Sunday 21 October 2007

Kim Fabricius: paddling by the shore

Our friend Kim Fabricius has often posted his hymns here at F&T. And Kim’s church in Swansea, Bethel United Reformed Church, has now published a collection of his delightful hymns. The book, Paddling by the Shore, features 51 hymns, ranging from “A Jewish Boy Named Jesus” (sung to the tune of “Incy Wincy Spider”) to the apophatic “God is the Deepest and Blackest of Holes” and the superb tribute to George Herbert, “Prayer the Church’s Fast and Feast.”

In his acknowledgments (where he also kindly mentions F&T), Kim explains the title of the collection: “Paddling by the Shore … is stolen from Isaac Newton who, reflecting on his epoch-making discoveries about the mysteries of the universe, wrote: ‘I was like a boy playing on the sea-shore, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me’.”

This quote from Newton highlights two of the main characteristics of Kim’s hymn-writing: the sense of divine mystery, and the sense of our own childlike playfulness before the mystery of God.

Here’s a sample from the collection – “Artful Is God, Creation Is His Canvas” (sung to the tune of Som Stranden):

Artful is God, creation is his canvas
     on which he paints his cosmic masterpiece:
brushstrokes both broad and delicate in detail,
     colours and shapes composed in perfect peace.

    Artful is God, creation is his canvas
    on which he paints his cosmic masterpiece.

Zillions of stars, exploding out of nothing,
     dance for the Lord, delightful in his eye;
billions of years it takes for sketching planets,
     time to design an earth to occupy.

Dazzling the sun, and silver-soft the moonlight,
     fruitful the land, and fathomless the sea;
wondrous is life, from single cell to primate,
     awesome is death, the final mystery.

What then of man, the end of evolution,
     image divine defaced by sin and vice?
Artful is God, producing from his palette
     Adam restored: self-portrait Jesus Christ!


Anonymous said...

How can we poor hymn-starved North Americans obtain a copy? Does it have an ISBN?

Anonymous said...

Delighted to see this news ... although I'm one who hates paying money for anything free, I would love to see this collection of hymns: is it possible to have an address from which we can order copies in the UK?

My hymn book hasn't got "Som Stranden" in it, but I notice that under the meter it does have the tune "Finlandia", which might be a bit more familiar to the readers?

I'd be interested in knowing about the finances of self-publishing or having one's church publish hymns (I say this purely out of self-interest, being an amateur hymn-writer myself).

All best wishes with the book - yours in Christ - JOHN HARTLEY.

David W. Congdon said...

Like the previous two people, I am very interested in purchasing a copy, if that is possible. Any chance there are some up for sale?

Anonymous said...

Me too. Please tell me your selling it online Kim.

Anonymous said...

Hi guys,

I am, of course, delighted at your interest in the collection. It happened because over fifty A-5 envelopes of hymns were adding to the clutter of a study which had already been turning from a forest into a jungle, and because they were complicating the logistics of Sunday worship. So two of my members took charge in a rudimentary and tedious operation using an old but faithful photocopier and a ring-binder to produce 100 copies for local use.

There are two ways forward. The first is to ask: Is there a publisher out there who would be interested in doing a professional operation on my collection? Perhaps we can wait a while for an answer to that one.

If that fails, I'm sure my church would be willing to put a price on the collection and set up a little operation to take orders and post copies to interested parties.

So for now, let's watch this space this space, and in due course, through Ben, I'll get back to you.

Many, many thanks,

Anonymous said...

Congratulations Kim. I really like your hymns: they've been good for my soul. It's an encouragement to know you are even writing them.


Anonymous said...

Just putting myself our there as another who would be interested in purchasing a copy.

Anonymous said...

Kim, your answer provokes two further questions:

First, are you interested in selling this collection as a "book" and so making some money from it after taking into account its production costs (a perfectly reasonable thing to do) - or are you more interested in getting the words into the public domain and allowing people to pay royalties via Christian Copyright Licensing or something similar? If the latter, you might like to think about putting the hymns on a web page - it would certainly be less hassle than the labour of producing the book and posting it out.

And second, is it words only? If so, are you interested in people like me writing some tunes for the words? Sometimes an existing tune fits the meter but not the mood of a new hymn, and giving people new tunes as well as old ones is one way of increasing the market, as people can choose what fits best for their style of worship.

Yours in Christ - JOHN HARTLEY

Unknown said...

Add me to list of future consumers once there is a way to get this out into the public. I would love to purchase this collection of thoughtful hymns set to familiar tunes - a perfect resource for an unpolished congregational choir!

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