Songs, Hymns & Music for All Saints' Day (November 1 2021)

If your congregation makes use of All Saints' Day as a time of remembering those known to members of your congregation who have passed away, you may also find the suggestions for funerals helpful.
  • FFS57 / Online Resource Song of faith that sings forever (Shirley Murray) Simple tune and beautiful image of people throughout generations, alive and dead, taking up a song together; I think this would be particularly good for congregations and communities facing difficult times "And when life would overwhelm us, when there seems no song to sing, hear the constant voice of courage out of fear and suffering". Can also be sung to ABBOTS LEIGH if you want New words to old tunes. Lyrics and links to sheet music.
  • Iona (Love From Below) / A&M297 / SFFS 2283 / GC(II)786 / G(3)885 / SP114 / StF746/ Lau387 For all the saints who’ve shown your love (John Bell) These beautiful lyrics are some of the best words about All Saints' Day that I've come across, and would work for this reading too. There are two tunes, and two slightly different sets of lyrics. Love From Below uses the tune "ALL SAINTS" which is a John Bell original. A nice tune, but not familiar, although not hard to learn at all. The Gather hymnals publish a slightly different version of the lyrics, sung to the tune O WALY WALY which is the tune for "The water is wide", so much more familiar. Lyrics New words to old tunes.
  • AA120 Sing of the saints who were loved and made beautiful (Marnie Barrell) AA has these lovely words to a tune by Colin Gibson, but it could also be sung to a modified version of the tune MYRRH-BEARING MARY (see comments below). 
  • Tune In / Online Resource Hail the fisherfolk (Dave Brown) A bluesy song that remembers the saints of history and today. Lyrics, sound sample, free downloadable songbook.
  • CH172 / URW062 / StF116 Sing for God’s glory that colours the dawn of creation (Kathy Galloway) Beautiful poetic words of creation (first verse), release (2nd verse), justice (3rd verse) and saints (4th verse). Would be a good song to open worship. Sung to a very familiar hymn tune, LOBE DEN HERREN (TiS 111). Lyrics (scroll down). New words to old tunes.  
  • Online Resource Heaven and Earth are Filled(Christopher Grundy) A beautiful, meditative chant about the great cloud of witnesses; very simple. The sheet music includes the string part. Recording and link to sheet music
  • NCH376 God we thank you for our people (Ruth Duck) All Saints Good words to the tune HOLY MANNA. Some really nice phrases "hardy spirits, rich in loving", and "thank you God for gentle pleasure". An excellent forward-looking final verse, too. Lyrics. New words to old tunes.   
  • TiS 470 / CH742 / UMH708 / WoV689 / LBW26 / ELW264 / A&M308 / GtG732 / CP(E) 227 / W&R531 / Cha476 / SP116 Rejoice in God’s saints today and all days! (Fred Pratt Green) Great words about all the different saints and the importance of remembering them. The 2nd verse which mentions "some carry the gospel through fire and through flood" may be particularly appealing. Works well to the tune PADERBORN, but would be even simpler sung to LAUDATE DOMINUM which would be more familiar. Lyrics and some tune samples.New words to old tunes
  • AHB 551 / NCH295 / UMH712 / HPP506 / GtG730 / PH364 / 82Hml-293 I sing a song of the saints of God (Lesbia Scott) A bit twee and it makes me giggle when we get to the "shepherdess on the green", but I loved this song as a kid, especially the idea that even I (a girl!) had potential. I think the "And I mean to be one too" part is just great and no other songs seem to pick up that sentiment about All Saints Day. It's mostly only good for older kids because it's a bit wordy. Lyrics and tune sample. New words to old tunes. There is also a new set of words, a slightly adapted version by David MacGregor which you may like to check out.
  • TiS 455 / AHB 384 / NCH299 / CH740 / UMH711 / VU705 / LBW174 / ELW422 / A&M296 / GA551 / HPP500 / GtG326 / PH526 / GC793 / GC(II)791 / G(3)884 / CP276 / CP(E) 232 / W&R529 / Cha637 / Srce2-125 / 82Hml-287 / Lau371 / StF745 / MP148 For all the saints who from their labors rest (William Walsham How) A classic, but sources vary widely in terms of how ancient and/or inclusive the language and which verses are included. NCH, VU and Gather hymnals are pretty good. Be aware that some versions are really quite militaristic and warlike, which may not be helpful to some congregations. Oldy-but-a-mostly-goody.Old-school lyrics. As an alternative, you may like to use: Online Source For all the saints who from their labors rest (Cotter) A good adaptation of the traditional lyrics. Lyrics (downloads a pdf). New words to old tunes
  • NCH297 / CH736 / VU706 / StJ / AA45 HPSS528 / W&R518 / Cha649 / URW131 Give thanks for life the measure of our days (Shirley Murray) Good and joyful words of remembrance. Can be sung to the familiar tune SINE NOMINE "Give thanks for those whose lives shone with a light caught from the Christ flame, gleaming through the night, who touched the truth, who burned for what is right: Alleluia! Alleluia!". Sheet music and lyrics. New words to old tunes
  • HPP475 / Traditional Oh when the saints go marching in (Traditional) This could be a lot of fun. Here's Louis Armstrong's recording.
  • ATN 77 / G(II)542 / GC749 O Welcome All You Noble Saints of Old / In Christ There Is a Table Set for All (Robert Stamps) Radical hospitality. A song about God with us. Gather hymnals use "In Christ there is a table set for all" which is much more inclusive than the old "God and man at table are sat down". Good for celebration of communion, but is fine without it, too. Lyrics (scroll down). Clunky sound sample.
  • Online Resource Fount of all goodness and womb of new birth (David Bjorlin) A song originally written to farewell a beloved pastor, the text thanks God for those who work for advocacy for marginalized people, to empower people for ministry, and who have a prophetic vision for the future of the church. This is good for All Saints Day too! Set to the familiar tune SLANE. Book available for purchase. New words to old tunes.     
  • UMH702 / StS092 / WoV691 / ELW426 / GC442 / GC(II)442 / G(3)539 / Lau451 Sing with All the Saints in Glory (William Irons) Sung to the well known tune, ODE TO JOY, these words focus on the joy of heaven. Lyrics. New words to old tunes.
  • A&M311 / CP(E) 614 We sing for all the unsung saints (Carl P Daw Jr) A great song about all the unsung saints. The set tune is not familiar, and a little bit tricky. Could work with ELLACOMBE or KINGSFOLD instead Lyrics and tune sample.
  • Online Resource For all who craft their words with skill (David Bjorlin) A song originally written to farewell a beloved pastor, but I think it would also work well to celebrate the saints among us. Set to the familiar tune RESIGNATION. Sheet music sample and purchasing options. New words to old tunes.  
  • CH748 As stars adorn the night-veiled sky (Carl P Daw Jr) A simple hymn which talks about the value of recognising saints. Language is fairly formal, but not archaic. Sung to the familiar hymn tune WAREHAM (TiS 124) Lyrics and sheet music
  • Online Resource God make us agents of joyful rebellion (David Bjorlin / Benjamin Brody) Joy as a tool of rebellion, and our role as modern-day prophets. Set to a new tune, which is lovely to sing. Sheet music sample and purchasing options. New words to old tunes.   
  • Online Resource A cloud of witnesses around us (Brian Wren) Powerful words about the thousand alleluias being proclaimed through the generations. Lyrics and sheet music
  • Online Resource Even death now will have no power (Richard Bruxvoort Colligan) A very simple refrain; this will need to be taught to a congregation, but it will be quite lovely if you choose to pursue this theme. Sound sample, lyrics and purchasing options
Join the conversation below! What will you be singing? Do you have any other ideas, or know of songs that others may like that are not listed here? 

