Creative Worship … free (and amazing) songs, prayers and liturgy from Aotearoa, New Zealand

The artistic gifts of Philip Garside are remarkable. He is making available the first volume of Creative Worship electronically — thirty-two pages of his songs, prayers and poems. People can download the PDF for free on his website here:
And, because Philip knows from personal experience that getting permission to use copyrighted material for worship or for choirs is a hassle, churches and choirs can print, copy and perform the songs for free as well. He asks for an email address so he can let churches know about additional works — but his motivation is sharing rather than selling.

As he says in the introduction:
“I am passionate about being creative when leading worship, because presenting new ideas or new twists on the familiar help to engage people as we worship God together.
The songs, poems and prayers in this book are the best of my output over the years. They have all been used successfully in worship.
My hope is that you will dip into the book and try a new song or two in your own worship setting. When you do, please email me to let me know how they went.

Please also feel free to adapt and re-arrange the material here, to make it your own.”
Copyright licensing and payments are a hassle for churches and choirs. While I retain
the copyright in my work, I really do want churches, worship and small group leaders
and choirs to copy, sing and use the songs, prayers and poems in this book – for free!

To help you learn the songs I have provided links to midi and mp3 instrumental files,
and to the Noteworthy Composer software music settings. There are also links to
videos of me playing Love Grow Within Us and Breath of the Spirit.

Philip is currently compiling a companion Creative Worship: Volume 2, containing
samples of sermons, children’s talks and teasers. This will be available at later in 2017. 

Transposing musical notation is tricky in this blog format, so (while telling you that Philip is first and foremost a musician) I would like to share this litany that I love.

God is in the small things

Lord, open our eyes to your creation:
A fiery sunset on a wide horizon
A spider’s delicate web, spangled with dew
The vibrancy of a child’s painting
The miniature world of life in a rock pool
You are in the small things that we see every day

Lord, open our ears to:
A tui’s song
Children’s laughter in the playground
Music of the city street and traffic’s hum
The joy of a choir singing
You are in the small things that we hear every day

Lord, help us savour:
A meal prepared with love for us by another person
The tang of an exotic fruit
The morning’s first cup of coffee or tea
An ice cream at the beach
You are in the small things that we taste every day

Lord, help us breathe in the smell of:
Salt spray on the wind
Dripping wet native bush on a walk
A new born baby’s head
Mahoe tree owers on a still night
You are in the small things that we smell every day

Lord, help us to feel:
The warmth of a handshake or hug
A pat on the shoulder when we are sad
The softness of an animal’s fur
The smoothness of a river pebble
You are in the small things that we touch every day

Lord help us as we:
Smile shyly at a new neighbour or classmate
Make a cuppa for a friend
Serve on a committee
Sing in a choir
You are in the small things that we do every day

Lord help us to wonder at:
Coming to church each week and leaving
Pohutukawa blossom at Christmas
Holding a child’s hand as they walk to school
The Southern Cross on a clear night
Your love is in the small things that we keep in our hearts. Amen

About this prayer
God is wondrous and big beyond our imaginations. But God is also present with us in the everyday things and activities of life.

You could try projecting an image relating to each stanza of the prayer, e.g. a sunset, children in a playground, a cup of tea, and so on.

Some of the words relate specifically to New Zealand:
• tui – a native songbird;
• mahoe – a flowering tree that smells lovely at night to attract moths;
• pohutukawa – our Christmas tree with deep green leaves and red owers; and
• the Southern Cross constellation.

If you are in another country, personalise the prayer for your congregation by substituting local equivalents.

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5 Responses to Creative Worship … free (and amazing) songs, prayers and liturgy from Aotearoa, New Zealand

  1. Thanks so much for your post tonight Maren.

    Kind regards Philip


    Philip Garside Publishing Ltd Books Telling Your New Zealand Stories Web: Email: Facebook: Twitter: @BooksPhilip Phone: 04 475 8855 Post: PO Box 17160, Karori, Wellington 6147

    • Maren says:

      And thank you for your incredible generosity of spirit. As folks wake up today on this side of the globe I am witnessing folks visiting and interested. Let me know tomorrow whether you have had people click through. I don’t like to put a link on Facebook (unless you wanted me to do so) but I could use Facebook to direct even more folks to the blog and your link.

  2. darla ledger says:

    Thank you, Philip!!! This is awesome– and we look forward to using some of these resources! Thank you again for your kind generosity. (Bethesda United Church of Christ, Bethesda, MD)

  3. Dorothy M. Crockett says:

    A note of gratitude for generously sharing your gifts of praise! I will pass this along to colleagues and integrate into future worship services! (Pulpit Supply minister with Southern Association, United Church of Christ, San Diego, CA

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