Liturgy Lesson appearing in the liturgy on Sunday, January 27, 2019:
In today’s worship service we are privileged to premier the winner of the Church of the Servant 2018 New Psalm Contest. We are also featuring previous winning songs and some that were submitted this year that are wonderful, but didn’t win. This is now the ninth year that we have premiered the winner of our church’s Psalm Contest on the last weekend of January.
A few interesting facts about the Psalm contest:
- The idea for this contest began in 2008, when a donation was made in memory of Ben Fackler. Because Ben loved music and because COS is committed to singing Psalms every week, a contest that fostered songwriters and encouraged Psalm singing seemed appropriate.
- Pastor Karen Campbell’s first Sunday at COS was 9 years ago. She was visiting the church on the day the first Psalm Contest winner was premiered. She writes: “I was fascinated and inspired by a church that was able to harvest joy and gladness out of a place of sadness. It was fulfillment of the verses in Psalm 126:5 Those who sow in tears will reap with songs of joy.”
- In 9 years, we have had over 600 total entries. Whether or not these songs have “won” the COS contest, they have enriched the lives of the composers and their congregations.
- We have received entries from all over the world, including entries from England, Australia, Russia and Latvia!
- One Psalm Contest winner, Carol Browning’s “Help Me Have the Faith of a Child,” is enjoying wider distribution, having been published by GIA Publishing in 2012.
- Another winner, Wendell Kimbrough’s “Oh Rejoice in All Your Works (Ps. 104)” is included in one of Kimbrough’s 2 CD’s/Songbooks of Psalm songs written for congregational singing. He has taken these songs on tour to churches around the United States. This song has become a favorite, not just at COS, but in many congregations around the country.
- Another winner, Kimberly Williams’ “Clean Heart,” has become a staple of our confession in our Lent liturgies and our Basic English Service liturgies.
- 12 COS members (or former members) have entered songs they have written in the contest.
- 19 COS members have served on the judging committee, along with 7 music leaders from other churches
This contest has become incentive for many talented music leaders and song writers to expand their Psalm song repertoire. It has also encouraged some young musicians to try out songwriting and gain a deeper appreciation for the Psalms.
If you are interested in subscribing to our email list or donating to the contest, use the links below. If you have any questions or comments, please direct them to Maria Stapert (firstname.lastname@example.org; 616-956-7611)