Wild Places & Wild Imaginings

Sunday, Jan. 10, 2021, Preacher: Rev. Jean Ward

Sunday, January 10, 2021
Baptism of Jesus
Rev. Jean Ward
Eleanor Daley, Director of Music
Soprano – Amy Dodington
FAUC Interview Series – Kevin Doe and Mark Richardson



Scripture: Mark 1:4-11
Read by: J. Christie


Prelude The Gate of the Year           E. Daley (2003)
Soprano – Rebecca Whelan

I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year,
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied, “Go out into the darkness
and put your hand into the hand of God.
That shall be to you better than light,
and safer than a known way!”
So, I went forth, and finding the hand of God,
Trod gladly into the night.
(Minnie Louise Haskins, 1875-1957)
Lux aeterna. (Eternal light.)


Opening Hymn When Jesus Comes to Be Baptized

When Jesus comes to be baptized,
He leaves the hidden years behind,
The years of safety and of peace,
To bear the sins of humankind.

The Spirit of the Lord comes down,
Anoints the Christ to suffering,
To preach the word, to free the bound,
And to the mourner, comfort bring.

He will not quench the dying flame,
And what is bruised he will not break,
But heal the wound injustice dealt
And out of death his triumph make.

O Spirit, help us be like Christ:
To live in love and charity,
To walk in truth and justice now,
And grow in Christian dignity.

We praise you, God, source of all life,
We praise you, Christ, eternal Word,
We praise you, Spirit, gracious gift;
Your triune presence fills our world.


Anthem The Work of Christmas           Dan Forrest (b. 1978)

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost, to heal the broken,
To feed the hungry, to release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations, to bring peace among brothers,
To make music from the heart.

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins.
(Howard Thurman, 1899-1981)


Hymn Songs of Thankfulness and Praise

Songs of thankfulness and praise,
Jesus, Lord, to thee we raise,
Manifested by the star
To the sages from afar;
Branch of royal David’s stem
In thy birth at Bethlehem;
Praises be to thee addressed,
God in flesh made manifest.

Manifest at Jordan’s stream,
Prophet, Priest, and King supreme;
And at Cana, wedding guest,
In thy Godhead manifest;
Manifest in pow’r divine,
Changing water into wine;
Praises be to thee addressed,
God in flesh made manifest.

Grant us grace to see thee, Lord.
Mirrored in thy holy Word;
May we imitate thee now,
And be pure, as pure art thou;
That we like to thee may be
At thy great Epiphany;
And may praise thee, ever blest,
God in flesh made manifest.
(Christopher Wordsworth, 1862, alt.)


Solo Wexford Carol           traditional Irish 
Soprano  Amy Dodington

Good people all, this Christmas-tide,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done,
In sending his belovèd Son.
With Mary holy we should pray,
To God with love this Christmas Day
In Bethlehem upon that morn,
There was a blessèd Messiah born.

Near Bethlehem did shepherds keep
Their flocks of lambs and feeding sheep,
To whom God’s angel did appear,
Which put the shepherds in great fear.
“Prepare and go,” the angel said,
“To Bethlehem, be not afraid;
For there you’ll find this happy morn,
A princely babe, sweet Jesus, born.”

With thankful heart and joyful mind
The shepherds went the babe to find,
And as God’s angel had foretold,
They did our Saviour Christ behold.
Within a manger he was laid,
And by his side the virgin maid
Attending on the Lord of Life,
Who came on earth to end all strife.

Good people all, this Christmas-tide,
Consider well and bear in mind
What our good God for us has done,
In sending his belovèd Son.
(traditional Irish)


Anthem Footsteps           Craig Courtney (b. 1948)

I see His footsteps in the way,
And follow them through darkest night,
Unafraid, I stumble not,
In the glow of perfect light,
I see.

I walk in footsteps of His love,
And find His light leads on before,
Then He gently turns to me,
Softly whispers, “trust Me more,”
I walk.

Then as I follow in His way,
My path ahead will brightly shine,
For in His path of guiding light,
I find His footsteps first,
Then mine.
(Jonathan Cook)


Closing Hymn All Beautiful the March of Days           arr. Mack Wilberg (b. 1955)

All beautiful the march of days
As seasons come and go;
The hand that shaped the rose hath wrought
The crystal of the snow,
Hath sent the hoary frost of heaven,
The flowing waters sealed,
And laid a silent loveliness
On hill and wood and field.

