by Fiona Vidal-White
This is a longlist (as opposed to a shortlist!) of hymns and songs for Lent that work well in All-Age Worship. These come from several of the hymnals and other music collections I used when selecting material for My Heart Sings Out. If worship music with young people is your speciality, you will find all these books useful.
- The Hymnal 1982 (H82) – normally I recommend more contemporary sources, but our Easter hymns are a central part of our heritage, so I have made a selection of simpler hymns, and those with alleluias that children can join in.
- My Heart Sings Out (MHSO) and Wonder, Love and Praise (WLP) both have a wide selection of service music and seasonal music suitable for All Age Worship.
- Singing our Faith (SOF) is an excellent source of children’s worship music from the Catholic church, published by
- Wild Goose Songs: Volume 2 (WG2) from the Iona community, contains many wonderful songs for Lent, Holy Week and Easter. Many are in strophic form, and therefore not ideal for younger children to sing, but those that tell stories are wonderful as anthems, or woven in with a first person story, as I have done in the Pentecost 2006 ‘s Children at Worship with “Enemy of Apathy”. I have included a few below.
Lent is all about a journey. For 40 days we are on a pilgrimage of faith that leads us to Holy Week and the Way of the Cross. The following hymns can help teach the emotions and stories of this holy season:
Lent: Journey Songs
- MHSO: 81Your word is a light
- MHSO: 83If you love me
- MHSO: 87 / WLP 805I want Jesus to walk with me
- WG2: 16Come take my hand
- WG2: 209Will you come and follow me? (Iona tune) OR
- WLP757Will you come and follow me? (John Hooker tune)
- SOF206Guide my feet Lord
- MHSO 84Forty days and forty nights
- MHSO 82Come now oh prince of peace
- MHSO 86In the bulb there is a flower (Also Easter and Easter season)
- WLP827O lord hear my prayer
- WG 2 86Jesus Christ is waiting (Sung to the tune Noel Nouvelet, this first-person song expresses our frustration that no one is listening to the message of Christ, so we will offer ourselves, with Jesus’ help.)
- WG2 36 Let your restless hearts be still (In this song the folk melody The Lark in the Clear Air is accompanied by four part harmony to the words Kyrie. A wonderful song for children’s and adult choirs to sing together.)
Catechism Songs (Journey songs listed above, and):
- H82145Now quit your cares (This is a wordy hymn with a lively French dance tune, well worth the effort of preparation. It emphasises the message that “Lent calls to prayer, to trust and dedication.”)
- MHSO 89What does I mean to follow Jesus?
- WLP731Three holy days enfold us now (For older children or children’s choir, this song sums up the meaning of the triduum. It could be sung at the opening of the Maundy Thursday service.)
- MHSO 12Missa Appalachia
- MHSO 13Paraguan Kyrie
- MHSO 14Iona (more complex – wonderful harmonies)
- MHSO 15Russian Orthodox
- WLP837Based on Bach chorale, English & Greek
- WLP 840Betty Pulkingham, based on South African song, Thuma Mina
How do you teach use hymnody in your teaching?
Fiona Vidal-White is a musician, Christian educator and Liturgist with a Bachelor’s Degree in Performing Arts, a Master’s Degree in Sacred Music (BU), and most recently, a Master’s Degree in Elementary Education (Lesley University). Her passion for transformative change, in Sunday worship and in the whole wide church, is a gift from her father. This list originally appeared in her article on the website of Children at Worship: Congregations in Bloom. Although the site is no longer active, the extensive contents are now available on a CD. For further information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.