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Gordon Light - hymn composer

Mooh 03 May 01 - 11:55 AM
katlaughing 03 May 01 - 01:26 PM
Mooh 03 May 01 - 07:10 PM
GUEST 09 Jan 12 - 10:15 AM
Joe Offer 28 May 13 - 02:59 AM
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Subject: Gordon Light - composer
From: Mooh
Date: 03 May 01 - 11:55 AM

In the current Anglican Church of Canada hymn book there is a hymn written by Gordon Light (1944-?) called "She Comes Sailing On The Wind", and the tune is named "She Flies On". The text and melody are copywrited 1987 Common Cup Company.

Can anyone tell me anything about Gordon Light, or Common Cup Co.? My mother, who sings it with her choir, and normally has great references for this sort of thing, is interested, and now has me curious about it.

Thanks as always for your input.

Peace. Mooh.

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Subject: RE: Gordon Light - composer
From: katlaughing
Date: 03 May 01 - 01:26 PM

Here's an article about COMMON CUP. Hope that helps.


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Subject: RE: Gordon Light - composer
From: Mooh
Date: 03 May 01 - 07:10 PM


Well, thanks, it does help. I'm surprised that Mother doesn't know the guy, now that I read the article you posted. My wife says she knows the hymn too, as it's very feminist sounding, because it was often used by a former (woman) minister of ours. That means I've likely sung it, but I honestly don't recognize/remember it.

I wonder how prolific he is.

Still looking. Mooh.

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Subject: RE: Gordon Light - composer
Date: 09 Jan 12 - 10:15 AM

Interesting comment on this hymn. We sing it in our parish and I absolutely love it.

The hymn beautifully illustrates the movement of the Holy Spirit throughout time - in creation, in the incarnation, at pentecost.

As for the feminist bias I do have to say that I am usually quite annoyed when things have a strong overt feminist twist to it but I really don`t sense this to be in this hymn.

Just my thoughts.

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Subject: RE: Gordon Light - hymn composer
From: Joe Offer
Date: 28 May 13 - 02:59 AM

There's interesting information on the Facebook page of the Common Cup Company:
    The Common Cup Company is a musical group featuring Gordon Light & Ian Macdonald, composers of popular hymns Draw The Circle Wide, She Flies On (She Comes Sailing On The Wind) and River Run Deep (River Running In You & Me).
    This musical ministry began when Light (an Anglican Priest and later Bishop), Macdonald (a United Church Minister) along with founding members Jim Uhrich, and Bob Wallace (also United Church Ministers) served at neighbouring churches in the early '80's.
    In the following decades the group wrote, performed, & recorded together despite living in different corners the country. Scott McDonald & Richard Betts joined the original quartet on bass & drums in the late '90's.
    The group suffered a tremendous loss when Jim Uhrich died in 2009, but The Common Cup continues to perform with Lloyd MacLean on keyboards, and plans to begin recording a new album this Summer.
There's a YouTube video (click) of a choir singing "She Comes Sailing on the Wind," which was written by Gordon Light in 1985. To me, the melody sounds like "In the Morning When I Rise (Give Me Jesus)." lists five hymns written by Gordon Light:
  • God the stillpoint of the circle
  • He came riding on a donkey
  • More than we can ask or imagine
  • Silent waters rocking on the morning of our birth
  • Weeping may come

This 2008 Anglican Journal article (click) announces Light's retirement at age 63:

    Bishop Light announces retirement

    By Solange De Santis, staff writer
    on April, 08 2008

    Gordon Light, bishop of the Anglican Parishes of the Central Interior (of British Columbia), formerly the diocese of Cariboo, announced he will retire, effective December 31.

    Bishop Light, who is 63, said he and his wife, Rev. Barbara Liotscos, will be spending more time with family in British Columbia, Toronto and eastern Canada. They have six grown children and four grandchildren.

    Also, he said, "I hope to work more on music and just enjoy life." Bishop Light is a well-known musician who composes, plays guitar and sings as a member of a 25-year-old quartet called Common Cup.

    Bishop Light has worked in the diocese for a total of 17 years, but his return in January 2002, as administrative assistant to the metropolitan of the area, Archbishop David Crawley, came during a difficult period.

