Music Musings

Sunday, February 25


On Sunday you will notice a small piece of paper for Special Music Giving. These slips of paper will be in your bulletin through Easter. We do this every year during the Lent and Advent seasons to help pay for the special music we have during these seasons. Most of these funds go towards the instrumentalists hired and music/resources purchased for Lessons & Carols Service, Christmas Eve Services, and Easter Service.

In the past, that fund helped pay for a 12-13 piece chamber ensemble for Lessons and Carols, special instrumentalists for Christmas Eve, a brass quintet and timpani for Easter, and the music scores/resources needed in order to do this.

We started this special music fund in 2018 so that we could afford the expenses of these undertakings. The fruits of this labor began in 2019. Since the creation of this fund, none of the money spent on music in these special services comes from the church budget. It all comes from the special music fund or other funds donated to music throughout the years.

We are so grateful for every contribution, and we have been able to do some truly amazing things together. However, it is very costly and for the past few years we have dipped heavily into music memorial funds to cover the costs. If we continue to do this, we will not have enough in the coming years to continue the special music offerings at the same level.

There is no expectation that the congregational giving during these seasons cover the entire amount needed. It is a lot of money. However, if we could get closer to 50%, (or $2500-$3000/year), it would ensure that we are able to provide the same amount of musical excellence that you all have come to love during these special services.

Below I have attached a chart and detailed explanation for you to see how much it costs per year for this special music as well as the amount contributed through the special music offering each year for the past 3 years. As you will read below, we had some mitigating circumstances in 2021 and 2022 that cut costs. Please focus on the 2023 numbers as that shows a more accurate picture of expenses when nothing is canceled.

I want to end with a heart full of gratitude. It is truly by the grace of God that we have been able to do any of this, even through COVID! None of it would have been possible without the kindness and generosity of the Southminster congregation. God has provided and will continue to do so. I do humbly ask you to continue giving during the seasons of Special Music Offering and consider giving if the music brings you joy. On our part, we will continue to endeavor to provide the musical experience in these worship services that have come to mean so much to the Southminster and Centerville Community.

Thank you for reading!



Advent, Christmas, Lent, & Easter Special Music Giving & Expenditures


  2021 2022 2023
Yearly Congregational Giving







Yearly Amount Spent $3,650 $4,584 $5,319


Detailed Explanation:


In 2021, we only spent funds on instrumentalists and scores for Advent and Christmas as we were still virtual during Lent and Easter of 2021. We did not not hire Easter Instrumentalists that year.


In 2022, we did not purchase any new music for Lessons & Carols and did not include any instrumentalists on the Christmas Eve services due  to cancellations because of the ice storm.


In 2023 we included a brass quintet/timpani at Easter, Lesson & Carols chamber ensemble, purchased Lessons & Carols music, and ended with a brass quintet at 2 Christmas services.

The brass quintet at Christmas was requested and generously paid for by an anonymous source separate to the special music offering. Due to that reason, I have not included that amount in the 2023 total. It was a wonderful addition, but something that we do not anticipate doing for 2024, although we do hope to have some sort of special instrumentalist for Christmas Eve.




Sunday, February 18

These anthems are 2 of our favorites. The choir and Jim have decided that “O Love” might be their favorite anthem we have ever done.  

We love the music of Lent, the texts and the harmonies are so beautiful and have withstood the passage of time. During this season we will be offering some truly timeless musical masterpieces as well as some more contemporary, thought-provoking songs that help all those who listen better understand and worship during this sacred season.


Sicut Cervus

This has been sung in churches for generations since being published in 1604. Written by Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, the Latin text is taken from Psalm 42:1.

Sicut cervus desiderat ad fontes aquarum,
ita desiderat anima mea ad te, Deus.

As the deer longs for the water springs,
So longs my soul for thee, O God.

This piece is regarded as one of the most popular that Palestrina ever wrote and is considered a standard in Renaissance music literature.

O Love

The rendition of O Love  is written by Elaine Hagenberg. The text was written by 19th-century Scottish minister George Matheson. It is #883 in our Glory to God hymnal and the text is truly beautiful. Matheson wrote this text while in seminary after his fiancee left him. He was becoming blind and she did not want to be held down by a blind husband.  You can read the entire story and text here. Hagenbergs rendition uses verses 1 and 3.

1 O Love that will not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee.
I give thee back the life I owe,
that in thine ocean depths its flow
may richer, fuller be.

3 O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee.
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
and feel the promise is not vain,
that morn shall tearless be.

The text is a poignant reminder that God is our Love and our Joy during the sorrow-filled days and years in our lives.

Sunday January 28


Draw Us In the Spirit’s Tether – Arr. Harold Friedell

Fun fact: this is one of Pastor Stan’s favorite hymns! The text was written by Percy Dearmer and poetically embodies our experience and call as Christians. We gather together as believers through the work of the Holy Spirit, commune at the table united in Christ, and then through “caring, helping, giving, we may true disciples be.” This arrangement is a 20th-century classic and features Jim on the organ.

You Say arr. Heather Sorenson, originally performed by Lauren Daigle

If you listen to contemporary Christian music I am sure you are excited for this anthem! It has been so fun to work on, and our soloists Katelyn and Ethan help bring this piece to life. “You Say” reminds us of God’s sovereign power and grace in our lives. Even in all of our doubts, fears, and struggles; God is strong, omnipotent, and the ultimate Comforter.

Sunday, January 21st

Hey all, Ruth here. We are excited to embark on some new musical offerings this season. Specifically, we are offering 2 music selections on most Sundays through May. This will allow the Worship service to have even more variety in music as well as hopefully encourage congregation participation in our ensembles. Occasionally, I will be jumping on here to give you some background about the music you will experience on Sunday mornings.


If Ye Love Me – Thomas Tallis

Published in 1565 in England during the reign of Elizabeth I, “If Ye Love Me” is an example of an English motet (sacred a cappella vocal piece typically referring to the 13th-16th century time period) taken from the scripture of John 14:15-17. Thomas Tallis was one of the first composers to start writing sacred music in English instead of Latin after the English Reformation. The piece sounds simple but is incredibly beautiful with the placement of words and soaring melodies. It has withstood the test of time and is a beloved piece in churches everywhere.

The Potter’s Hand – Darlene Zschech

Released in 1998, this beloved contemporary worship song is based upon Isaiah 64:8. “Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.”

The song reminds us that it’s easy to feel broken and helpless in the midst of life’s trials and heartache. However, even in our sorrow, God can create something beautiful. Just as a potter shapes and molds clay, God can take our brokenness and transform us into vessels of honor and grace to glorify God and serve others.