August is a month of transition for many Methodist ministers and communities. The removal companies do well by Methodists at this time of year.
Our lectionary compiler for August makes the point that, as well as following the lectionary themes and suggestions, our worship may also focus on those involved in moving and changing at this time. This will be true, too, as we prepare services of welcome for new ministers, deacons or other church workers.
Hymns of new beginnings will be chosen differently according to local circumstances or personal callings.
You may find it helpful to re-visit Treading the path: hymns of “moving on”, a selection of hymns about change, risk and, above all, Christian hope.
However, other particular hymns do spring to mind as being potentially appropriate.
Matt Redman’s I will offer up my life (StF 446) highlights perhaps the sacrifice of itinerancy (for all family members) as well as discipleship more generally. His words echo those central to the Methodist Covenant service: “In surrender I must give my every part”.
So, too, do the sentiments of Michael Forster’s Let love be real, in giving and receiving (StF 615).
The substantial Calling and Commissioning section of Singing the Faith is worth exploring (StF 658—674). Most of these hymns recognise that fresh starts and new opportunities are part and parcel of the Christian life for us all, not just itinerant presbyters or other making a physical move across the country.
Called by Christ to be disciples
every day in ever place,
we are not to hide as hermits
but to spread the way of grace –
writes Martin Leckebusch (StF 660); while Methodist hymn writer and local preacher Marjorie Dobson observes that:
Life for us is always changing
in the work we share.
Christian love adds new dimensions
to the way we care.
(Lord, you call us to your service, StF 664).
Finally, for a hymn that serves for quieter reflection, either alone or in the context of worship, take a look at Christ be in my understanding by Rachael Prince (website only), a hymn that draws on Rachael’s understanding of Celtic spirituality. Other hymns echoing this tradition (within which itinerancy and pilgrimage were fundamental features) are also suggested in this hymn post.