Charles Wesley is quoted as saying “When you sing, you pray twice.” For me and my heart, song is the closest way to access the connection between my life and the Creator. I have been a singing being since I was a tiny girl. I have sung in formal choirs, sung solos, sung as I paddled canoes, sung on car trips with my family, and always, always sung to the wind and sea when I ride ferry boats!

For many people in this world, the only time they sing is on birthdays, or at sports games. For the religious folks, song is often a part of worship, but that may be the only other place for song. Choirs have a reputation of being for those who want formal song. But, I contend that singing is everyone’s right and a way of being in the world that is open to everyone!

When I came to the Sunshine Coast to live in 2017, I looked about for a community song circle, that was open to everyone, to sing songs of the world, songs of different cultures, songs for fun and songs for the earth. There wasn’t one functioning on a regular basis. There were many many choirs, and ensembles, but not a place where folks could sing themselves into community and into a sense of belonging, just for the sake of song. So… as a ministry of spirit, community and music, I started one! Odonata SongRise was born on November 17, 2018, in the sanctuary at St. John’s United Church. 

‘Odonata’ means dragonfly in Latin. A dragonfly lives its life cycle across the realms of both water and air, and is a creature of transformation. Song crosses many thresholds and leads to transformation of emotion, and builds community! 

The song circle meets 3 times per month, and sometimes more often. There are 140 people on the mailing list, and average attendance is around 14 people. I have gathered songs from many traditions, and many countries and many spiritual practices. When we sing we take time to acknowledge the story of the song, and its message for our spirits. We honour the earth, the land, the water and the people who gather. It is a deeply spiritual time, although there is not preaching, and no scripture. Song itself feeds the spirits of those gathered. 

This is an important feature of the Song Circle. St. John’s is sharing a ministry of deep welcome, and making a space of spiritual reflection for all who attend. We meet every 3rd Sunday afternoon, in the sanctuary from 3:30 to 5:30 pm. We also use Living Faith Lutheran Church in Davis Bay, and The Arts Building in Gibson’s as gathering spaces. For now, in the days of COVID-19, we are meeting on Zoom, and I also host gatherings via Facebook Live. All are welcome! Bring your heart, your breath, your emotions and your imaginings. Song will make of them a worthy prayer!

Dianne Baker