Martin Luther King Jr. Day Song: The Boyer Brothers, “Step by Step”


Horace Clarence Boyer (July 28, 1935-July 31, 2009) was a renowned scholar of African-American gospel music who taught at U Mass Amherst. He was the editor of “Lift Every Voice and Sing II“, the African-American hymnal now widely used in Episcopal churches. Before his last illness, he used to come to St. John’s in Northampton once a year and guest-conduct our choir, steering us with gentle humor to break out of the staid rhythms of the 1982 Hymnal and add some swing to tunes like “Ev’ry Time I Feel the Spirit”. This 1952 recording features him and his brother James, who recorded several gospel albums in the 1950s and 1960s.

Our minister yesterday gave a good sermon on the tragedy of the Haitian earthquake. She encouraged us to build a bridge between those who despair of finding God’s presence in a world of suffering, and those who seek meaning by blaming the victims for “God’s wrath”. Where is God in all this? We are God’s hands in the world. God is present when we see different nations and religions working together to give humanitarian aid.

You can help by donating to Partners In Health. PIH has been advocating for economic justice and providing community-based health care in Haiti for over 20 years. Follow their efforts on their Stand With Haiti blog.

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