Notes and Suggestions for Use

Suggestions for Use

Praise: Spirit, Ocean Depths
Environment: After Eden, Take Off Your Shoes
Church life: Part of the Family, House of Our God, These Walls Are Sacred, Created to Be One, For Those With a Vision, Come Holy Spirit
Stewardship: The Gifts That You Gave Me
Prayer and meditation: Come, Holy Spirit; Be Still, Empty Jar
Communion: Only Bread; Lord, Give Us Bread; Breaking of the Bread
Peace, Justice and life journey: Three Strong Links, Sing a Song
Memorials: Let Us Give Thanks For This Life, Lead Us Safely Home

Notes on the Songs

Spirit   (Spirit of Gentleness) After a real but perplexing "born again" experience, I determined to understand it more fully, so on sabbatical leave I studied Process Theology with John B. Cobb, Jr. at the School of Theology in Claremont, Calif. who inspired the writing of this song. Returning to Honolulu, I sang the first three verses at Waiokeola Congregational UCC. A member commented that the hymn needed a fourth stanza to contemporize it. I disagreed, but after a sleepless night wrote a final verse. This is by far my most widely sung, reprinted and recorded hymn. Dedicated to my professor John Cobb, and Gene Kuehl, then Director of Pilgrim Pines Camp where I first sang "Spirit" on the mainland. Originally released on the "Spirit" cassette and book in 1980. The recording for this project is taken from the "Journey of One" CD and cassette, 1995. I played a Korg synthesizer and Tim Isbell directed the choir.

Ocean Depths   A hymn of praise, from the "Only Bread" songbook and cassette, 1993, dedicated to Ruth Polata and Bob Willwerth at the Foothills Congregational UCC. As noted in that book, "The echo of the Big Bang persists in the interstellar temperature of 2.7 degrees above absolute zero, and the "background noise' we can still monitor." Judy Manley, flute; Fred Cummins, piano; Jim Manley, synthesizer; Tim Isbell directed the chorus.

Take Off Your Shoes   From the 1975 book, LP and cassette of the same title. During my first week of sabbatical study at Claremont, Professor Dean Freudenberger spoke at convocation on "Christian Responsibility in a Hungry World" and I was moved and challenged. "Shoes" was written as part of a term paper for his class on global hunger and development. Jim Strathdee plays piano and directs the choir, Paul Svenson plays bass. I'm on rhythm guitar.

After Eden   Featured on my first LP and songbook "Raggedy Band" on the New Wine label, 1970. The original recording features Jim Strathdee's guitar and Paul Svenson's bass. In the chorus the phrase "burning time" refers both to the heat of summer and the torching of the sugar cane in Hawaii before the harvest. From Genesis 3:23: "Therefore the Lord God sent them forth from the garden of Eden to till the ground from which they were taken." In the 1990 "After Eden" songbook the dedication is "for Mid-Pacific Friends" at the Honolulu boarding school where I was Chaplain from 1968 to 1979.

Part of the Family   From the "Part of the Family" book and tape, 1985. Written for the memorial of Tim Wagner, teenaged son of Rev. Judy Wagner (now Judy Chatfield) of the First Congregational UCC, Berkeley, Calif. Tim was murdered by a person on drugs, hence the original meaning of the line "You know the reason why you came, yet no reason can explain." Later I added verses to make it an inclusive welcome song, but it still carries a bittersweet meaning for me. The "Spirit Song" CD features a new recording with musicians Paul Svenson, Dirk Damonte, Judy Manley, and the Starfire Singers, Carol Damonte Director, at the Los Altos United Methodist Church, California.

The House of Our God   With echoes of John Stewart tunes, this song was written for a Foothills Congregational Church communion service, after existing in fragments for many years in my journals and rewrite files. Featured in the 1989 "Be Still" book and cassette, and dedicated to my nephew, James Gerald Manley.

These Walls are Sacred   From the "First Light" song book, CD and tape from 2000, and dedicated to friends at Knox United Church, British Columbia. I trust that we and our deepest concerns are as precious in God's eyes as any have been or will be. Our worship places are as holy as any temple or cathedral.

Created To Be One   Judy and I, Anne Cohen, Paul Svenson and Bruce Bell led music for the General Assembly of the Disciples of Christ at Anaheim in 1981, for which I wrote this theme song. It's in the "Seed Songs" book (1983) and cassette (84), with Paul Svenson on piano.

