This setting of Psalm 47 was written by Pascal Jordan, a Benedictine brother from Trinidad. We learned it from Hilary Seraph-Donaldson in her wonderful series of instructional videos, Break into Song.
A solo or cantor line carries the psalm text, while the community responds with “Alleluia,” and rhythmic leg-slapping and clapping. The rhythmic underpinning is reminiscent of a child’s clapping game or the ubiquitous accompaniment of drum kit, congas, and other percussion that drives a steel drum band. This infuses the song with the strong sense that the whole community is drawn into the act of worship.
Sheet music can be found in Andrew Donaldson's With Many Voices Songbook.
Here's the episode of Break into Song that features All Peoples, Clap Your Hands:
This Ndebele song is sung in churches all over Zimbabwe in Africa. We learned it from Hilary Seraph Donaldson in her series of instructional videos called Break into Song. Hilary learned it from Maria Minnaar-Bailey, and it is available in written form in Maria's Chaia Marima Songbook 3.
You can learn more from Hilary by watching the episode of Break into Song featuring Sithi Haleluya:
This blessing song by Ruth Cunningham sets a translation of a Celtic chant from the Céile Dé order. It's extraordinarily versatile and can be sung as a simple melody (Part I alone), a two-part canon, and as a layered song when Parts II and III are added.
The song has been used for blessing and sending, on Earth Day and for earth-honoring services, and on labyrinth walks and pilgrimages. It can help to have a drone instrument (a shruti box or a soft unison or open fifth on the organ) accompanying.
"God bless every step that I am taking,
and bless the earth beneath my feet."
Parts II and II:
"God bless every step,
God bless the earth."
This joyful song by Kerri Meyer, inspired by writer Annie Dillard, has quickly become a favorite in the MMC community. Many of our leaders use it as a sending song, even adding steps that invite the community to dance and sing! It's also a zipper/pocket song that welcomes text changes for the context or season you're in.
"Go on your way in joy, my friends!
Go on your way in joy, my friends!
Go on your way in joy, my friends!
Let your left foot say 'Glory!'
and your right say, 'Amen!'"
Go on your way in peace...
Go on your way in love...
Go on your way in hope...
Sheet music can be found in Singing In Community, our latest songbook published by Augsburg Fortress. You can find a setting of the melody alone, as well as a harmonized version arranged by Andrew Donaldson. The first eight measures of this arrangement are the original song by Kerri, and the the rest is an optional modulation just for fun.
Here's the recording from the first time Kerri taught this song at MMC after she wrote it.
Here's a video of Hilary Donaldson leading this song in her congregation, Eastminster United Church in Toronto, ON.
Fear Not the Pain was composed by Rachel Kroh at a Music that Makes Community Composers' Retreat in 2013. The text is from Rainer Maria Rilke's Sonnets to Orpheus.
The song can be used in many different contexts: at the bedsides of the dying, a mantra for individuals struggling with chronic pain, in interfaith worship gatherings, as well as in liturgies centered around themes of healing, justice, and reconciliation.
"Fear not the pain,
let its weight fall back into the earth.
For heavy are the mountains, heavy are the seas."
Sheet music can be found in Singing In Community, our latest songbook published by Augsburg Fortress.
Here's an audio recording of Fear Not the Pain made in Brattleboro in 2013 as well as the melody transcribed by Marilyn Haskel.
Here's a a four-part arrangement of the song by Peter Amidon. If you enjoy it, you might want to see some of Peter's other arrangements in 55 Anthems for the Small Church Choir.
Composed by Brian Wentzel, this call and response song is based on Isaiah 55:1. Themes of welcome and abundance make it effective for Baptism, Eucharist/Communion, gathering song, or sung call to worship.
"All who are thirsty, come to the waters.
All who are hungry, come here to eat.
All who are thirsty, come to the waters.
There's enough for all."
Copyright for the piece is held by Hope Publishing. If you plan to reprint the text in a bulletin, a program, or in individual song sheet form, you must submit a request for use.
This Invitation to the Table by James Clemens can be offered as a call and response song, with the leader singing the first two lines and the community responding, 'We come together in Jesus' name...' and echoing the word offered by the leader (love, need, truth, etc).
"Come, come, come to the table in love (need, truth, etc.)"
"We come together in Jesus' name.
We come to the table in love. (need, truth, etc.)"
This expressive prayer song from the Iona Community is especially effective for Advent and can be taught through call and echo patterns. It has been used as a Gathering Song, for lighting Advent Candles, Prayers of the People, and Passing of the Peace. It's a zipper/pocket song and you can easily insert themes of the Advent season (hope, joy, and love).
The piece is effective as a simple melody but a beautiful choral harmonization and descant can also be added once the congregation part is secure. Listen to a setting from the Iona Community here.
"Come, O Lord, and set us free.
Give your people peace.
Come, O Lord, and set us free.
Come, Lord Jesus, come."
Give your people hope...
Give your people joy...
Give your people love...
Copyright for the piece is held by GIA Publications, Inc. so you'll need a OneLicense membership to print the text or music.
The song was composed by John Bell and published in We Walk His Way from Wild Goose Publications.
Here's a video of AnnaMarie Hoos sharing the song at the Bishop's Ranch in January of 2015:
Here is a teaching track from St. Lydia's in Brooklyn, which uses it as a candle lighting during the Advent season.
Come, Light of Lights is layered song composed by Ruth Cunningham that can also be sung as a 2, 3 or 4-part canon/round.
The song is effective as an invocation or introit, a call to prayer, or a sung Prayer for Illumination. Many communities also sing it during Advent.
"Come, light of lights into my heart.
Come, wisdom of Spirit into my heart."
This call and echo song by John Bell is an invocation of Spirit including the Aramaic phrase Maranatha (Our Lord-come!), which appears in early Christian prayers and liturgy. The piece could be effective during Advent or Pentecost, or as an invitation to gathering or prayer.
One key to leading the piece is a gesture that invites the group to sustain the final note of each phrase, while the leader sings the next phrase over it. Some leaders make a circular motion or move their hand outward to invite a continued sound.
"Come, Holy Spirit. (Come, Holy Spirit.)
Come, Holy Spirit. (Come, Holy Spirit.)
Come, Lord, come! (Come, Lord, come!)"
*Some song leaders in the MMC community substitute 'Come among us" or 'Dwell among us' in place of the Aramaic word.
Copyright for the piece is held by GIA Publications, Inc. so you'll need a OneLicense membership to print the music or text.
Here is a video of Scott Weidler teaching the song at a workshop in Baldwinsville, NY: