Sunday, October 10, 2021

"Let's March Forward For God (Fight Like Soldier Men) Gospel Song, & Praise Marches As Contemporary Forms Of Ring Shouts

FUTIM-Orange, NJ, April 3, 2011

Offertory Praise March-Men's Conference 2011
This church is First United Tabernacle International Ministries (FUTIM),

Address: 425 S Jefferson St, City of Orange, New Jersey.

Based on information that I read online, FUTIM is an Apostolic church. All of the congregation who are shown in FUTIM's YouTube videos are Black.

Notice that this song has a Soca beat. Based on comments in several of its videos' discussion thread, this church's pastor is from Jamaica. Some comenters wrote that FUTIM's worship is like certain churches that they knew in Jamaica. It's likely that a number of FUTIM's congregation are of Jamaican descent.

[Additions and corrections are welcome.]   

Edited by Azizi Powell

This pancocojams post showcases two YouTube videos of the choir and the rest of the congregation of First United Tabernacle International Ministries (FUTIM) church in Orange, New Jersey singing Let's March Forward For God (Fight Like A Soldier Man)".  In both videos the choir sings while leaving the choir stand and marching down the aisle of the santuary.

The lyrics to this song are included in this post along with selected comments from these video's discussion threads.
This post includes my notes about this type of "walk around" marching while singing that appears to occur during certain churches offering.

The content of this post is presented for religious, cultural, and aesthetic purposes.

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to the pastors, choirs, and the rest of the congregation of FUTIM, Orange New Jersey. Thanks also to all those who are quoted in this post and thanks to the composer of this song.
for the 2021 pancocojams post entitled "Repetitive Songs In Contemporary Black Worship Services That Are Sung To Evoke The Holy Spirit: "We Have An Anchor".

"Let's March Forward For God" (Fight Like Soldiers)" is another example of a repetitive song that is used in contemporary Black worship services to evoke the Holy Spirit.

SHOWCASE VIDEO #2: Let's March Forward For God Praise Break

FUTIM-Orange,NJ, Oct 23, 2012

Sundayn Morning Worship Service, October 21, 2012


'Lets march forward for God
Fight like soldier men
Don't give up
Don't give in
God have a army and we have to win,
The devil is a evil force fighting against the church
Pull out your armour
Pull out your sword
We are marching in the name of the Lord

Video #1
All of the people in this video are Black. The congregation and the pastor/s and other people on the podium stand and ethusiastically sing along with the choir. The choir consist of only men.The men's choir (dressed in black suits with gold ties) sings while they leave the choir stand in single file and march (in a jogging/rocking motion) down the left side aisle. Some other church members -mostly women- stand down in the front of the podium and then join the march after the last man in the choir.

The choir and the other people who are marching continue singing as they march down the center aisle. There's no one holding offering plates. The choir then returns to the choir stand and the congregation continues singing this song for some time.

Video #2
All of the people in this video are Black. The congregation and the pastor/s and other people on the podium stand and ethusiastically sing along with the choir. The choir is made up only of men and boys. The choir sings while they leave the choir stand in single file and marche up the left aisle in a jogging/rocking motion. The choir then marches down the center aisle and then marches to the right aisle. When they reach the right aisle, they march up that aisle to the back of the sanctuary. They then march across the back of the sanctuary to the left aisle and then down the left aisle to the choir stand. Unlike video #1, no other people from the congregation join in this march. As appears to be the case with video #1, there are no offering plates and I'm not sure if this praise march (walkaround) was done during an offering (when people give money to support the church and the churches' work) .   
Click for a similar video entitled "Let’s go Forward for God fight like a soldier man.. NY camp". The summary of that video indicates that the denomination for that New York camp was Seventh Day Church of God (reformed)

That 2019 video shows Black people (including children) marching down the center aisle while singing this same song. .    


Numbers are given for referencing purposes only.

Video #1:

 1. Elaine Smith, 2019
"This u call church.That my branch here in Jamaica at his father churc in st Elizabeth beautiful gathering love to c men worship the lift my spirit hold on"

Minister Chad M Gross, 2019
"Nic to see. The praise dance break "

Video #2

Duane Grimes, 2013
"Yo this is hype! I like this church.. I like this song."

"Great song!!!"

"If you do not fight you cannot win"

Mr Coley, 2013
"MI LLIKE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

Calipo Design, 2014
"Let's March Forward For God"

Snashema Palmer, 2016
hallelujah ....ifany a time we need to put on our armour is now."


