Friday, May 3, 2019

As Your Dear Friend Once Welcomed You

As Shadyside Presbyterian Church's Director of Music Ministry, Mark A. Anderson, and I were planning worship during this Lenten Season, back on February 21, we were not finding a hymn that we were happy with, to conclude worship on Sunday April 7.  The Gospel lectionary reading for that morning was John 12:1-8, when Jesus shared a meal at Bethany with his treasured friends Martha, Lazarus, and Mary.  

I said to Mark, "Why don't we sing a hymn that you have written?"  His reply, "John, the other option for the first Sunday in April for a closing hymn would be for you to write a text and for me to write the tune. That might be too much, with everything else on your plate, but keep it in mind for future Sundays. It would be great fun to see what we could do."  

What a gracious and great idea!  

So, that is what we did.  I wrote the words; Mark wrote the music.  And the congregation sang our brand new hymn on Sunday, April 7th.  It was a joy to work on the hymn with Mark, and a joy to hear the congregation sing it.  Here's to more collaborations!

Please contact me regarding use in worship.

Friday, April 20, 2018

"Ah! Holy Spirit Come and Speak”

"Ah! Holy Spirit Come and Speak” a new musical composition with words by the Rev. Dr. John Dalles and music by Wm Glenn Osborn will have its premier at Mary Queen of the Universe in Orlando Florida, on Sunday, May 20, 2018 at 3:00 p.m. as part of the concert: “Come To Us Creative Spirit: A Celebration Of Pentecost”. The concert is presented by the Basilica Choir and Orchestra. Music of Rutter, Mozart, and more, are also on the program.

Dalles has been the pastor and head of staff of the Wekiva Presbyterian Church in suburban Orlando for 21 years; prior to that, he served the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church and the First Presbyterian Church of South Bend, Indiana. Osborne is Director of Music for the Cathedral and Archdiocesan Liturgies at the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore, Maryland. Before coming to Baltimore in 2015, he served as Director of Music at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church in Kissimmee, Florida.

The two have collaborated on more than a dozen sacred works, including “God, We Would Hear The Angels Sing”, an anthem which is featured on the CD “Christmas With The Basilica Choir”, which you can hear at this link: LISTEN

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Community of Christ Hymnal

Yesterday I received a letter from Scott Shorney, the Vice President of Hope Publishing Company thanking me for granting permission to use several of my hymns as part of the new hymnal for the Communiy of Christ. Along with it, Scott sent me an "author's copy" of the new "Community of Christ Sings". It is a beautiful book, well-thought out, and carefully designed.

I am pleased that four of my hymns are included in the hymnal:

- #237 "God, Renew Us by Your Spirit";
- #316 "O God of Love, Grant Us Your Peace";
- #496 "See What Love We Have Been Given"; and
- #639 "God, Bless Your Church with Strength!"

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

To Love is to be Breakable

Meter: CM (86.86) – Suggested Tune: TALLIS’ ORDINAL
By John A. Dalles – Inspired by Lines by C. S. Lewis

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.” – C S Lewis, “The Four Loves”

To love is to be breakable—
So love with all you are,
Commitment unforsakeable
May leave a mark, a scar.

To love is to be bendable—
So love and limber be,
Become the one befreindable—
With lithe humility.

To love is to be vulnerable—
So love with openness,
At risk and truly honorable—
This is the way to bless.

To love is to be changeable—
By all you love each day,
Alive and rearrangeable,
So give yourself away!

Copyright © 2013, John A. Dalles

This hymn text is set as an anthem by Wm. Glenn Osborne and will have its debut on Sunday, November 17 at 4 p.m. in the Knowles Chapel on the Campus of Rollins College in Winter Park at the C. S. Lewis Evensong.

Saturday, July 13, 2013


Richard Clarke, who has served as the music director of the St. Bartholomew Faith Community in Wayzata, Minnesota since 1994, has recently become a friend through the wonderful connective powers of sacred music. 

Recently, Richard asked me to take a look at a hymn called "All My Hope On God Is Founded" which is a hymn based on two different author's words which were set to music by Henry Howells in memory of his son who had died.  The hymn tune is MICHAEL named in honor of Michael Howells.

MICHAEL is a marvelous hymn tune and one that I did not know until Richard asked me to look at it.  So many thanks to him, for introducing it to me.  I have been working on it ever since he suggested it and had about three of the five stanzas nearly done, and then set it aside.  I awakened early this morning to find that the remaining work was more or less in my head, so finished it around daybreak today.

I have tried to stay close to the intention of the original in this version which, because it uses some lines from the original, I have said is: After “All My Hope On God Is Founded”.

In the writing of the hymn, I saw the connection to the passage from Colossians, so placed the quotation within the subtitle.  I also was very moved by the account of the writing of the tune, by Howells, in memory of his son.  In a way, I fear that treading on so personal an experience might be an intrusion upon grief expressed in faith, but on the other hand, I do feel that a hymn using first person plural instead of first person singular is more appropriate for congregational song. So those changes were part of this new hymn.

Also, I like to see some sense that our faith is at work in what we do, so have tried to incorporate a sense of doing and action in some of the lines, which might not have been expressed as clearly in the original.  I understand the first three stanzas in the original are from Jaachim Neander (1650-1680) and the last two were apparently written by Robert Seymore Bridges (1844-1930).  I hope they will forgive my tinkering with their poetry.

