My hymn “Chosen Family (The BGLASS Hymn)” has been posted in my Worship Resources page. For convenience it’s a downloadable pdf file.
There’s a story behind the hymn “Chosen Family” that I’d like to tell. I am a member of BGLASS the LGBTQ education, advocacy, and celebration group at my seminary. (BGLASS=Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian, Allies, and Seminary Supporters) This group went from being completely underground to being one of the largest groups that does an incredible amount of activities thanks to the hard work of uncountable people over the course of several seminary generations. Every spring we hold a BGLASS week filled with lectures, discussions, and fun stuff. That week is capped off by a carnival with a cook-out followed by a closing worship service. We always try to bring in congregational hymns from ecumenical sources that speak to issues important to the LGBTQ communities. Sometimes we have a hard time finding hymns, so last spring I decided to write a hymn for BGLASS.
Hymn writing is a difficult art with tension between freedom of artistic wordplay and constriction of meter. I had dabbled in the art of hymn-writing for a congregational music course and then for my feminist/womanist theologies course. Especially because I needed to use an already written hymn tune, it was harder to write a hymn for BGLASS than I anticipated. The hymn did not get written in time for the closing worship service last spring, but I worked on it. I knew I wanted to highlight the idea of chosen family based on a book study I did with the seminary chapter of The Covenant Network last year (Kicked Out).
In September the hymn was ready for the BGLASS opening worship service. It was the first time I had heard a congregation sing a text I had written. For a long time I wished I had the musical talents that many of my friends have, but the hymn writing tradition in the Christian church had given me a way to combine my gift for word-smithing with others’ gifts for music. That event was part of a string that led up to me beginning this blog and writing articles for online journals like Unbound.
This hymn is very close to my heart, and I am glad to share it with communities who wish to express their commitment to honor God’s call in all of our lives in song.