Jared Scratch

About Jared Scratch

Jared Scratch is the Church Administrator for the congregation of Trinity-St. Paul's United Church and updates this website on a regular basis.

Children’s Church Coordinator – Job Opportunity

Children’s Church Coordinator – Job Opportunity

August 2018 – June 2019 (INITIAL APPOINTMENT)


  1. to help grow TSP’s Children’s Church, and our congregation of younger families, by helping to create a vibrant, engaging, faith-based program where children and teens want to tell their friends to come along!
  2. to coordinate the Children’s Church program and to support and encourage the teachers and volunteers as they creatively implement the vision of TSP for the children and teens in a community of faith that:
    • grounds itself in Christian faith through spiritual practice and theological reflection
    • witnesses publicly, takes a stand on issues of social justice locally and globally, and deepens its relationship with the arts community, other faith communities and its neighbours
    • gathers in worship that nourishes, challenges and embraces diversity
    • reflects TSP’s identity as a Centre for Faith, Justice and the Arts.


  1. to work with the Children’s Church Circle, the Pastoral Staff and other teachers to ensure that the Children’s Church program is functioning effectively.
  2. to undertake the following:
    • lead the overall Children’s Church program, ideally with a strong drama / role-play component
    • work directly with the Teens, including (a) teaching their session on Sunday mornings and (b) leading and helping to extend the existing program of Teen activities on Friday evenings, roughly once per month, e.g. documentary films, board game café nights
    • choose / co-create and deliver a new Children’s Church curriculum, with help from the Children’s Church Circle – including a “coming of age” curriculum for teens and tweens that includes visits to other faith communities (to be coordinated with the help of the Children’s Church Circle), and ideally including a drama / role-playing component
    • coordinate and coach 2 other teachers, both established and adults, in their work with younger kids and tweens
    • engage children and teens in congregational activities, including 2 to 3 children/teen-featured services or pageants
    • coordinate the children and teens in extending hospitality and interacting with the congregation by hosting lunches after worship services several times during the year, perhaps with fund-raising goals selected by the children and teens
    • lead and help extend the existing all-ages family-friendly activities (e.g. dodgeball, skating) on Friday evenings, 4 to 6 times per year, to encourage interaction between families and other congregation members, and to potentially encourage congregational growth by providing informal events to which non-TSP children, teens and parents can be invited
    • handle all tasks required to execute the Children’s Church program on Sunday mornings, including:
    • set-up and take down the Fireside Room for the Gathering time
    • co-ordinate families’ provision of and if necessary purchase snacks for the children
    • prepare and lead the Gathering time in conversation with the other teachers
    • create and maintain a schedule of events and a registry of children in the Children’s Church program
    • collect the tithe and work with the children to decide on an appropriate recipient
    • prepare and lead the children’s time during the main Sunday service in the sanctuary, when requested
    • ensure that the monthly honorarium forms are completed by the other 2 teachers and submitted to the TSP office.
  3. to support, encourage and work with the other 2 teachers through regular meetings and informal conversations in order to:
    • reflect on the curriculum
    • develop common activities
    • obtain curriculum materials and supplies
    • cover emergency absences
    • address any issues that may arise.
  4. to liaise with parents, the Children’s Church Circle and the Pastoral Staff, including by:
    • communicating with them on a scheduled, regular basis by email regarding the activities of the Children’s Church and progress through the curriculum
    • planning and attending the meetings of the Children’s Church Circle, approximately every 6 weeks.


The successful applicant will need:

  1. a commitment to explore Christian faith and scripture in the context of a multi-faith society
  2. a basic knowledge of the United Church of Canada, its inclusivity and its mission
  3. experience working with children and teens of a wide age range (0 – 16 years)
  4. drama / role-play / theatre approach and experience
  5. experience coordinating / working with adults (teachers) who may be older and/or more experienced than the applicant
  6. experience engaging with committees of peers, adults, stakeholders (ideally at least once in a lead role)
  7. experience and/or interest in spiritual development for children and youth; United Church experience is ideal but not strictly required
  8. a sensitivity to how children and teens develop and learn at different stages
  9. a warm, loving and respectful approach to children and teens
  10. the ability to be well organized, prepared and responsive.

