A Field of Voices

Hymns for Worship

James E. Clemens, David Wright

Jun/2010, 80 Pages, Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5

ISBN-13: 9780898696530

This collection of thirty hymns and songs are suitable for all-age Christian worship in a variety of settings—house churches, small congregations, formal and informal.

The contemporary texts by poet David Wright are either based on scripture or highlight such themes as community, Eucharist, hospitality, repentance, justice, healing, and blessing. The music, by composer James Clemens, is fresh and well constructed for congregational singing in a variety of styles from standard hymnody to folk, Native American, gospel, early American, and chant. About a third of the selections may be learned and performed without paper.

James E. Clemens is a singer, violinist, jazz pianist, and composer, who writes music for choir, orchestra, piano, strings, brass, voice and various ensembles. He and his wife, Angie, are musicians with an emerging Mennonite community. He lives in Virginia.

David Wright is a poet and the visiting assistant professor of English at Wheaton College in Illinois. His poems, essays and reviews have appeared in The Christian Century and the Princeton Theological Review as well as many other publications. He has published two poetry collections. He lives in Illinois.

“As I look through these new contributions to hymnody, I’m struck by the amount and quality of intelligence at work here. Yes, there is artistic ability aplenty in both poet and composer, but also a very human sensitivity to phrase, moment, action. These songs connect to our daily life: ‘Grace [is] as near as a neighbor’s hand.’ Many congregations will be delighted with this collection: I know mine will want it!”—Alice Parker, composer and author of The Anatomy of Melody and Melodious Accord: Good Singing in Church

“This collection is packed with devotion, longing, admonition, prayer, rhythm, dancing, reveling, yearning, community, praise. And the songs represent a variety of styles as well. It is worth the learning of these songs, for I believe any congregation will find them a source of delight for a long time to come.”—Ken Medema, composer and performer

“This is much richer fare than similar things being offered [elsewhere]. These rhythms are universal and primitive, which lead to singability. They are the same rhythmic structures found in folksong. The collection of texts tells the truth about all of life—joy, sadness, noise, and silence. The collection of musical styles tells the truth about the church—past, present, and future.”—Michael Smith, Organist and Director of Choral Music, Groton School, Massachusetts

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