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Retiring minister

A few weeks ago I posted a request for song ideas for the
retirement/farewell service for our pastor. Here is a list of the
responses I received (thanks to all of you who responded!):

John Rutter -"Gaelic Blessing" Hinshaw (many votes!!)

John Rutter "A Clare Benediction" Hinshaw HMC1629 (satb) or HMC1634
(SSA) or HMC1630

Rutter or Lutkin - "The Lord Bless You and Keep You"

Lloyd Larson - "I Have Felt the Touch of God"

J.S. Bach - chorale "Grant Me True Courage, Lord" (SATB), E. C. Schirmer
Music as 313 c. 1925, with c. renewed in 1952.

Janice Kapp Perry - "Well Done, Thou Good and Faithful Servant"

If this is not in a sanctuary setting - one could use "Thanks for the

David Schwoebel - "An Expression of Gratitude" based on Biblical text
Philippians 1:3-11 "I thank my God on every remembrance of
you....",(Hinshaw, satb div., piano)

Craig Courtney - "I Have Felt the Hand of God" (Beckenhorst)

"United in Christ" Shawnee Press

Alan Petker - "May God be Gracious"

Tom Fettke - "Go from this place and serve him"

Ray Boltz - "Thank You"

>From Oxford University Press:
Bob Chilcott's "Irish Blessing"
Libby Larsen's "I Find My feet Have Further Goals"
Howard Don Small's "A Blessing" (although this calls for flute and

Natalie Sleeth - "I Thank My God When I Remember You"

Carl J. Nygard - "Encore" Hinshaw HMC-732

F. Mendelssohn - "How Beautiful Upon the Mountains"

Handel - "Their Sound Has Gone Out" or "How Beautiful are the Feet"
(including alternate versions in the Watkins Shaw edition) from Messiah

Bonnie Newton
Salt Lake City, Utah

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Thank you all again for these wonderful ideas!

charles bruffy

There is a hymn by Erik Routley (church music scholar, and aPresbyterian)
in the Episcopal Hymnal 1980 which was written for such an occasion. The
tune is "Litton" (named for Jim Litton, former director of theAmerican
Boychoir, and former choirmaster/organist at Trinity Episcopal Church in
Princeton NJ) and the text begins "Go forth for God!"
Although it is not an anthem, it would be effective as one of the hymns in
the service.

I have a lovely arrangement of "Drop-kick me Jesusthrough the Goalposts of
Life" that I'd be willing to send you.

How about "The Lord bless you and keep you" -Rutter?

Perhaps you would consider two anthems of mine. Clickon the links and you will be able to view the scores and hear recordings:

"All People That On Earth Do Dwell"
or with brass/timpani at

"My Heart Leaps For Joy"

I wrote an anthem for SATBchoir, organ and 3 trumpets for the celebration service for our minister of 35years, when he retired a few years ago. It's about 4 minutes in duration, andcelebratory in nature. The title is "For you shall go out with joy". Thefull text:
"For you shall go out with joy, and be led forth in peace.
The mountains and hills before you shall burst into song,
and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands."

The Faith We Sing Was
Sown. The text is by Thomas Troeger. Music published by GIA(G-5358).

The text is was written for the celebration of a church building, but I
think could be appropriate for a retirement. Here's the text:

The faith we sing was sown by ancestors believing, that what we work to
own, we are in fact receiving. They thank the Lord for soil, for rain
and sun and air, and graced their lives of toil through sacrament and prayer.

Give thanks for sturdy love that did not fade and falter, but drew from
God above new strength around the altar. Give thanks for all those
years the church has broken bread, and hope replaced our fears because
our faith was fed.

Give thanks the past imparts this sacred time of favor to fix within our
hears a faith that will not waiver, to wait upon and heed the Spirit's
inward call, to show by word and deed that Christ is Lord of all.

We bear with Christ the task for which he was anointed. The Spirit now
is cast on us whom he appointed: to bring the poor good news, to break
the captives' chains, to hear the heart's deep bruise and see that
justice reigns.

Lord, make this jubilee a time of clear decision when we courageously
proclaim and live your vision. Then from our witness bring to ages yet
unknown the confidence to sing the faith that we have sown.

A new piece called Faithful Servant by Cindy Berry.

There is simply nothing more appropriate than Schwoebel'ssetting of Phil.
1: 3-6, 9-11, "An Expression of Gratitude". 1994, SATB, HinshawMusic.

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always with joy in every prayer
for you. I thank my God for your fellowship in the gospel from the very
first day 'til now. And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will
bring it to completion at the day of Christ. And this I pray, that your
love may abound yet more and more in knowledge, in judgement, that you may
approve what is excellent to the glory of God. That you may be pure and
blameless, filled with the fruits of righteousness which comes through
Christ Jesus.

And the majesty of the music matches the integrity of the text.

I can highly recommend "Each Time We Remember You"for SATB choir, brass, percussion and organ by Joel Phillips...availablethrough his web site at:

We commissioned it for our Senior (Presbyterian) Minister who retired afterserving the church for 21 years......hope you may be able to use it!!

In your shoes, I'd pick "Each Life which touches oursfor good", text by
Karen Lynn Davidson, and music by A. Laurence Lyon.

I don’t know how grand you want to go with this, but asetting of Ecce sacerdos magnus (Behold: A great priest, who in his day pleasedGod) would be nice-- Bruckner wrote a stunning setting for mixed chorus, threetrombones and organ.

