• I Know God Holds You

    My journey towards parenthood was not as difficult as it is for many, and it was still marked by grief and fear. Along the way I had two miscarriages, losses that were hard to grapple with. Few people knew about them. I had never been taught how to grieve them, or what to believe about them.

    When I began writing hymns, I wondered if it would be possible to sing about this kind of loss in a congregation. I wanted a place for it in community life. I wanted those who experience it to feel less alone.

    While I was writing, I started to remember other griefs that I have accompanied people through, and noticed similarities. Many losses come too soon, even after years of shared life and love. And while not everyone in a community has had a pregnancy loss, almost everyone knows grief in some form. A song grounded in a very specific experience became more general.

    I sent a draft to my editor at GIA, Adam Tice. He forwarded it to Kate Williams, Vice President of Sacred Music, who edited a book and album titled Of Womb and Tomb: Prayer in Time of Infertility, Miscarriage, and Stillbirth.

    Within a few hours, I received an audio track that she had created with a song that was just what I had needed — and what I continue to need — to accompany and ease my sense of loss. It was an amazing gift to me, and I hope it will be a gift to many others. Our love goes on.

    You can find the piece here and listen to Kate sing it below.

  • Roll Away the Stone

    Photo by http://www.LumoProject.com

    How do we receive an Easter message of hope when we’re struggling? Here is a hymn for all those churches finding their ways into new expressions of ministry and all the folks weary from personal and political challenges. I wrote it with inspiration from the Southern New England Conference of the United Church of Christ which is using this theme for our 2023 Annual Meeting.

    The wonderful Southern Harmony tune RESTORATION is most often paired with the text “Come, Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy” which creates a dialogue between an exhorter (verse) and a believer (refrain). You can hear a version of that pairing here:

    This new text for that tune plays with the pattern, with the people (verse) asking for help from Christ, who responds with encouragement (refrain).

    Find the hymn here! It can be reproduced for a congregation using One License.

  • O Jesus Who Traveled

    During Holy Week, many churches read extended passages of the Gospels which share stories of Jesus’ last days. We remember the gifts that Jesus offers us while also recalling the many people and systems that betray him. This text can be a companion on that journey, with the verses being interspersed with readings if desired. The questions in each verse invite us to consider our own role in the story, collectively and individually, past and present.

    I am honored that Sally Ann Morris wrote a beautiful original tune for this text called TRAVELER. It could also be sung to I WONDER AS I WANDER.

    Find the hymn here!

    Thanks to Brian Hehn of The Hymn Society of the United States and Canada who highlighted this hymn in his recent “Coffee & Hymns” video about new hymns for Lent. Watch (and listen!) here:

  • We Seek You With Our Questions, God

    This text was inspired by A Sanctified Art’s Lenten series for 2023, “Seeking: honest questions for deeper faith” which explores questions found in the Revised Common Lectionary’s texts for Year A. Their theme provides a lovely invitation to consider all of the questions we bring to God, and the questions God asks us in return; to measure faith not by the strength of our certainty, but by the sincerity of our desire. 

    Text: Hannah C. Brown, b.1980 © 2022 GIA Publications, Inc.
    For permission to reproduce this text, please visit www.onelicense.net.

    Meter: D
    Recommended tune: LUCY by Sally Ann Morris
    Other possible tunes include: KINGSFOLD, FOREST GREEN, ELLACOMBE

    We seek you with our questions, God,
    with open heart and mind;
    we long to live a fresher life
    and leave our past behind,
    for all that we have known before
    has faded and grown worn.
    We seek you with our questions, God,
    that we might be reborn.

    We wonder why things come to pass
    and how to come alive.
    Where do your living waters flow?
    How can dry bones revive?
    Who are you, God, who meet us here
    with wisdom and with sign?
    We seek you with our questions, God,
    we yearn for truth divine.

    We search for you in garden green
    where once you gave us birth;
    We search for you in desert parched
    and all throughout the earth.
    With wonder, worry, doubt, and awe
    we search through night and day.
    We seek you with our questions, God,
    at home and far away.

    v. 4 
    You seek us with your questions, God,
    inviting us to dare
    to know you and to love you more,
    to grow through act and prayer.
    “Who will you trust and follow now?
    My truth is all around.”
    You seek us with your questions, God,
    you seek and we are found.

  • A Word Went Out to Mary

    I have always loved the gentle beauty of both the text and tune of “Lo, How a Rose.”  More recently, I discovered that there was another set of words written for this tune, “A Great and Mighty Wonder,” which emphasizes the high and holy nature of the child who arrives among us.  Here I reference both texts while exploring the marvel of God’s arrival through physical birth, in Jesus and in our own bodies.

    Find the hymn here!