Paul Thompson is a teacher living in Cheshire. He and his family are members of the Methodist Church in Lymm, where Paul helps run a church music group. He started writing worship songs in 2009 and, since then, a number of them have been used at churches in the Warrington area and been performed on local radio.
Why did you decide to tackle the tricky task of turning an ancient Christian creed into a hymn that would be easy for a congregation to pick up?
I wrote ‘I believe’ (view it here) because hymns are central to the doxology of Methodists – and the Apostle’s Creed, which is such an important statement, gets used in liturgy fairly rarely (at least in our church).
Personally, I much prefer music to liturgy, and so I wanted to see if I could put this creed into a modern musical setting that would be easy and enjoyable to sing. I also wanted to write it in a way which might produce a rousing sense of community affirmation of belief – hence the marching rhythm and the repeated use of ‘we believe’.
And how easy was it to do?
The chorus came to me as I woke up early one Sunday morning. I couldn’t get the words out of my head and I couldn’t get back to sleep, so I got up and wrote the song. 90 minutes later I had the words, and within 5 minutes I had the tune!
On several occasions things have happened this fast in my writing, to the point that I do not really feel that I am doing the writing at all.
This is the most recent song I have written – so recent that we have not yet used it with a congregation. However, the reaction of many people to whom I have sent it has been overwhelmingly positive.
Ed. If you decide to try out “We believe” with your congregation, do let StF+ know how it goes. Settings of other important liturgical texts can be found in Singing the Faith – numbers 749-790 (including Timothy Dudley-Smith’s hymn version of The Apostle’s Creed StF 764).