Saturday, September 16, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Church - Newsletter Available

The latest edition of the church newsletter is available online at
You should be receiving the print version early next week.

Friday, September 15, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Church - church bell and Charlotte

Sunday, Sept. 17           10:00am          Morning Worship
                                                               Sermon:  "A Step in the Right Direction"
                                                               Lessons:  Psalm 119:89-112   Luke 5: 17-28

                                        5:00pm           Book Study: "Here If You Need Me"

Monday, Sept. 18            7:00pm           Session Meeting
                                                                Meet with Deborah Denis for Church Membership

Wednesday, Sept. 20     12:30pm          Becker/Gamble Committee in Gallery

Thursday, Sept. 21           5:00pm          International Day of Peace
                                                                The Common Ground at Gillette Park, Sayville

Sunday, Sept 24              10:00am         Morning Worship
                                                                Sermon:  "How Wonderful You Are"
                                                               Lessons:   Psalm 8  Mark 1: 9-11
                                                               Receive Deborah Denis into Church Membership
                                                               Baptism of Benjamin William Neal
                                                               Sunday School

Sunday, Oct. 1               10:00am          WORLD  COMMUNION  SUNDAY
                                                               Sermon: "From 'Eithers' to 'Neithers'"
                                                               John 8: 31 - 59  Galatians 3: 23-29
                                                                Receive Peace & Global Mission Offering

Thursday, September 7, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Church - church bell and Charlotte

Sunday, Sept  10                         10:00am                Morning Worship
                            Sermon: "The Roadblock of Regret"
                              Lessons:       Genesis 42: 1-38  Luke 12: 35-48
                    11:15am               CHURCH  PICNIC

Tuesday, Sept.12                          11:30am               Brookhaven/ Bellport Clergy

Wednesday, Sept. 13                      8:30am               Western Suffolk Presbyterian Clergy

Thursday, Sept. 14                        10:00am               Long Island Council of Churches Boards

Sunday, Sept, 17                           10:00am               Morning Worship
                                                                                    Sermon:  "A Step in the Right Direction"
                                                                                    Lessons:  Psalm 119: 89-112  Luke 5: 17-28

                                                         5:00pm               Book Study:  "Here If You Need Me"

Monday, Sept. 18                             7:00pm               Session Meeting
                                                                                     Meet with Deborah Denis for Church Membership

Wednesday, Sept. 20                     12: 30pm              Becker Gamble Committee in Gallery

Thursday, Sept 21                             5:00pm               International Day of Peace
                                                                                     The Common Ground at Gillette Park, Sayville

Sunday, Sept. 24                            10:00am               Morning Worship
                                                                                     Receive Deborah Denis into Church Membership
                                                                                     Baptism of Benjamin William Neal

Friday, September 1, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Church - church bell and Charlotte

A Personal Note:
    I am back in Brookhaven after having a wonderful week at Chautauqua Institution, I will be sharing much of that in the next issue of our NEWSletter,
I am thankful to Alan Stevens and Linda Majowka who filled the pulpit for the two Sundays I was gone. I am so thankful to Darcy Stevens  who initiated the Bell Ringing act of solidarity with those in Charlottesville who protested against demonstrations of hate, bigotry, and racism. I am proud and grateful that our Session approved and supported this activity. May our Church Bell and our Congregation always witness to equality of all. Thanks to the several bell ringers who are participating during the month of September. (Please note below the great picture of Darcy's dexterity in this week's Long Island Advance.)
The schedule that follows is a witness to all the activity that will take place here during this month of September.
                                                                                    Pastor Tom

Sunday, Sept. 3                  10:00am                          Morning Worship/ Labor Day Message/ Holy Communion
                                                                                   Sermon;  "Work as Our Living Worship"
                                                                                   Lessons:  Genesis 3:13-19  II Timothy `: 1-14, 2: 14-15
                                                                                   Choir Anthem;     "In Remembrance"
(Newletter Note from Linda Scott: Just a quick reminder to email your reports and articles by this weekend. 
We hope to have the Newsletter ready for mailing by October 1st.

Monday, Sept 4                                                                        LABOR DAY
Tuesday, Sept 5                   1:00pm                          Lunch Bunch Group at home of Nancy Best
Saturday, Sept 9                 12:30pm                         South Country Peace Group in Gallery

Sunday, Sept. 10
        10:00am                         Morning Worship
                                                          Sermon:  :The Roadblock to Regret'
                                                           Lessons:  Genesis 42: 1-38  Luke 12: 35-48

Tuesday, Sept. 12              11;30am                         Brookhaven/Bellport Clergy Lunch
Wednesday, Sept. 13           8:30am                         Mid Suffolk Presbyterian clergy Breakfast  

