147 / VU291 / WoV767 / HPP35 / PH267 / GtG020 / CP415/6 / CP(E) 251 / W&R30 / Cha061 / Srce21 / StF100 / Lau685 / MP023 All things bright and beautiful The TiS version has beautiful Australian imagery. If you are in Australia and your congregation only has the AHB or other versions of the music, it is worth making copies of the TiS lyrics; the congregation will know the tune. Verse 2 and 5 have masculine language for God. Oldy-but-a-goody   
  • STB114 Come holy spirit (Loh) A lovely 3 part chant. The congregation can sing one part, while a soprano and tenor cantor (or groups) sing the other two parts, or you could split an adventurous congregation into 3 parts. Will need to be taught.  
  • GtG323 / URW171 Sound a mystic bamboo song / Dong dong ay si dong ilay (Wallace) Great multicultural words, celebrating God in all people. 
  • TiS 706 / Taize / AoV2-142 / A&M600 / SFFS 2013 / GtG544 / PH224 / GC(II)576 / G(3)620 / CP360 / PfAS103C / SP194 / Src79 / URW377 / Lau813  Bless the Lord my soul (Batastini / Taize) A beautiful and very well known Taize chant. Sound samples, sheet music. Good for kids.
  • TiS 175 / GtB Did you ever see a kookaburra laugh A fun kid's song. "Where do all the good things come from?" Good for kids.
  • UMH438 / VU416 / A&M476 / CP467 / CP(E) 430 / W&R718 / StF550 / Lau861 / MP159 Forth in thy name O Lord I go (Charles Wesley) Timeless words about committing all our works to God. I like this hymn best played lightly and joyfully with a simple drum beat as a kind of minstrel tune, rather than a hymn. The old fashioned words seem to make a lot more sense to me that way. Some hymnals (including TiS) have sensitively modernised the words. Older lyricsOldy-but-a-goody. 
  • *TiS 163 / AHB 112 / NCH556 / UMH150 / LBW463 / ELW771 / GtG024  / PH268 / W&R644 / Cha651 / URW084 / 82Hml-580 God who stretched the spangled heavens Good words of creation of nature and cities and creative possibilities for the future. AHB has a Father and old language, but it works okay; TiS and other sources are better. There are many possible tunes. I like it best to HOLY MANNA as in the link. Lyrics and sound sample.
  • *MV015 / GA186 Holy Sacred Spirit (Brown) Gentle chant. Can be used without the cantor part. "Holy Sacred Spirit, breathe your breath on us"
  • TiS 152 / NCH4 / UMH89 / VU232 / LBW551 / ELW836 / HPP22 / GtG611 / PH464 / GC529 / GC(II)520 / G(3)614 / CP425 / W&R59 / Cha002 / URW065 / 82Hml-376 Joyful joyful we adore thee Note that this hymn is not always very inclusive. I prefer more modern translations (e.g. TiS, VU, NCH, GC(II) ). Older version lyrics and tune sample.
  • TiS 187 / AoV2-130 / CH149 / StS122 / A&M539 / SP247 Let all creation dance I just love the imagery of this one, and it's a very joyous and familiar hymn tune too. Lyrics
  • G(II)90 / GC101 / GC(II)60 / G(3)076 Lord Send Out Your Spirit (Lisicky) Could be fun to use just the refrain as a round. I would sing it much quicker than the sample. Sheet music sample. Sound sample.
  • AoVK-123 / NCH3 / Iona (M&G) / UMH148 / VU308 / WoV794 / ELW837 / GtG021 / PH271 / G(II)338 / GC499 / G(3)911 / CP407 / W&R26 / Cha58 / URW232 / 82Hml-385 Many and Great O God are your works / Wakantanka Taku Nitawa (Lacquiparle) Good words. Simple tune. Sounds great accompanied by a good Native American-style drum beat, which is a great way to get people involved in music-making. Lyrics here. Good for kids, if you get the drums out.
  • TiS 65 Send forth your spirit O Lord and renew the face of the earth (Murray) Cantored Psalm. Refrain is simple and inclusive. Verses do not use inclusive language for God.
  • TiS 166 / AHB 102 / GA398 / StB035 Sing a new song sing a new song (James McAuley) Excellent inclusive words. The last verse annoys me a bit, but the rest is excellent. Lyrics.
  • AoVK-113 Thank you O Lord for this world of ours (Barr) A good kids song in two parts.
  • *AoV2-051 / G(II)325 / GC463 / GC(II)481 / G(3)555 Spirit Blowing through Creation (Marty Haugen) Excellent. Don't rush or it's hard to get all the words out.  
  • *TiS 188 Where wide sky rolls down and touches red sand (Smith) Great Australian imagery sung to a familiar hymn tune. Lyrics (scroll down). Sound sample
  • NCH056 Breath of the living God / Soplo de Dios viviente (Osvaldo Catena) A joyful song in Spanish or English, set to a traditional Norwegian folk tune. The chorus is particularly great "Come now an dlive within us, come let your gifts enrich us, Breath of the living God, our Creator Spirit, Eternal Source".  
