Letter to United Methodist Church – from the President and Vice President of the Methodist Church UK
Amanda Udis-Kessler (Colorado Springs) words, on the prompting of John Churcher (United Kingdom), have now been recorded by Canadian, Reba Sigler, who is also an opera singer. The wonders of internet communication! The recording can be found here - Reba Sigler sings Amanda Udis-Kessler's Rebuilding starts with weeping. US hymnwriter and sacred music composer Amanda Udis-Kessler wrote the text just after the 2020 US Presidential Election and has re-shared it following the violence at the US Capitol on January 6, 2021. I have asked and been granted permission to reproduce it here. It is pertinent in the US context but also in the UK and Europe through pandemic and Brexit. Do visit her site - link below.
Rebuilding starts with weeping, with tears that fall like rain, With full and honest grieving for years of loss and pain, For suffering and sorrow that never had to be. Rebuilding starts with weeping for all who are not free. Rebuilding starts with praying, with hopes allowed a voice, With visions for our country, with reason to rejoice. We offer up our spirits, our hearts and minds and hands. Rebuilding starts with praying for strength to heal our land. Rebuilding starts with loving, with care for every soul, With yearning in compassion that all may yet be whole, That enemy and neighbor may know a better day. Rebuilding starts with loving, for love will show the way It is most often sung to the Bach Passion Chorale.
Amanda’s many other inclusive hymns, worship songs, and rounds are freely available for listening and download at https://queersacredmusic.com.
Days now to an anniversary…and we witness strife (an understatement) in Afghanistan and this hymn, perhaps still speaks to us. That saddens me (understatement again). I thought it would lose any validity or use within days of being written…I hoped
When will we ever learn…
Twenty years ago this year the USA, and with it the world, was shaken with the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. This exacerbated the polarisation of faith traditions and ideologies across the globe. Tensions increased and an ‘us and them’ mentality, already present, was exaggerated by political posturing, understandable, to a degree, in the light of what had happened. Broken bridges have still not been rebuilt but today those labelled enemies in Western nations are as much within as outside out borders and reconciliation is still needed. Ideologies are in tension with each other and this is overlaid by the threat of a pandemic. Global cooperation has never been more necessary. A hymn I wrote in 2001 within 24 hours of 9/11 is perhaps still pertinent…those we label or sense to be enemies inhabit the fabric of our own politics. Their actions are not as obvious but just as damaging…trust is at a premium…
1 God's on our side, and God will grieve at carnage, loss and death; for Jesus wept, and we will weep with every grieving breath. 2 God's on their side, the enemy, the ones we would despise; God quench our vengeance, still our pride, don't let our anger rise. 3 God's on each side, God loves us all, and through our hurt and pain G od shares the anguish, nail scarred hands reach out?love must remain. 4 God show us how to reconcile each difference and fear, that we might learn to love again and dry the other's tear. Andrew E Pratt (born 1948) © 2001 Stainer and Bell Ltd., please include any use on your CCL Licence return or contact Stainer & Bell via www.stainer.co.uk. Administered in the USA by Hope Publishing. Tunes: AMAZING GRACE; BASIE (Kleinheksel)
Some of the poetry in Words, Images and Imagination are perhaps pertinent to this situation…
Friends, I’ve been watching the news here in the UK. Know that you have friends here who hope that your election of Joe Biden may be respected, who stand with you, pray for you and long for the restoration of your nation which I have come to know a little and respect a lot. Blessings and prayers, Andrew