Sunday, Sept.17                 10:00am                         Morning Worship
                                              5:00pm                        Book Study:; "Here If You Need Me"
                                                                                                    by Kate Braestrup
                                                                                                            in Gallery
Monday, Sept. 18                 7:00pm                        Session Meeting 
                                                                                 Meet with Deborah Denis for Church Membership
Wednesday, Sept. 20         12:30pm                        Becker/Gamble Committee in Gallery
Thursday, Sept. 21               5:00pm                        International Day of Peace
                                                                                 The Common Ground at Gillette Park, Sayville

Sunday, Sept. 24                10:00am                        Morning Worship
                                                                                  Welcome Deborah Denis into Church Membership
                                                                                  Baptism of Benjamin William Neal
Saturday, Sept. 30                                                    Presbytery Day

Friday, August 25, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Church - church bell and Charlotte

Church bell and Charlottesville
Old South Haven Presbyterian Church members have been ringing our 120 year old church bell at 8:12 each evening this week. We are doing this to honor those who stood up for racial and ethnic equality in Charlottesville on 8/12/17, and as a call for solidarity against bigotry in all its forms. We plan to continue this through the month of September and hope that other churches will join us, ringing their bells to affirm God's vision for our society: peace, justice, and love.
Elder Darcy Stevens

Monday, August 21, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Chrch

Greetings from Chautauqua

Pastor Tom on vacation/study leave until Thursday, August 31.
at the Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, N.Y.
Pastor Yuri Ando, United Methodist Church of Bellport, will be on call for this period.

Sunday, Aug. 27                     10:00am                    Morning Worship
                                                                                  Preacher:  Linda Majowka

Sunday, Sept. 3                      10:00am                    Morning Worship/Holy Communion
                                                                                  Sermon: "Work as Our Living Worship"
                                                                                  Lessons:  Genesis 3: 13-19
                                                                                                   II Timothy: 1:1-14; 2: 14-15

Saturday, August 12, 2017

FW: Music for the OSHC Service of August 13, 2017, 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

From: Richard Thomas
Sent: Friday, August 11, 2017 11:53 PM
Subject: Music for the OSHC Service of August 13, 2017, 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time


                According to the Presbyterian Planning Calendar, this Sunday is the “Day of Prayer for the Peaceful Reunification of the Korean Peninsula.”

                The following Sunday, August 20, will be Bobby Stirling’s birthday.  He will be 61.

                “To God Be the Glory,” no. 485, is the opening hymn of praise with its rousing refrain.  It is a Fanny Crosby hymn.  We sing it about the same time of year most years (in late August—or in early September, when there is a hurricane in August).

          Fanny J. Crosby (1820-1915)

                You can also hear a spectacular version, with orchestra, sung by the audience and stage choirs at Royal Albert Hall, London, here:

       “To God Be the Glory,” Royal Albert Hall, London, with captions so you can sing along

                Both the text and the tune date from 1875.  The tune was composed for the text by William Howard Doane, an industrialist

                There is a society that was formed by his daughters as a memorial to him—the “William Howard Doane Legacy Society”:

                        Click to see a photo of William Howard Doane (and also photos of his daughters, Ida and Marguerite)

                W. Howard Doane also composed the tune for another Fanny Crosby (1820-1915) text, “Though Your Sins Be as Scarlet.”  You can hear a beautiful a cappella rendition of “Though Your Sins Be as Scarlet,” which has wonderful harmonies, here: Valerie Eck sings all parts of “Though Your Sins Be as Scarlet” (using multi-track recording), excellent

W. Howard Doane (1832-1915) was born in Preston, Connecticut. He became the superintendent of a large Baptist Sunday School in Cincinnati, Ohio.  He composed 1,000 hymn tunes, including the tunes for “Tell Me the Old, Old Story,” “Near the Cross,” “Rescue the Perishing,” and “Safe in the Arms of Jesus.”

                “Rescue the Perishing” again demonstrates William Doane’s skill at producing lovely multi-line harmonies.  The text, by Fanny Crosby, isn’t at all Presbyterian.  This was a kind of hymn Baptists loved to sing. “Rescue the Perishing,” tune by William Howard Doane, words by Fanny Crosby

                The Old Testament reading is Isaiah 40:28-31.

Did you not know? Had you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God,

he created the remotest parts of the earth.

He does not grow tired or weary, his understanding is beyond fathoming.

He gives strength to the weary, he strengthens the powerless.

Even youths grow tired and weary, the young stumble and fall,

but those who hope in Yahweh will regain their strength, they will rise up as if they had eagles’ wings,

they run, yet they do not grow weary, they walk, yet they never tire.

There is an anthem on this topic, “On Eagles’ Wings,” which the choir may have looked at once, but I don’t recall that we ever performed it. “On Eagles’ Wings” sung by the Adventist University of the Philippines Ambassadors (truly beautiful)


                The gospel reading is Matthew 11:28-30.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 

Take my yoke52 on you and learn from me, because I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 

For my yoke is easy to bear, and my load is not hard to carry.”

(The translators for the version above fear their readers might not know what a “yoke” is and provide a footnote.)

