“Love and Welcome” and “When We Are Sad”

Gayle Taylor tells us more about two of the children's songs she has written.

Love and Welcome

I think it was about 10 years ago when I was told by one of the staff in Mission and Discipleship that they were compiling a new children’s music magazine with some new songs for congregations to try. “We want one about baptism but haven’t got one” they said. At this point, having written songs over the years, I offered to try and write one on demand! The song “Love and Welcome” was therefore created for children and to explain simply what baptism is about. I remember one time listening to John Bell talking about how much of our theology develops from the hymns we sing, particularly as children, so I had a good think about the biblical references to baptism but also the significance of baptism in a congregation as a community. Essentially, if a family take nothing else away from their child’s baptismal Sunday, I would hope they have experienced love and welcome from the community of faith. The other bits connect to that experience over time as they deepen relationships with their church and their God. It’s a simple, catchy, annoying tune but hopefully its message sticks in hearts and minds when they remember the sacrament. A special moment for me was when my colleague and friend baptised my 2 nephews on New Year’s Day and chose this song as the opening hymn – a lovely, somewhat embarrassing surprise for the Godmother!

When We Are Sad

As a School Chaplain, I often struggle to tell the Easter story in school – usually in a half hour slot! All of human life is there, so many highs and lows in the celebration of Palm Sunday and Easter Day to the grief and loss of Good Friday. How we get into the dark and sad times of the story for children is something I’ve carefully thought about over the years. I like sharing the story of the last supper and then the unfolding betrayal in Gethsemane when the disciples fall asleep and later run away, as I can connect it to the children’s experiences of friends and how sometimes they can really let you down. I wrote these very simple words to the tune “You are my Sunshine” because that song juxtaposes happy “sunshine” thoughts with the pain of loss. I’ve always found that song very bitter sweet and melancholic in the last line “please don’t take my sunshine away”. I can imagine that’s how the disciples felt on Good Friday as they watched Jesus being nailed on the cross and thought that this was the end of the story, the end of the world. My new words, which I wrote about 3 years ago, were to help us have something to sing in our Easter Assembly in the Special Needs school where I am Chaplain. The words can all be easily signed and the theme of “Friends” is very accessible. I could have written my own tune but this one actually brings the emotions I wanted for this part of the story. Easter is such an evocative season to write about so I’m sure I will get another chance to create new music and words in future.

Gayle Taylor is Associate Minister at Colinton Parish Church and also a school chaplain. Gayle has been involved in working with children and writing music for children’s worship for a number of years.