Updated in the air over New South Wales, and then 3 and 4 years later under lockdown during the coronavirus pandemic.


HotDigitalDog said...

Hi Natalie, the link for Jim Cotter's version of "For all the saints" is now

Thanks for all you do!


Unknown said...

Hi, Natalie - in Alleluia Aotearoa. #120 Sing Of The Saints Who Were Loved And Made Beautiful, by Marnie Barrell and Colin Gibson. Our church sings it to a slightly adapted version of MYRRH BEARING mARY which is 235 in the Canadian Common Praise hymnal; the last note of lines one and three had a cuple of syllables.

Unknown said...

Hi, Natalie - in Alleluia Aotearoa, #120 Sing Of The Saints by Marnie Barrell and Colin Gibson. We sing it to a slightly modified version of MYRRH BEARING MARY, #235 in the Canadian hymnal Common Praise, where lines one and three need a c\ouple of su=yllables added to fit the words.

Jane Hessdorfer said...

I had to look up a new word "twee" - love it .... and I too love I Sing a Song of The Saints of God

Jane Hessdorfer said...

We'll be doing All Saints on Sunday November 6 - I was at an Ordination service yesterday - sang For All the Saints, Ye Watchers and Ye Holy Ones and Lift High the Cross -- I suspect my choices for Sunday will be Processional: For All the Saint
Offertory: Rejoice in God's Saints and When the Saints Go Marching In for the Recessional.

The familiar tune (at least to me) for Rejoice in God's Saints is Hanover

Bronwyn Marchant said...

"Give thanks for life: by Shirley Erena Murray is great for All Saints and can be found at the link below. Can also be sung to "For all the Saints." tune.

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