If you find that you like this new hymn text, please contact me regarding permission for its use in your worship.

Colossians 1:23  "Continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which you have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister.
 Text: John A. Dalles, 2013
Tune:  MICHAEL (In memory of his son, by Herbert Howells, 1892-1983)
Meter: 878767
 Every hope we have is grounded
In God’s grace forever true;
Change may challenge, chance may frighten,
Only God will see us through.
Do not fear; God is here—
Day by day and year by year!
Fame and fortune, gold and glory,
Tempt us and betray God’s trust;
Yet, with care God plans and fashions
Lasting works of righteousness.
God’s great power, hour by hour,
Is our temple and our tower.
God’s great goodness lasts forever—
God’s is brilliant, bold and wise,
God is light and life and splendor,
By God’s word new worlds arise—
Evermore from God’s store,
God creates us to adore.
Daily the Almighty Giver
grants us overflowing gifts;
God, our Maker, Guider, Savior,
Leads us forward and uplifts—
By God’s hand, may we stand,
And with joy do God’s command.

One and all, our voices raising,
May we pray “Thy will be done!”
High above all praises praising
Every grace of Christ the Son—
Do not fear; God is here—
Day by day and year by year!
After “All My Hope On God Is Founded”

Copyright © John A. Dalles, 2013.

 Permission granted for use in worship to Richard Clarke & the St. Bartholomew Catholic Faith Community, Wayzata, MN

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Now Is The Time To Speak named the 2012 Winning Hymn in the Macalester-Plymouth 17th Annual Hymn Contest

February 20, 2013

Macalester Plymouth United Church of St. Paul, Minnesota, is pleased to announce the winner of its 17th annual hymn contest, a search for new hymn texts that address the scriptural call to speak out loudly and clearly against injustice, and to unite with others working for change.

The winning hymn, Now Is the Time to Speak, was written by the Rev. Dr. John A. Dalles, the pastor of Wekiva Presbyterian Church in Longwood, Florida. He is a graduate of both Lancaster Theological Seminary (UCC) and Pittsburgh Theological Seminary (PCUSA). A life member of The Hymn Society in the United States and Canada, his hymn texts have been published in a number of denominational hymnals.

2012 Prize Winning Hymn
Now Is the Time to Speak

by the Rev. Dr. John A. Dalles
Longwood, Florida
Meter 6666D
Suggested tune: INVITATION (MAKER)

Now is the time to speak of work informed by prayer,
of hands to help the weak, of bravery to dare.
O may we not keep still, for there is much to do:
Speak out to do God’s will, God’s justice to pursue!

Now is the time to speak, the time to mull has passed;
the future still is bleak for all who are downcast –
They struggle to provide, they struggle to be heard,
they call us to their side to speak God’s saving word!

Now is the time to speak, for words can lead the way;
achieve the aims we seek by speaking out today!
May conscience conquer fear, may courage vanquish doubt.
The time to speak is here: In faithfulness, speak out!


Copyright © 2012, John A. Dalles

Friday, November 2, 2012

My Hymn "Praise God For Days Long Past!" Sung as Part of a 250th Anniversary Worship

I feel somewhat remiss in not having posted this sooner. 

Anne Fritts of the Schoeneck Moravian Church in Nazareth, PA, sent me the program from their congregation's 250th anniversary worship service and a note of thanks, because they included my hymn "Praise God for Days Long Past!" as part of the celebration.  Above and below are some photos.

I thought I might make some mention of the hymn that they selected...
"Praise God for Days Long Past!" is my 24th of well over 1000 hymn texts that I have written since 1983.  The hymn was written in 1991 for the hymn search for the 100th anniversary of the Lutheran Home in Arlington Heights, Illinois.  It was not chosen by the judges of that search.  The text is based on a passage from II Timothy.

Even though it was not chosen then, the hymn did not get forgotten.

It was published the very next year in the Presbyterian Church (USA)'s 100th anniversary edition of "The Mission Yearbook for Prayer and Study".

Thereafter, it was distributed nationally to all PC(USA) congregations by the Presbyterian Historical Society, for the first annual "Presbyterian Heritage Sunday" on May 24, 1992, as the Presbyterian Heritage Sunday Hymn.

For some time I kept track of the requests that came my way for its use, and I see that it was published in the Foothills Presbytery Newsletter, Greenville SC and in the wonderful but no longer in print "Church Worship" magazine in April of 1992.  The hymn has been sung by numerous congregations in at least 13 states and 2 Canadian provinces.

Currently “Praise God for Days Long Past” is under my copyright.  It is to appear in my next book from Wayne Leupold Editions, called “God is the Singer’s Friend” which will debut at the Hymn Society Annual Conference in Richmond, this coming July. 
Up until Schoeneck Moravian Church, I believe the longest / oldest anniversary of which it was a part was the Bicentennial celebration of First Presbyterian Church of St. Clairsville, OH on 5/26/98.

But to think... A 250th anniversary (wow!).
I am excited that they hymn that the judges rejected has gone so many places, and so pleased that it was part of the Shoeneck Moravian's anniversary service—and what an anniversary!