Rhonda Rhonda, 2017
"♪'Lets march forward for God fight like soldier men, don't give up don't give in, God have a army and we have to win, the devil is a evil force fighting against the church, pull out your Armour pull out your sword we are marching in the name of the Lord'♪ (London UK 18/08/2017)"

Jesus Is lord, 2018
"Rhonda Rhonda I really appreciate this I’ve been looking for the lyrics to this song for a longtime God bless"

Shae, 2017
"these kinda church me love. no dead church"

Two additional videos of  First United Tabernacle International Ministries (FUTIM) are showcased in a 2019 pancocojams post entitled "Two Videos Of New Jersey Church Choir March Arounds & A Description Of That Church Custom That I Observed in New Jersey In 2019"

As that title indicates, I observed a Black choir in Pleasantville, New Jersey (near Atlantic City) do a march around for offerring that was the same as the one I described in video #2 of this 2021 post.

I believe that both of these types of marches that I described (in that 2019 post and in this post) have their source in the 8th century Black American (and Caribbean) ring shout. 

Here's the full article entitled "Ring Shout" from The Jazz History Tree (no date given)
"The ring shout is a spiritual expression in dance. It has its origins in a dance form, indigenous to much of Central and West Africa, in which the dancers move in a counterclockwise circle. “Wherever in Africa the counterclockwise dance ceremony was performed,” Sterling Stuckey wrote, “the dancing and singing were directed to the ancestors and gods, the tempo and revolution of the circle quickening during the course of the movement.”1

The ring shout as practiced by slaves was a religious activity, with Christianity augmenting the African elements. Participants moved in a circle, providing rhythm by clapping their hands and patting their feet. One individual would set the tempo by singing, and his lines would be answered in call-and-response fashion. In some cases, another individual rhythmically beat the (usually wooden) floor with a broomstick or other piece of wood.2

In his book, Slave Culture: Nationalist Theory & the Foundations of Black America, Sterling Stuckey proposes that ring shout was a unifying element of Africans in American colonies from which field hollers, work songs, and spirituals evolved, followed by blues and jazz. Samuel A. Floyd Jr. takes it a step further in suggesting that many of the stylistic elements observed during the ring shout later laid the foundations of various black music styles developed during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. According to Floyd, “all of the defining elements of black music are present in the ring.”3

These basic elements of ring shout—dance, calls, cries, and hollers; blue notes; call-and-response; and strong rhythmic aspects—are still alive and expressed today in this music. Improvisation remains an essential element. From the cakewalk of the 1890s to breaking in the 2000s, to dancing and shouting at black churches every Sunday, ring shout is still present and still evolving today".
-end of quote-

In the ring shout people move counterclock wise forming a circle. Moving around the sanctuary replaced dancing in circles when church pews became fixed to the floor. Moving up the left aisle and down the center aisle etc. appears to have been a somewhat institutionalized replacement for earlier moving in a circular formation in the middle of the worship space, and later the spontaneous act of running around the sanctuary when someone "feels the [Holy] spirit" (although that running around the sanctuary may still occur.

Here's a quote from; a thesis written by Erica Lanice Washington, Bowling Green State University, December 2005
""Black American worship has its roots in West Africa, in the enslavement experiences in North America, and in the evolving black church. For example, I found time-honored African-styled Ring Shout traditions in a contemporary church, Friendship Baptist Church in Toledo [Ohio]...

The praise and worship of God at Friendship Baptist includes many African-derived practices: running in a counterclockwise motion around the sanctuary, shouting, and holy dancing, during which the drum beats change."...

Also, here's a quote about the significance of the circle in the ring shout from  "Reviving Culture Through Ring Shout Reviving Culture Through Ring Shouts"
"Practitioners of the Ring Shout sing and move around in a counterclockwise circle with movement gestures relating to the songs and rhythms present. The circle represents life energy and its infinite cycle, which may change in quality but is never broken. The counterclockwise direction in Ring Shout tradition honors the ancestors, since this direction specifically connects beings to the ancestral realm. This may be viewed by some as a way of reversing or traversing time in order to unite with spirits. This type of connectivity to divine spirits is rarely found within the linearity of western spiritual practices.

This is a small sample of quotes about how the ring shout continues to influence Black worship services in the United States and in the Carribean. The fact that the pastor of the church that was highlighted in this pancocojams post was from Jamaica shouldn't be overlooked, as certain denominations of Jamaican churches are much more expressive than many African American church denominations. (I should also mention that I learned that the woman who was the pastor of the New Jersey church that I attended also had Jamaican roots.)

If you have had any experiences with these types of praise marches (walkarounds), please share them in the comment section below.

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