We are available to design and/or lead hymn festivals or hymn sings for your congregation around a theme of your choice. Either event emphasizes congregational song, with the possible addition of anthem settings of hymns, extra instruments, soloists or ensembles, and scripture or other readings read by individuals or ensembles. Visual effects, dance, and drama are also possible additions. Fees are negotiable.
We work with the church staff and/or worship planners to develop a script around a theme, select scripture and other readings, choose hymns and suggest ways to use them, and provide commentaries on the hymn texts and tunes, all within the context of your worship order. John serves as organist for the festival, and Mary as the lector.
In recent years, John and Mary have led hymn festivals and hymn sings in churches in Illinois, Maryland, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Dakota, and Tennessee. Some of these have been planned as part of special celebrations such as church anniversaries, or in support of special events such as a stewardship campaign or a Holy Land tour. One was funded by memorial gifts. The festivals and sings have been on a variety of themes:
• Lectionary readings for the day or seasons of the liturgical year
Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (Familiar and new music for the day's readings)
Hymns for the Season after Epiphany (Events in Jesus' life celebrated in Ordinary Time)
The Feast of St. Francis (A mini-hymn festival based on the canticle and prayer of St. Francis)
• Hymn Writers from a certain time or perspective
Methodist Hymn Writers (Contemporary, as well as traditional)
Hymns Old and New (Pairing traditional and new hymns on similar themes)
Restoring Emotion to Reformed Worship (New hymns that allow us to express our feelings to God)
• Congregational Life
Singing the Seasons of Life (Hymns for life events celebrated by a congregation)
Celebrate Our Journey (Hymns related to the life of the congregation)
Making A Difference (Focus on a denominational stewardship campaign)
• Human Needs
God Gives Songs in the Night (Old and new hymns for "night seasons" in life)
Singing God’s Song in A Strange Land (Psalm 137)
The Healing Power of Hope ( A multi-generational service of hymns, anthems, readings, and prayers)
• Other themes
Journey to the Holy Land (Hymns that mention biblical sites and events)
Love Is Faith at Work (Hymns on how God works through people of faith.)
In addition, we are also available to lead a limited number of festivals or informal sings to introduce hymns from our own collections, Come Away With Me: A Collection of Original Hymns, and Time Now to Gather: New Hymns for the Church Family (Abingdon) and a third collection, The Song Lingers On: New Hymns for Our Journey of Faith (Zimbel). For a festival they can also draw from over twenty-five other hymns that are as yet unpublished.
WHAT THEY SAID ABOUT HYMN FESTIVALS LED BY JOHN AND MARY
"A highlight of our centennial year."-Kristin Schultz, Centennial Chairperson at the United Church of Christ in Gaylord, MN. "If I listen carefully, I can still hear the sanctuary reverberating with the blessed sounds of Sunday. So many here have told me how much the hymn festival meant to them. One even said it was one of the most significant spiritual events of her life."-William W. Williamson, Jr., pastor, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, TN.
For more information about hymn festivals and hymn sings, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.