Crown Him (Majesty)
Continuing the trend of writing choruses to pair with well known hymns, this modern worship song has been written based upon the hymn, “Crown Him with Many Crowns.” The best option to use when singing this in worship is to invite the congregation to sing the verse, with the choir or worship team singing the chorus and bridge. The parts are too high for congregations, and a key adjustment here would be difficult because the verses do not need to be any lower for congregational singing. Tenors or sopranos could sing the melody, with harmony built around it. These parts can be accessed either on CCLI's SongSelect service (for the appropriate subscription plan) or Praise Charts.
Glorify Your Name (TFWS 2016)
One of the standards of early praise and worship music repertoire, this favorite by Donna Adkins has been sung for years. Unlike many modern songs, this work provides a reference to the Triune God by simply changing the reference at the beginning of the chorus (Father, Jesus, Spirit). The rest of the song is completely the same each time, so find ways to vary it musically. Here is a suggestion: Divide the congregation in half, and divide the first and third phrases in half, with each half of the congregation singing a half of the phrase. The entire congregation can sing together on the second and fourth phrases. It would look like this:
Measures 1-2: Congregation A
Measures 3-4: Congregation B
Measures 5-8: Congregation A&B
Measures 9-10: Congregation A
Measures 11-12: Congregation B
Measures 13-16: Congregation A&B
Another option would be to teach this song to children’s choirs and have them lead the singing in front of the congregation. Children’s voices work especially well in the range of this song, and you can accompany with any instrument, from organ or piano to guitar or full band.
Father, We Have Heard You Calling (W&S 3150)
Another Trinitarian hymn of praise, this creation from British hymnwriter Gareth Hill provides the culmination of unity fleshed out in this series: “one in love and one in worship--children of eternity.” We are united in God’s time from now into eternity. Each stanza of this hymn focuses upon a different person in the Trinity, but the fourth stanza is all-inclusive, creating an image of the Trinity not as separate persons of God, but as holy community. The hymn is paired with HYFRYDOL in Worship & Song and is best accompanied by organ or piano. Read the "Father, We have Heard You Calling" Hymn Study »
Holy, Holy, Holy (Hillsong)
The only recommended piece of this work on its own that is worth mentioning is the ending: “Holy, we cry holy.” The rest of the song is the same as the original hymn, and the original key of this setting is too low. Sing in D, and have the praise team use the ending if it enhances the hymn in your setting.
Holy, Holy, Holy (Heber/Dykes) [UMH 64]
I am of the opinion that this hymn is so well known on its own that it needs no variation. Organists and praise bands have been singing this so long that the strophic form of the hymn is enough. If you have the option in your setting, add brass to the singing of the hymn to brighten the tone and enliven the atmosphere. There are plenty of arrangements of this hymn available for congregations, choirs, handbells, and instrumental ensembles. Sing with confidence and gusto! If your worship band needs a lead sheet for this hymn, you can download "Holy, Holy, Holy" here »
Make Us One (TFWS 2224)
The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir and its director, Carol Cymbala, have long been a well-known fixture in contemporary gospel music. This short work in The Faith We Sing is a very singable chorus that needs to be sung quite slowly to allow the harmonies to develop completely and the vocal line to soar with sensitive phrasing. I recommend a metronome marking of quarter note = 48. Accompany on piano, organ, or rhythm section.
One Bread, One Body (UMH 620)
Communion hymns are centered upon many different aspects of the sacrament, including the giving of bread and cup to the community and world, the grace given through the meal, and the leaving and extending of the table, just to name a few. “One Bread, One Body” combines all of those elements into a hymn of unity that also celebrates the unique nature of each person and their contributions to the body of Christ. This hymn may be accompanied by a number of instruments, but I have found the most invitational setting for this folk hymn to be a guitar with the possibility of having solo treble instruments double the melody line or other parts of the harmony. This hymn should never feel rushed, so let the phrases sing! Plenty of time to breathe is already built into the setting.
Table of Plenty (W&S 3173)
Dan Schutte, well known as the writer of “Here I Am, Lord,” has created this Communion hymn as an easily learnable and singable chorus with stanzas that can easily be sung by soloists. Whereas many Communion hymns are slower, this hymn is more celebratory in nature and allows the congregation to focus upon Communion as an act of thanksgiving. The introduction is relatively tricky for many pianists, so if needed, choose an improvised introduction that works in your setting. In the Singer’s and Accompaniment Editions of Worship & Song, you will also find a descant for the chorus and stanzas. If a vocalist is not available for these descants in your community, have a solo instrument play them instead.
Father, We Thank You (UMH 565)
This hymn is one of the oldest hymns in The United Methodist Hymnal. Originally written in Greek during the second century, this prayer is very powerful, especially when considering its origins in the early church. The tune can be difficult to sing because of the length of the phrases and the lack of repetition. The first two complete phrases are the same, but though the last phrase imitates it somewhat, it is not a repetition. Therefore, this hymn may take time for a congregation to learn. Be patient and plan its use often over a period of weeks to build an aural recognition of the tune.
Christ, from Whom All Blessings Flow (UMH 550)
This classic Charles Wesley hymn speaks to the unity found in the joining together of the various parts of the body of Christ. The gifts spoken of in 1 Corinthians 12 are mentioned as Wesley comments,
Move and actuate and guide,
diverse gifts to each divide;
placed according to thy will,
let us all our work fulfill.
This week we recommend the possibility of singing this during Communion, with the closing two stanzas sung as the Thanksgiving after Communion. Accompany with organ, piano, or guitar.