Bren McLean

Tag: spch


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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by on Jun.11, 2013, under Worship

This month, we commence a series at spch titled:Vital Signs logo

Six core values that we believe represent a fully devoted follower of Jesus Christ. VITAL SIGN number 2 is:

Vital Sign 2

Colossians 3:1-14

And below are the setlists at spch for 9 June 2013:



1. Praise Him (Hillsong)

2. Hosanna (Hillsong)

3. No Other Name (spch)

4. Praise The Saviour (spch)


1. Overcome (spch)

2. Heart Ablaze (spch)

3. Man Of Sorrows (Hillsong)

4. From The Inside Out (Hillsong)


This is a weekly post, as part of the Sunday Setlists initiative:

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by on May.31, 2013, under Church Life

This Sunday, we commence a new series titled, VITAL SIGNS.

Vital Signs logo St Paul’s is a church that is all about bringing people to Jesus, building people up in Jesus, and sending people out for Jesus.

But what are we building? Under God, disciples of Jesus who know and show 6 signs of life:


vital signs group


These core values will be unpacked over the next 6 week’s and we are praying that they will become a part of our DNA. Stay tuned…

What are the core values of YOUR Church?


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by on May.22, 2013, under Worship

Congregational singing is such a powerful expression of our worship. I love singing on my own, but something special happens when the body of Christ gathers and praises God together.

The way the teams lead us each weekend is inspirational. I see such passion and a genuine desire to point people toward the risen Jesus. God is building His church and I am truly thankful for the way that He is using the Creative team at spch.



An area that is flourishing at the moment is songwriting. Since Rich Thompson and Jonny Robinson joined the staff team (part time), a number of systems and improvements have been made such as:

1. A discussion paper distributed on the need for ‘clarity in songwriting’

2. A new process for the submission of original songs

3. An improved process for arranging and then creating high quality demo’s of new songs

4. An increase in the number of songwriters

5. More consistent training and mentoring of songwriters

All this in 3 months! I cannot tell you how much I value the contribution that both Rich and Jonny are making. And it’s so wonderful to see writers such as Gil Corr, James Ferguson, Jess Murray, Niki Shepherd, Nate Singh (and others) grow as creatives, eager to share their gifts with the church.

It is essential that the songs we sing are Christ-centred and under God, we are already seeing some incredible fruit.  Songs such as ‘Praise The Saviour’, ‘All To See’ and ‘Oh The Mighty Hand’ are such a blessing to the congregations.  God willing, these songs (and the many others that are coming through) will be a resource for the wider church community.

The plan is to record a live EP of congregational songs in October this year. Rich Vassallo (Production Minister) is invaluable to us as Production Minister at church. His skill and experience will be particularly helpful during pre, recording and post production of the album project.

A new artist name for spch Music, as well as a publisher name for St Paul’s Resources will be also launched, so stay tuned music lovers!!!

“Let everything that has breath praise the Lord!”

Psalm 150:6


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