Revelation 22:1-5
The river of life and the tree of life
  • AoV2-006 / The tide has turned Deeper River / There's a river running deep within the silence of our souls (Digby Hannah). An excellent song of restoration for tired desert-like souls. Lyrics.  
  • FFS27 God of unexplored tomorrows (Jones) The tune will need to be taught, but is quite lovely (CROMWELL). Imagery of "God of rock and flowing river", "strong foundation" "cleansing, quenching water".
  • Sounds of Living Water 77 There's a river of life flowing out from me (Casebolt) I have found the lyrics to this, but I can't remember the second part at all. I think I only know the chorus. Maybe it's in a scripture in song book too. It's a happy clappy. Good for kids.
  • MV160 There's a river of life that's flowing from God's throne (Maracle) This simple chorus will need to be taught as it is Native American (Mohawk) and makes use of vocables (!). It would work best with some percussion.
  • STB045 We Believe Maranatha (Feliciano) This is a good spoken creed with sung responses. The response is a simple two part fugue with a simple sung (almost) drone for the bass. The creed is one developed by the Asian Institute for Liturgy and Music.  The refrain could be used for any creed, really.
  • AoVNG138 Tune our hearts / Tree of Life (Thompson) A lovely chant for the chorus, which would work with or without the verses. I'm not sure of all the lyrics for this as I don't have a copy.
  • *NCH576 / CH706 / UMH428 / VU678 / A&M635 / GtG346 / GA513 / GC719 / GC(II)712 / G(3)803 / CP576 / CP(E) 427 / W&R621 / Cha668 / Lau886 / StF696 For the healing of the nations (Kaan) Excellent words seeking peaceful coexistence of the nations. Can be sung to a range of tunes including the very familiar WESTMINSTER ABBEY. Lyrics. New words to old tunes. 
Matthew 28:1-10
The resurrection.
Just look at Easter Day, please!

General River-type songs
  • VU267 / W&R20 / A&M711 / SP288 / Lau897 / MP419 Like a mighty river flowing (Perry) Lovely words of the presence of God in nature. Lyrics
  • *MV144 / SP&P073 Like a healing stream (Bruce Harding) Gentle folksy ballad with a lot of water imagery - healing stream, gentle rain, river strong and mighty sea. Would need to be introduced, but would catch on pretty quickly, I think. Sound sample, sheet music sample, and pdf for purchase. 
  • MV163 River running in you and me (Macdonald / Light) Terrific words with lots of river imagery, a song of the spirit, and of challenge when times are hard. If this is not familiar, just get a soloist to sing it while the congregation joins in the last line "River run deep, river run free". The verses are not metrical, so it will take more time to sing them with confidence.   
  • *AoV2-058 Pulsing Spirit rippling river (Dolores Dufner) Excellent lyrics to the very familiar hymn tune BEACH SPRING. Lyrics and sound sample.  
  • GC728 / GC(II)725 / G(3)819 / URW419 / Lau902 / MP554 Peace Is Flowing Like a River (Anon) A simple chorus. Great for kids and older people. You won't need to provide words for this after the first couple of verses, because only the first word changes. If you don't provide all the words, sometimes people look around them and notice each other. 
  • *Traditional / StJ / GC(II)567 As I went down to the river to pray (Folk song) Dunno about the "Good old way" bit, but the encouragement to pray together with each other is a good theme, and the song is a favourite in our congregation. I'm not sure if we've ever sung it as a congregation, but it would be good to do so. Here's the clip from O Brother Where art thou, which made it so popular. 
  • AA085 Let justice roll down like a river (Colin Gibson) Excellent song, and very easy to sing. Lyrics. Sheet music. Good for kids.   
  • StS033 / GA515 / G(II)516 / GC716 / GC(II)709 Let Justice Roll Like a River (Marty Haugen) The song is quite simple, particularly if you use a soloist for the verses if this is new to you. Sound sample (I don't like this sample much) and sheet music sample and lyrics
  • NCH438 / UMH377 / LBW346 / ELW785 / HPP390 / GtG840 / W&R428 / Cha561 / Srce784 / MP757 When peace like a river (Spafford) An older American hymn. Hymnals vary in how old fashioned the lyrics are, and only some include the chorus. Lyrics and tune (really terrible old lyrics).
  • ATFG563 How long? (Mann) How long must we cry out till justice rolls down like a river? 
  • NCH478 / VU577 / SFFS 2145 / HPP394 / PH368 / GGives1 / Cha530 / MP353 I've got peace like a river (African-American) I really like this old song! Good for kids.  
  • MV087 Water flowing From the mountains (Hannah) A simple flowing song with lots of good water imagery. It's not specifically Christian, so could also be used in a multi-faith or secular gathering. 
  • *MV117 By the well a thirsty woman (Stilborn) An excellent song that brings the story of the woman at the well to us, with words of Christ being our source of living water. The tune will probably need to be taught. 
  • SP&P092 Empty jar clear and clean (James Manley) A simple song, seeking the openness to receive God's spirit, like a river rushing through.