Sunday, July 30, 2006

Hymns and Songs for Small Groups

We held our second technical rehearsal of our video cafe this morning, for a small group that included a visiting ministerial colleague. Besides thinking that we have a viable service, (thanks, Kate!) she remarked that we had a better sense of picking good hymns for small group worship than most people, even ministerial colleagues, seem to.

Since I've just finished compiling a set of hymns for use in our Video Cafe and Branch locations, where we anticipate no piano, only possible guitar, and modest talent for group singing leadership, I offer it here for those organizing worship for retreats, small congregations, etc. My criteria are: the music has a limited range, a lot of repetition, short phrases, not too many words, simple melody.

From the Gray Book:

Come, Come, Whoever you Are
Circle Round for Freedom
May the Circle be Unbroken
Gathered Here
Spirit of Life (harder than the others but so many of us know it!)
Come Sing a Song With Me
One More Step
Peace is Flowing Like a River
Kum ba yah
Alleluia (11 minute accompaniment CD here:)

From the Turquoise Book: Simple Accompaniments to many of these hymns are available on the UUA website.

Where Do We Come From? 1003
Woyaya 1020
Return Again 1011 (lovely CD of this Here)

There is a Balm in Gilead 1045
Turn the World Around 1074

Only If you have a guitar:

Take up the Song (Etzler and Chambers, in Signature Songbook #3)
When Our Heart is in a Holy Place (Turquoise # 1008)
1031 Filled with Loving Kindness

Many of these songs would be enhanced by a simple shaker or drum accompaniment.

A group that learns this many songs is doing very well!


Turtle Mountain said...

What a superb and useful post. What about "We Shall Overcome"?

Jess said...


Jess's Journal says:

"There’s an old Unitarian Universalist joke about hymn singing - that the reason no one in the congregation sings the first verse of a hymn is because they’re busy reading ahead to make sure they agree with the words. . ."