Singing the Faith: 734 (CD30 #10)
Michael Forster
Antonin Dvorak (from Symphony No.9, From the New World) arr Christopher Tambling

Correction to music: Amend music credit to read “from Symphony No.9, From the New World”

Ideas for use

Michael Forster's text works on many levels, writes Marjorie Dobson. "It can be sung by a congregation, to an individual, in personal meditation, shared in bereavement counselling, or sent to a friend in need of comfort." And she notes that the tune (a familiar piece of classical music by Dvorak) "carries [the words] safely into the memory bank to be stored for times of reflection and remembrance".

More information

Raised in an Anglican family, Michael Forster joined the Baptist Church. Following some years as a professional musician, and practising as a musician, he trained for the Baptist ministry. However, he later transferred into the United Reformed Church and took on a role as a mental health and learning disability chaplain in Leicester. He was encouraged in his (now prolific) hymn writing by Kevin Mayhew.

Marjorie Dobson writes:

Michael Forster has long experience of chaplaincy work in the field of mental health and learning disabilities, including working with users, carers and staff in palliative care units. His subject knowledge and sensitivity with the language needed to express care within his work shines through this text. "Parting hurts, love protests, pain is not denied" expresses that compassion and understanding so desperately needed when people are hurt and bewildered by bereavement. The comfort given by the assurance that God understands and "Christ has gone before" may prove to be a real blessing to those shaken by the experience.

Read more of Marjorie Dobson's reflections on this hymn in her article for our Hymns and Spirituality series, originally published by the Methodist Recorder.