Any review of hymn collections quickly reveals that they are always reflective of the concerns and understandings of a particular people living in a particular time and place. Such is the case with our music. We belong to a vibrant congregation that describes itself as “a diverse community of people drawn together to God’s Spirit,” where “in this place for grace, each person’s age, race, gender, sexual orientation, spirituality, special interests, and unique abilities enrich us as the body of Christ.” In that spirit then, many of these hymn texts emphasize God’s abundant and transformative grade, radical hospitality, and far-reaching inclusivity.
In so doing, we have also endeavored to name precisely and honestly many of the emotional experiences or personal reactions that seem to be a part of this Christian journey: fear, joy, doubt, wonder, excessive self-reliance, expectation, despair, and gratitude. It is our hope that doing so allows the singer to connect and identify with the texts in ways that are comforting yet challenging, familiar yet inspirational.
Sarah and Cooper
We have always loved church music: we first met in a church choir, and during the years of our marriage have spent a good deal of our time together participating in choirs, singing through old hymnals, or (for Cooper) working as a church music director.
Our congregation is heavily involved in social justice issues both locally and abroad and in many ministries that center on care of creation – a focus made more salient due to our location in the Pacific Northwest where the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges are visible on clear days and the Puget Sound is within walking distance. In turn, our hymns include strong references to the beauty and wonder of creation and to our call to live boldly in a manner that reflects Christ’s teaching in all that we do.