I found a relatively modern hymn on the topic, “Yoke Up, Yoke Up with Jesus,”  it is written (and sung by) Brother Harlan D. Sorrell.  You can hear it hear by clicking the “play audio recording” button: “Yoke Up with Jesus,” by Harlan D. Sorrell (1990)

An older hymn is “Help Us, O Lord, Thy Yoke to Wear,” by Thomas Cotterill, who was born in 1779 in England.

                Here is a gospel hymn, “His Yoke Is Easy,” sung by Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr.  (There is a three minute build-up before the choir joins in, but the wait is entertaining.) “His Yoke Is Easy, His Burdens Are Light” sung by Bishop Paul S. Morton Sr. and the Greater St. Stephen Mass Choir

You can see the lyrics here: .  Bishop Paul S. Morton is an American Baptist pastor who was born on 30 July 1950.  He is the senior pastor at a church in Atlanta, Georgia, and co-pastor at the Greater St. Stephen Full Gospel Baptist Church in New Orleans, Louisiana.

                The second hymn the 23rd Psalm as versified in the Scottish Psalter of 1650.  The tune used is CRIMOND, by Jessie Seymour Irvine. 

                Jessie Seymour Irvine (b. 26 Jul 1836, Dunottar, Scotland; d. 18 Jun 1887, Aberdeen, Scotland), the composer, was the daughter of a Church of Scotland parish minister who served at three churches in Aberdenshire, Scotland.  One church was at Crimond.  Jessie Irvine is buried in St. Machar’s Cathedral, Aberdeen.

Jessie Seymour Irvine tune CRIMOND played by Neo Brass Band and the Hammonds Saltaire Band, with timpani, cymbals, snare drum, bass drum, and a very dramatic ending! tune CRIMOND (with descant), but with words of “The Lord Is My Shepherd, I Shall Not Want”

Here’s the tune for the bass part:

       bass part of the tune CRIMOND

                The title of the sermon is “Intermission.”

                The closing hymn is “Wherever I May Wander,” hymn no. 294.  It is from Songs and Hymns for Primary Children.

                       “Wherever I May Wander,” words by Ann B. Snow, 1959, tune NEW ENGLAND, a folk melody

                There is a country-western line dance song which the Chinese give the name “Wherever You May Wander,”, which seems an appropriate name for a line dance song, especially if you are someone who is as bad at line dancing as I am.  The actual name of that music though is “Let Me Be There,” so it must have lost something in translation. There is also a song by Metallica called “Wherever I May Roam,” but the words and music are very different from the hymn: Metallica, “Wherever I May Roam.”

                I wasn’t able to find out anything about Ann B. Snow.

Instrumental Music

                The prelude is “Diapason Dialogue” (1969) by Gordon Young.

                       "Diapason Dialogue"" by Gordon Young

                The diapasons are a kind of organ pipe.  They are frequently included in the façades of pipe organs, often painted and decorated.  In Old South Haven’s Hinners organ, the diapason rank of pipes is an open 8’ diapason stop.  These are “flue pipes.” They don’t attempt to sound like some other instrument.

                Flue pipes are sometimes called “labial pipes” as the sound is produced by the air passing a sharp lip, just as in a whistle.

                Flue pipes sound like this: Diapason, 16’ + 8’ + 4’

                While reed pipes sound like this: Oboe, 8’

                “Diapason” is the term used in English organs.  German organs call the same stop a “Prinzipal” or “Principle” stop.

                The Hinner’s organ has both metal and wood flue pipes.  The wood flue pipes are used in the pedal division and are stopped rather than open.  The rank is called the 16’ Bourdon.  “Bourdon” is derived from the French word for bumble-bee.  These pipes have a “deep, dark, and penetrating tone” that can be easily heard.

                The offertory music is "Morning" by William Stickles.

                William Charles Stickles was born in Cohoes, New York, (north of Troy) on 07 Mar 1882.  He was a composer, arranger, teacher, and editor.

                He attended the Utica Conservatory and Syracuse University, then studied abroad.  For five years, he assisted Isadore Braggiotti, a voice teacher, in Florence, Italy.  Then he spent two years as a vocal coach for soloists with Felix Motti at the Hof Theater in Munich.  After that, he taught in Boston and New York. 

                In April 1912, he was the accompanist for Anna Chase of the Metropolitan Opera in her appearance at the White House for President and Mrs. Taft.

                On 01 Dec 1919, he married Clara Hazard of Los Angeles in Trinity Chapel, New York City.  She was a soprano and soloist at St. John’s Protestant Episcopal Church in Los Angeles.  He had been touring with her and Theodore Karie (tenor) as their accompanist.

                He produced many arrangements of standard works for chorus, organ, and piano, and also composed original pieces.  He did arrangements of “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes” (music: Jerome Kerns, words: Otto Harbach), “Bali Ha’i” (music: Richard Rogers, words: Oscar Hammerstein II), “Summertime” (SATB) (George Gershwin and Du Bose Heyward), “easy-to-play piano arrangements” of the songs of Cole Porter’s “Kiss Me Kate,” and also a collection of arrangements of “cowboy duets,” along with arrangements of the songs of many other popular musicals (“Oklahoma,” “West Side Story,” etc.). 

