Document Type

Fine Arts Spotlight


This hymn gives voice to one frustration that many Christians feel: a despair over watching Christian factions argue about doctrine while the poor suffer outside of church walls. This hymn calls us to see the self-obsession which prevents us from attending to those in need (first stanza), confess our neglect of Jesus' mandate to care for others (second stanza), and turn away from the distractions of petty bickering toward the expression of Christ's peace, grace, and love to all those outside the church (third stanza).

About the Author

Heather Josselyn-Cranson is the director of the music ministry program at Northwestern College. She has earned degrees in music composition, sacred music and liturgy from Bates College and Boston University School of Theology, and has served as a minister of music at congregations in Florida, Massachusetts and Russia. An active scholar, she has published articles on music in emerging churches, how translation affects the hymns of Charles Wesley, and women’s participation in the chant of medieval monastic communities.

Dr. Josselyn-Cranson's composition and hymn writing have also received attention. Her choral compositions for the musical Terror Texts received a special commendation for Distinguished Achievement in Choral Music from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival in 2009. Three of her recent hymns have also won awards: “Every Day We See the Traces” won second prize in the Jesuit 25th Anniversary Hymn Contest sponsored by St. Peter’s Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2011; “Planets Humming as They Wander” won the Boston University School of Theology Hymn Competition in 2010; and “We Cannot Know What Worship Is” received second prize in the Congregational Justice Song Contest sponsored by the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee in 2009.

We Need a Church.mp3 (5440 kB)
Audio recording



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