The Children’s Church Coordinator is accountable to the Children’s Church Circle of TSP. There will be an end-of-term review (June 2019) with a view to extending the position. All Children’s Church staff and volunteers are required to submit a police records check.

The position will begin in late August 2018 or early September with a Kickoff Workshop (with the Children’s Church Circle, teachers and volunteers) so that preparations for the church year can take place. The first Sunday program with the children and teens is September 9, 2018 and the last Sunday program is June 16, 2019. The time on Sunday is from approximately 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon including set up, coordinating time, teaching Teen sessions and clean-up. Longer on Sundays where there are special activities or Wholly Church Service. The time for Friday evening gatherings will depend on the nature of the activities, but generally will be from approximately 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

Honorarium for the Kickoff Workshop in August will be agreed based on hours needed (for meetings and preparation). After that, $1,200 per month from September, 2018 through to mid June, 2019. This reflects the position of Coordinator and the teacher salary for the Teens age group. Payment will be made at the end of each month. This honourarium is equivalent to approximately 10 hours per week (on average) of activities.

Please send an email indicating your interest in this position by Sunday, July 22, 2018 to The Selection Committee (cdinovo@trinitystpauls.ca) Subject: TSP Children’s Church Coordinator. Please include a covering letter and your resumé. Interviews to take place during July 24 – 30, 2018.

Thank you for your interest in this position.

Ascension Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Ascension Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, May 13 2018

Ascension Sunday

Stewardship Sunday

Matthew 6:19-21, Psalm 121, 2 Corinthians 9:6-14, Acts 2:44-47

by Paul Stott


GPTG 30 – For Brightly Greening Spring (2011)

Hymn poet Adam Tice was born in Boynton, Pennsylvania, and grew up in Alabama, Oregon, and Indiana. After graduating from high school in Elkhart, Indiana, he went to nearby Goshen College (BA in music [composition] and minor in Bible and religion, 2002) and then continued his studies at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart (MA in Christian formation, emphasis on worship, 2007). From 2007 to 2012 he served as the associate pastor of Hyattsville Mennonite Church in Hyattsville, Maryland. He has led singing at numerous Mennonite and ecumenical events, including the 2008 Hymn Sing for Peace on the steps of the U.S. Capitol reflecting pool. From 2007 to 2011 he served as Member-at-Large on the Executive of the Hymn Society, and currently serves as editor of the Hymn Society journal, The Hymn. GIA has published four collections of his hymns, Woven Into Harmony (Chicago, 2009), A Greener Place to Grow (Chicago, 2011), Stars Like Grace (Chicago, 2013), and Claim the Mystery (Chicago, 2015). His texts are found in many recent denominational hymnals, including More Voices, where he was first published. This text, from A Greener Place to Grow, celebrates the coming of spring and honours mothers. In a bit of quirky humour, Tice has set it to TERRA BEATA, associated with the text “This is My Father’s World.”
TERRA BEATA (blessed land) was composed by Franklin L. Sheppard in 1915, based on an English melody he learned in childhood from his mother. It bears a strong resemblance to the tune RUSPER, found in The English Hymnal (London, 1906).

MV 196 – We Will Take What You Offer (1998)

Our offertory hymn is a simple but profound chorus of commitment, written and composed by John L. Bell. Bell was born in, resides in, and belongs to Scotland. He is a liturgical composer who writes co-operatively with colleagues in Glasgow; he has a deep interest in music from non-European cultures and a passion for song of the Assembly. Though his primary vocation is as a preacher and teacher, he spends over half his time working in the areas of music and liturgy, both at conferences and in small parishes, and his work takes him frequently into Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North America. With his colleagues, he has produced over 15 collections of songs and octavos, and a wide range of liturgical materials, particularly for use by lay people. He has also authored a number of collections of sermons and meditations, and is an occasional broadcaster on radio and television.


