12th Assembly 2009

Holy spirit rains in song

“Holy Spirit Rain” is the official anthem for the 12th Assembly. The song was a collaborative effort of Uniting Church members Phil Newton and Michael Earl.

Michael, 29, and Phil, 30, are each married with two young sons. They both attended United Theological College in Parramatta, Sydney, and have played worship music together for about five years.

When challenged to write a song reflecting the theme “Living Water, Thirsty Land” Michael drew inspiration from his own faith. “The cleansing and renewing of the Holy Spirit has always been part of who I am and what I believe,” he said.

Michael started with the lyrics and gave his first ideas to Phil. “We added certain parts and eventually it came together,” Michael said.

Both Phil and Michael have a background in learning and playing music but it is mostly just a hobby these days. They downplay their talent and Phil insists he is just a “utility musician” who is good for “playing some chords”.

Michel is just as modest and says, “Phil is the singer and I lend some not so able support.”

Despite these claims, the song has received strong, positive feedback. “People wanted to get their hands on it to use in their own congregations,” Phil said. “And the way it was sung on the last morning really blew us away. It was quite humbling to have something that we have thrown together hit the mark.”

When asked what the future holds for the song, Michael was hopeful that it would be made available for congregations to use. “One way or another we want to make it available to a wider public,” he said.

“We have also been playfully talking about writing a book of music together,” Phil added. “And we never would have considered that without the influence of this positive experience.”