Social work and end-of-life care

Social work is important in end-of-life care

Hymns for a social worker’s funeral

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Attending a friend’s funeral last Friday, I was stimulated to think again about the hymns a social worker might want sung at their funeral (Planning my own funeral is only an occasional activity, because my wife thinks that it’s the people left behind who should organise funerals for their benefit).

My current favourite is ‘For everyone born, a place at the table’, with its uplifting refrain seeking justice for all. Link to the hymn on The Hymnary.Org.

Link to information on the hymn text writer, New Zealander, Shirley Erena Murray.

Among other possibles are Sydney Carter’s ‘When I needed a neighbour, were you there?’

Link the the hymn on The Hymnary.Org

Link to information on the hymn text writer, Sydney Carter, whose hymn ‘One more step along the way I go‘ is also a useful possibility. It is about going on a journey, and has a bouncy optimistically hopeful tune about the future.

Of course, many people choose music for their funerals that the largely non-churchgoing population either know or can pick up quickly. I’m afraid Murray’s hymn is quite difficult musically, but for its social justice sentiments, well worth it. A little while ago I went to a funeral and for the first time ever was presented with an order of service containing printed music. It turned out that the person who died was a choir member, and, aside from a good rendering of an anthem, for the rest of the funeral many of the large congregation could sing the four-part harmony. A non-musical friend said it was like standing in the middle of a choral society and I must say was very inspiring. It reminds you why music is so important for many religions and why religious music has such a life outside churches.


Written by Malcolm Payne

16 February 2014 at 4:56 pm

One Response

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  1. There is also to the tune of Sally Gardens, “Inspired by love and anger disturbed by need and pain, informed by God’s own bias, we ask him once again: ‘How long must some folks suffer? How long can few folk mind?How long dare vain self-interest turn prayer and pity blind?’ Words by John Bell (1949 -) and Graham Maule (1958 – ). It is in the Australian Hymn Book called Together in Song Hymn 674

    Lynelle Osburn

    2 March 2015 at 8:38 pm

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