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Foreword to Come Sing a Song with Me by Nick Page

This collection of beloved songs, old and new and from many lands, is a gem. As a moral foundation for our faith these songs link us deeply with the past and draw us fervently into the future. But they come alive most vibrantly in the present moment. Sing them joyously at times of worship, at intergenerational community gatherings, in religious education classes, or with your family at home.

The songs inspire us most when we honor the stories behind them and the folk traditions from which they have evolved. Each song is accompanied by a brief commentary that makes it come alive. “Siyahamba” speaks for millions of Black South Africans marching in anger but also celebrates the Liberation Theology of a Loving God. When you know that John Newton wrote “Amazing Grace” after he had repented his life as a “wretch” slave ship captain and become an active abolitionist in late eighteenth-century England, the song takes on a deep new power. Celebrate and discuss the meaning behind the songs with your worship community, students, or family.

Some songs, like Carolyn McDade's “Spirit of Life,” are woven deeply into the ritual of our worship. Honor them as rituals which, like the lighting of our chalice, connect us with each other and with our past and future.

The living folk tradition gives us the freedom to sing songs creatively according to our own spirit, while always honoring their history. “Soon the Day” is often sung slowly in North America but in Israel people sing it in upbeat fashion, rising to their feet. Add your own harmonies to songs like “Circle Round for Freedom” or “I’ve Got Peace Like a River.” All the accompaniments in this collection are purposely accessible so that the songs may be sung with piano, guitar, or no instrument at all—just the sound of humble voices.

Melodie Feather has assembled for us a vital collection of songs.

—Nick Page

For more information contact bookstore @ uua.org.

This work is made possible by the generosity of individual donors and congregations. Please consider making a donation today.

Last updated on Wednesday, June 2, 2010.

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