Sing a New (Centenary) Song
FIEC has commissioned a new song to mark its 100th year.
As we’ve thought through how to best mark the founding of FIEC in 1922, we’ve tried at every stage to avoid the hubris and nostalgia that can often mark such anniversaries. We’re a group of churches working together to reach Britain today and tomorrow, rather than living in the yesterday.
Nevertheless, King Jesus has been at work in our churches throughout that time – and our thankfulness needs to be matched by the desire to see him continue to build his church in the 21st century.
Back in 1929 (not quite a hundred years), Frank Houghton penned some words for the magazine he edited for China Inland Mission (now OMF). They accompanied an appeal for 200 more missionaries for China. In many ways, his call was heard, and the story of the church in China is well known and a testament to many who God raised up from within the country working with those God sent.
The words became the hymn Facing a Task Unfinished, of course, and it is still sung today as one of the great mission songs.
In a similar way, we thought a song commissioned to mark the FIEC centenary would be an appropriate way to acknowledge our mission call together, as well as expressing reliance on the Master Builder, King Jesus. Who knows (and hopes) but we might see a similar move of God in the church in the UK.
Lord Jesus, build your church today
We asked Tim Chester and Phil Moore, both members of FIEC churches, to have a go at writing something. We gave them the additional challenge of incorporating into the song the three themes that have defined FIEC over its 100 years and continue to do so today: doctrinal orthodoxy, a commitment to partnership, and a heartfelt desire to see the lost reached.
The result is a belter. Linda Mawson has kindly arranged the music in full score and we learned and sung the song at the 2022 Leaders’ Conference (see a clip below!). We hope you might learn and sing it in church also.
We’re not so self-confident or presumptuous to say that you will be singing it in 100 years’ time, but the themes it expresses will – we trust and pray – continue to be those that shape our gospel movement for all the years we have left to serve our King.
There’s a lyric video below to help you learn it (the audio mix is not quite complete but it will help you get an idea of how it goes), along with a lead sheet and a full score:
1. Lord Jesus you have built your church:
you are our faithful, living Head.
Across the years the flame has passed,
across the earth the light has spread.
2. Lord Jesus build your church today:
may we be faithful to your word,
delighting in its glorious truth
rejoicing in its gracious Lord
Keep us in the faith,
make us one in Christ,
pressing on in hope to win the prize.
Let the light still shine,
may the flame burn bright,
till the day your glory fills the skies.
3. Lord Jesus build your church today:
may we be faithful to your love,
one body bound by bonds of peace,
one holy bride for Christ our God.
4. Lord Jesus build your church today:
may we be faithful to proclaim,
to go and make your gospel known,
to go and magnify your name.
CCLU Song Number 7208501 (C) 2022 Phil Moore Songs (admin by Song Solutions www.songsolutions.org) Tim Chester Publishing (admin by Song Solutions www.songsolutions.org) Commissioned and written for the centenary of the Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches 1922-2022 (www.fiec.org.uk).