                His Book of Preludes, Offertories, Postludes for all Organs was published in 1957.  It was enlarged and published as The Deluxe Book of Preludes, Offertories, Postludes for all Organs ten years later with Chester Nordman as co-editor and composer.

                He died in Queens, New York, in October 1971.

               The postlude is “Trumpet Voluntary,” also by Gordon Young. “Trumpet Voluntary” by Gordon Young played by high school sophomore Heidi Taylor Flesichbein (who is home schooled) “Trumpet Voluntary” by Gordon Young, played quickly by David Michalowski

Here is a more stately version: “Trumpet Voluntary” by Gordon Young, played by Cristiano Rizzotto

This one has very clear video, and you can watch Lars Zimmermann’s left foot play the pedals: “Trumpet Voluntary” by Gordon Young, played by Lars Zimmermann



Friday, August 11, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Chrch

Sunday, Aug.. 13                  10:00am                        Morning Worship
                                                                                    Sermon:    "Intermission"
                                                                                    Lessons:  Isaiah 40: 28-31
                                                                                                    Matthew 11: 28-30

Pastor Tom on vacation/study leave from Friday, August 18 to Thursday, August 31.
at the Chautauqua Institution, Chautauqua, N.Y.
Pastor Yuri Ando, United Methodist Church of Bellport, will be on call for this period.
There will be no Property/Finance Committee Meeting nor Session Meeting
this month.

Sunday, Aug. 20                    10:00am                     Morning Worship
                                                                                  Preacher: Alan Stevens

Sunday, Aug. 27                     10:00am                    Morning Worship
                                                                                  Preacher:  Linda Majowka

Sunday, Sept. 3                      10:00am                    Morning Worship/Holy Communion
                                                                                  Sermon: "Work as Our Living Worship"
                                                                                  Lessons:  Genesis 3: 13-19
                                                                                                   II Timothy: 1:1-14; 2: 14-15

Saturday, August 5, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Chrch

Sunday, Aug. 6              10:00am                         Morning Worship/Holy Communion
                                                                              Sermon:  "Being Spiritual: 3. Affirming the Old in the New"
                                                                              Lessons:   Psalm 137: 1-6  Romans 8: 18-25, 31-39
                                         6:00pm                         South Country Peace Group's 35th Annual World Peace Vigil
                                                                                        on the 72nd anniversary of the nuclear destruction of
                                                                                        Hiroshima, silent procession from Woodland Cemetery
                                                                                        to the Bellport Dock
                                                                                        Speakers:  Paul Ames and Pastor Tom

Friday, Aug 11                 6:00pm                         Summer concert at Bellport High School

Sunday, Aug. 13            10:00am                        Morning Worship
                                                                             Sermon:   "Intermission"
                                                                             Lessons: Isaiah 40: 28-31   Matthew 11: 28-30

Wednesday, Aug. 16       8:30am                        Mid Suffolk Presbyterian Clergy
                                                                                       Holbrook Diner

Friday, Aug. 18 - Thursday, Aug. 31                    Pastor Tom on Vacation

Sunday, Aug. 20           10:00am                        Morning Worship
                                                                            Preacher:  Alan Stevens

Sunday, Aug. 27           10:00am                        Morning Worship
                                                                           Preacher:   Linda Majowka

Friday, July 28, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Chrch

Sunday, July 30                         10:00am                 Morning Worship
                                                                                  Sermon:  "Being Spiritual 2. Mysteries or Problems"
                                                                                  Lessons: Psalm 8  Ephesians 6: 10-20

Tuesday, Aug 1                          1:00pm                  Lunch Bunch Group
                                                                                 Place to be announced

Sunday, Aug 6                           10:00am                 Morning Worship/ Holy communion
\                                                                                Sermon;  Being spiritual: 3. Affirming the old in the New"
                                                                                 Lessons;  Psalm 137: 1-6  Romans 8: 18-25, 31-39
Friday, Aug. 11                           6;00pm                  Concert at Bellport High school

Sunday, Aug. 13                       10:00am                 Morning Worship
                                                                                Sermon   "Intermission"
                                                                                Lessons: Isaiah 40: 26-31  Matthew 11: 26-30

Wednesday , Aug, 16                 8:30am               Mid Suffolk Presbyterian Clergy
                                                                               Holbrook Diner

Thursday, Aug 18  Thursday, Aug. 31                    Pastor Tom on Vacation

Prayer List
Dorothy Jones at home; Kevin Barnes at home, Peggy Angus at home, Linda Scott at daughter's . Eve Sokol
at home , Michael Quog at Brookhaven Hospital

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

This Week at Old South Haven Chrch

Note: Thus coming Sunday Pastor Tom will begin a series of Three Sermons on the theme of "Being Spiritual"
Many individuals  define themselves these days as "not religious" but "spiritual" What does it mean to be a
"Spiritual"  person today?