There is a great piece that I am sure you will love. It iscalled the "Irish
Blessing", it is a simple beautiful SATB piece. Generally cost about $1.10a
piece. It is so very gorgeous. You can get it through Jenson Publications
and distributed by Hal Leonard Publications. It is in the Joyce Eilers
collection. And the order number that I have on my music that may have
changed is 40209114 I think you will enjoy this beautiful piece. I have
included the text below.

May the road rise up to meet you,
the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your face,
the rains fall soft upon your fields.

And until we meet again,
And until we meet again.

May the God that loves us all,
hold you in the palm of his hand. AMEN.

Gaelic Blessing would be an obvious choice.

Two of my favorites would be:

1. Go Out With Joy - by Hank Beebe
2. Gaelic Blessing - by John Rutter

Both are of what I would consider to be medium difficulty, but SO beautiful!

Just a thought - has he ever mentioned a favorite anthem orone that moved
him and/or the congregation particularly? Maybe some of those might be
especially meaningful to him and the choir/congregation

Recollection Of Joy is a great piece for such anevent. I can't remember who wrote it but I know if you go on the Pepperweb site, you should be able to find it. The text is Paul’s letter to theCorinthians. (I Thank my god when I remember you for he has blessed mylife with yours...)

I know this sounds corny....but have you found out hisfavorite hymn?
For our pastor emeritus, several years ago, we took his favoritehymn
and used it as the centerpiece of a whole service. From the main
anthem, to a fugued organ prelude, he heard his "life song" as amusical
reminder of how he had touched our lives.

O Lord God, You Have Called Your Servants - MichaelWolniakowski.
MorningStar Music Publishers - MSM-50-65-04
SATB a cappella (w/TB divisi for 2 measure). Text is from a Collect from
Morning and Evening Prayer.

Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church commissioned a work from me tohonor a man who handled the finances for thirty years. The piece isentitled Thou Who Art Over Us. The text is below. Let me know ifyou might be interested in this piece.

Thou Who Art Over Us

Text by Dag Hammarskjõld

Thou who art over us, Thou who art also within us,
May see Thee in me also.
May I prepare the way for Thee,
May I thank Thee for all that shall fall to my lot.
May I also not forget the needs of others.
Keep me in Thy love as Thou wouldest,
That all should be kept in mine.
May everything in this my being be directed to Thy Glory,
And may I never despair.
For I am under Thy hand,
And in Thee is all power and goodness.
Give me a pure heart that I may see Thee,
A humble heart that I may hear Thee,
A heart of love that I may serve Thee,
A heart of faith that I may abide in Thee.

We used a beautiful Audrey Snyder piece entitled The Wishwhen our
minister left.

John Rutter: God Be In My Head
Daniel Gawthrop: Sing me to Heaven

Stephen Paulus: Pilgrim's Hymn.

Yes! The ALLELUIA by R. K. Biggs (SATB & organ)would do nicely I think. See it listed at

For the program honoring you long-time minister, here's ananthem with
an appropriate text: I thank my God in all remembrance of the
text of Philippians 1:3-6; 9-11 ("I thank my God for your fellowship in
the gospel from the very first day" The particulars:
title is "An Expression of Gratitude" David Schwoebel..HinshawMusic
HMC 1057

Okay, this could be funny, but it really could"work" too!
"Hethat shall endure to the end . . . " from Elijah.

I would recommend Vaughn-Williams' "O HowAmiable." I think it would be
very fitting and it is a glorious piece.

OK, I can't resist. A favorite of mine, which can bedescribed as a "high quality bridge" piece, would be Malcolm Archer's"Thou God of Truth and Love." Mayhew publishes it through Brodtin N. Carolina. "High quality bridge" means that the CCMpeople actually like it, I think because of its highly lyrical melody, whichhas just enough sweetness to make them think it's "one oftheirs." Yet it is really an English cathedral anthem, very wellcrafted, with sophisticated harmonic movement, lush registration, a secondarymelody for the third verse which is just great in contrast, and akiller-wonderful descant on the final verse -- my favorite of all time. The text is Charles Wesley, one of the best ones he wrote, in my humbleopinion. It deals with following Christ, serving others, God being with usin time of trouble ("Didst Thou not make us one, that being one we mustremain? Together, travel on, and bear each others' pain") (The&q!
uot;dst-th" in Didst Thou comes at a surprising sixteenth note pick-up,which makes all those consonants really spit. It's fun to rehearse.)

on August 26, 2004 10:00pm
how about a song for a minister who you're glad is leaving? hm, something like the old spiritual "You're gonna reap just what you sow"?
on April 18, 2007 10:00pm
The Recollection of Joy was written by Donna Butler.

(I thank my God when I remember you. For he has blessed my life with yours. With every breath I take, I'm filled with joy because I hold you, I hold you in my heart............)

Beautiful song... I highly recommend it for any 4 part choir.
on July 23, 2008 10:00pm
We commissioned a work for the retirement of our Senior pastor a few years ago - composer Joel Phillips (Westminster Choir College music theory faculty) set it for SATB choir, organ and opt. brass quintet with timpani. It is titled "Each Time We Remember You" (We Thank Our God)....It worked really well and I would highly recommend it!

James Moyer