Queering Christianity: Finding a Place at the Table for LGBTQI Christians

By Robert E. Shore-Goss; Thomas Bohache et al. | Go to book overview

20
Queer Hymnody:
Celebrating Lesbian and
Gay Poets and Composers

Jim Mitulski, Donna Hamilton, and Nancy Hall

The festival began with the organ prelude Magnificat—My soul magnifies the
Lord, composed by Gerald Asheim for a gay friend who loves organ music, fol-
lowed by a solo, “Sometimes I feel like a motherless child,” arranged by H. T.
Burleigh, and sung by Charles Lynch
.

“Sometimes I feel like a motherless child”—that’s how many gay and lesbian people have felt throughout the ages. Particularly in the last century, and especially in the past 30 years, gay and lesbian people have been presented as an issue, a “church-dividing issue,” to quote some. And yet, for those of us who are gay and lesbian, we know that we are not motherless children. We know that the church is also there for us. We know that people who have tried to say we don’t belong in the church are wrong, and that we have always been in the church. And in fact, even when churches say they don’t want us in the pews, here we are in the hymnbooks.

Our festival title recalls the words of a prolific, historic hymn writer and a hymnal editor, Charles Wesley and his brother John Wesley. Charles Wesley’s text, which we have paraphrased, refers to the humble

This hymn festival was presented on July 18, 2011, at First Congregational Church in Colo-
rado Springs, Colorado, as part of The Hymn Society’s Annual conference. This hymn festival
includes materials presented at two previous festivals, held in Berkeley, California, at Epworth
United Methodist Church, June 2010, and First Congregational Church of Berkeley, June
2011. With some modification, this festival could be presented in many other settings. We
are grateful to the publishers, authors, and composers who granted permission to reprint their
hymns here.

-397-

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