Sunday,, July 23             10:00am                Morning Worship
                                                                     Sermon: "Being Spiritual:  1. Responding to Life"
                                                                     Lessons:   I Samuel 12: 19-25  Romans 8: 165b- 27

Tuesday, July 25            11:30am               Brookhaven/ Bellport Clergy Lunch
                                                                    St. Joseph the Worker R.C. Church
Sunday, July 30              10:00am               Morning Worship
                                                                    Sermon:   "Being Spiritual: 2. Mysteries or Problems"
                                                                    Lessons; Psalm 8,   Ephesians 6: 10-20

Sunday, August 6            10:00am               Morning Worship/ Holy Communion
                                                                     Sermon: "Being Spiritual:  3. Affirming the Old in the New'
                                                                     Lessons:   Psalm 137: 1-6 Romans 8: 18-25, 31- 39

Sunday, August 13          10:00am              Morning Worship
                                                                    Sermon:    "Intermission"
                                                                    Lessons:   Isaiah 40: 28-31  Matthew 11: 28-30

\Wednesday, Aug. 16        8:30am             Mid Suffolk  Presbyterian Clergy
                                                                   Holbrook Diner

Friday, Aug 18 - Thursday, Aug. 31           Pastor Tom on vacation   

Friday, July 14, 2017

FW: Music for the OSHC Service of July 16, 2017, 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time



From: Richard Sent: Friday, July 14, 2017 10:58 PM

                The choir is on summer vacation; there is no introit.


                "This Is My Father's World," hymn no. 293, is the opening hymn.

                The words are by Maltbie Davenport Babcock who was born at Syracuse, NY, on 03 Aug 1858.  (His mother was Emily Maltbie, and Emily's mother was Nancy Davenport; hence her son's name.) He was a graduate of Syracuse University in 1879.  He then studied theology at Auburn Theological Seminary, graduating in 1882.  He first served a congregation at Lockport, NY.  He was the pastor of Brown Memorial Church in Baltimore from 28 Sep 1887 until 17 Jan 1900, when he left to serve the prestigious Brick Presbyterian Church in New York City.  (He succeeded Dr. Henry Van Dyke, who had been the pastor there from 1883 to 1900.  Henry Van Dyke is the author of the words of "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee.")

                The National Cyclopaedia of American Biography says, "He was a clear thinker and a fluent speaker with a marvelous personal magnetism which appealed to all classes of people . . ."

                He died at Naples, Italy, on 18 May 1901, at age 42

                None of the biographies revealed how he died, but I discovered it by looking up the newspapers of the day.  It was a suicide.  He developed "Mediterranean fever" while on a homeward voyage from Constantinople after visiting the Holy Land.  On 08 May 1901, his group reached Naples, and he was taken to the International Hospital there, suffering from "neurasthenia and gastric fever."  He became "much depressed in spirits" and was, at times, delirious.  On 18 May 1901, he "was seized with an acute attack of mania. He locked his door" (he had a private room) and then committed suicide by swallowing corrosive sublimate (used to treat wounds before bandaging) and cutting an artery of his wrist with a knife. 

                Another paper said that "homesickness is blamed in part for the suicide," also saying that he was suffering from gastric fever and "extreme melancholia."  Mrs. Babcock was called to the hospital,

"and on the awful news being broken to her was almost demented with grief.  She threw herself on the body in a paroxysm of weeping, and it was only by the use of force that she was finally compelled to leave it."

                "Dr. Babcock left no letter or any hint of any reason for the awful occurrence.  The hospital authorities, however, have no doubt that the act was committed while the patient was temporarily demented as the result of the fever."

                He was to be buried in the British cemetery at Naples, but ultimately his body was shipped back to America on May 30, 1901, and he was buried in Syracuse (Oakwood cemetery) on 13 Jun 1901.  His will bequeathed his estate to his wife, Katherine, but it was found to have a value of only $1,000.  The Brick Presbyterian Church was criticized for having failed to have provided their pastor with life insurance.

  Rev. Maltbie Davenport Babcock

                The tune, TERRA BEATA, is based on a traditional English melody.  It is an arrangement by Franklin Sheppard.  

                In 1915, Franklin L. Sheppard (1852-1930) set the poem of his deceased close friend, Rev. Babcock, to this tune. At the time, Franklin Sheppard was the President of the Presbyterian Board of Publications and Sabbath-School Work. The poem had 16 verses, but only three were selected by Shepherd for the hymn, "This Is My Father's World."

                Franklin L. Sheppard was born in Philadelphia and graduated from the University of Pennsylvania as valedictorian in 1872.  He died in Philadelphia on 15 Feb 1930.

                                There are a number of good videos for this piece showing different ways of performing the piece.

