Just over a year ago a small group of singers in Hobart began working with respected Christian singer/songwriter John Coleman to write songs to enhance the worship experience at Scots Memorial Uniting Church in the city.
Once a month their songs are performed as part of Sunday morning worship with the lyrics inspired by the chosen lectionary passages.
Now a wider audience will have access to their labour, with the Thirsty Ground group launching a CD of their work at Scots last month. On 20 June they will take to the road to perform at Launceston’s Pilgrim Uniting Church from 7pm.
All are members of the Hobart Choir of High Hopes, which has been supported by Scots since its inception in 2007.
The Choir – which provides backing vocals on three of the tracks – offers people who sometimes struggle to become part of a community in a meaningful way the opportunity to find acceptance. Many members have experienced significant disability or illness; participation in the choir offers them a sense of purpose and friendship.
Members of Thirsty Ground form part of the regular Tuesday morning worship at Scots, which John facilitates. They gather separately on a Thursday to meditate on scriptural passages and create the lyrics that John sets to music.
John said the project had given all participants a great sense of ownership and pride.
“The opportunity to have their understanding of faith and life experiences put into song is a very powerful thing,” he said.
“The presentation of this work to the wider church has allowed their gifts to be revealed and the church and the members of our group are enriched because of this sharing.
“There’s been great feedback. And it’s a lot of fun.”
The members will quickly tell you what the project meant to them personally.
Wayne Aherne said all the words came from the heart and Kirby Harris said “it is nice to be wanted and it is also a good thing to share who I am”.
“Sharing love and laughter through songs and worship brings love inside you,” Terry Le May said.
Scots has underwritten all production costs associated with the project, meaning the money raised from the sale of CDs will be used to advance the work of the Choir of High Hopes and L’Arche, an international federation of faith communities where people with and without an intellectual disability share life together.
Anyone interested in getting a copy of the CD can contact the church: firstname.lastname@example.org, or (03) 6231 4498.