Singing the Faith plus

The Methodist Church
Pentecost 2013
Singing the Faith Plus
The Methodist Church
Laurence Wareing

Welcome to this Pentecost edition of Singing the Faith Plus News

Exploring the hymns in Singing the Faith can take you on surprising journeys and detours. Recently, I found myself re-reading a number of hymns usually sung at Christmas. It was an experience that drew me unexpectedly to the work of Cecil Frances (Fanny) Alexander, who wrote many of her hymns as accessible explanations of the Apostles' Creed. Then came the detours in the form of two questions. First, why are women so under-represented in our hymn books? (See our focus on the work of Anna Briggs.) Second, I wondered: which hymns today best summarise our core Christian beliefs as laid out in our creeds? It’s a question you might like to help us answer (see below).

However, this edition of StF+ News doesn’t forget that we are fast approaching the season of Pentecost. Plus, we are pleased to be able to report back to you on decisions about new editions of Singing the Faith made as a result of your responses to our recent survey.

There is much new material on the StF+ site at the moment and this newsletter will help point you towards it. I hope you find it interesting and of value as you plan worship and explore new hymns.


Telling the Pentecost story


How we translate the activity and character of the Holy Spirit into words and images is a challenge and opportunity that writers have embraced ever since St Luke described the first Pentecost events in the Book of Acts. We’ve compiled a short introduction to some of the StF hymns about the Holy Spirit. Plus, you can read more about some of the individual hymns: Crashing waters at creation; Like the murmur of the dove’s song; O breath of life, come sweeping through us; and She sits like a bird, brooding on the waters.

New editions


We sent you a survey. You responded, you commented, and many of you said, “Yes please”. As a result, we’re delighted to report that there will be a presentation edition of Singing the Faith and there will be Kindle and Epub editions (words only) too.

There are several details still to sort out but as soon as we have a firm schedule for availability we’ll let you know. For the moment, we can confirm that the presentation edition will be offered at £50 (only £16 more than the presentation edition of Hymns & Psalms, which was published back in 1983). Unlike the organ edition, it will be held in stock and won’t need to be pre-ordered before publication. We expect to be able to publish this edition for September. My colleagues at Methodist Church House have a printer’s dummy and tell me that it looks great.

The Kindle and Epub editions will be available earlier and they will be priced at £10.00 including VAT.

And an update on the piano accompaniment CDs. Recording is now completed (huge thanks to all involved) and production is in hand. There are some copyright and presentation matters to be tidied up and then we can hit the green button. We’ll let you know a date as soon as the sets are available to order from Methodist Publishing.

There is also news on the Braille edition. As you are aware, it is already possible to request Braille-coded files of individual hymns for embossing from the Torch Trust. Now, as transcription nears completion, the project manager at the Trust has advised us that the full Braille edition of Singing the Faith will be available to order before the Methodist Conference in early July.


New faces


Meet some more fine contemporary hymns writers. We’ve given the wonderful Anna Briggs (woefully under-represented in any current denominational hymn book) a two-part article, as well as information about her moving hymn We lay our broken world in sorrow at your feet. Also get to know Alan Gaunt and Owen Alstott through their respective hymns: "Lord Christ, we praise your sacrifice" and "My soul rejoices in God my Saviour".

Singing the Apostles' Creed



Cecil Frances (Fanny) Alexander wrote some of her most well-known hymns, including Once in royal David’s city and the Easter perennial, There is a green hill far away, as part of her mission to make the Apostles' Creed easily understandable for younger children.

What hymns would you suggest to help us understand the statements of the Apostles’ Creed? Let us know and help us compile a list.


What else is new?


As well as our usual suggestions for hymns to accompany the lectionary readings (now available up to the end of June), recent additions to the StF+ site include some thoughts on choosing hymns about biblical characters and Christian saints. We offer six easy tips for encouraging unaccompanied singing in your congregation. And church musician Richard Skeet explores one the finest hymns to be found in any hymn book, Isaac Watts’ When I survey the wondrous cross.


And finally...

Remember Christmas? Recent weather has been a constant reminder, at least in the part of Britain where I live. There’s something refreshing about having the space to re-visit favourite Christmas carols without any pressure to rush out and sing them. In particular, how about re-visiting hymns for which we’ve been compiling some background information: Christina Georgina Rossetti’s Christmas poems In the bleak midwinter and Love came down at Christmas; and Fanny Alexander’s Once in royal David’s city.


As ever, thank you for your support and feedback at StF+. We value it and welcome it.

With all good wishes from all of us at Singing the Faith.

Laurence Wareing (Editor, Singing the Faith Plus)

You can get in touch with me by emailing, using the feedback page of the website, or posting your thoughts to “Editor, Singing the Faith Plus” at Methodist Church House, 25 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5JR.



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