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Laudate Dominum

Laudate Dominum (or, “Sing Praise and Bless the Lord”), from the Taize Community in France.  Sheet music may be found here.

Language: Latin/English

Posted in: Songs We Sing

Descend to Us

This is a brand new composition for Advent by Matt Veligdan, and it will be used during the candle lighting and procession to the tables. This Advent, a reading (Revelation 21:1-5a) will be added between the passing of the light and the procession to the tables.

Once each person is holding a lit candle, invite a drone. The reader will read the Scripture passage. Then bring the song back in, and invite the procession to the tables.

Descend to us as we await
And meet us in our earthly state.
Dwell with us, Lord, and draw us near,
Establish now your kingdom here,
with no more pain or cause to mourn:
The Advent of an Earth newborn.

Here’s a recording!

Some tips on how to teach this one:

1) Begin with spoken text. Have the congregation echo the first two phrases, read the middle alone, then invite and echo on the last phrase – just as you will when singing.

2) Teach phrases by call and echo with no overlap.

3) Introduce the overlap. Midway through this time, the Deacon can begin to pass the light.

4) Once the light has been passed, tag (repeat) the last phrase, “The Advent…,” then invite a drone.

5) The reader reads Revelation 21:1-5a over the drone

6) Sing the last phrase, “The Advent…,” as a cue into the song again. Everyone moves to the tables.

5) Tag the last phrase again to end the song.

Posted in: Songs We Sing

People Look East – Call and Echo

People Look East is an Advent classic at St. Lydia’s. This year, try this new twist – we’ll use it as a Gathering Song. The congregation will not have hymn sheets, but will copy the Song Leader’s words by echoing. In the middle of each verse, the Song Leader will sing a bit solo before bringing the group back in.

For example, Verse 4 would go…

Song Leader: Stars, keep the watch.
People: Stars, keep the watch.
SL: When night is dim
P: When night is dim
SL: One more light the bowl shall brim,
P: One more light the bowl shall brim,

SL: Shining beyond the frosty weather,
Bright as sun and moon together.

SL: People, look east
P: People, look east
SL: and sing today:
P: and sing today:
SL: Love, the star, is on the way.
P: Love, the star, is on the way.

You can have a listen to the recording to get a better idea what I mean, and to practice singing along.

Enjoy !!


Posted in: Songs We Sing

Music for All Saints’ 2018

Hello Song Leaders,

Here’s the music will be using for All Saints’ Day, 2018, which we will observe on Sunday, November 4 and Monday, November 5.  All Saints’ Day is a time when we remember those who have died, and the service music reflects this theme of remembrance and the mixture of wonder, sadness, and joy that we feel when remembering those we’ve lost.

Gathering song: “There Are Angels Hovering Round”  (This is a traditional song but may be new to many at Saint Lydia’s)

Lamp Lighting song: “Receive, O Earth” (refrain only)

Table Acclamation: “Fall Acclamation

Prayer Song: Song Leader’s choice

Post-cleanup Gathering Song: “Zimbabwe  Alleluia

Final Hymn: “For All the Saints

It’s a special day for the congregation, and your song leading provides a great invitation for people to take part in this celebration of remembrance.  Thank you for that!

Posted in: Songs We Sing

Songs for Fall 2018

Hello dear song leaders,

Here is the music we’ll be singing this fall season (Sept 9 through the end of October). Lots of Lydian composers represented here! Click the linked song titles to hear the recording.



1) Gathering Song
The Mighty Will Fall, by Debbie Holloway
Lament for Zion, by Debbie Holloway


2) Candle Lighting Song
The Journey of a Thousand Miles, by Paul Vasile
Lead Me, Guide Me


3) Table Acclamation
Fall Table Acclamation, by Meave Shelton


4) Prayer Song
Song Leader’s Choice

check out this beautiful new option, Oh Stranger/Oh Neighbor.


5) Gathering Song
Shukuru Yesu


6) Final Hymn
Come Thou Fount

God Whose Giving Knows No Ending



Posted in: Songs We Sing

Oh Stranger, Oh Neighbor

Congregant Debbie Holloway introduced this song. It began as a traditional Shaker song called “O Brethren, Will You Receive,” was later adapted by Harold Aks, and finally underwent some further lyrical massage on the St Lydia’s congregant page.

Enjoy this beautiful new prayer song option. A recording by Debbie is right here.

Oh stranger, will you receive my love?
Oh neighbor, will you receive my love?
Place it in a cup, and you may drink it up.
Oh this is Mother’s love

Posted in: Songs We Sing

The Journey of a Thousand Miles

This piece gets its text from a teaching of Lao-Tzu. It was composed by Paul Vasile, one of our song leading inspirations and the executive director of Music That Makes Community.

“The Journey of a Thousand Miles” lends itself obviously to a processional moment in the service, and could also be sung outside the church walls at a march, vigil, or protest.


The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step
Although we may not know where the road will lead
We know that love will always guide our feet
Oh the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step

You can find sheet music here, and a recording here.


