GRAVITY

THE ANNUAL - JANUARY

 

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Tom READ, JAMIE THOMSON AND JESS APPLETON

Copyright © 2015 Thankyou Music (admin. worldwide at CapitolCMGPublishing.com, excluding UK & Europe, which is admin. by Integrity Music)

Tom Read (Guitar and Vocals), Lauren Harris (Keys and Vocals), Danny Aanderud (Percussion)

Recorded by: Matt Fury, Jamie Thomson and Tom Read

Mixed by: Steve Evans. Filming: pedestrianmedia.com

CCLI No. 7045383

 

SONG STORY

..AND IN THE WILDERNESS, WHERE YOU HAVE SEEN HOW THE LORD YOUR GOD CARRIED YOU, AS A MAN CARRIES HIS SON, ALL THE WAY THAT YOU WENT UNTIL YOU CAME TO THIS PLACE.’ (DEUT 1:31)

 

JAMIE WRITES:

I'd been reflecting on the story of the people of God in the Old Testament with their constant wandering away from the purposes and plans of God. While reading these passages I was amazed at how God relentlessly pursues His people and still does that with us today. I started playing around with some ideas, and then, on hearing a sermon on the Father heart of God, I knew I needed to write about it.

 

TOM WRITES:

I have a strong memory from when I was about 4 years old, we were driving home from somewhere and it was getting dark and I fell asleep in the backseat of the car. The next thing I remember is waking up in my bed in the morning with my pyjamas on. As a child, I didn’t think twice about how I had gotten from the car to bed, or how I was in my pyjamas; all I knew was that my parents would take care of me. This was the picture that came to my mind the day Jamie and I started exploring this song and it progressed pretty quickly. A few weeks later, a bridge idea that Jamie and Jess had been working on finished the song perfectly. 

We all have those times in our lives and our faith journey where we wander, or we feel anxious and perhaps even lost. It’s in those times that we need to know and trust that our Father is faithful, and he will carry us and never let us go.

 
 
 

SET ME APART

THE ANNUAL - FEBRUARY

 

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JAMIE THOMSON AND CHRIS LAWSON JONES

Copyright © 2018 Jamie Thomson and Chris Lawson Jones

Lead Vocal: Jamie Thomson, Backing Vocal: Rachael Clear

Produced by: Tom Read and Henry Marsden 

Mixed by: Tom Read

CCLI No. 7068796

 

SONG STORY

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. (PSALM 86:11)

 

JAMIE WRITES:

I love the scripture in Psalm 86 above that says 'give me an undivided heart'. If you're anything like me you'll know that there are so many things in life that fight for our attention and affection; countless opportunities to pursue other things than God. 

'Set me apart' started life as a simple chorus I wrote for a ONELIFE youth conference a number of years ago. We used this for a while in worship as a stand alone chorus, then one day I was writing with Chris, and when playing him a few ideas this one stuck. We added the verse and the bridge, all the time trying to keep the verses and the bridge in line with that simple prayer to pursue God with our everything. 

We're thrilled to have this version and lyric video as February's song for THE ANNUAL.

 
 
 
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COME TO THE WATER

THE ANNUAL - MARCH

 

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LAUREN HARRIS, CHRIS LAWSON JONES AND NICK HERBERT

© 2015 Thankyou Music (admin. worldwide at CapitolCMGPublishing.com, excluding UK & Europe, which is admin. by Integrity Music)

Lauren Harris (Piano and Vocals), Josh Bossward (Cello)

Aidan Hampton, Rachael Clear, Katie Brown and Hannah Siaw (BVs)

Recorded by: Jamie Thomson and Tom Read 

Filming: pedestrianmedia.com

Mixed by: Steve Evans

CCLI No. 7045232

 

SONG STORY

'Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters..' (ISAIAH 55:1)

 

LAUREN WRITES:

The day before going to a songwriting retreat I sat down at the piano and asked God whether he had a song for me to take. A few months before this my friend's baby had passed away and following his death I spent time questioning God about his promise of healing and faithfulness to answer prayer. Having recently had a son of my own I could merely just begin to comprehend and feel what my dear friend was walking through, yet I remember asking God to hold and comfort her in a way that I knew only He could. 

As I sat down that morning I was led to Isaiah 55. I love that this passage is called ‘The Compassion of the Lord’ in my version. I sat down and pondered on what it was to ‘Come to the water’, to come to the Living Water of God that is Jesus.

That morning my heart was with my friend and I'm aware today that so many of us experience really hard and painful things in life. A few years ago, I lost one of my closest friends in a cycle accident and throughout that time I knew I desperately needed God in a way I never had before. This song is a song of my testimony of that time and the times when I still experience the grief of losing her. I know the only thing that pulled me through that time was coming to Jesus; letting Him into my pain and sorrow and receiving his love anew. In a time of pain God never deserts us. He is always there and as we approach Him his mercy and love enfold us. 'We hold on to Your Love, Lord.' 

