Music is a central element of our worship at St James. Our intention is to allow everyone present to feel like they are ‘in the band’, regardless of skill or confidence. We do a lot of singing together, and will often spend a bit of time before the service practicing simple harmonies – believing that our vocal harmony supports our Christian values, and a wider ‘harmony’ in our community – as well as being enjoyable and spiritually uplifting. Here are examples of short songs that we have written together.
Our music group sits among the congregation. The number and type of players changes week to week, as no specific commitment is required from group members (apart from pianists and music leaders), and new players on any instrument are always welcome if they are able to come along at 10am and rehearse before the service. The musical ‘style’ is varied, centering on folk and roots music – energetic or contemplative as required.
St James created a part-time Music Director staff role in 2016, a post held by Suzanne Butler. Suzanne is an experienced musician, song-writer and facilitator, and sees her job as one of encouraging collaboration, creativity and team-work – making the most of the many musical gifts of congregation members, and providing a confident lead where required, especially in special and seasonal events at St James.
Writing new songs and music has been a focus for the past few years, and many services feature songs and liturgical pieces written by the music group. This process is ongoing, with a current focus on writing new hymns to address current issues in church and society. Below are recordings of our compositions, which you are welcome to download and use provided the terms of our Creative Commons copyright agreement are upheld.
Email Suzanne, music[at]stjamesleith.org if you’d like to find out more about getting involved in music at St James.