Why I Come to Church | for SATB Chorus & cello | 5'
Why I Come to Church was commissioned by All Souls Church, Unitarian; Jennifer Hayman, Director of Music and Arts.
From the premiere program note:
"Everything that A. Powell Davies describes in this poem is exactly how I feel now about music—and how I felt about the musical community I had as a child and young adult, singing in a church choir. Music returns me to myself; it brings me back to a greater sense of purpose and the same sharpened conscience that Davies describes. Wherever we find this communion—in church, music, or other— we owe it to ourselves to continue seeking it out, to continue letting community and service return us to the very best versions of ourselves."
Let me tell you why I come to church.
I come to church—and would whether I was a preacher or not—
because I fall below my own standards and need to be constantly brought back to them. I am afraid of becoming selfish and indulgent,
and my church—my church of the free spirit—brings me back to what I want to be.
I could easily despair; doubt and dismay could overwhelm me.
My church renews my courage and my hope.
It is not enough that I should think about the world and its problems
at the level of a newspaper report or magazine discussion.
It could too soon become too low a level.
I must have my conscience sharpened–sharpened until it goads me
to the most thorough and responsible thinking of which I am capable.
I must feel again the love I owe to others.
I must not only hear about it but feel it. In church, I do.
I am brought toward my best, in every way toward my best.
– A. Powell Davies (1902-1957) minister of All Souls Church, Unitarian
early drafts and composing notes
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