         "This Is My Father's World" sung traditionally with only minor accompaniment, lyrics on screen

         "This Is My Father's World" on classical guitar  "This Is My Father's World" music video with the Prague Orchestra and Tenore (The Christian Tenors) with good accompanying video

                The lessons are selected from the Revised Common Lectionary readings for the 15th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A.

                The gospel lesson is two readings from the thirteenth chapter of Matthew, Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23—a parable and its explanation; the Parable of the Soils (also called the Parable of the Sower).  It's about how the fate of a seed depends on the quality of the soil upon which it falls.  It may fall on the hardened ground of a road or path, or on rocky ground where there is little soil,, or among thorns (weeds) that choke out new growth—or the seed may fall on good soil.

                This parable also appears in Mark (Mark 4:1-20) and Luke (Luke 8:1-15), and it appears in the Gospel of Thomas.  However, in each of the synoptic gospels the parable (given to a large crowd) is followed by an explanation (given only to the disciples).  In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus doesn't explain the parable to anyone.

The Sower by Albin Egger-Lienz, 1918

                When I was on the farm, we no longer strolled through the fields with bags of grain tied round our waists, casting seeds upon the ground. 

                We had a McCormick Grain Drill that we pulled behind our tractor, just like this guy:  (We also had a Model M Farmall tractor like the guy in the video.)  There were a lot of parts and wheels in the drill that had to be set and changed depending on the grain you were planting: wheat, oats, milo, timothy, barley, buckwheat, etc.  If you didn't get them all set correctly and also make sure the teeth of the wheels were all properly engaged, you could end up with a very spotty field.  We didn't use it for large grains (as that required a more extensive swapping of parts).  We had a corn planter for that, which I think we also used for the soybeans.

                One year my father planted some barley, harvested it, and took it to the Farmers Exchange to sell--only to discover that there was no market for barley, and the operators of the Farmers Exchange wouldn't buy it.  They told him they didn't even have a grain elevator or granary for storing barley.  My father should have made up a parable about that experience.


                The epistle lesson is Romans 8:1-11.  It is about the polarity between flesh and Spirit.  "Those who are in the flesh cannot please God."  "For those who live according to the flesh have their outlook shaped by the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit have their outlook shaped by the things of the Spirit. For the outlook of the flesh is death, but the outlook of the Spirit is life and peace."  It was passages such as these that led to Protestant Christianity's rejection of the body and its urges.

                Galatians 5:17 has the same theme, "For the flesh has desires that are opposed to the Spirit, and the Spirit has desires that are opposed to the flesh, for these are in opposition to each other, so that you cannot do what you want."

                The second hymn is no. 331, "Thanks to God Whose Word Was Written (or Spoken)." The words date from 1954 and were authored by Reginald Thomas Brooks. 

                The verses are shuffled in our hymnal and the first verse is missing, hence the unconventional name of the hymn—which usually appears as "Thanks to God Whose Word Was Spoken."

                The author, the Rev. Reginald Thomas Brooks, also used the name "Peter Brooks."  He was born in August 1918 in Harrow Weald, Middlesex, England, (or at Wandsworth, London, England—sources disagree).  He attended first the London School of Economics then studied theology at Mansfield College, Oxford.  He was a minister in the United Reformed Church.  He also worked for the BBC in the religious broadcasting department.

R. T. Brooks

                The Presbyterians did some editing of the original words for the blue 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal.  They changed the ending line from "Praise him for his open word" to "Praise God for the living Word."

                The first verse has been omitted.  The third verse has become the first.  The fourth verse has become the second.  The fifth verse has become the fourth.

                The second verse has become the third and has been rewritten.

2 Thanks to God whose Word Incarnate

glorified the flesh of man;

deeds and words and death and rising

tell the grace in heaven's plan.

God has spoken: praise him for his open word.

is now:

3 Thanks to God whose Word Incarnate

Heights and depths of life did share.

Deeds and words and death and rising

Grace in human form declare.

God has spoken: Praise God for his living Word.

which is a definite improvement.

                A blogger, Catherine Rowett at , noted in 2006 that this hymn was massively rewritten before its appearance in the New English Hymnal, a hymnal for use by the Church of England.  In that hymnal, the first line is "Praise to God whose word was spoken," and it is set to the tune ST. RAPHAEL

                She said in her blog that Rev. R. T. Brooks wrote the hymn for the 150th Anniversary of the Bible Society in 1954.  Originally it was a teaching hymn.  The text has five verses "tracing the idea of God's Word

                as creative (verse 1),

                Incarnate (verse 2),

                delivered in scripture (verse 3),

                delivered orally throughout the world (verse 4)

                and continuing to speak to us today (verse 5).

Each verse finishes with "God has spoken, Praise God for his open word", except the last one which goes "God is speaking: praise God for his open word."

                In the New English Hymnal some unknown reviser(s) changed "thanks" to "praise" in the first line of every verse and made numerous other changes.


            They've changed "Praise God for his open word" to "Praise him for his saving word" in the last line of each verse, adding a capital letter on "Word" in the verse about the incarnate word.

