For more than 30 years, the Baptist Peace Fellowship of North America (BPFNA) has been doing amazing work in the world. Through education and advocacy BPFNA contributes to the transformation of individuals, churches, and the wider society.
BPFNA brings together churches and individuals from Canada, the United States, Puerto Rico, and Mexico, celebrating and supporting the peacemaking work done not only by Baptist churches but by other faith traditions. The Peace Fellowship raises the visibility of peacemaking efforts; brings peacemakers together in regional and international gatherings; and provides resources, speakers, and training to members. Actively connecting with peacemakers from other traditions, faith-based and secular, BPFNA builds alliances and works together toward our common goal of a more just and peaceful world.
For several decades I have been blessed by being a member of The Baptist Peace Fellowship. Baptist Peacemaker, the publication of the Fellowship, has especially challenged, educated, and inspired me. My good friend Katie Cook has done outstanding work as editor of Baptist Peacemaker for many years.
I’m honored that the April-June issue of Baptist Peacemaker includes the following review of Earth Transformed with Music! Inclusive Songs for Worship, along with a description of the first two hymnals I also wrote in collaboration with composer Larry E. Schultz. Hymnal Review
Earth Transformed with Music! Inclusive Songs for Worship
A Hymnal by Jann Aldredge-Clanton
reviewed by Thom Longino
I confess: I am one of those people who saves the bulletin from Sunday’s worship service to refer back to through the week. Sometimes I will say a prayer that has been used, but often I will refer back to a hymn so I may sing it as a prayer to center myself in the Sacred during the course of my week. Sometimes I even find myself singing a hymn to myself from the previous Sunday’s service, and that is usually my clue that I should refer back to the bulletin to sing the whole hymn. I am quirky like that.
Recently, I found myself singing the lines “Praise Sophia, Holy Wisdom, praise her many names and forms.” It’s easy to remember because it is to the tune of “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee.” I referred back to my bulletin, and sure enough, it was there. I sang all the verses as I sat in prayer. This hymn brings a smile to my heart.
As I looked over the bulletin, all the hymns used were penned by Jann Aldredge-Clanton. This is nothing new for where I go to church, Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran in San Francisco, CA. Pastor Stacy Boorn has used Jann’s hymns in worship for quite a few years. What was different about the hymns that Sunday were all from Dr. Aldredge-Clanton’s newest hymnal Earth Transformed with Music! Inclusive Songs for Worship.
There is another reason I often save and refer back to my bulletins from Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran. That is because I work as a street chaplain in San Francisco, and I will often use Jann’s hymns in some of the groups and Bible studies I help facilitate. Her use of new words to tunes many are familiar with makes the hymns easy to sing, often providing a good centering and jumping off point for prayer, conversation and sharing.
In the past I have used more of Jann’s Advent/Christmas/Epiphany hymns, but as I thumb through her new hymnal, I foresee using some of the new hymns from Earth Transformed with Music! Inclusive Songs for Worship.
I am excited to further explore these hymns as my pastor uses them in worship, because they often dance in my soul. I look forward to sharing them with the folks I work with on the streets, because I love sharing joy and helping others explore who Sophia may be for them.
—Rev. Thom Longino is a person of many hats: a member and adjunct pastor at Ebenezer/herchurch Lutheran in San Francisco, CA; a street chaplain, with the San Francisco Night Ministry and the Faithful Fools Street Ministry; a member of the Order of Ecumenical Franciscans; and a budding spiritual director.
Hymnals by Jann Aldredge-Clanton and Larry E. Schultz
Jann Aldredge-Clanton writes, “Words we sing in worship have great power to shape our beliefs and actions.” She has published three hymnals with this in mind. Many of the tunes are drawn from the church’s rich tradition, but all three hymnals include original tunes and arrangements by composer Larry E. Schultz. Below are descriptions of Jann’s first two hymnals.
• Inclusive Hymns for Liberating Christians
The wide variety of biblical divine names and images in this hymnal are based on the sacredness of all people and all creation. It includes 116 hymns, notes and extensive indexes, drawing from prophetic, liberating tradition in Scripture. Themes include peace, justice, resurrection, abundant life, liberation, new creation and partnership in relationships. The collection celebrates the seasons of the church year and other special occasions. It balances female and male divine names and resurrects ancient female divine images.
• Inclusive Hymns for Liberation, Peace, and Justice
The second collection, like the first, is designed to contribute to an expansive theology and an ethic of equality and justice in human relationships. It covers gender, race, interfaith cooperation, sexual orientation, ecology and other social justice issues. This collection also includes hymns of lament and hymns that celebrate special occasions. Many are appropriate for interfaith settings. Most of the hymns are set to widely known tunes, many with fresh arrangements.
—All three hymnals can be purchased on Amazon or on Jann’s website, www.jannaldredgeclanton.com.
April-June 2016 Baptist Peacemaker Baptist Peacemaker, April-June 2016