Forest Green

Forest Green brass ballsjpgThis recording is named, not for the first line of the hymn as is customary, but for the tune name. Each tune in the hymnal has its own name irrespective of the words that are sung to it.

Further, each tune is described by the number of notes (sort of…) in each phrase of the melody. Tunes are then organized in a metrical index. Some of the metrical patterns have nicknames. The pattern for Forest Green is of “Common Meter Double,” which means twice through Sorry…you didn’t know this was going to be a class did you.

Anyway, this metrical organization of tunes permits singers to sing any set of words of a specific metrical pattern to be sung to any tune of the same pattern. For instance, Forest Green, in the New Century Hymnal, is used with two different sets of words: #434 (All Beautiful the March of Days) and also #110 (Now Bless the God of Israel). As you sing along, the words for #434 (my own favorite words for this tune) may be found at and the words for #110 at Some hymnals even use it for “O Little Town of Bethlehem,” which may have been (I don’t know for sure) the text associated with Forest Green when Ralph Vaughan Williams made his famous 4-part harmonization that I used here.

OK…class dismissed. Have fun!

EV Charging Station Open!

It’s finally operational! The electrical vehicle charging station at the church, that is!

The church has been working with Duke Energy for several months on the installation of the EV charging station. Duke paid for the charging station and the church was responsible for the lighting and the curbs. Two vehicles at a time can be charged.

The station appears on an app that shows drivers where they can charge their cars.

Many thanks to Claire Stiles, Earl Waters, Bert Lee, and Jeff Wells for all of their help with this project!

Corona Sabbath 2

cornerstoneThese weeks when we cannot gather in person for Sunday worship, Lakewood United Church of Christ is providing brief weekly sabbath programs for you to listen to on your own or with those you live with. They will be posted on Friday so that you can schedule your sabbath time to suit your schedule and your spiritual inclinations. We hope these programs are of spiritual support to you in these difficult times.

Find a quiet place, inside or outside. Light a candle. Breathe. Be present.

When you are ready, start the video below.

There is a scripture lesson and a brief meditation by Pastor Kim Wells followed by music offered by Music Director, Hilton Kean Jones.

As you listen to the music from Hilton which follows, you are invited to pay attention to the thoughts and feelings and reflections that arise for you.

After viewing the video and listening to the music, you are invited to offer the following closing…

In the depth of winter, I finally learned that within me there lay an invincible summer. -Albert Camus 1913-1960

Breathe. Extinguish your candle and engage whatever may come with a sense of peace and a desire to serve.


The mission of Lakewood United Church of Christ, as part of the Church Universal, is to:

  • Celebrate the presence and power of God in our lives and in our world;
  • Offer the hospitality and inclusive love of Christ to all people;
  • Work for God’s peace and justice throughout creation.


I’ve Got Peace Like a River

I've Got Peace Like a RiverPictured is the River Strong outside D’Lo, Mississippi, where my daddy’s family is from. This particular location of the Strong River also happens to be where the baptism scene in Brother Where Art Thou was filmed! All of which kind of fits in with this morning’s hymn recording.

For the music and words go to The New Century Hymnal has this footnote for the hymn: “Most of the spirituals that drew from biblical stories and images used the Hebrew scriptures, rather than New Testament as their inspiration. The imagery of “peace like a river’ derives from the book of Isaiah.” Among the scriptural references listed at the top of the hymn is Isaiah 66:12.

There’s lots of way to do this hymn but this morning I opted for kind of an easy-listening approach. Should work for singing–or at least humming–along. It’s #478 in the New Century Hymnal.


What a Covenant

HKJ playing ragtimeToday, no strings, no brass, no fancy pipe organs, just old-time camp meeting piano. We sing a bunch of these kinds of songs at Lakewood and I’ll be doing more of them here. This one’s a favorite and it’s got that certain swing to it that old-timey music has when the lady would play it and us kids would march in from Sunday School classes. Enjoy yourself singing along. It’s #471 in the New Century Hymnal. You can read all about it and see the music and representative text at Some of you may know it with the words, “What a Fellowship,” with the title, “Leaning on the Everlasting Arms,” which is how I learned it.