    Cariboo, based in Kamloops (about 350 km northeast of Vancouver), had closed its diocesan office as of Dec. 31, 2001, crippled by financial pressures surrounding lawsuits about abuse at the St. George's Indian Residential School at Lytton, B.C.

    Re-constituted as the APCI, the 18 parishes (including 35 congregations) came under the administration of Archbishop Crawley, with pastoral leadership from then-Canon Light. In 2004, Mr. Light was elected bishop suffragan to Archbishop Crawley, with responsibility for APCI.

    In 2001, he said, he found "a good spirit," despite the Cariboo closure and the retirement of then-bishop James Cruickshank. "There was some deep sadness at the loss of Bishop Jim and at not being a diocese, but not despair. (The members) are people with a lot of hope," said Bishop Light in an interview.

    The future of APCI is an ongoing conversation in the area, he said, with possibilities including becoming a diocese again or merging with another diocese, but there are currently no firm plans.

    In the past seven years, he has participated in healing work connected with former students of the residential school and their families. "I have listened to stories of healing and of anger, still. I'm astonished at the hospitality the church has received. We have our own local healing initiatives and we put some funds towards those programs," he said.

    Before he returned to B.C., Bishop Light served in Toronto as principal secretary to the primate from 1992 to 2001, was dean of Cariboo and rector of St. Paul's Cathedral in Kamloops from 1984 to 1992. He also served parish churches in Winnipeg, Edmonton and Kamloops.

And here's another Anglican Journal Article, this one on The Common Cup Company:

    Christian folk music with a contemporary flair

    on December, 01 1999

    FOR MORE THAN 15 years, four clergy from across Canada have united their voices and their songwriting craft to offer a gentle, contemplative brand of Christian folk music.

    Known as the Common Cup Company, their membership includes vocalist/songwriter Gordon Light. Canon Light is principal secretary to the Primate. Based in Toronto, he is joined by three clergy of the United Church of Canada ? Ian Macdonald of Burnaby, B.C., Jim Uhrich of Peterborough, Ont., and Bob Wallace of Surrey, B.C. While instrumental musicians join the quartet on most of their projects, they are the core lineup.

    It is one that Canon Light describes as "four clergy, two bards, three beards, three voices (two trained, and one partially tamed!), two guitars, a banjo and piano."

    While Canon Light has a great respect for the more typical of contemporary Christian music - the praise song - he emphasizes that the genre of the Common Cup Company is distinct. In his words, "although Common Cup's music would be styled contemporary... it has a different feel than some other contemporary Christian music."

    Indeed, it does. The lyrics of the Common Cup Company - from the earliest of their seven albums to their most recent effort, Outside the Lines - are marked by a gentle, probing nature. Reflection and questioning mark the series of vignettes, Scripture paraphrases and prayers that make up their original material.

    According to Canon Light, "(our) music reflects a range of concerns including peace, justice and refugee issues, personal faith and spirituality, music for the liturgical seasons, as well as songs about the stages of our life, from birth to death."

    The call to action has marked many of the efforts of the band through the years. Besides conducting parish missions and serving as music resources for meetings of clergy and laity within both the Anglican Church and the United Church, they have raised money with their music for the Canadian Council of Churches' court challenge on refugee legislation. They have also toured to raise funds for the Dr. Jesse Saulteaux Centre, a United Church theological college for indigenous people.

    Stylistically, the Common Cup Company recalls much of the music of the folk pop revival of the early '60s, with some '90s instrumental and production flourishes thrown in. Its gentle style gives the potential for wide appeal demographically. Indeed, some of their music is found in three Canadian hymnals that have come out this decade ? those of the Anglican, United and Presbyterian churches.

    Canon Light finds the contrast between the focus of the Common Cup Company's music and the more evangelical praise music that dominates the "Christian music" marketplace of great interest and richness.

    "I am intrigued by the differences," he explains, "as they seem to reflect distinct viewpoints of our faith ? viewpoints or positions that sometimes come into conflict."

    In that the four members of the Common Cup Company are involved in full-time ministry across Canada, they do not get to spend a great deal of time together.

    Again, Canon Light puts a positive spin on this reality: "Being from all over makes rehearsal time precious, completed projects next to impossible and miraculous, and time just to be with one another a great gift. It may well be that living at a distance from one another has helped the group stay together as long as it has!"

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