music musings … synod

As I walked along the beach a day on from synod, I started reflecting on the music and worship at the Uniting Church Queensland synod that finished yesterday on the Sunshine Coast.  I shared the worship co-ordinating role along with recruiting the praise band.  It’s a role I’ve done in various forms the past decade.  It’s taxing (early starts to the day) but something I really enjoy and still feel called to.

Here’s just a few of my reflections:

  • we always try to ensure song selections from a range of genres, styles and perspectives.   I feel we succeeded well with this.  Folk went away from synod knowing they had sung quite a few Charles Wesley classics, some Chris Tomlin, Graham Kendrick (Teach me to dance was great to finish things on!), material from the world church (eg The peace of the earth from Guatemala), some acapella songs, John Bell short songs, Brian Wren (what a great writer), Shirley Murray and a few of mine.
  • though in the main not led by the praise band, it was great having music from Asia and the Pacific as well as from our First Peoples.
  • I heard Marty Haugen’s Weave One Heart earlier this year – written for a conference about 10 years back in Hawai’i.  We substituted a few Tongan words and used it in the closing worship.  A marvellous song, lending itself to some evocative symbolic action as it’s sung
  • I increasingly admire the deep faith and theology bound up in Charles Wesley’s hymn texts. O thou who camest from above was a marvellous song to song on the Day of Pentecost
  • the song “hit” of synod was Holy Spirit Rain, written by Sydney UC Ministers Phil Newton and Michael Earl for the national assembly last July.  Great song
  • my own You love us well wasn’t quite the ‘hit’ I thought it would be.  I really felt it would go down better than it did, although its final use yesterday (with only 2/3 of synod still there) was the best it was received.  I feel it’s the sort of song that needs to grow on you.  I’m biased of course.  Perhaps the first time through, the vocal/band mix was a bit off – people didnt quite catch the melody and nuances.  I still reckon it’s one of my better songs.
  • it was great working once again with Sharon Kirk and the praise band we assembled; many of these being part of the crew for a few synods now.  Great having Kath H, Marius K and Peter A on board this time around.

That’ll do for now.

David

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