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Hymn for Church Transition

The 20-year senior pastor of our church just had his retirement celebration and last Sunday with us. The interim would begin next week. This Sunday, our district superintendent was supplying the pulpit, and I had to choose a song for the offertory.

That's when I found "May Our Church Be."

Transitions of leadership, regardless of the circumstances, can be very difficult for the entire church body. I've served at more than one church where the departure of one pastor and the subsequent reorganization strongly changed the dynamics. People have resigned, been laid off or fired during leadership transitions. As a 10-year church staffer, I've witnessed or heard of some rough transitions for churches. Such transitions are never pleasant at first, and sometimes the new leadership doesn't work out.

To all those going through transition in their churches, I want to offer this song. "May Our Church Be" is to the tune of Sibelius's "Finlandia," the same tune for the popular hymn "Be Still My Soul." Lyrics (by Barbara Hart) are below. Let us know if you'd like the chords.

May our church be still firm upon the Savior

Where Christ is Head and Counselor and Guide

Where ev'ry child is taught His love and favor

And gives his heart to Christ the Crucified

How sweet to know that though his footsteps waver

His faithful Lord is walking by his side

Give wisdom to our godly elders, leaders

Who always place their hope and trust in Him

Whose tender patience turmoil never bothers

Whose calm and courage trouble cannot dim

May we still find the joy in serving others

May our love shine tho' days be dark and grim

May our church be where Christ is Lord and Master

The Bible read the precious anthems sung

Where pray'r comes first in peace or in disaster

And praise is natural speech to ev'ry tongue

Where mountains move before a faith that's vaster

And Christ sufficient is for old and young

O Lord our God our church is Thine forever

We trust to Thee our problems toil and care

Our bonds of love no enemy can sever

If Thou art always Lord and Master there

Be Thou the center of our least endeavor

Be Thou our guest our hearts and homes to share

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