MV 189 – Jesus, We Are Here (1990)

This hymn, originally in the Shona language serves as prayer response. Author, composer and translator Patrick Matsikenyiri was a key player in the founding of Africa University in Zimbabwe and served there as professor of music and choir director for many years. Since his retirement in 2002, he has been teaching at several U.S. institutions by invitation. His music is published in many hymnals and songbooks and sung in churches everywhere. Matsikenyiri has led workshops and worship services on African music throughout the world.


VU 218 – We Praise You, O God (1902)

This text was written by Julia Cory for a Thanksgiving service at the request of J. Arthur Gibson, her organist at Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City. Gibson sought a new text for this tune, to replace “We Gather Together”, which he called “militaristic and unchristian.” The original 16th century text, known as the “Dutch Hymn of Thanksgiving” was written in celebration of the release of the Netherlands from Spanish rule.
The tune, KREMSER, was arranged by the 17th century Viennese conductor, Eduard Kremser, from a tune published with the earlier text in a 17th century collection of Dutch folk songs. Hymnologist Paul Westermeyer describes KREMSER as a “through-composed tune in four four-measure phrases, just over an octave in range, and with an undulating and introspective character, it drapes over the text in a flowing canopy.”


Sixth Sunday of Easter – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sixth Sunday of Easter – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, May 6 2018

Sixth Sunday of Easter

Psalm 98

by Paul Stott


VU 820 – Make a Joyful Noise (1991)

This upbeat setting of Psalm 100 is by Vancouver composer Linea Good, from her collection Stickpeople (1992). Linnea is a well known United Church musician, who tours extensively across Canada. Five of her hymns are in Voices United and ten in More Voices.
The arrangement is by David Kai, who grew up in Toronto attending the Centennial-Japanese United Church. He is a graduate of the University of Toronto, the Humber College music program where he specialized in arranging and composing, and The Centre for Christian Studies. Commissioned as a diaconal minister in 1987, David served in pastoral charges in Birtle, Manitoba, Orleans, Ontario and Ajax, Ontario. David has written hymn tunes and arrangements in collaboration with authors and composers such as Ruth Duck, Linnea Good, Neil Lemke, Pat Mayberry, Jeeva Sam, Doreen Lankshear-Smith and Brian Wren. He was a member of the committee that produced the Voices United hymn book, and also provided music for the Bible Quest curriculum. His hymns and arrangements have appeared in hymn books and collections in Canada, China and the USA.

MV 145 – Draw the Circle Wide (1994)

We continue to use the refrain and first stanza of this hymn with our children before they leave for Childrens’ Church. See previous weeks blogs for additional information about this hymn.


VU 460 – All Who Hunger (1990)

This text by the late Sylvia Dunstan uses the image of manna in the wilderness for the bread of communion. It originally appeared in In Search of Hope and Grace: 40 Hymns and Gospel Songs (Chicago, 1991). Sylvia said she wrote the text after attending the 1990 Hymn Society conference in Charleston, South Carolina. It was here that she became acquainted with shape-note tunes, and when on vacation following the conference she worked out the text while walking up and down Folly Beach, singing the tune HOLY MANNA.
HOLY MANNA was written in the early nineteenth century and was first published in The Columbian Harmony ed. William Moore (Cincinnati, 1825).
The original text by George Askins (d. 1816) for this tune, which provides the tune name, begins:

Brethren, we have met to worship,
And adore the Lord our God;
Will you pray with all your power,
While we try to preach the word?
All is vain unless the Spirit
Of the Holy One comes down;
Brethren pray and holy manna
Will be showered all around.


