Innovative group makes memorising Sabbath school lesson texts easier with music

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L-R: Grace Johnstone, Tessa Bagrie, Trevor Brown, Craig Savage, Gina Taggart, Grace Sheffield and Driekie Pheiffer. (Credit: Rodney Bagrie)

For many of us, memorising the weekly Sabbath school lesson (SSL) memory texts can be quite a mental challenge. As such, a small group of musically-minded folk from several churches in Canterbury, New Zealand, have been working to make this process easier by putting the adult SSL memory texts to music.

Sonja Whitehouse is song writer for the project (not pictured in group photo).

This creative team desires not only to make the memory texts easier to memorise but to make the word of God more meaningful and beautiful.

The group originally began with a choir and a recording studio. However, this involved many practice sessions, and hiring the studio was proving too expensive. Another problem the team found when using a choir was the words were not clearly audible. Thus, the decision to combine the simplicity of a solo voice with a single instrument made things a lot easier. Using a soloist removed the need to blend and hone several different voices.

With one or two instruments and a few soloists, the team is able to produce thirteen tunes each quarter with minimal effort. Furthermore, by recording at the Ilam Seventh-day Adventist Church, using the personal equipment and technical expertise of Craig Savage, it can be done at virtually no expense.

The words of each memory text are sung exactly as they appear in the adult SSL. Sometimes the shorter texts are repeated, and the Scripture reference is always given, usually at the end of the tune.

The team plans to continue producing the SSL memory texts set to music as an ongoing help to everyone wanting to commit them to memory.

The recordings, which begin with the first quarter of 2020, can be downloaded at www.adventist.org.nz/resources/ss-memory-texts/.

The songwriters for this project are Sonja Whitehouse, Driekie Pheiffer, Trevor Brown and Gina Taggart. Accompanists are Driekie (piano), and Gina (guitar). The singers are Sonja Whitehouse, Tessa Bagrie, Trevor Brown, Grace Sheffield and Grace Johnstone.