October 2006 - Vol. 1

Songs In His Presence
A Ministry of Music Grown in Covenant Community
by Jane Terwilliger

Jane Terwilliger, a noted musician and songwriter, has taken a leap of faith by initiating a new venture in Christian music publication. Producer and publisher for Songs In His Presence, Jane also teaches, arranges, composes and serves in music ministry at Christ the King Catholic Church in Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. She and her husband Steve have four adult children, a daughter-in-law, and are part of the Word of Life community. and God, Jesus Christ the Lord.
The Lord will bless his people with peace! - Psalm 29:11

I grew up loving music with a passion! But one of my greatest passions now is to make music for the Lord Jesus and to inspire others to worship Him in love. Although I studied music at the University of Michigan, I now realize that the most important things I learned about music I learned over the years in Christian community. I am a long-time member and musician in the Word of Life community in Ann Arbor. I learned how to play in an ensemble (a.k.a. prayer meetings), how to improvise (not just read the notes), how to “be open to the Spirit” in how I performed music, and how to notice and encourage other musicians in their particular strengths, arrange music for a group, and even how to compose songs (e.g., “Psalm 18” from Songs of Praise). While I was also raising our children and attending to normal life, God was all the while quietly growing in my heart a deep concern for his worship through music. I had a very surprising prayer time one Monday morning in December, 2002. Life hasn’t held a boring moment since!  It was a powerful life-changing experience which resulted, after consultation, prayer, and help from many other brother and sister musicians, in the formation and continued growth of a new ministry called “Songs In His Presence.”

To Know His Love and to Make Him Loved!

The mission of Songs In His Presence is through music to help the Church more deeply encounter Christ, to know his love, and to make him loved.  My personal sense is that my call as producer and publisher is to distill and communicate the spirit of deep worship which we have shared in charismatic community. The Lord has made this job a great pleasure and honor by providing around 24 gifted musicians who love Jesus and most of whom also share the experience of community in worship. Together we produced 3 full-length CD’s in 18 months.  There are piano and guitar songbooks to go with each CD, three choral octavos, a music video, and folios of instrumental parts. The printed music enables churches and other Christian groups and individuals to use this all-original music in their own worship.  Our recordings do not showcase any particular music ministry, group, band, artist, composer, or soloist.  We selected arrangements, musicians, and singers to best bring out the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and God’s love which was already imbued into each particular composition. I have become convinced that the music which has risen from renewal movement(s) in the Holy Spirit has a distinctive, powerful, drawing quality that is missing in much of commercial worship music.  Numerous people unfamiliar with our music have shared a similar response upon hearing it for the first time. We have a precious gift to share with the whole Church.  The recording process in particular has been a wonderful experience of the “Body of Christ,” the Holy Spirit revealing himself through the contributions and gifts of each musician in an environment of gracious giving and receiving of ideas.

Taken by Love

Our worship albums, Taken by Love and Held by Love are comprised largely of songs which are used in renewal groups, especially charismatic communities and prayer groups. A good percentage of these songs were written by brothers in The Servants of the Word, notably Ed Conlin, and other members of charismatic communities. The tradition of songwriting in charismatic communities remains strong. Ann Arbor was the center of much of the music of the renewal, including the publication of the popular Songs of Praise series. Several composers and musicians from that series including myself, along with younger musicians, are now involved in Songs In His Presence.

The third album by Songs In His Presence, Psalms is a sampler of the many beautiful original settings of responsorial psalms for Catholic Mass, including some by Don Fishel.  Others were written by members of Christ the King charismatic parish, an outgrowth of the community in Ann Arbor. These arrangements of the psalms are being discovered and used gradually by church musicians around the USA. All three of the collections are well-received not only among Catholics, but by Protestants and Orthodox due to their emphasis on scriptural texts and the texts of great church writers such as Augustine and John of the Cross.

Held by Love

The unique music coming from Songs In His Presence has received even more notice as we have brought it to several conferences around the U.S.  We hear from people of ways that our music helps draw them to the Lord.  The artist John Michael Talbot has recently given his gracious endorsement, and our three CDs are being played on Christian radio stations. Held by Love, our latest release, was recently nominated for nine awards by the UCMVA (United Catholic Music and Video Association).

Things have been very busy for Songs In His Presence, and there is much more yet to be done!  The Lord has provided for us financially, but in his wisdom, in ways that require much trust. The responsibility of the ministry still falls to me, and I am in awe of the many ways God has used it to teach me about love, humility, and joy, often through challenges and difficult circumstances and business decisions which I never imagined I would face. We appreciate your prayers, support of our ministry and products (they make great Christmas gifts!) as we seek him for his direction for future products and venues to fulfill the mission of Songs In His Presence.  You can find out more, contact us, hear sound clips, and place orders at www.SongsInHisPresence.com.  May God be glorified!

(c) copyright 2006 The Sword of the Spirit
publishing address: Park Royal Business Centre, 9-17 Park Royal Road, Suite 36, London NW10 7LQ, United Kingdom
email: editor@swordofthespirit.net