Posted in: Songs We Sing

Songs for Pentecost and Summer 2018

Hello songleaders and hello everyone! Here is the music we’ll be singing from Pentecost (May 20) through to the fall. We’ll switch some songs up from time to time, so check the date spans on the list below to make sure you learn the relevant music for the service you’re leading.

Click the linked song titles to hear the recording. Check out the harmony parts and optional descants (high solo parts) for the Candle Lighting Songs.


1) Gathering Song

May 20 – June 4

Come Holy Spirit


June 10 – Sept 3

Come All You People


Sing God’s Praises Glory Hallelu


Jesus, We Are Gathered


2) Candle Lighting Song

May 20 – July 2

Come Light of Lights


 July 8 – Sept 3

Christ is Our Guiding Light


3) Table Acclamation

Summer Table Acclamation


4) Prayer Song

Song Leader’s Choice


5) Offering Song

Caribbean Alleluia

- or -

Know That God Is Good (sheet music)


6) Final Hymn


Come Down O Love Divine


Spirit I Have Heard You Calling


Day is Done




Posted in: Songs We Sing

She Says Lent – Week 6: Authority Questioned, by Alicia Fowler

This sermon was preached at St. Lydia’s Dinner Church on Sunday March 25 and Monday March 26, 2018

Hello! I have the sad position of closing out our #SheSaysLent series, and the difficult task of figuring out how to weave together a queer sermon about #MeToo and Palm Sunday. Now, I know, Palm Sunday does not seem ripest scriptural text for queerness and feminism. But, I found this day was actually one of the best ends to our series. Something I certainly never  imagined. Why? Because when viewed through a queer feminist lens the day is something completely different and wildly resonant with our time.

Now before I get too far, I have to admit that I’m not the best queer on the block, and I’ve lost my better, queer-er half, Liz Edman. However, she taught me that to see something queer and feminist in a story is to:
(1) interrogate whose voices we are hearing
(2) to see the role of power,
(3) and to ask what this means for how we interact with one another.

But before we get into the Palm Sunday story, a time so far away from ours, I’d like you to imagine something with me:

Close your eyes and remember the last protest march you attended. Maybe it was this weekend’s March for Our Lives, or one of the Women’s Marches, or a Black Lives Matter rally.

You’ve got a clever sign in your hand and a few drops of paint splattered on your shirt. A burst of cold air and clear light send you stumbling up the steps at 72nd street, but it’s no matter as suddenly every New Yorker is your friend. “Great sign!” they say, hand under your elbow as they catch you and set you back on your feet. With each step you’re moving to the rhythmic pulse of political chants: ‘Hey hey, ho ho, the patriarchy has got to go!’ The air whips excitedly about your ears carrying the cheers of the multitudes. It feels, if just for these few hours, despair is being changed into hope, and all has the chance to be right with this country.

Are you there? Do you remember the feeling? That, my friends, is the energy of Palm Sunday. Palm Sunday wasn’t merely a joyous event, or even just a peaceful event. Palm Sunday was a boisterous, cantankerous, rebellious event.

Palm Sunday’s message then, as it is today, is queer, feminist, revolutionary: oppressive systems must be dismantled and replaced with radical love we build ourselves from Jesus’s example. Hand in hand, with love and righteous anger, we have to build our new society. But to get there, we have to look at the text a little more deeply, with a little more imagination.

As I said, part of a queer and feminist perspective is to interrogate whose voices we are hearing. And as Hannah showed us last week, while women’s voices were so often overlooked as Scripture was written, their presence can still be felt and understood. Turning to our text, a strange thing grabbed me. You see how the crowd is cutting off branches to line the streets? The Greek verb used here for ‘cut’ is kopto, which seems to most often mean to smite or to wail and beat one’s self in mourning. That’s odd, no? We think of palms as symbols of peace, joy, harmony. But here they are: smited, cut down, chopped down in the prime of life, and they’re screaming, wailing, howling as feet and hooves alike trample them into the ground. Their screams remain silent in this story like the screams of so many women around us, and yet they are here, if we listen.

And those aren’t the only screams. In fact that screams we hear most are from the people. Mark says the crowd going before and following after is shouting excerpts of Psalm 118, including, “HOSANNA,” “HOSANNA,” אָנָּ֣א יְ֭הוָה הוֹשִׁ֘יעָ֥ה נָּ֑א. They’re screaming it, they’re shouting it—and in fact the verb in Greek means to croak out as if ravens. This scream is guttural, it is visceral, it is primal. And it literally betrays a deeper uncertainty of Palm Sunday and so many protests: see “Hosea-na” is Hebrew for “Save us! Deliver us!” But it’s said joyfully. Is this an exhortation or an adoration — or both? Are they demanding, or celebrating, salvation?

In my mind, the voices we hear and have to imagine, tell us something more to this story. I can’t help but hear the Women’s March when I think of the wailing branches and croaking ravens demanding—and yet celebrating—liberation.

