18 October 2022

Songs of the Faith: a book for individual reflection or discussion

Lieut-Colonel Jayne Roberts

Songs of Faith book cover, featuring musical notes and song lyrics
'Songs of the Faith' is available to buy now from SP&S

Lieut-Colonel Jayne Roberts reviews Songs of the Faith.

Andrew Wileman is a gifted writer who brought great blessing to people through his devotions published on the Silver Linings Facebook page, created by Older People’s Services. I am delighted that Songs of the Faith will make his writing even more widely available.

Andrew has provided a series of 52 devotionals based on ‘the great songs and hymns of our Christian journey’. He shares the story behind the song and explores the themes it contains in an engaging and thought-provoking way.

Each song is reprinted in full along with the devotional, which makes it particularly useful to readers who may not own a personal copy of the Salvation Army songbook. Here are the well-loved hymns that continue to bring strength and comfort to people: ‘What a Friend We Have in Jesus’, ‘Count Your Blessings’ and ‘Abide with Me’ are part of the varied selection.

Harry Read’s ‘I Dare to Be Different’ is included and, in an acknowledgement to Andrew’s hometown of Sheffield, ‘Into Thy Hands, Lord’ by Jessie Mountain. As a student there in the late 1970s it was always a special moment at Sheffield Citadel when these words were sung to the music by Herbert Mountain, Jessie’s husband.

Each devotional concludes with a prayer, which invites readers to make it a moment of personal spiritual contemplation, and a journal page with three questions follows every song. This format will be useful to encourage individual reflection or spark discussion when the book is shared by a small group.

The book also includes a small section related to festivals of the Christian year. It will be a gift to anyone who regularly leads devotions, particularly chaplains working in older people’s care and leaders of worshipping communities with a more senior demographic.

Many hours of patient research must have gone into discovering the details behind each song, yet each story also includes something original that has inspired Andrew as he has studied them.

While the devotionals were originally written to be helpful to people in later life who are connected to the Army, it is a wonderful resource to introduce our sung theology to new Christians and younger members. It is my hope that it will reach an audience of all ages.

Written by

Jayne Roberts

Lieut-Colonel Jayne Roberts

Secretary for Spiritual Life Development

Buy the book

'Songs of the Faith' is available to buy for £6.99 from SP&S.

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