Rebuild Singing from the Lectionary: bringing inclusive songs of justice to churches

By Natalie Sims

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The songs we choose to sing together shape our lives.

Churches and schools are two places where people sing together regularly, but for those who plan worship services it can be hard to find songs that reflect inclusive theology that promotes social justice. For the last 7 years, I have been voluntarily editing a website, now used by thousands of worship leaders around the world, that recommends songs for the weekly readings used by many mainstream churches. It has helped church communities sing more joyfully, given people inspiring new songs, promoted the work of community-based songwriters, and saved a lot of time for worship planners.

Maintaining a resource like this is pretty boring sometimes.

Even though I love finding beautiful music for churches, as the site has grown, I'm now spending more than 2 hours per week just updating information and fixing broken links. I want to keep the site going, but not if I have to do this every week for the rest of my life! The more time I spend fixing boring things, like broken links, the less time I have for finding new resources that can help everyone to sing. And the less time I can spend doing other things, like hanging out with my family, or sleeping.

When I surveyed users of the website back in May, more than 580 readers responded and I learned about what is working well and what isn't. Readers want more sheet music, and more sound samples, but also want a more user-friendly interface.

Claudine can fix it!

My friend Claudine is a web developer, and she's amazing. She knows how to fix Singing from the Lectionary to make it more user friendly.

That will give me time to do what I started out doing - finding new songs and providing them to congregations. This means worship leaders, preachers, priests, ministers, laypeople and Sunday school teachers will have more time in their schedules to do other work. And for congregations, it will mean that kids and adults will be inspired to act for peace and justice - with a song in their heart that will keep them going when times get tough.

You can help make it happen.

Claudine has worked out how long it will take to rebuild the site. She will take the spreadsheet I use each week, clean it up, and import that data into the new site. Even though the users won't see it, this will update all the pages, and in the future, the site will update everything automatically whenever I need to make a correction or add new information. Users will be able to see a linked table of songs, with PDFs of sheet music, videos and sound recordings that can be found easily through a search engine. She will make the user interface more friendly and intuitive, based on the comments I received in the survey. For example, the current week will always appear on top, so users don't have to search through old pages to find the information they want.

Importantly, the site will remain free to use, and all the information currently there will not be lost.

For $4,800 she can do a basic rebuild, including hosting fees for 12 months.

If we raise $7,000 she can add more features, like making custom views available for users to filter the information on the site according to their needs (like what hymnals they own). Any additional funds raised will be used for the site.

Please contribute as a way of saying thanks, but if you need some incentive...

I know from my survey that many of you are happy to support the site because you've used it for years already. Some of you said you'd be happy to give $10, some $50 and some $100, just to make this happen. Now is your chance!

If it would help you give more I have listed some perks too.

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Natalie Sims