 
 
 

YOU RESTORE MY SOUL

THE ANNUAL - APRIL

 

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LAUREN HARRIS, TOM READ AND MATT FURY

© 2018 Lauren Harris, Tom Read and Matt Fury

Production and Mixing: Tom Read

 

SONG STORY

'THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD....HE RESTORES MY SOUL' (PSALM 23)

 

LAUREN WRITES:

This song was written last year at a retreat for some of our writers from St Aldates. It's a song that is based on one of the most well known passages of scripture; a psalm that has been set to music for many, many years. As I sat down at a beautiful grand piano during the second day of the retreat I just began singing over and over again the line ‘You restore my soul’. Later in the day, Tom, Matt and I were writing and the whole song came together in about an hour - the beauty of using lyrics from the word of God!

For me, the line ‘You restore my soul’ beautifully sums up what God has done to us but also what he is continually doing for us. Its a declaration and a prophetic cry that day by day, moment to moment, God is restoring us. He is making us new, He is making us whole again.

The beauty held in the the words of this psalm are a wonder for us to reflect on in our times of worship. I love that in the later stages of this song we repeat the line ‘You restore my soul’. As we sing these truths we are not only declaring what He has done but also proclaiming and prophesying what He WILL do.

I know that I will always need His restoring as I continue through this life. Our prayer is that you would know his restoration as we sing our way into the truth; knowing the Lord as our Shepherd.

 
 
 

OH HOW WE NEED YOU (AMAZING GRACE)

THE ANNUAL - MAY

 

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TOM READ AND JAMIE THOMSON

Copyright © 2018 Tom Read and Jamie Thomson

Lead Vocal: Tom Read

Produced by: Tom Read and Henry Marsden 

Mixed by: Tom Read

 

SONG STORY

“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.." (C.S LEWIS)

 

JAMIE WRITES:

This song came to life at one of our St Aldates church leadership retreats. It was during a season when our church was teaching on revival and in a time of repentance before God, one of our team shared the quote above from C.S. Lewis.

I spent the next few days reflecting on what it means to 'hold our hearts back' and ultimately whether I did that with God. In worship we say and sing many things, but that day I began to see that there were areas in my life that were not in tune with my songs. I realised again that to love is to trust. I realised that when it comes to our faith, it means that even though we live in a world where we often have our hearts broken, we trust that God's love never fails.

This was one of those songs that took a long time to finish. The original verses became another song and Tom and I spent a long time reflecting and trying to write a song that gave voice to corporate confession and repentance. If you're anything like me there is a danger of slipping into the self sustainable life and not spending our days truly relying on Jesus. I started to think what could happen if, we, the church, humbled ourselves and confessed our need of God. In the process of writing this song we have found that there is a beauty in surrender, that it's okay to get to the end of ourselves and that there is great power in admitting that we are unable to make it on our own.

I still remember the day we were trying to finish the song and wrestling with a bridge idea. We had just sung through the last line of the chorus and I started singing out lines from 'Amazing Grace'. It was a real moment as these lines seemed to complete the song perfectly. It provides a culmination and a reminder that at the end of it all, when we have come to the end of ourselves, there is Amazing Grace, Amazing Love and an Amazing God who will carry us.

 
 
 

MEET US AS WE ARE

THE ANNUAL - JUNE

 

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Tom READ AND JAMIE THOMSON

Copyright © 2018 Tom Read and Jamie Thomson

Tom Read (Guitar and Vocals), Lauren Harris (Keys and Vocals), Danny Aanderud (Percussion)

Recorded by: Matt Fury, Jamie Thomson and Tom Read

Mixed by: Steve Evans.

Filming: Pedestrianmedia.com

CCLI No: 7088563

 

SONG STORY

'WHO IS LIKE THE LORD OUR GOD, THE ONE WHO SITS ENTHRONES ON HIGH'

 

TOM WRITES:

This song was inspired by Psalm 113 where the psalmist writes: 'Who is like the Lord our God, the One who sits enthroned on high’. I love the psalms and the way that they ask questions and then answer them and I really wanted to bring this into a worship song.

This song originally had a different set of verse lyrics and Jamie and I had been working on it for quite a while but for some reason it didn't quite sit right. In the end we decided to try and bring in the question and answer format and the scripture from Psalm 113 and this suddenly seemed to open the song up. 

I love that 'Meet us as we are' contains the questions and answers and that this causes us to have a bigger picture of God. It’s easy to feel like we have to do something in order to gain God’s acceptance, but the chorus is a simple refrain that reminds us that it’s always God’s love and grace that meets us where we are, and as we are.

