Bren McLean

Tag: city alight


by on Apr.05, 2014, under Worship

Jerusalem is the new song from CityAlight. Taken from our live recording on 23 February, it is available now to download for FREE!


I interviewed Jonny Robinson this week (co-songwriter of Jerusalem) to ask a few questions:

What is the song about?

The song follows Jesus scene by scene as he walks through Jerusalem to the Cross.  In Luke 9.51, Jesus ‘sets his face’ to Jerusalem and makes a decision to go through with this very difficult plan. So we wanted to capture some of that commitment and that resolution, to show him physically walking through those old streets on the way to the Cross. It’s quite visceral, in that sense.
(The path that Jesus took is also known as the Via Dolorosa)
Why write about this topic?
There are some terrific plays and films about Jesus and the crucifixion, and they’re able to rely on visual techniques to get the story across. Even the not-so-great ones have pictures and images and their disposal. And that leaves a mark- images leave a mark. What we wanted to do was try and incorporate that visual and cinematic feel into a song. So, it’s the story of Jesus walk through Jerusalem to the Cross with a focus on the visual elements- the streets, the crowds, the rocks, and so on.
There are a lot of really good and strong songs exploring the spiritual things that took place that day, but we also wanted people to be able to see this wild story unfolding- such a crucial part of the faith that did take place in history and on a road, and that, of course, for a reason. 
In such a story, though, the spiritual aspects of the day do come through in the song because they are tied to the history so inextricably. But the focus is Jesus walking, Jesus waiting, Jesus hanging there, and what it looked like. It’s important to get inside this story and to feel it and to see it.
This song, of course, can’t do that for someone completely or perfectly, but we wanted to give any help we could in that direction. If nothing else, it’s a song about the most important story on earth.
Where can people get a copy of the song?
The song is on iTunes or you can download it for FREE at the CityAlight website.
Who is CityAlight?
CityAlight is a team of songwriters, singers and musicians from St Paul’s Castle Hill. We aren’t a band or a movement or a church (although we do all go to one!). We have simply written and produced songs for the church because we love to hear the people of God come together and praise His name. The sound of a church singing is like nothing else. And God deserves that.

Jonny is highly regarded at St Paul’s and his paper last year on the topic of lyrical clarity has been a great resource for songwriters.

Jerusalem is a timely release for Easter, powerfully communicating the gospel of Jesus in song. May this song nourish your soul and by all means, share with your friends!

The Jerusalem lyric video has been created to show in church or at events. This is also available now to download for free.

May this song refresh your soul and draw you nearer to “the One who Saves us”.

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by on Aug.14, 2013, under Worship

Music can be a powerful expression of the gospel and a great encouragement for the church (Colossians 3:16). In 2011, LIVING DEVOTION was recorded live at spch. Since then, over 20 original songs have been introduced and embraced by the congregation.

This year, under the leadership of Rich Thompson and Jonny Robinson, the songwriting ministry has grown dramatically. Jonny’s CLARITY document on lyrics, for example, has proven to be a great tool for songwriters.

Often I am asked when will these new songs be available to the church. A product must be about quality over quantity, so I always reply, “when we have enough songs”.


Rich shared some exciting news last week about an upcoming live recording:

When – 23 February 2014

Where – St Paul’s Church, ‘in the round’

Producers – Nathan Finochio and Jim Monk. Their experience with The Royal Royal and Hillsong Live, combined with their desire to support the local church will be invaluable to us!

Why – to resource the church and to provide an outlet for those with the gift of songwriting



Originally planned for October 2013, a few more months gives us precious time to pray, to plan and to write for a project that will be “all killer no filler”!

God is already bringing together a formidable team. Men and women who pursue excellence and believe that the church needs consistently strong congregational songs.

It reminds me of the construction of the Tabernacle. God told Moses to contact Bezalel and described him as a man whom “I have filled with the spirit of God, with ability and intelligence, with knowledge and all craftsmanship.” (Exodux 31:1-11)

We too need faithful volunteers from a number of creative departments (Music, Production and Design) if we want to achieve the high standards that people are use to nowadays. And, I believe God deserves our very best!

How will we fund it? I’m glad you asked.

We will ask the Church Warden’s for a short term loan. Sales from the recording will then be used to pay off the loan over a 12-18 month period.

This recording will also see the launch of a new artist name for St Paul’s Castle Hill. Post your suggestions for the new name in the COMMENTS section. Any questions about the project?


PS. For those of you who might be considering your own recording project, there are a number of factors to consider. Here are some pointers from the guys at Worshipleader:


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