Which takes me to another feminist and queer perspective: what’s the role of power here? There’s an interesting scholarly theory floated that as Jesus and his peasant parade walk eastward into the capital city Jerusalem, Pontius Pilate and his army march westward into the city. It’s a literal war of dueling visions on the eve of Passover, a festival of liberation. While I like that vision, I’ll offer another.

See, what separated Jesus’s procession wasn’t just its peasant makeup, or its message of a realm of God, but specifically Jesus’s version of a realm of God, and I’ll focus in on one aspect of that: how he treated women, and how those women responded, and moreover, how he was moved by their responses. I’m not just talking about all the times he saves women from would-be murderers or shunning neighbors, I’m talking about the times he gets his words served back to him on a platter by the women he’s empowered and how he rises to the occasion:

When Mary of Bethany, his shining example discipline, sends her sorrow like a dagger at Jesus when her brother Lazarus dies, it is Jesus who weeps, and is moved to raise Lazarus.

When Jesus chastises his mother at the wedding in Cana that his time hasn’t come to perform miracles, she doesn’t care and tells the servants to do whatever he says, and in the next line there goes Jesus instructing the servants in order to turn water into wine.

When Jesus compares a Canaanite woman to a dog, she spits back his version of a God who loves all of God’s creation, and by God there goes Jesus praising her faith and healing her daughter.

Jesus so often defied the patriarchal rules of his time, not only to the chagrin of his society, but even in the face of his male followers. The women at his tomb never lost faith, and it was to these women he revealed his resurrection, all the while his few good men doubted. Jesus didn’t just raise up women’s voices, he heard their voices so as to be moved by their voices. There is a powerful difference. These women are in the march with Jesus. They aren’t just celebrating a savior, they’re championing his vision of radical love that gave power to their voices.

This takes me to my last observation about Palm Sunday for us and how we are to interact with one another.
A week from now, in the story, some of the women who no doubt were marching will be sitting around the tomb after his body is lain within. I can imagine them commiserating saying, “Our people just wanted a good guy to fix it all, they didn’t realize he gave us the tools to fix it ourselves if only we would changes ourselves.” It’s no surprise to me that Jesus comes back to these women first, and it’s no surprise these women are doubted by the men. And as a side note, I love how Jesus chastises the men for not believing. Finally someone who takes her at her word.

But these ladies don’t dawdle in the despair of being dismissed, or of being left again by their savior when he ascends. I mean, let’s get real, Mary Magdalene doesn’t have time for that, neither do Martha and Mary. These women, and men, go empowered with the good news to change each other’s despair into hope, to change their cities, their country, and our hearts, so many thousands of years later.

The message of Palm Sunday isn’t about celebrating a savior who is going to “fix” everything for us and usher in an easy peace. Jesus is moved when we demonstrate how our faith has changed our actions and ways. The reckoning we’re in with #MeToo is that time. Palm Sunday shows us it’s our holy work to truly listening to voices of women, queers, people of color, in order to be motivated to action. Palm Sunday commands us join in the thousands marching and lend our voices jubilant and boisterous. Palm Sunday demands we wait not for a king but see the king among us and create the society he inspires in us; egalitarian, just, peaceful.

At St. Lydia’s this season we will take time after the sermon to reflect and confess. We’ll write our confessions and hang them from the branches above.  For our time of confession, I’ll offer you the following reflection: where will you lend your voice, or if your voice has power, where will you lend your hearing, to create the society Jesus promoted?

Alicia Fowler lives in Brooklyn but will soon be calling New Haven home, where she’ll be attending Yale Divinity School. She loves exploring and coming home with wild tales and deeper gratitude. When she’s not on the road (behind a fist full of fries and a camera) you can usually find her at St Lydia’s, at CBST most Friday nights, or occasionally posting travel stories online.

Sermon Sources
“Queer Virtue: What LGBTQ People Know about Life and Love and How It Can Revitalize Christianity,” by Elizabeth M. Edman



The Last Week: What the Gospels Really Teach About Jesus’s Final Days in Jerusalem” by John Dominic Crossan and Marcus Borg
John 11:17-37
John 2:1-12
Matthew 15:21-28
Mark 16:14

Posted in: Sermons

Songs for Eastertide 2018

This is a place for our Song Leaders, as well as congregants, and anyone else who’s interested, to learn the songs we sing at St. Lydia’s. 

Happy Easter! Christ is risen indeed, alleluia! We’ve got lots of alleluias this season (April 8 – May 14). Click the linked song titles to hear the recording, and bookmark this page so that you can check in often to listen to the pieces and practice.


1) Gathering Song

Kiev Alleluia


2) Candle Lighting Song

The Lord is My Light,” Lillian Bouknight.

The Lord is My Light and my salvation (not to be confused with other songs we sing using the first half of that sentence).


3) Eucharistic Prayer Setting

Festive Table Acclamation,” Paul Vasile


4) Prayer Song

Song Leader’s Choice.  A selection of songs may be found here.


5) Song at the Offering

Duncan Alleluia


6) Closing Hymn

April 8 – 23
Now the Green Blade Rises,“ French Carol


April 29 – May 14
Jesus Christ is Risen Today





Posted in: Songs We Sing