 
 
 

RAISED WITH CHRIST

THE ANNUAL - JULY

 

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JOY HORTON, Tom READ AND JAMIE THOMSON

Copyright © 2018 Joy Horton, Tom Read and Jamie Thomson

Produced and Mixed by: Tom Read

Additional Vocals: Rachael Clear

Additional Production: Jonny Bird

Photo: Dan Kim, Pedestrianmedia.com

 

SONG STORY

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of Go

 

JOY WRITES:

This song started its journey at a St Aldates songwriting retreat last year, where Tom and I were paired up for an afternoon session of writing. 

For me, the lyrics within songs have always held a high priority and I was interested in the challenge of choosing a passage from the Bible and lifting as much scripture as possible from it.  

Ahead of the retreat, Jamie had asked the teaching pastors at St Aldates to give us the preaching series for the upcoming year and one of these was Colossians. God has often spoken powerfully to me through the book of Colossians, so as Tom and I were discussing where to start, I mentioned this to him and we started to closely read a few passages about Jesus. As we read and pondered these passages, we were both led to the phrase ‘raised with Christ’ (Colossians 3:1). To us, there seemed to be something so uplifting, powerful and hopeful in this phrase. The life-giving power of Jesus, and the allusions towards His resurrection and our new lives in Him seemed to resonate again and again starkly within the passages, so we focused in on these ideas and within a couple of hours, we had written a draft ideas for the verse, pre-chorus and chorus. In a session later that evening, we wrote the second verse and rewrote some lyrics. 

Following the retreat Tom suggested we invite Jamie into the writing process and the two of them have since worked together to complete the song. Their reworking of the chorus and addition of a bridge really lifts it and emphasises the freedom we have with our new life in Christ, as we shed our old ways and embrace the new. 

I hope that this song will remind us all that we now walk in the power of the new life and freedom that Christ has gained for us.

 
 
 

SEARCH THE WORLD

THE ANNUAL - AUGUST

 

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JAMIE THOMSON, TOM READ, CHRIS LAWSON JONES AND NICK HERBERT

Copyright © 2018 Jamie Thomson, Tom Read, Chris Lawson Jones and Nick Herbert

RECORDED LIVE AT ST ALDATES HOME WEEKEND 2018

Lead Vocal: Jamie Thomson, Backing Vocals: Rachael Clear and Lauren Harris

Guitars: Jamie Thomson and Tom Read, Drums: Sam Cribben, Bass: Phoebe Kent, Keys: Sam Hodson

FOH Sound: Matt Francis,

Recorded and Edited by: Colin Lim and Jamie Thomson 

Mixing, Mastering and Additional Post Production: Jonny Bird

 

SONG STORY

You move us to delight in praising You; for You have made us for Yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in You (AUGUSTINE, CONFESSIONS BOOK 1)

 

JAMIE WRITES:

This song has definitely been a creative marathon and not a sprint. I originally started writing this for the New Wine Youth Venue in 2013 and wanted to write something that spoke about the eternal 'search' that is in us for satisfaction. We all know what it is to long for the things that make us happy in life, for some of us that may be money, it may be relationships, it may be love but deeply engrained in all of us is the realisation that there must be something more as ultimately all of these things never satisfy us fully.

I have always loved the famous quote from Augustine above that speaks of the restless nature of our hearts and the search to find 'rest in God'. The earlier line in this quote; 'you move us to delight in praising you' often gets missed out and I think this was something I had hoped to capture in this song. 

After the summer of 2013, I took this to Chris and we worked on it with Nick for a New Wine project but ultimately it was one of these songs that just never quite seemed finished. It was in a session with Tom a little while ago where we looked at it again and re-wrote the verses to tie in with the Augustine quote a bit more and also the idea of confession. I love the way the story of the song moves from a place of corporate confession ('with all our hearts were running back to you') and then carries the momentum into the gathered cry of 'we could search the world and find only you can satisfy'.

We really love leading this song particularly at the beginning of our services so it's a real joy to have been able to have recorded this with our church family earlier this year. 

 

 
 

THE VALLEY

THE ANNUAL - SEPTEMBER

 

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TOM READ, MARTIN SMITH AND JAMIE THOMSON

Copyright © 2018 Tom Read, Martin Smith and Jamie Thomson

Lead Vocal and Acoustic Guitar: Tom Read

Backing Vocals: Esther-Jane White

Recorded and Mixed by: Jamie Thomson and Tom Read

Filmed by Jacob Barrell and Stephen Wells

 

SONG STORY

Sing hallelujah on the mountain top, and sing hallelujah in the valley. God is always there.

