Being Vital by Recovering a Lost Practice

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In 2010 a study was released by the United Methodist Church that revealed that one key factor that vital congregations shared was starting and maintaining small groups. This finding is something deeply Methodist because the revival and amazing movement built by John Wesley was in many ways a small group revival. At the center of […]

New resource released to guide ministry with veterans

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In preparation for the observance in the U.S. of Veteran’s Day on November 11, United Methodist Communications has released as a part of their RETHINK CHURCH initiative a new resource for congregations and church leaders.

History of Hymns: Priest bases hymn on call to be ‘fishers of men’

Of his five hymns in the UM Hymnal, “Pescador de Hombres” (“Fisher of Men”), the original Spanish title, is the most popular and indeed, one of the more popular newer hymns in the hymnal. Written in 1979, “Tú has venido a la orilla” (the Spanish opening line) is based on the parallel passages found in the synoptic gospels on Jesus’ calling of his first disciples (Matthew 4:18-20; Mark 1:16-20; Luke 5:1-11).

Reading list: Leadership ideas to help the church

By Bishop Larry Goodpaster, Special Contributor… Editor’s note: United Methodist Bishop Goodpaster shares brief reflections on the books he read during the first few months of 2012. Boundary Spanning Leadership by Chris Ernst and Donna Chrobot-Mason (McGraw-Hill, 2010) If there is one leadership book on this list that should be a must-read, this is it. […]

History of Hymns: Hymn celebrates role of music in worship

Even though it is a 21st-century hymn text, it is hard to separate “When Words Alone Cannot Express” from the familiar 17th-century hymn tune for which it was written—LASST UNS ERFREUEN, a tune often associated with the hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King.” The Rev. John Thornburg’s hymn uses this singable and triumphant melody to provide an explanation of the role of music in worship.

History of Hymns: Tindley hymn envisions journey toward heaven

Charles Albert Tindley (1851-1933) was one of the eminent preachers of Methodism at the turn of the 20th century. In a collection of Tindley hymns, Beams of Heaven (General Board of Global Ministries, 2006) Emory University hymnologist James Abbington calls Tindley a “pastor, orator, poet, writer, theologian, social activist, ‘father of African American Hymnody,’ ‘progenitor of African American gospel music’ and ‘prince of preachers.’”

History of Hymns: Hymn uses fire metaphor to describe Holy Spirit

Inspiration for composing a hymn comes to Dr. Duck through a variety of avenues. While some hymns are born out of personal experiences, others are commissioned by individuals, congregations or hymnal committees. “Living Spirit, Holy Fire,” included in the United Methodist collection Worship & Song (2011), stems from her interaction with Pilgrim Congregational Church, UCC, in Oak Park, Ill.

History of Hymns: Poetic touch enriches hymns by Anglican bishop

To create a fully functional hymn that has as much poetic integrity as “Jesus, the Saving Name” is a testament to Bishop Dudley-Smith’s mastery of the craft, just as his talent for “hiding the obvious” is a testament to his creative imagination.

History of Hymns: Wesley hymn invites all to ‘the Gospel Feast’

We are reminded that truth, as well as sustenance, is found in the gospel. Charles Wesley’s hymn, “Come, Sinners, to the Gospel Feast” is an invitation to that table and a reiteration of that truth.

History of Hymns: ‘Softly and Tenderly’ famed as invitation song

The genius of a gospel song is usually found in the refrain and this one is no exception. The refrain extends the invitation to “come home” four times in the melody, and an additional two times in the accompanying lower voices.

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