For Those With A Vision   Written for the thirtieth Anniversary of the San Marino Congregational Church, California where I was pastor. First published in the "After Eden" songbook, 1990. See "Part of the Family" for 2002 recording information.

Come, Holy Spirit   In 1965 at the Pacific School of Religion, Berkeley, California, I took a contemporary worship class with Dr. Harland Hogue, and with his encouragement I tried writing a hymn. First published in the New Wine 2 Songbook, 1973, the recorded version is from the 1995 "Journey of One" CD. I played a Korg synthesizer and Tim Isbell wrote and directed the back up vocals.

The Gifts That You Gave Me   On the New Wine label from the 1975 "Take Off Your Shoes" book, LP and cassette. Jim Strathdee plays piano. Written early in my career, "Gifts" remains a personal favorite.

Be Still   From the "Be Still" cassette and songbook, 1989, Andy Heller engineer, with singers from our Foothills Congregational Church, Los Altos, California. Dedicated to Bob and Charlotte Cunz. Bob was the varsity football coach at San Marino High School in Southern California, and for whom I led an inspirational team breakfast before each game. Charlotte organized the parents to provide the meal. The song came after we had lost a game, and Coach Cunz spoke to the team on "The Lessons of Losing" in a society where winning is everything. From Psalm 46.

Empty Jar   from the "First Light" book, CD and tape, 2000. Dedicated to Judith Favor and Howard Fuller who took me to a Society of Friends silent meeting, where the classic image from many traditions came back to me. Judy Manley: flute. All else including vocals: Paul Svenson.

Lord, Give Us Bread   from the "Be Still" book and cassette, 1989. Composed for a communion service in the early 1970's at Kaimuki Evangelical UCC, Honolulu.

Only Bread   Dedicated to Carol Brandt, then newsletter editor at Foothills Congregational Church. In the "Only Bread" songbook (companion to the 1993 cassette) I wrote, "It is reported that toward the end of the Middle Ages during the canon of the mass some priests muttered, "Bread thou art and bread thou shalt remain!" Even so, the miracles abound." Lead guitar: Mark Hanson. Piano and bass: Fred Cummins.

Breaking of the Bread   Written for a Foothills Church retreat. The scripture before Communion was the road to Emmaus story, found in Luke 24:13-35, echoed in verse one and the chorus. The final stanza was inspired by my friend Rev. Richard Redman who organized a food bank at his church, Hollywood Independent UCC. From the 1989 "Be Still" book and cassette: flute, Judy Manley; lead guitar, Mark Hanson; engineer, Andy Heller.

Three Strong Links In a Freedom Chain   Composed and sung the night after Dr. Martin Luther King was assassinated, for a memorial service at the Niles Congregational Church in Fremont, Calif. I"d heard Dr. King speak at Richmond, California, when he said he received his spiritual inspiration from Jesus and his marching orders from Mahatma Gandhi. Originally on the "Raggedy Band" LP, cassette and songbook from 1970. Current recording info: see "Part of the Family."

Sing a Song   One of my earliest efforts, appearing in the "New Wine 2" book and cassette, 1973. I wrote it for my dad, Rev. Felix A Manley, UCC pastor and son of a Disciples of Christ minister. Dad was dubious about my decision for ministry, but later took pride in my vocation, and liked this song. At his memorial several hundred people showed up, including many friends in the peace and justice movement, so we shifted the service from the chapel to the main sanctuary of the Claremont UCC. This version is from the "Seed Songs" book and tape, 1983. In the line: "And the men on the summit are as blind as the ones yesterday" you can change "men" to "ones" to be inclusive, and "as blind" to "foolish" to avoid pejorative reference to a disability.

Let us Give Thanks For This Life   Dedicated to the memory of Florence Hepler and Alice Colvin, in the 1995 "Journey of One" book, CD and cassette. The male version was actually written first.

Lead Us Safely Home   Dedicated to Foothills co-workers Fred Cummins, Tim Isbell and Nancy Harrington, in the 1993 "Only Bread" book and cassette. Fred played piano, Tim directed the chorus in which Nancy sang, and Mark Hanson played lead guitar. Andy Heller, engineer.

- Jim Manley

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Last updated on October 19, 2004.