Monthly Archives: April 2015

Children Sing and Sign“The Lord’s Prayer” this Sunday

 lords prayerI have sung or directed many versions of this familiar prayer, but this arrangement by Christy Weir is my new favorite!  As the Children’s Choir sings it in our worship this Sunday, they will use sign language to add to its beauty.  It is my hope that we will all find new meaning and inspiration from the words that are often spoken from memory without much thought.


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.

Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil,

For thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory. Amen

from Matthew 6 and Luke 11, paraphrased


More music for this Sunday…

Prelude: “God’s Hand” by Gregory Kerkorian – Handbell Choir

Anthem at communion: “Remember Me” by Robert Lau


Come and worship with us at Christ Presbyterian Church.



Music of a Nation: The History of the Negro Spiritual


 directed by Barbara Stefan

 with Aaron Reeder, baritone, and NoVA Lights Chorale

 Sunday, May 17 at 4:00pm

 Arlington Presbyterian Church, 3507 Columbia Pike

Free · Wheelchair accessible · reception

The program includes familiar and lesser-known spirituals with a narrated history about coded slave songs, protest songs, and the influence of spirituals on blues, R&B and jazz. Reeder, who has performed with music luminaries from Dave Brubeck to Renee Fleming, is noted as “one of greater Washington DC area’s finest young talents,” (The Gazette) and has “a voice that soars” (The Washington Post).





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Good Shepherd Sunday Anthem: “It is Well with My Soul”  

The Good Shepherd readings, including the 23rd Psalm, are some of my favorites in the lectionary. In particular these verses from the gospel of John move me:


“I am the good shepherd.

The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.”

John 10:11

it is well

 In 1856, Horatio Spafford lived in Chicago where he had an established law practice and was a professor of medical law at Lind University. Active in the YMCA and as a Sunday school teacher, he also served as director and trustee for the Presbyterian Theological Seminary of the Northwest.

During the next few years several traumatic events marked his life.  The first was the Great Chicago Fire in 1871 which ruined him financially as he had invested significantly in property in the area that was decimated by the fire. His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873 at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Fire.


The Ville du Havre collided with an English ship and sank in just twelve minutes. Spafford’s wife was saved, but his four daughters drowned. After arriving in Wales, a grieving Mrs. Spafford cabled her husband, “Saved alone.” He then left by boat to meet her, and near the tragic scene on the high seas he wrote this text:


When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.


The Spaffords’ Presbyterian church regarded their tragedy as divine punishment. In response, the Spaffords formed their own Messianic sect, dubbed “the Overcomers” by the American press. In 1881, the Spaffords, including baby Bertha and newborn Grace, set sail for Ottoman-Turkish Palestine. They settled in Jerusalem and helped found a group called the American Colony. Colony members, later joined by Swedish Christians, engaged in philanthropic work among the people of Jerusalem regardless of their religious affiliation and without proselytizing motives.  They gained the trust of the local Muslim, Jewish, and Christian communities. During and immediately after World War I, the American Colony played a critical role in supporting these communities through great suffering and deprivations by running soup kitchens, hospitals, orphanages and other charitable ventures.


Philip Bliss, a family friend and composer of many songs (Let the Lower Lights be Burning, Jesus Loves Even Me), was so impressed with Spafford’s life and the words of his hymn that he composed  this lovely music to accompany the lyrics. The gospel tune was named VILLE DU HAVRE after the ship on which his friends died.


For more than a century, the tragic story of one man has given hope to many thousands who have lifted their voices to sing “It Is Well With My Soul.“  It has been recorded by many noted performers, including Tennessee Ernie Ford, Mahalia Jackson and Dwight Yoakum.  (The Georgia Southern University marching band plays the song at the end of each win!)


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Easter Cantata: The “Way” to Victory

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Kudos and blessings to our singers and instrumentalists and crew for their beautiful and spirit-filled musical offering on Easter Sunday!  Our cantata celebrated Jesus, the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE.


Boys’ Ensemble

Matthew Kane, Colin MacLean, Roy Rinehart, Keith Scroggs, Brendan Sielinski



Marilyn Dorn, Sue Ferguson, Bill Gilchrist, Gail Harvey, Jay Lough (solo), Kim MacDonald-Cameron (solo), Geoff McLean (solo), Shirley Moore, Anne Scroggs, Tom Shaw, Marjorie Sielinski, Betsy Stagno, Charles Thies, Howell Thomas, Eric Westrate, Sandy Williams



Keiko Endo, piano, teaches at Fox Mill Elementary School.

Casey MacLean, violin, is a student at the College of William and Mary.

Michael Balasa, violin, is a 12-year-old violin student from Oakton.

Richard Wang, viola, is a middle school student from Vienna.

Anna Henke, cello, teaches school music in Manassas.

Rich McFadden, guitar, is a radio producer.

June Gladding, percussion, directs our children’s choir and rings handbells.

Carolyn Tate, percussion, rings handbells with the CPC Chancel Ringers.

Sue Ferguson, flute, is our mission trip coordinator and sings solos in worship.

Jill Westeyn, oboe, is a retired oboist with the Air Force Band.



Velma Armijo and Lynn Garner



Sheila McLean



David Robinson


Written and compiled by Geoff McLean and Barbara Stefan


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