VU 466 – Eat This Bread (1983)

Our Communion chant was written by Robert J. Batastini, in collaboration with Brother Robert and Jacques Bertier, while he was at the Taizé centre in France in 1983. The text is adapted from
John 6:35. In the Taizé style, it is simple enough to be used in coming to communion without needing a hymn book. Batastini was born in Chicago, studied music education, instrumental music, and church music at DePaul University, and served Roman Catholic churches as organist and choirmaster in several locations in Illinois. He began work at GIA Publications as an editor, later becoming vice president and senior editor. He is a fellow of the Hymn Society in the United States and Canada.
The setting, EAT THIS BREAD, also called BERTHIER, is by Jacques Berthier, written the afternoon the text was written. He is the composer of much of the Taizé Community music. Born in 1923, he was the son of two organists who were his first teachers. He studied chant, harmony, composition and organ at the César Franck School in Paris. He served as organist at St Ignace Jesuit Church in Paris from 1961 until his death in 1994. He began his work on the Taizé repertoire in the 1970’s.


VU 367 – Come Down, O Love Divine c.1400

The original Italian text was written by Bianco da Siena (c. 1350-c. 1434), a lay member of a 14th-century order, one of approximately 90 hymns that were finally published more than 400 years after his death as Laudi Spirituali [Spiritual Songs] (Lucca, 1851). Siena was the centre for the development of spiritual song, written in the vernacular Italian, and thus intended for the ordinary people. The translator, Richard Frederick Littledale (1833-1890) chose four of the seven original stanzas for his translation, of which three are in common use today. The translation first appeared in The People’s Hymnal (London, 1867). The text emphasises the gift of the Holy Spirit to the individual without any triumphalism, but with a sense of awed, humbled acceptance, not a possession to be boasted about, but a blessing to be cherished.
The tune DOWN AMPNEY is by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Down Ampney is the Gloucestershire village where the composer was born, the son of the vicar there. The tune is one of the few original hymn settings Vaughan Williams created for The English Hymnal (London, 1906) and has ever been identified with this text. Unlike many of his other well-known hymn tunes, this one was composed as a four-part setting, rather than a unison vocal line against a full organ accompaniment.

Third Sunday of Easter – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Third Sunday of Easter – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, April 15 2018

Third Sunday of Easter

1 John 3:1-7, Psalm 4, Luke 24:36b-48

by Paul Stott


VU 186 – Now the Green Blade Rises (1928)

VU 186 – Now the Green Blade Rises (1928)
Author John Macleod Campbell Crum wrote this text for The Oxford Book of Carols (1928) specifically to create an Easter carol for this tune. Crum was a Church of England clergyman who served from 1929 to 1943 as canon of Canterbury. The text uses the metaphor of plant rebirth to illustrate resurrection rebirth in Jesus and, as Carl Daw points out, as “the essential model for the Christian life; our perpetual need to die to self in order to live for God. This is part of the reason why the final stanza takes the form of an affirmation that we can be brought back to life when our hearts have become cold when we are in grief or pain.”
The tune, NOËL NOUVELET, is a fifteenth century French carol tune in the Dorian mode, and comes to us via the Oxford Book of Carols.


MV 145 – Draw the Circle Wide (1994)

We continue to use this hymn with our children as they leave for church school. Author and composer Gordon Light, retired bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (of British Columbia), is a well-known Canadian musician who composes, plays guitar and sings as a member of the Common Cup Company. Their musical ministry began when Light and the late Ian Macdonald (a United Church Minister), along with founding members Jim Uhrich, and Bob Wallace (also United Church Ministers) served at neighbouring churches in the early ’80’s. In the following decades the group wrote, performed, and recorded together despite living in different corners the country. Scott McDonald & Richard Betts joined the original quartet on bass & drums in the late ’90’s.
This arrangement is by Michael Bloss, Director of Music Ministries at Christ’s Church Cathedral, Hamilton.


VU 179 – Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Give Thanks (1971)

Author and Composer Donald Fishel, a native of Hart, Michigan, wrote this hymn while studying at the University of Michigan School of Music. It was written for the Word of God Community in Ann Arbor, Michigan. The text is a composite of several of Paul’s themes as well as the Easter theme of resurrection. Fishel’s compositions appear in a number of denominational hymn books in North America. Fishel works in music publishing and has been principal flutist in a number of community orchestras, bands and musical theatre productions.


