Soul Sanctuary Gospel Choir is a well-established London-based gospel choir, singing regularly in two central London churches and on BBC Radio. Before the C-19 lockdown, the choir recorded songs for BBC Radio 2's 'At the foot of the Cross' which were broadcast on Friday 10th April 2020 (Good Friday).
Soul Sanctuary is aware of the immense uncertainty, anxiety and suffering caused by the C-19 Pandemic, and wanted to provide some comfort and relief to those suffering from the pandemic and its consequences, not just Christians but everyone.
Working in isolation and following government regulations to stay indoors, the choir have weaved together a version of 'The Prayer' made famous by Céline Dion and Andrea Bocelli.
The song was chosen because of its power, like so much gospel music, to reach outside the confines of the church. Gospel artists Donnie McClurkin and Yolanda Adams have also recorded the song, most beautifully. With its moving plea for guidance and grace and its underlying trust in God, the song speaks to the current crisis:
I pray you'll be our eyes, and watch us where we go
And help us to be wise in times when we don't know
Let this be our prayer when we lose our way
Lead us to the place, guide us with your grace
To a place where we'll be safe
Soul Sanctuary sings regularly in two central London churches, in one of which (St James's, Piccadilly) they were due to sing on Easter Sunday, April 12th 2020. Although the choir is firmly rooted in church, it believes that its mission is broader - to the shoppers, tourists and others who pass St James's beautiful courtyard on Sunday afternoons in particular.
"The Prayer" is arranged by Peter Yarde Martin, Chris Bullock and Clarence Hunte. They are the team behind the lilting, soulful version "We Three Kings" which featured in the Church of England's Christmas campaign last year.
Choir director, Clarence Hunte said, "We're a gospel choir that sings regularly in church, but we wanted to reach out further, to people who don't hear us in church, but who might find comfort in the message of the song".
Bandleader, Peter Yarde Martin commented: "We wanted to share something that spoke of hope and community in a difficult time. ‘The Prayer’ is a plea for guidance to be led together to a place of safety - something that felt very right for this moment."
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