1. Gracious God, you call your people
to offer lives of love and care;
serving, teaching persevering,
holding all your world in prayer.
We are worthy by your spirit.
We are worthy by your son
to proclaim your gospel story
of a world in Christ made one.
2. Gracious God, you call your people
to share the gospel of your grace;
to declare that Christ’s forgiveness
is for all in every place.
3. Gracious God, you call your people
to your table, open, free;
drawing us to share together
in love’s hospitality.
Words: © Michaela Youngson 2014
Metre: 88.87. with chorus
Written for the tune “Bishop” © Nicola Morrison 2014. Download the words and tune here as a PDF.
Permission is granted to reproduce this hymn for worship purposes with the copyright details included.
Ideas for use
Though written for a specific occasion (see below), this is a text that would have a helpful place in many worship contexts – for services of Holy Communion, or for the welcoming or commissioning of new ministers, for example. Indeed, there is a broadly evangelistic quality to the words – of combining speech with actions to make real the Christian story – that echoes the priorities of John Wesley’s first Methodist communities.
This is a text that invites movement and illustration – for example, the bringing forward of gifts during the singing to illustrate different aspects of Christian service or the walking forward of the worshippers to gather round a communion table as the final verse is being sung. Images of past members of a congregation might be shown to aid reflection during verses 1 and 2, especially on the Feast of All Saints.
In 2014, the Methodist Church in Britain celebrated 40 years since the ordination of the first women to its presbyteral ministry. This hymn was written by the Revds Michaela Youngson and Nicola Morrison to mark that occasion and was sung at a special service held at Wesley’s Chapel in London on Saturday 21 June, 2014. The words are based on the statement on ordination in the Methodist Worship Book and were written so as to be deliberately inclusive.
Although women were permitted to become deacons in the Methodist Church from 1890, they were not ordained as presbyters until 2 July, 1974, at the Methodist Conference in Bristol. Three of the original seventeen ordinands – the Revd’s Marjorie Hopp, Elizabeth Hodgkiss and Jennifer Lunn – participated in the Wesley Chapel celebrations, where the preacher was the Revd Ruth Gee, President of the Methodist Conference. She said:
“Today’s celebration is not just for women; it is for the whole Church because it is a celebration of the integrity of the Church, a Church that fully recognises and gladly embraces the calling of women and men.”
You can read more about the role of women in Methodism in this article from the University of Manchester Library.
Michaela (Micky) Youngson describes herself as a Methodist Minister, Mum, glass-fuser, author, broadcaster, feminist, socialist, Fabian and liturgist. She is one of the three chairs of the London Methodist District. Micky’s images, prayers, poems and meditations have been published in two books – Making the Colours Sing and The Weaver, the Word and Wisdom: Worshipping the Triune God. One of her hymns, When deep despair casts out all light, is included in Singing the Faith (StF 399).
Nicola Morrison is the minister of Methodist congregations in Barnes, Brentford and Chiswick in London. She is the composer or arranger of 14 tunes published in Singing the Faith.