O’er white expanses, sparkling pure,
The radiant morns unfold;
The solemn splendours of the night
Burn brighter through the cold;
Life mounts in every throbbing vein,
Love deepens round the hearth,
And clearer sounds the angel hymn,
“Good will to all on earth.”

O thou, from whose unfathomed law
The year in beauty flows,
Thyself the vision passing by
In crystal and in rose;
Day unto day doth utter speech,
And night to night proclaim
In ever-changing words of light
The wonder of thy name.
(Frances Whitmarsh Wile, 1878-1939)


Postlude Presto from Violin Concerto in A Minor RV 356            Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741)
Trumpet – Alison Balsom


Fairlawn Congregant Interview Series
Kevin Doe and Mark Richardson



This morning’s anthem texts are reprinted under #A-717945. The Work of Christmas – words by Howard Thurman, © 2014 Beckenhorst Press, Inc. Footsteps – words by Jonathan Cook, © 2018 Beckenhorst Press. All rights reserved.

♪ Music notes ♪

The Gate of the Year was commissioned for the 2004 Alliance World Festival of Women’s Singing. The recording heard this morning is from the world premiere performance which took place on February 7, 2004 at the Mormon Tabernacle, Salt Lake City, Utah. The piece was sung by 430 choristers, including Rebecca Whelan, Andrea Ludwig, Patti Vipond and Patricia Jones from Fairlawn Avenue, and conducted by E. Daley.

Minnie Louise Haskins (1875-1957) was a British poet and an academic in the field of sociology, best known for being quoted by King George VI in his Royal Christmas Message of 1939.The opening words of the poem “The Gate of the Year” struck a chord with a country facing the uncertainty of war. These words were from Haskins’ poem “God Knows” written in 1908 and expanded in 1912. However, she was not named as the author by the King and no one was able to identify the poet at the time. Finally at midnight on Boxing Day the BBC announced that the author was Minnie Louise Haskins. Haskins, by then 64 years old, did not know that the King would quote her words, and did not hear the broadcast. The next day, she was interviewed by The Daily Telegraph and said: “I heard the quotation read in a summary of the speech. I thought the words sounded familiar and suddenly it dawned on me that they were out of my little book.” The ‘little book’ was The Desert published in 1912. “The Gate of the Year” is now among the most quoted poetic works of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries.

Christopher Wordsworth (1807-1885) was a nephew of the great poet, William Wordsworth. He was educated at Winchester and Trinity College, Cambridge, was elected Fellow of the College in 1830, and received Priest’s Orders in 1835. He held many distinguished posts over the course of his life, including head master of Harrow School, Canon of Westminster Abbey, Hulsean Lecturer at Cambridge; Vicar of Stanford-in-the-Vale, Archdeacon of Westminster, and Bishop of Lincoln. His writings are numerous and some of them very valuable. Although most of his works are in prose, Wordsworth’s “The Holy Year: Hymns for Sundays, Holidays, and other occasions throughout the Year” contains 127 hymns and was published in 1862 – the same year that is noted in this morning’s middle hymn text. He wrote many volumes of sermons and an enormous amount of pamphlets, addresses, letters and speeches, on almost every subject in which the interests of the church were concerned, as well as on subjects connected with classical literature.

Dan Forrest (b. 1978) has been described as having an undoubted gift for writing beautiful music that is truly magical, with works hailed as magnificent, cleverly constructed sound sculpture, and superb writing … full of spine-tingling moments. In the last decade, Dan’s music has become well established in the U.S., Canada, and abroad. The Fairlawn Senior Choir has presented the Canadian premieres of two of his critically acclaimed major works for choir and orchestra – Requiem for the Living (2014) and Jubilate Deo (2017). Jubilate Deo features the text of Psalm 100, sung in seven languages: Latin, Hebrew, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Zulu, Spanish, and English. Dan holds a doctoral degree in composition from the University of Kansas, as well as a master’s degree in piano performance. He keeps a busy schedule doing commissions, workshops, recordings, adjunct professorships, and residencies with universities, churches and community choirs, teaching composition, coaching, and collaborating as an accompanist.