MV 175 – May We But Wait (2004)

Our prayer response is by Will Petricko, who has a Master of Divinity degree from the University of Winnipeg and who serves his community as a spiritual care provider.


VU 697 – O For a World (1987)

This text by Miriam Therese Winter is an escatological vision of Christ’s kindom of justice and peace. It was originally written for the Presbyterian Women’s Triennial Conference at Purdue University in 1982, whose theme was “Nevertheless . . . the Promise.” The version here reflects revisions made by the author in 1987 when recorded by the Medical Mission Sisters. Carl Daw
remarks that the text is in essence a hymnic palimpsest (a manuscript or piece of writing material on which the original writing has been effaced to make room for later writing but of which traces remain) written on top of Charles Wesley’s “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing”. Winter is Professor of Liturgy, Worship, Spirituality, and Feminist Studies at Hartford Seminary. A Medical Mission Sister, she has been writing and publishing songs and hymns since Vatican II in the 1960’s. Her early recordings with The Medical Mission Sisters were widely popular, bringing a fresh, dynamic musical context to bible stories and simple songs of faith. Many of her later texts bring feminist theological perspectives to our hymnody, in beautiful poetry and melody. “Mother and God” (VU 280) and “Wellspring of Wisdom” (VU287) are two of her hymns in Voices United which we have frequently used at TSP. In 2013 she was named a Companion of The Centre for Christian Studies, the United Church diaconal theological training school.
The tune, AZMON, is German in origin, and was collected by American Lowell Mason in 1837. It is often associated with Charles Wesley’s “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing.”

Second Sunday of Easter – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Second Sunday of Easter – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, April 8 2018

Second Sunday of Easter

Acts 4:32-35, Ps 133, 1 John 1:1-2:2, John 20:19-31

by Paul Stott


VU 168 – The Risen Christ (1993)

This text was written by United Church minister Nigel Weaver during the meeting of the Hymn Society in Toronto in 1993. The text looks beyond the events of Easter morning to reflect on a number of Jesus’ resurrection appearances, and their effect on his followers, both then and now. The hymn was first published in Voices United (1996).

The setting, WOODLANDS, by Walter Greatorex, was first published in the Public School Hymnbook (London, 1919) and is named for one of the houses at Gresham School, where he was director of music. The composer, Benjamin Britten, was one of Greatorex’s students.

MV 145 – Draw the Circle Wide (1994)

Author and composer Gordon Light, retired bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (of British Columbia), is a well-known Canadian musician who composes, plays guitar and sings as a member of the Common Cup Company. Their musical ministry began when Light and the late Ian Macdonald (a United Church Minister), along with founding members Jim Uhrich, and Bob Wallace (also United Church Ministers) served at neighbouring churches in the early ’80’s. In the following decades the group wrote, performed, and recorded together despite living in different corners the country. Scott McDonald & Richard Betts joined the original quartet on bass & drums in the late ’90’s.

This arrangement is by Michael Bloss, Director of Music Ministries at Christ’s Church Cathedral, Hamilton.

Cross and Circle (2015)

This communion text is by our own Bill Kervin. The sparse nature of the poetry encourages our imaginations to expand the simple but profound images into a personal, intimate theological picture of the meaning of the sacrament. The repeated refrain reminds us of the closeness of God’s grace that we may find “here.”

The tune, CAIRDE, is by Lim Swee Hong, colleague of Bill at Emmanuel College. A native of Singapore, Swee Hong studied in Manila, in Dallas at SMU, and received his Ph.D. at Drew University in New Jersey. He held academic appointments in Singapore and at Baylor University in Texas before coming to Emmanuel College as Assistant Professor of Sacred Music and Director of the Master of Sacred Music program. He is a prolific composer of hymnody.

VU 482 – Shout for Joy! (1989)

This joyous song, written to follow communion, is from Love From Below (Glasgow, 1989), the third volume of Wild Goose Songs from the Iona Community.  The first three stanzas celebrate the gifts we have received in the communion meal: spiritual food, peace, new worth, faith, wonder, and communion with the saints in heaven.  The final stanza is a trinitarian doxology and affirmation of the present and coming kindom.