            They've cut out one verse (the one about the word spread orally throughout the world).

            They've changed the order of the verses so that we get the one about the scriptures before the one about the incarnate Word. This is interesting theologically: I'll come back to it.

            They've rewritten the fourth line of the Incarnation verse, stupidly, so it no longer spells out the significance of the incarnation, nor makes grammatical sense (though they only needed to retain the full stop that it had originally to remedy the latter fault). Now we are told "Deeds and words and death and rising Tell the grace in heaven's plan" whereas Brooks wrote "Deeds and words and death and rising, Grace in human form declare."

            They've rewritten the last verse fairly heavily to make it talk about God speaking to us through his spirit, not our spirit within responding to God speaking to us directly. In the course of this they've added some gratuitous man-speak, and they've put in a silly bit about showing us the Father's plan. . . .

[I get the impression that Catherine Rowett wasn't pleased with how the hymn was rewritten.]

                R. T. Brooks died in London in 1985, one year before the publication of the New English Hymnal.

                The tune, WYLDE GREEN, is also relatively modern.  It was composed by Peter Warwick Cutts in 1966.

                (Actually, the date the tune was copyrighted, 1966, may be considerably later than the date of composition.  One source says that, while Peter Cutts was an undergraduate at Clare College, he contributed WYLDE GREEN at the Hymn Society's annual conference in July 1960 at Westminster College, Cambridge, during a service prepared by Erik Routley where he served as organist.)

                Peter Warwick Cutts was born in 1937 in Birmingham, England.  He obtained a B.A. (1961) and M.A. (1965) from Clare College at Cambridge University.  He also received a B.A. from Mansfield College, Oxford, where he studied theology.  He then served as organist at a number of United Reform churches/

                In 1989, he moved to Massachusetts where he served as Director of Music at a number of churches (including the First United Methodist Church of Watertown, Massachusetts) and also taught at Andover Newton Theological School, Newton Centre, Massachusetts. 

                Upon his retirement in 2005, he retired to the UK.  He has composed over 130 hymn tunes, the best known of which is BRIDEGROOM.

    Peter Cutts

                The tune is named for Wylde Green, a residential area in Sutton Coldfield in Birmingham, England.

                The only YouTube video I found for this hymn was a version with lots of drumming.

                If you really want to hear the rock version of the tune, you can hear it here:

                       "Thanks to God Whose Word Was Spoken," rock version, with drums, electric guitar, bass, etc. (pretty awful, not recommended)

                The hymn, set to this tune, also appears in The Hymnal 1982 of the Episcopal Church and in A New Hymnal for Colleges and Schools published in 1982 by Yale University.

                The tune WYLDE GREEN is also used as a setting for "Oh Give Thanks, for God Is Gracious" which was authored by David Mowbray (b. 1938).

                The title of the sermon is  "Not All Seeds Will Sprout."

                The closing hymn is no. 560, "We Plow the Fields and Scatter."  We sang an arrangement of this hymn as a choir anthem for the Thanksgiving Service in 2012.  Despite it being a hymn about planting, it is not a Spring hymn.  The people in the hymn were planting wheat or rye or barley or oats in the autumn, as the next line is about the "snows of winter" (though I suspect the "snows of winter" is meant metaphorically here).

"We Plough the Fields and Scatter" is an English hymn commonly associated with harvest festival. The hymn was originally German, by poet Matthias Claudius, 'Wir pflügen und wir streuen'


                Winter wheat is a "winter cereal." It is one of the varieties of wheat that must be planted in the autumn.  Winter cereals will not form heads of grain the following spring  unless they have experienced a month or two of cold winter temperatures.

                ("Spring wheat" and other "spring" varieties of cereals can be planted in the Spring and will still form heads without having experienced cold weather.)

                Winter cereals evolved to take advantage of the moisture of the melting snow in the Spring, but there's a limit to how harsh a winter the winter grains can withstand.  Rye is hardier than wheat and can survive very harsh winters.

                I already told you what happened to my father when he decided to make barley his winter crop.

    Matthias Claudius

                The German author of the hymn "Wir pflügen und wir streuen" was Matthias Claudius, a Lutheran pastor.  He was born in Holstein at Reinfeld (near Lübeck) on 15 Aug 1740.  In 1759, he studied theology at the University of Jena, but didn't care for how the subject was being taught at the time and decided to study languages and the law instead.

                He went to Denmark where he was employed as a private secretary of a count in Denmark.  He then returned to Germany to become a member of the staff of a news agency in Hamburg.

                None of the above would appear to have prepared him to write a poem about plowing and scattering, but then, in 1776, he was appointed a Commissioner of Agriculture and Manufactoring of Hesse-Darmstadt.

                In 1777, during an illness, he had a spiritual re-awakening.  He wrote "Wir pflügen und wir streuen" in 1783.

                He died 21 Jan 1815.

                Miss Jane Montgomery Campbell translated the hymn into English in 1861.


