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Content about Afro-American

December 1, 1999

African-American religious music has a life that is unique to its culture. Spirituals and black gospel music embody the rhythmic elements of syncopation, improvisation, metric variety, fervor, and simplicity with lyrical melodic phrases. The four songs on these pages use all of these elements and more. These hymns, all of which will be included in the new supplement Sing! A New Creation, are excellent choices for the Lent and Easter season. They transcend race, culture, and musical tradition, and are enjoyed by those who sing them.

September 1, 1998

While on vacation, a member of my congregation attended a jazz worship service that she enjoyed immensely. She wondered if we might try something similar. I had heard about jazz worship services but wasn't sure how to put one together. To take a regular order of service and insert jazz music into it seemed ill-advised, yet so did a radically altered worship service that bore little resemblance to what normally occurs on Sunday mornings.

September 1, 1998

The songs selected here are on the working list of a supplement scheduled for release in the year 2000.

As the Deer
September 1, 1996

There is no better preparation for learning to improvise than to recapture a child's natural pleasure, curiosity, and interest in spontaneous music-making.

June 1, 1996

Are you looking for ways to bring a spirit of renewal to your worship this fall? One way to do that is to breathe new life into your congregational hymn-singing through the addition of istruments, soloists, children, concertato arrangements, reharmonizations, and antiphony.

The songs on these pages share three characteristics that might help you encourage revitalized hymn-singing in your worship this fall:

December 1, 1995

We were buried with Christ through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.

—Romans 6:4

September 1, 1995

It's fall. You are already noticing the Christmas catalogues showing up in your mailbox. Though school has barely begun, your calendar tells you it is time to plan for Advent and Christmas. And the very thought of it makes you tremble just a little.

December 1, 1994
We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder

I have a friend who says, "In Lent we ought to be singing less of 'O Sacred Head Now Wounded' and more of 'May the Mind of Christ, My Savior."' My friend's point is that often in Lent we tend to focus more on the passion of Christ and less on our spiritual journey. "Jacob's Ladder" is a hymn that does focus on our journey, calling us to be soldiers of the cross and to love Jesus.

June 1, 1993

Anyone who takes a close look at the history of the Christian church in the United States and Canada cannot help but be struck by the many ways in which our cultural and ethnic diversity has enriched and blessed us. We are truly a body that has been influenced by people of "every tribe, language, and nation."

December 1, 1992
Were You There

The season of Lent is a time for Christians to learn more of what it means to be followers of Christ, whose love for us went all the way to the cross. The hymn "Were You There" provides a means by which we can thoughtfully relate the Lenten events to our own lives.

September 1, 1991


O Come, O Come, Immanuel

In the past few years Advent has become my favorite liturgical season. Why? Because there is nothing more exciting to me than anticipating a great event such as the birth of Christ. "O Come, O Come, Immanuel" anticipates the celebration of Christmas and implores God to be among us always.