Howard Thurman (1900-1981) was an American Baptist preacher, and one of the most influential theologians of the 20th century. He was also the first African American dean at a traditionally white American university (Boston University’s Marsh Chapel), and a founder of the first interracial interfaith congregation in the United States (the Church for the Fellowship of all Peoples in San Francisco). Born in Daytona Beach, Florida, he was the grandson of former slaves who stressed education as a means of overcoming racial discrimination. A meeting in 1934 with Mahatma Gandhi instilled within Thurman an appreciation for the value of nonviolent resistance in combating racial inequality, and for the remainder of his life, he attempted to live by the teachings of the Indian spiritual and political leader. His most famous book, Jesus and the Disinherited, uses New Testament gospels to describe how a non-violent civil rights movement could be successful. This book influenced a number of civil rights leaders including Martin Luther King, Jr., whose father was Thurman’s classmate at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. In 1953, Dr. Thurman was named by Life Magazine as one of the greatest preachers of the 20th century. He has also been called one of the 50 most important figures in African American history.

Craig Courtney (b. 1948) is an internationally-renowned choral composer, arranger, pianist, accompanist, clinician, and choir director. A native of Indiana, he began playing the piano at the age of three and the cello at the age of eleven, and received a Bachelors and a Masters degree in piano performance at the University of Cincinnati. Following a three-year stay in Milan, Italy, where he studied the piano and worked extensively as a vocal coach, he was invited to join the music faculty of the famed Mozarteum in Salzburg, Austria. It was during this period, while serving in the music ministry of the Salzburg International Baptist Church, that Courtney began directing a church choir and composing sacred choral music, due to the unavailability of English language music.

Mack Wilberg (b. 1955) has been the music director of the Mormon Tabernacle Choir since 2008. He is a former Professor of Music at Brigham Young University and is active as a composer, arranger, guest conductor and clinician throughout the United States and abroad. His compositions and arrangements are performed and recorded by choral organizations throughout the world. In addition to the many compositions he has written for the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, his works have also been performed by such artists as Renée Fleming, Frederica von Stade, Bryn Terfel, and the King’s Singers. Dr. Wilberg received his bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University and his master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Southern California.

Frances Whitmarsh Wile (1878-1939) was an American hymnist. Born in Bristol Valley, New York, she lived her later years in Rochester, where she helped found the Women’s City Club. It was also in Rochester where, as a parishioner of Rev. William C. Gannett (also a hymn writer), she wrote the words to All Beautiful the March of Days, and chose to set the lyrics to the traditional English melody known as “Forest Green”, heard in this morning’s closing hymn.

Antonio Vivaldi (1678-1741) was an Italian Baroque composer, virtuoso violinist, teacher, and Roman Catholic priest. Born in Venice, the capital of the Venetian Republic, he is regarded as one of the greatest Baroque composers, and his influence during his lifetime was widespread across Europe. Vivaldi’s main teacher was probably his father, Giovanni Battista, who in 1685 was admitted as a violinist to the orchestra of the San Marco Basilica in Venice. Vivaldi composed many instrumental concertos for the violin and a variety of other musical instruments, as well as numerous sacred choral works and more than forty operas. His best-known work is a series of violin concertos known as the Four Seasons. Many of his compositions were written for the all-female music ensemble of the Ospedale della Pietà, a home for abandoned children. He worked there as a Catholic priest and teacher from 1703 to 1715 and from 1723 to 1740. Vivaldi (who earned the nickname “The Red Priest”, due to his distinctive reddish hair) also had some success with expensive stagings of his operas in Venice, Mantua and Vienna. After meeting the Emperor Charles VI, he moved to Vienna, hoping for royal support. However, the Emperor died soon after Vivaldi’s arrival, and Vivaldi himself died in poverty less than a year later.

Music Sources:

When Jesus Comes to Be Baptized
The Work of Christmas Dan Forrest
Songs of Thankfulness and Praise
Footsteps Craig Courtney
All Beautiful the March of Days arr. Mack Wilberg

Image Source:

The Baptism of Christ by Rembrandt
The Jordan River