                We've always sung this hymn to the tune WIR PFLÜGEN.  In fact, as can be seen from the pie chart below, the tune WIR PFLÜGEN is, by far, the tune to which "We Plow the Fields, and Scatter" is most often set. 

                Unfortunately, the 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal uses another tune, NYLAND, a Finnish folk melody.

                The tune, WIR PFLÜGEN, is by Johann Abraham Peter Schulz.  It was published anonymously in 1800.  The stanzas are usually sung in unison and the refrain in harmony.

                Johann A. P. Schulz was born in Luneburg, German, in 1747.  His father hoped that he would become a pastor, but he was more interested in music.  He left home at age 15 and went to Berlin to find a music teacher.  He studied under Johann Kirnberger.

                After his studies, he became the music teacher and accompanist for a princess of Poland, Princess Sophia Woiwodin in 1768 and traveled with here around Europe.  His time with the princess greatly enhanced his job opportunities.  He served as director of the Royal French Theater of Berlin from 1776-1780, then as director of music for the Prince of Prussia (1780-1787), and director of the Royal Danish Theater (1787-1795).

                Johann Schulz died at Schwedt und der Oder, Germany, in 1800. "Wir pflügen und wir streuen"  WIR PFLÜGEN played by the Philharmonic Wind Orchestra (instrumental)  "We Plow the Fields, and Scatter" (with lyrics)

                The tune NYLAND, which the 1990 Presbyterian Hymnal uses, is most frequently used with the hymn "In Heavenly Love Abiding."  The tune is named for a province in Finland and comes from Kuortane, South Ostrobothnia, Finland.  The tune also goes by the name KUORTANE.

                You can hear the tune here: Tune NYLAND (used here with "In Heavenly Love Abiding")

Instrumental Music

                The instrumental music is from The Organist's Library, Vol. 49.

                The prelude is "Contemplation on 'Wareham', " an arrangement by "Gerald Peterson."

                "Gerald Peterson" is just a pseudonym.  The composer is actually Lani Smith.  Lani Smith had more than 4,000 of his compositions published.  He used many pen names, including Gerald Peterson, Edward Broughton, David Paxton, Franklin Ritter, Tom Birchwood, and Christopher Gale.

Lani Smith (alias Gerald Peterson)

                Lani Smith was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, on 09 Jun 1934.  He died on 24 Jun 2015 in Tucson, Arizona, where he lived with his wife of thirty-five years.  Even in semi-retirement, he wrote several arrangements for organ every week.


                The tune  WAREHAM (1738) was composed by William Knapp who was born in Wareham, Dorsetshire, England, in 1698.  He died in Poole, Dorsetshire, England, on 26 Sep 1768.  The Dorset Magazine—Dorset Life calls him, a "one-hit wonder."   The article says of William Knapp's WAREHAM: "A remarkable feature of the tune is that, except in one place, it proceeds 'by step' (that is, one note up or down), and it is this that makes it so singable."

                William Knapp was a glover. He was parish clerk at St. James's Church, Poole, from 1729 until his death in 1768.

                At Old South Haven, we often sing Fred Green's hymn "The Church of Christ in Every Age" to the tune WAREHAM on Reformation Sunday.

            Other hymns sung to the tune include "O Love of God, How Strong and True," "Jesu, Thou Joy of Loving Hearts," "O Wondrous Sight (or Type)! O Vision Fair," "So Let our Lips and Lives Express, The Holy Gospel We Profess," "Oh, Thou Who Camest from Above," "Great God, We Sing That Mighty Hand By Which Supported Still We Stand" and "Thy Years, O God, Through Ages Last."

       "O Wondrous Type! O Vision Fair" (tune WAREHAM)

                The offertory is "Prayer Response" by Mark Davis, a contemporary composer/arranger.  "Mark Davis" may be a pseudonym.  Other works by Mark Davis are "Bread of the World," "Bring Us Hope Tonight," "Communion Song," "Just One God," "This Tiny Hand," "Meditation on 'Tis So Sweet' (to Trust in Jesus)"—the well-known William Kirkpatrick hymn , and "Resurrected Lord." 

                One source suggested that his actual name is Kōji Makaino who was born in Japan on 26 January 1948. That is likely to have been a misidentification. Kōji Makaino is a composer and arranger, and he does use the pseudonym "Mark Davis," but he is known for his pop music and music for anime soundtracks and commercials.

                "Go Out with Praise" by Gilbert M. Martin is the postlude.  Gilbert Martin was born in Southbridge, Massachusetts, in 1941.  He attended the Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, graduating with a B. Mus.

Gilbert Martin

                Gilbert Martin composes works for piano, organ, and choral groups for both churches and schools.

                He now lives near Dayton, Ohio.

                I didn't find "Go Out with Praise," but I did find another composition by Gilbert M. Martin: "Praise!" by Gilbert M. Martin, played by Marko Hakanpää at the Grönlund organ of St. Michael's Church in Turku, Finland