Thursday, October 14, 2021

Repetitive Songs In Contemporary Black Worship Service Collection Marches: "We Have An Anchor"

First United Tabernacle International Ministries, Published on Nov 26, 2016 

31st Pastoral Appreciation Celebration , Nov. 13, 2016
FUTIM is an Apostolic church that is located in Orange, New Jersey. (Orange, New Jersey is about 24 minutes by car from New York City). 

Comments in various discussion threads of this churches' videos confirm that the pastor (when these videos were published) was from Jamaica and that church is heavily influenced by Jamaican Apostolic Pentecostal music styles and worship practices.
The choir and church congregation repeatedly sing the lyrics to "We Have An Anchor" while the choir marches in a processional during a church offering. The choir sings while exiting the choir stand in single file and continues singing throughout this march. They are joined by a few other people (church officials?) who march behind them down the right hand aisle and then down the center aisle. The choir then marches pass two men standing in front of the podium with offering bowls. Some choir members put their tithes or monetary contributions in those bowls and, remaining in single file, the choir returns to the choir stands still singing. Members of the congregation stand and sing  along with the choir. Some of the congregation show in different ways that they are feeling the Holy Spirit, but in this video, none of the choir members leave the pews to "do a holy dance" or otherwise show that they have "gone in" (to use African American terms that may not be used in Jamaica.)

Edited by Azizi Powell

Last updated Oct. 16, 2021 to include expanded Editorical Notes 

This is the first post in an ongoing pancocojams series that highlights examples of repetitive songs in contemporary Black worship service collection marches (processionals). 

This post showcases two videos of a Jamaican influenced African American congregation and one Jamaican church congregation singing the gospelized hymn "We Have An Anchor".

"Gospelized hymn" is my term for a hymn that is performed in a Gospel style. 

This post also includes my Editorial notes that provides an overview for this series and also provides information and comments about this particular video.  

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

All copyrights remain with their owners.

Thanks to Priscilla Jane Owens and William James Kirkpatrick for composing the lyrics and music for the hymn "Will Your Anchor Hold". The lyrics to "We Have An Anchor" are the chorus of that hymn.

Thanks to 
First United Tabernacle International Ministries for its ministries and thanks for sharing this video on YouTube.
The title of this pancocojams series originally included the words "That Are Sung To Evoke The Holy Spirit". I changed that title because I believe that everything that these church does is to evoke and/or praise the Holy Spirit.

DISCLAIMER: "Black worship services" in this title means that all or most of the people in attendance at these worship services are Black. However, these songs can certainly be sung by non-Black people. 

In the title for this ongoing pancocojams series I'm highlighting the fact that these songs (or "choruses" to use the Pentecostal term) are repeated over and over again while the choir marches. I believe that this is an important feature of these marches as repetitive singing or chanting and repetitive movements can help bring down the Holy Spirit.

Click the "repetitive songs in Black worship services" tag to find additional pancocojams posts in this series. 

Click to read why I began this pancocojams series on Black as well as the overview (purposes) of this pancocojams series on Black church collections marches.

Also, click for the closely related pancocojams post entitled "Excerpts About How Some Traditional West African And Central African Music & Dance Patterns Helped Shape The Afro-Caribbean & The Black American Ring Shout". 
Overview about this pancocojams series
This pancocojams series on "repetitive songs in contemporary Black Worship Services Collection Marches" is published to document the historical and present day traditions of collection marches in Black Apostolic churches during Sunday morning churches services and at other church events such as convocations. I have found videos of these collection marches occuring in Jamaica, the United States, and Canada. I have also directly observed two collection marches that occurred at a Black church in the United States (St. Paul's AME Church, March and June 2019).*

This series documents the tradition of church choirs collection marches in some Jamaican Apostolic churches and in some Jamaican influenced churches in Canada and in the United States. This series documents the use of
 clips (portions) of usually one, but sometimes two  hymns that are repeatedly sung by the choir (and the congregation) during the collection march. In each post I identify the title of the "source song" that is used for the collection march and provide lyrics for that song.

In addition, in some of the posts in this series I attempt to describe how the collection marches were and still are performed- the formations that the use, the use of ushers to lead some of these marches, the body posture and stance of the marches.

I'm an African American who was raised as a Baptist at Union Baptist Temple Church, Atlantic City, New Jersey. I recall that church beginning every Sunday morning service with a choir procession and am aware (via my famiy who are members of that church)t hat that traditon was still followed up to 2019 (pre Covid-19 when that church stopped in-person services). That church did not (does not) have the tradition of choir collection marches.

I've  only observed church collection marches two times (as indicated above) when I visited the church where my brother is the 
director of St. Paul AME's choir, Pleasantville, New Jersey and his wife is a member of that choir.

I haven't found any online or offline information about or descriptions of these church collection marches besides a few comments on certain discussion threads of YouTube videos of these marches, and besides pancocojams posts published prior to this series, and pancocojams posts that are part of this series.  A large part of my motivation for publishing  pancocojams posts on this subject is to prompt people who are or were part of these choirs or who have directly experienced church collection marches to document their experiences and provide their ideas about how and why these church collection marches occur/ed.  
* I didn't document how much of the song "Highway To Heaven" that the choir sung in the St. Paul's AME Church collection march that I describe in "Two Videos Of New Jersey Church Choir March Arounds & A Description Of That Church Custom That I Observed in New Jersey In 2019". That post was published prior to the beginning of this pancocojams "Repetitive Songs" series.]

My comments about this song and video
I wasn't familiar with the song "We Have An Anchor" until I happened upon it in the first video in this post. I've since learned from surfing the internet that "We Have An Anchor" is a chorus of the 19th century (White American composed) song "Will Your Anchor Hold" which is a theme song for the "The Boys' Brigade", an international interdenomination Christian youth organization that started in 1883 in Glasgow, Scotland.

"We Have An Anchor" appears to be very well known in certain Afro-Caribbean churches.  
I wonder how well this hymn or any of its gospelized versions are known in the United States, particularly in African American churches that don't have a large number of Caribbean members. 

LYRICS: "WE HAVE AN ANCHOR" [chorus of "Will Your Anchor Hold"]
Words: Priscilla Jane Owens
Music: William James Kirkpatrick, 1882

We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior's love.

SHOWCASE VIDEO #2: Praise & Worship--We Have An Anchor

FUTIM-Orange, NJ, January 18, 2010
"FUTIM" is "First United Tabernacle International Ministries". This is the same church that is showcased in Video #1.

SHOWCASE VIDEO #3: Spiritual Baptist from St Vincent

The Admiral Quow, May 2, 2012

Leader Andrez Thanksgiving(Mother Amoy on the Field singing''We Have an anchor that keeps our soul''.

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