My Heart Sings Out

Pew edition

Fiona Vidal-White, Ed.

May/2004, 230 Pages, PAPERBACK, 6 x 9

ISBN-13: 9780898694741

My Heart Sings Out is a hymnal designed for all-age worship, with the aim of the full inclusion of children in weekly worship. It is organized in two main sections, the eucharistic liturgy and the church year, with additional thematic sections including songs for baptism and confirmation, songs of thanks and praise, and songs of suffering, healing and assurance. Among its features:

  • It will enable you to fully incorporate children into your worship
  • Pieces have been carefully selected to represent the best of congregational church music from the last 25 years
  • Christian educators will find resources for all their needs, from church school to vacation programs
  • As children learn these new songs, adults will learn unaccompanied part-singing alongside them
  • This hymnal will provide your child with a life-long Christian education through music.

Fiona Vidal-White, a native of England, has been active in church music since childhood. She has a master's degree in sacred music from Boston University, and has worked with children's and adult choirs in England and the United States.

This review first appeared as a blog post by Cynthia Coe at http://etchristianformation.org/2010/12/01/singable-songs-for-children-the-global-version/  

Songs we sing with children endure for a lifetime.  In my visits to my dad’s nursing home, I am continually amazed at Alzheimer and dementia patients who literally cannot put a sentence together but can enthusiastically sing out four stanzas of hymns without missing a note or a single word.  I wonder, what songs are our children learning now that will stay with them when they are 80 years old and infirm?

Songs matter.  Here are two resources in the Anglican tradition (both available at churchpublishing.org) that are helpful in leading children in this important form of worship, whether in children’s chapel, family services, or in Christian formation programs.

My Heart Sings Out, ed. Fiona Vidal-White (New York: Church Publishing Inc., 2005).  This paperback volume, written specifically for Anglican worship, is an excellent resource for Episcopal choir directors working with children and Christian formation directors.  Vidal-White, who worked in music ministry in the Church of England before coming to the United States, fully appreciates that elementary school-age children need fairly simple lyrics and melodies.  This volume provides an ample selection of such tunes, divided by liturgical year.  A topical index in the back is also very helpful. At $18 for the pew edition, this book is a bargain.

Hymns of Glory, Songs of Praise, compiled by The Church Hymnary Trust (Norwich, UK: Canterbury Press, 2008).   This is an official hymnal of the Church of Scotland.  Pricey at $56?  A bit.  Worth it?  Absolutely!  The section entitled “Short Songs” in the back is worth its weight in gold if you work with children.  “Short Songs” is a treasure trove of easy to learn, highly singable songs from all over the world – including Honduras, Kenya, Ukraine, the Taize community, Argentina, Switzerland, China and others.  If your congregation seeks to teach about ministry and faith in other countries, the millennium development goals, or other global issues, you will want to have this hymnal.

Most of us probably remember “Jesus Loves Me, This I Know,” from childhood and  “Kumbaya” from youth group.  Songs stick with us – and even drift into secular culture, as well.  We need to give children of this generation singable songs to stick with them as part of their own lifelong Christian formation.

Blessings, Cindy

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