Progressing the Journey - Print.
Progressing the Journey - Print.
Progressing the Journey: Lyrics and Liturgy for a Conscious Church
By Susan Jones
Published: March 2022
B/W text, 158pp, 6″ x 9″
- Are you looking for fresh, original hymn lyrics and liturgy for your church?
- Would you like to celebrate diverse ways of being fully human in a loving faith community?
- Is your church ready to explore current ideas about God – not just male, not up there, but down here with us – creation, Jesus & theology?
Then these 42 hymns, 70 gatherings, affirmations, and blessings; along with poems & reflections, will provide a valuable resource to support your worship ministry.
Susan’s lyrics, that can be sung to well known tunes, have been used at a Presbytery inauguration, in communion, at anniversaries, for baptisms and for a same sex wedding. They have featured in Pride services, Transgender Day of Remembrance commemorations, during Bible Month and throughout the Season of Creation.
Susan’s kitset hymn ln our world we find delight, written for original music by Vivien Chiu, covers the whole Season of Creation 3-year cycle.
Her lyrics and liturgy mark the seasons of the church year in unusual ways as well as celebrating: questioning, rainbow themes, faith stages, the cosmos, diverse orientations and identities, gender equality, 21st century reformation, interfaith connection, prodigals, postmodern church, endangered species, and the importance of finding the Self by going deep within.
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Praise for Progressing the Journey
Review by Rev David Poultney in Touchstone October 2022
“Susan Jones is a Presbyterian minister who brings to her ministry the gifts of poetry and musical composition. This book offers us both lyrics and liturgies. Like anyone who writes resources such as these, she writes from a perspective, a particular understanding. Jones clearly owns her position as theologically progressive.
Her progressivism influences her writing and composition. The clarity of her position and how it is expressed may inform our choices about whether or not to buy this book. We so often read only the theology and commentary we agree with and that is a shame. It behoves us to engage with thoughts, arguments and positions that are respectfully different from ours.
Jones advocates that we see the world as it is. If she were still writing this book she would perhaps have illustrated this by referring to the photographs just released from the James Webb telescope, images from the infancy of the Cosmos itself. She writes of the wondrous complexity of the atomic substructure of matter which we had no knowledge of until recently.
Several hundred years ago we came to the realisation that the earth is not the centre of the universe. Yet we have persisted in thinking of ourselves as at the centre of things. In regard to the health of our planet, this has been close to ruinous.
Jones writes of her dismay in embracing the Season of Creation in finding that all the recommended hymns celebrated what we take from the world and not what we gift or nurture in it. She writes poetically of nature in itself unfolding.
She writes for a range of occasions, some fixtures of the Church’s year, some responding to particular circumstance, such as the terrorist attack in Christchurch. On that following Sunday many of us leading worship had to work hard to find the right words to gather people and speak of our grief, loss, anger and fear. Her words for gathering and blessing on that day were clear and focussed.
Jones has a concern for the dignity and inclusion of LGBTIQ people in church and community. She has written several prayers on this theme and for occasions such as Pride month and Transgender Memorial Day. I applaud her prompting us to be truthful, honest and respectful about the variety of human experience.
Finally I applaud her courage. She asks readers if they cannot use the whole of a prayer or hymn as written, then why use it at all? Worship leaders often self-censor. I recommend this brave and poetic work.”
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"Lively congregations and alert leaders will welcome this collection of new hymns and original liturgies by a confident and experienced writer.
The songs have a quiet eloquence, their language is simple and direct, and they deal with many of the real life issues which confront us in the ‘new normal’ world. That they are set to well-known tunes will make it easy to absorb them into a singing congregation’s vocabulary of praise.
The liturgies are fresh and vital in thought and language: a useful alternative to the sleepy long-established formulas which still clog our much-changed religious world.
I strongly recommend Susan Jones’ Progressing on the Journey and her deeply contemplated and whole-hearted expression of distinctive New Zealand themes and images; this is a very rich new spiritual resource for troubled times."
Colin Gibson, Hymnwriter, Composer & Lay Preacher
“This book speaks deeply to me in Aotearoa about the variety of our people. Through these words, different races, genders, and sexual orientations are all welcomed as part of the beauty of God‘s world.
I love that Susan’s taken old hymns and provided new words. She takes seriously what we’re doing to the land and each other.
These lyrics and liturgies speak deeply to me about the God I know, the God I see in the Bible but also in the land; its beauty, the mysteries of creation and those around me.
I wish I’d had this book when preparing services each Sunday. Now, it takes me deeper into God as part of my morning prayer.
Thank you, Susan.”
Very Rev. Marg Schrader
former Moderator, Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand
Abbreviations used in the hymns section
Hymning the Journey — New words, familiar tunes
Wording our Worship — New words for new ideas
1 — Responsive Gatherings
2 — Pairs of Responsive Gatherings and Affirmations
3 — Creeds
4 — Affirmations
5 — Pairs of Responsive Gatherings and Blessings
6 — Prayers
7 — Lament and Litany
8 — Communion Liturgies
9 — Responsive Blessings
10 — Poems
11 — Reflections from a New Perspective
About the Author
Poet, writer, musician, minister and spiritual guide, Rev Dr Susan Jones is passionate that faith be sung and spoken authentically in her context of today’s Aotearoa New Zealand.
During her 25 years of ordained ministry, Susan developed skills in curating worship which blend theology, metaphor, and context with inclusive spirituality.
Her writing has been informed by her roles as a teacher, spiritual director, supervisor and minister. She’s completed a doctorate in theology too.
Susan engages respectfully with diverse beliefs and opinions; distilling complex ideas, making change accessible. She brings a gentle, quirky sense of humour to her writing.
Susan’s coffee shop conversations trilogy integrates years of church, study, scholarly observation, struggle and no small measure of pain, undergirded by authenticity, deep faith, and a sense of the numinous.
Meeting the spiritual and pastoral needs of people in LGBTQI community has been a particular focus. Through her contemporary lyrics and liturgy, Susan has encouraged her parish churches to progress in their inclusive journey.
Now retired to Dunedin, Susan is devoting her time to writing and has 4 books recently released and forthcoming in 2022.