4 Jul 2010

Psalm-singing at Christ Church, Moscow, Idaho

I know little of the community of Christians worshipping at Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, except that they are part of a larger body called the Confederation of Reformed Evangelical Churches, which are not well known outside of their own circles. They are liturgically distinctive in that they seem to have developed their own way of singing the biblical psalms, as evidenced below. The result is not quite chant, but it's not quite metrical either, and no attempt has been made to set these psalms to verse. Nevertheless, they are definitely rhythmic with a drum keeping the beat. Whether the congregation sings these at weekly worship or only at special psalm sing gatherings I cannot say. It sounds to me as though these would take some training to sing properly. Here the congregation sings Psalm 149, as composed by Dr. David Erb:

Here Erb manages to extend the shortest of the psalms, Psalm 117, by rendering it as a canon:

And now Psalm 19:

The congregation also sings the Apostles' Creed:

Are these psalms sung elsewhere, perhaps in other CREC congregations? Further information on this subject would be welcome.


A brief exploration of the CREC reveals that it has a publishing arm, Canon Press, which produces the denomination's liturgical publications. The above psalms are from Worship in Harmony, while the one below is a portion of Psalm 119 from its primary congregational worship book, Cantus Christi. The singing is inspiring.


John said...


I don't know that any other congregation in the CREC sings Dave Erb's compositions yet. Some of them strike me as more suited to choral performance than to congregational singing, though certainly these videos do show members of both Christ Church and Trinity Reformed Church in Moscow singing them at one of their regular Psalm Sings.

Many of the CRECs do use the Cantus Christi, published by Canon Press (which is not the publishing wing of the CREC but rather is associated with Christ Church in Moscow, Idaho, only).

The Cantus Christi includes a lot of the Genevan tunes, including some of the newer translations done by Bill Helder, as well as a bunch of Scottish psalms, some Gregorian psalm chants and Anglican chants, and (perhaps even more interestingly) some pieces drawn from Heinrich Schutz's Becker Psalter.

Daniel Foucachon said...

Hi! I attend Christ Church, and am also the one who filmed these videos.

We do sing all of these at Christ Church, but as John said, not many others do (a few). That is mostly because they are new compositions.

It does take some training, which is why there are these Psalm Sing events. The choir is there to help along on a few of these events, but mostly it's just the congregation. We do a Psalm Sing monthly.

These new compositions are only a small part of what we sing. Our main hymn book, the Cantus Christi has a great variety of hymns, including quite a few of the Genevan metrical Psalms (I grew up singing the same ones in France in the Reformed Church).

I hope to record more as time goes on. Thanks for posting these! You can find more video resources from our media ministry, CanonWIRED (www.canonwired.com). I think there are a few more singing videos as well.

Daniel Foucachon,
Producer at CanonWIRED