The lively setting, LANSDOWNE, is by John L. Bell, who since 1988 has been involved in the work of the Wild Goose Resource Group, the semiautonomous liturgical and musical project of the Iona Community. (The wild goose was a Celtic image for the Holy Spirit.)

Easter Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Easter Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, April 1 2018

Easter Sunday

Isa 25:6-9, Ps 118:1-2,14-14, John 20:1-18

by Paul Stott


VU 158-Christ Is Alive! (1968)

Brian Wren wrote this text while serving at Hockley Congregational Church in Essex, England. It was written for the Easter service in 1968, ten days after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The text reflects the struggle to express Easter joy and hope in the face of the world’s need for healing and justice for all. The text has been revised over the years to reflect more inclusive language and changing theological perspective. Wren, born in England and ordained in the Congregational Church, now lives in the United States with partner Rev. Susan Heafield, a United Methodist Pastor and composer. As well as being the author of many widely used hymn texts, Wren has written several books related to hymnology, including What Language Shall I Borrow (1989), which explores the range of imagery that can be brought to hymnody.

The tune, TRURO, has been attributed at various times to George Frederick Handel and Charles Burney, but there is no reliable evidence for either of these attributions. It may have been composed by the editor of Musica Sacra, being a Choice Collection of Psalm and Hymn Tunes, and Chants (Bath, c. 1778) in which it first appeared. TRURO is the cathedral city of Cornwall, in southwest England.

MV 145-Draw the Circle Wide (1994)

Author and composer Gordon Light, retired bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (of British Columbia), is a well-known Canadian musician who composes, plays guitar and sings as a member of the Common Cup Company. Their musical ministry began when Light and the late Ian Macdonald, (a United Church Minister) along with founding members Jim Uhrich, and Bob Wallace (also United Church Ministers) served at neighbouring churches in the early ’80’s. In the following decades the group wrote, performed, and recorded together despite living in different corners the country. Scott McDonald & Richard Betts joined the original quartet on bass & drums in the late ’90’s.

VU 155-Jesus Christ Is Risen Today (1708)

This hymn has a long and varied derivation. The first three stanzas are from three anonymous Latin verses from the fourteenth century, beginning Surrexit Christus Hodie, probably written as a trope on the Benedicamus Domino, sung at the end of prayer offices and masses. A number of German translations were made of the Latin trope, which then influenced the English translation which first appeared anonymously in Lyra Davidica (London, 1708). The fourth stanza is a doxology by Charles Wesley, from his Hymns and Sacred Poems (London, 1740).
The tune, EASTER HYMN, first appeared in Lyra Davidica. It is an extraordinary tune for its time, a precursor of the more exuberant tunes of the Evangelical revival later in the century.

VU 177-This Joyful Eastertide (1894)

This familiar Easter carol was written to go with the tune VRUECHTEN by George R. Woodward, a Cambridge scholar and Anglican priest, who collaborated on the editing and publishing of several books of carols and hymns. The text was first published in Carols for

Easter and Ascension (1894). The refrain relies on 1 Corinthians 15:14, “and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain.” (NRS) VREUCHTEN is a 17th century Dutch song, which was revised into a sacred setting for J. Oudaen’s volume of David’s Psalmen (Amsterdam, 1695).

Palm-Passion Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Palm-Passion Sunday – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, March 25 2018

Palm-Passion Sunday Mark 14:1-15:47

by Paul Stott


VU 126 – Ride On, Ride On, the Time Is Right (1988)

Text and tune are by John Bell, from Enemy of Apathy (1988), the second volume of Wild Goose Songs, published by the Iona Community. With stark, powerful imagery, Bell forces us to confront the reality behind the celebration of the palms and to reflect on how this reality continues to be with us today. Bell is a frequent visitor to Canada, leading workshops at churches and seminaries. His books The Singing Thing (2000) and The Singing Thing too (2007) share insights culled from over 20 years in which he and his colleagues in the Wild Goose Resource and Worship Groups have taught new songs in venues as diverse as old people’s homes with half a dozen hearing-aid users to the Greenbelt Festival with over 10,000 gathered for worship. John has a passion for congregational song.

