Church’s prayer video “a real blessing”

A WEB of events and connections from Byfleet to South Africa has led to a recording of the Lord’s Prayer by a group of singers for St Mary’s Church in the village.

The Rev John McCabe said he had been thinking about organising a recorded group song after seeing a few of them during the lockdown.

(from left) Catherine Gathercole, Steven Bewes, Bernice Rust, John McCabe, Pippa Ross-McCabe, Nikki Jomoa, Ingrid Butters and Liz Gathercole

Then, a member of the congregation read in the News & Mail about Helen Garth leading a mass singalong of fellow Byfleet residents from their gardens and streets.

We reported how former professional singer Helen, who had to give up her career five years ago after suffering from pneumonia, was inspired by the first “clapping for the NHS” to set up a weekly outdoor singalong.

Meanwhile, John and his wife Pippa had been receiving high-quality music videos from St George’s Anglican Church in Parktown, Johannesburg, South Africa, which is Pippa’s sister’s church.

John hit on the idea of a group singing the Our Father prayer and asked Helen to organise the singing, while he contacted Marnus Greyling, the director of music at St George’s, to put together the video.

“I was so inspired by that story, of Helen’s weekly singalong, that something clicked for me,” John said.

“With her help I could do something I couldn’t normally do. That came from lockdown and from you for running that article.”

Each of the nine singers were sent backing tracks and recorded themselves singing. These were then sent to Marnus, along with a photo of the church in Byfleet, and put together in a professional-looking video.

“I was amazed and delighted by the result,” John said.

“We have released it in our online service and it is very impactful. I am overwhelmed how good it sounds.”

John said other people who helped put the project together included Chris Glasow, who took the photos of the church, Margaret Ott and Margaret Pomfret who cleaned and decorated and Mike Edis, who co-ordinated the sending of material to Marnus.

“It wouldn’t have happened if the News & Mail hadn’t put Helen on the front page,” he said.

“It’s a case of one good thing leading to another. It’s been a real blessing.”

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