 

TOM WRITES:

This song is inspired by an old puritan prayer called The Valley Of Vision. One of the great paradoxes of faith is how God meets us in the unlikeliest of places. It’s easy to think that in our valley moments, somehow God is unable to reach us, or that He is waiting for us to get it all together before he can meet us. But I love how this prayer speaks the truth: 'The deeper the wells, the brighter Your stars shine; let me find Your light in my darkness, Your life in my death, Your joy in my sorrow, Your grace in my sin, Your riches in my poverty, Your glory in my valley.’ 


Sing hallelujah on the mountain top, and sing hallelujah in the valley. God is always there.

 

 
 

COME AWAKEN US

THE ANNUAL - OCTOBER

 

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DAN HAMES, MADDIE JONES AND JAMIE THOMSON

Copyright © 2018 Dan Hames, Maddie Jones and Jamie Thomson

Lead Vocal: Esther-Jane White

Produced and Mixed by: Tom Read

 

SONG STORY

“BREATH OF LIFE COME SWEEPING THROUGH US”

DAN WRITES:

One of the most ancient prayers of the Church is 'Come, Holy Spirit' and, while we believe the Spirit is always with us, we know that if we draw near to God, he will draw near to us (James 4:8). It's a core value of St Aldates that, in worship, prayer, and preaching, we truly meet with God by the presence and power of the Spirit.

At our last songwriting retreat a few of us noted that many worship songs that focus on the Holy Spirit are meditative, quiet, even a little introspective – perhaps mostly designed for prayer and contemplation. In one of the later writing sessions on the retreat, Maddie, Jamie and I started work on this song as a more upbeat 'gathering song'. The idea was to make it programmatic for our services to express our love and reliance on the Spirit, setting up the expectation of his work among us from the very start. We don't want to relegate him to the final fifteen minutes of our services!

We begun with the opening line of Bessie Head's 1920 hymn, 'O Breath of life, come sweeping through us, revive your church with life and power', and wanted to touch on the way the Spirit draws us into relating to the Father and Son, and propels us out into the world beyond the four walls of the church building. Much more than giving us a cosy 'intimate moment' on a Sunday, the Holy Spirit fills us up to send us out.

 

 
 

ONE SMALL STEP

THE ANNUAL - NOVEMBER

 

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CHRIS LENNARTSSON AND JAMIE THOMSON

Copyright © 2018 Chris Lennartsson and Jamie Thomson

Produced and Mixed by: Jamie Thomson

 

SONG STORY

AS YOU HEAR OUR HEARTS BEAT, LET US HEAR YOUR VOICE

nina oskarsdottir WRITES:

As Children’s Pastor at St Aldates I love the fact that our team writes All Age songs for us to sing as a church family. This has been a much loved song for our congregation and I’m so pleased that it is part of THE ANNUAL this year.

One of the things we love to do at church is teach our children about God’s love for them and his plans for all of our lives. I love that this song explains deep truths about God’s love for us while also giving voice to our response to follow Him in that great adventure and shine bright for Him!

 
 

LET US ADORE

THE ANNUAL - DECEMBER

 

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JAMIE THOMSON AND SIMON PONSONBY

Copyright © 2018 Jamie Thomson and Simon Ponsonby

Lead Vocal and Acoustic Guitar: Jamie Thomson

Backing Vocals: Esther-Jane White

Recorded by: Jack Gray and Ed Smith

Edited and Mixed by: Tom Read

Filming: Joakim Palmen

 

SONG STORY

INTO A BROKEN WORLD A CHILD WAS BORN, ALPHA, OMEGA FOUND IN HUMAN FORM

 

JAME WRITES:

I love Christmas and I love advent. It has always been a season that has captivated me. Growing up in the Methodist Church I quickly became familiar with a lot of the Wesley hymns and classic carols such as ‘Hark the Herald Angels sing’ became familiar, festive favourites.

It wasn’t until much later that I started to look deeper at the lyrics and see how much of a masterpiece these old carols were. The ability to unpack the mystery and majesty of the incarnation in a way that is approachable yet deeply worshipful is a constant lesson to me as a songwriter.

This song began last Christmas when I was reflecting on some of the carols we sing at St Aldates in the Christmas season. I started thinking about the Christmas Story and how this familiar narrative that is read in churches, schools and homes across the world is over 2000 years old yet still a relevant as ever. I was keen to have a richness in the theology so I am so grateful to our pastor of Theology, Simon Ponsonby, who has really helped me craft the song.

It’s amazing to me that the same God that came into the world as a helpless baby still wants to be among us today. As we sing the old carols and read the well known scriptures, God is with us and longs to dwell with us. Our prayer would be that amidst the festivities and celebrations we would still find time to pause and remember the Christmas story which would, once again, lead us to adoration.