VU 128 – Sanna, Sannanina (trad)

This example of South African service music comes to us from from Story Song (1993), a British volume of contemporary religious music. The text is a Swahili version of “Hosanna.”
A Cheering, Chanting, Dizzy Crowd (1985)
This text by Tom Troeger moves the liturgy from the exultation of a palm procession to contemplation of the passion to come. The transition in the third stanza from the celebration of the palm procession is enhanced by the alliteration in the first line “When day dimmed down to deepening dark.” Troeger is Professor of Christian communication at the Yale Divinity School in New Haven, Connecticut. Ordained in the Presbyterian Church in 1970 and in the Episcopal Church in 1999, he is dually aligned with both traditions. He is a prolific author, respected preacher, and accomplished flautist.
The setting, CHRISTIAN LOVE is by Paul Benoit (1893-1979), who was a priest at the Benedictine Abbey of St. Maurice and St. Maur, at Clervaux in Luxembourg. It was composed at the request of Omer Westendorf to set his text “Where Charity and Love Prevail.”

VU 950 – Stay With Me, Remain Here with Me (1982)

This Taizé text, our prayer response, was originally sung in German, but as with many Taizé chants, was soon translated into other languages, including English. The text is based on the request of Christ to his disciples in the Garden of Gethsemane, found in Mark 14:34, 38 reminding us of an ongoing call to be alert and faithful.

VU 146 – When Jesus Wept (1770)

Although Voices United attributes the text as well as the tune to William Billings, more recent research identifies Perez Morton (1751-1837) as the author. It was first published in Billings’ The New England Psalm Singer (Boston, 1770). “Jesus Wept” John 11:35 KJV is the shortest verse in the new Testament. John 11:38 KJV mentions “groaning.” The last two lines of the text may relate more closely to Luke 19:41-44, Jesus weeping over Jerusalem. In his biographical sketch of Billings, Carl Daw states

Billings (October 7, 1746–September 26, 1800) was born and died in Boston, which he left only in order to teach singing schools in nearby towns. His formal education was limited, but he read and studied widely on his own. His basic musical education came from the singing schools common throughout New England during the latter half of the 18th century. He added to his musical knowledge by studying published psalmody collections, such as William Tans’ur’s The Royal Melody Compleat (London, 1755) and Aaron Williams’s The Universal Psalmodist (London, 1762). Having been apprenticed to a tanner, Billings continued in that trade and operated a tannery for a number of years, but by 1769 he was also leading singing schools in Boston and the surrounding towns. During the 1760s he began composing hymn tunes and anthems following examples he found in the tune books of British psalmodists, but his abilities soon
allowed him to surpass his models. He became the informal leader of a large group of largely self-taught New England composers who dominated American sacred music between about 1780 and 1810. During the 1770s and early 1780s Billings was financially successful, but his fortunes declined sharply, so that from the late 1780s until his death he lived in near poverty.

The tune, WHEN JESUS WEPT, may sound strange to our modern ears, but was less strange in late eighteenth century America, where such disjunct and angular tunes were more common.  Notable in this four part canon is the extreme range of an octave and a fourth in the modal melody.

Fifth Sunday in Lent – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Fifth Sunday in Lent – Paul’s Hymn Blog

Sunday, March 18 2018

Psalm 51; John 12:20-33

by Paul Stott


MV 162 – Christ within Us Hidden (2005)

This hymn explores a number of images of encounter with Christ. Author Curtis Tufts grew up in Calgary Alberta, and is a life-long member of the United Church of Canada. After first dropping out of confirmation class, he re-entered the church through a lively Hi-C youth ministry, and was a candidate for ordained ministry by the ripe age of 18. He studied at the University of Calgary and St. Andrew’s College in Saskatoon, was ordained in 1981 and has ministered in Peace River AB, Maymont SK, Calgary AB, Saltcoats SK, and Spruce Grove AB. Frustrated with the words available in the hymn books of the day, he began writing new hymn lyrics to familiar tunes in 1985.

