Roman Catholic songwriter Bernardette Farrell’s “Christ, Be Our Light” hymn was the most popular hymn downloaded for use in Protestant churches in Europe in the past year, an license platform.
It was published by Oregon Catholic Press in 1993. The chorus is, “Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts. Shine through the darkness.
The other top hymns, provided by One License, were: “All Welcome” by Marty Haugen; “Here I am, Lord” by Dan Schutte (two versions); and “Wait for the Lord” by Jacques Berthier, from the Taizé community, which holds five of the 15 first places.
The list, largely comprising works by Roman Catholic composers, illustrates the popularity outside the Roman Catholic Church itself of hymns composed as a result of the liturgical reforms of Vatican II.
Demand for hymns from One License and other licensing platforms has risen sharply over the past year, with churches seeking to broadcast live services during the lockdown. Unless the music is by composers and authors who died over 70 years ago, a license is required. One License has seen its demand increase tenfold for its podcast and streaming licenses around the world.
In March 2020, it made two licenses available, free, for one year, allowing churches, schools and other worship organizations to reprint or screen music for the congregations of one of its member publishers, or to broadcast church services containing music from these publishers.
Its catalog includes more than 160,000 pieces from more than 300 publishers, including the Royal School of Church Music (RSCM), Oxford University Press and Kevin Mayhew. It does not include ThankYou Music or Integrity Music, which publish Christian songwriters such as Graham Kendrick, Stuart Townend, and Tim Hughes.
Raise your voices; Lift up your hearts, a RSCM and Church time a webinar including a question-and-answer session with One License, will take place on May 17th. The sessions will explore the challenge of choir retention and The revised English anthem.