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Music Ministry

Judy Fjell's Service of Minstrel Ministry (Why "Minstrel Ministry?"  See below•)

"I am worthy and I am loved, I am worthy and I am loved  Knowing this, this I know, I can make a difference, and we can make a difference." from "I Am Worthy and I Am Loved" ©2007 Judy Fjell (BMI) Honey Pie Music

Sometimes Judy's musical calling has been a little hard to describe.  Yes, she's a singer-songwriter, but she does more than perform concerts and teach workshops.  She inspires those who gather with her to sing together, and to create the kind of world in which all voices are welcome.  She affirms the message that singing does our hearts good, our bodies good, and brings a bounty of positivity to the world.  She is a "Minstrel" in the tradition of Pete Seeger, Malvina Reynolds, Betsy Rose, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Melanie DeMore, Motherlode, Tom Rawson, Peter Mayer, Madge Strong, Harmony Grisman, Emma's Revolution, and Holly Near. 

In gratitude for the musical gifts she was given, Judy shares her talents and skills in a variety of religious, spiritual, and political settings. Over the course of her calling as a musician and activist, Judy has presented many sermons, services, workshops and concerts for churches and fellowships, particularly Unitarian Universalists. If you’d like to hear Judy in musical service to Unitarian-Universalists, check out http://www.firstunitariandenver.org/ListenCss.aspx.  Select 2008-2-17

Judy Fjell worship presentations are rich with singing, stories, and congregational participation. "Putting Our Whole Selves In" begins with everyone dancing the "Hokey Pokey." (a musical re-enactment of the Saturday night bath before the Sabbath) - an invitation to all to consider how we test the waters and decide in our own lives when to "put our whole selves in."  Other worship titles include "Open Your Heart," "Our Joyful Musical Selves," and "This Chalice I Wear," a celebration of the chalice which Unitarian Universalists wear and display as a symbol of their faith.

Judy draws from a deep belief in the musical abilities and enfranchisement of "every person." (The word "person" means "through sound."). Her infectious enthusiasm brings even hesitant singers into a feeling of comfort in a short time.  Many tales are told of those who have been inspired to sing short solos in front of an entire group before realizing what was happening.  Judy believes that this kind of transformation is a conversion experience on a par with other religious experiences.  It changes a "person" to be able to raise his or her voice in song!

To join in the ongoing Judy Fjell "Minstrel Ministry" singalong, you can purchase the CD "Same Old Slippers" or the Open Your Heart Songbook: Songs of Spirit, Joy, and Reverence for Religious Liberals and Spiritual Seekers from the website store. The OYH songbook has been adopted for regular use by many UU congregations, fellowships, and religious education programs. Many of the songs were written while Judy served as  musician-in-residence at the Russell Lockwood Leadership Institute for the UU Mountain Desert District from 2005 to 2011.  These include "Seven Principles of Unitarian-Universalism," "This Chalice I Wear," "Flowers in My Pocket," "Let Us Rest Assured," "Whatever God Does Endures Forever," and "Will You Join Me on This Journey." 

Judy pens new songs on a regular basis and continues to collaborate with the Rev. Lois Van Leer on words and songs of assurance for UUs, songs of meal blessings and gratitude, and songs of UU identity.  Judy's songs "I Am Saying Thank You" and "Thank You for Your Loving Hands" (co-authored with Lisa Bregger) were selected for inclusion in Heart to Heart: Fourteen Gatherings for Reflection, a series by the Rev. Christine Robinson and Alicia Hawkins.  A choral arrangement of those two songs, written by her friend the late David Roberts of First Unitarian Society of Denver, is available free from "Library of Songs" on this website.

Over the years Judy has lifted her own voice many times as a "Minstrel Minister" for the "Every Person."  Below is a partial list of those appearances.  If you remember a time when Judy Fjell came to your community but it's not listed, please contact her, she'd love to have a more complete list of these gigs from over the years.  Or, if your community is not on this list, you may want to contact Judy to book her for a future worship service, concert, or workshop.

IDAHO - Pocatello (UU), Idaho Falls (UU)
MONTANA - Billings (UU), Big Timber (UCC), Bozeman (UU), Missoula (UU), Kalispell-Whitefish (UU), Helena (UU), Helena (UCC)
NEW MEXICO - Albuquerque (UU), Santa Fe (UU), Las Cruces (UU)
WYOMING - Sheridan (UU)
CALIFORNIA - Berkeley (UU), San Francisco (UU and MCC), Davis (UU and UCC), Sacramento (UU), Chico and Ukiah (Church of Religious Science), Monterey Peninsula (UU), San Diego (Spiritualist Church)
OREGON - Corvallis (UU), Roseburg (UU), Ashland (UCC)
WASHINGTON - Woodinville (UU)
UTAH - Salt Lake (South Valley UUS)

Will You Join Me on This Journey ©2011 Judy Fjell (BMI)

Will you join me on this, journey, it gives me strength to take your hand
The road is long, sometimes I'm weary, Will you, will you take my hand
We'll send love to the earth through the soles of our feet, we'll send love to the souls of all the people we meet 
On this journey, on this journey
We'll help justice a-roll on down to the sea, providing the wave so that all can be free 
On this journey, on this journey

* Judy's friend Paul Phillips (of Romanovsky & Phillips) once pointed out to Judy the etymological similarity of the words "minstrel" and "minister."  For the past thirty-five years she has felt a calling to write and sing music from her soul and her true self.  This is the same music to which her audiences have responded with their souls and fullest selves.  In the spirit of this communication and service, she has chosen to call her work in religious and spiritual contexts "Minstrel Ministry." 
*Minstrel - ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French menestral ‘entertainer, servant,’ via Provençal from late Latin ministerialis ‘servant’
*Minister - ORIGIN Middle English : from Old French ministre (noun), ministrer (verb), from Latin minister ‘servant’
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