The text is set to ALEXANDER, composed by Sid Woolfrey, a graduate of Memorial University of Newfoundland, with a B.A. and B.Ed. in Psychology and English. Later, through studies in Nova Scotia, Quebec, and St. Pierre, he specialized in French. He has studied music at Mount Allison University in New Brunswick. A church organist since the age of 12, he has directed musical theatre for elementary and junior high school students, has many years of experience directing community and church choirs, and for 30 years was church organist and choir director for the Herring Neck Pastoral Charge in Newfoundland. Throughout that time, he conducted several choir workshops for all ages, focusing on the ministry of music in worship and the melding of music and liturgy. Sid also served as a member of the More Voices Development Team. He believes music is a language accessible and meaningful to all in our congregations.

MV 125 – When a Grain of Wheat (copyright 1981)

This lovely text is based on an image found in our gospel text for the day. Author Toyohiko Kagawa was born in 1888 in Kobe, Japan. Orphaned early, he lived first with his widowed stepmother and then with an uncle. He enrolled in a Bible class in order to learn English, and in his teens he became a Christian and was disowned by his family. In his late teens, he attended Presbyterian College in Tokyo for three years. He decided that he had a vocation to help the poor, and that in order to do so effectively he must live as one of them. Accordingly, from 1910 to 1924 he lived for all but two years in a shed six feet square (about 180 cm) in the slums of Kobe. In 1912 he unionized the shipyard workers. He spent two years (1914-1916) at Princeton studying techniques for the relief of poverty. In 1918 and 1921 he organized unions among factory workers and among farmers. He worked for universal male suffrage (granted in 1925) and for laws more favorable to trade unions. In 1923 he was asked to supervise social work in Tokyo. His writings began to attract favorable notice from the Japanese government and abroad. He established credit unions, schools, hospitals, and churches, and wrote and spoke extensively on the application of Christian principles to the ordering of society. He founded the Anti-War League, and in 1940 was arrested after publicly apologizing to China for the Japanese invasion of that country. In the summer of 1941 he visited the United States in an attempt to avert war between Japan and the US. After the war, despite failing health, he devoted himself to the reconciliation of democratic ideals and procedures with traditional Japanese culture. He died in Tokyo 23 April 1960. The setting is by Ushio Takahashi and the English translation of the text by Frank Y. Ohtomo.

VU 183 – We Meet You, O Christ (1966)

Prolific hymn poet Fred Kaan wrote this text for a television program in the BBC series Seeing and Believing in1966. The program idea came from a photograph of an apple tree growing in the ruins of a bombed-out Plymouth church. The text stresses the humanity of Christ, the suffering servant, with a strong message of resurrection in the final verse.

The tune, LIFE, is by Peter D. Smith, first appearing in his 1969 collection Faith, Folk and Festivity.


VU 948 – O God, Hear My Prayer (1982)

Our prayer response comes to us from Jacques Berthier, organist and composer who arranged much of the service music for the Taizé community in France.


VU 147 – What Wondrous Love is This (ca. 1811)

This American folk hymn circulated in the oral tradition and was first published in two words- only hymnals in 1811 in slightly different versions, one of six stanzas and one of seven. The four stanzas that we sing are found in both versions with minor variations. Carl Daw states “It is possible to think of this text as a 19th-century Christianized version of the opening of Psalm 103, ‘Bless the Lord, O my soul.’ Here the thanksgiving is primarily directed to Christ, who is perceived in terms of the kenosis theology of Philippians 2:5-11. . . The fourth stanza is a wonderful affirmation that the heightened existence of the life to come will require enhanced communication: no more speech, only song.”

The hexatonic tune was originally published in the appendix of William Walter’s shape note collection The Southern Harmony (Philadelphia, 1840). The composer was James Christopher of Spartanburg S.C.

TSP Calendar

Author page

[when] [location]
[link newwindow=”yes”]See more details[/link]