Ask Derek the Cleric: Why action songs?

Updated 22:00PM, Friday April 27th, 2012 by The Editor, 1 comment seperator

Derek the Cleric offers his profound wisdom on another difficult issue. Why does the vicar make us join in with action songs?

Dear Derek

Why does the vicar make us all do the actions to children's songs?

Dear Sir

What a very good question and assuredly one which resonates with this self-conscious clergyman.

Not being of a particularly extrovert disposition those dreaded words 'audience participation' are guaranteed to send a shiver down this 'buttoned-up' clergyman's spine.

As an aside, it is one reason why our fated sojourn to the Estuary View Holiday Village remains irreversibly etched in my memory banks. In that the nightly entertainment which the staff of this latter day Colditz saw fit to inflict upon the inmates required our active involvement simply compounded the torture of this 'holiday from hell' as I believe my good lady wife termed it. Should you wish to avail yourself of the full gory details, here is a link to my 'blog' which reveals all. 

Back to the question.

Whilst not subscribing to the adage that children should be seen and not heard I nevertheless have good reason for not inflicting 'grown ups' (such as myself) with ministry methods designed for younger folk.

I will admit to having made a brief foray into the world of the aforementioned 'action songs' on the occasion of St. Cliff's Sunday school anniversary but a pending personal injury claim resulting from my over-exuberant platform demonstration has put paid to a repeat performance.

I had always considered 'Wide, wide as the ocean' to be a harmless ditty from the back catalogue of Sunday school classics but I fear that any fond memories or affection I had for this chorus has been blighted for ever more.

Of course I have only myself to blame for standing too close to Mrs Higginbottom (St. Cliff's discordant and none-too-melodious organist) as I flung my arms wide with as much gusto as I could muster.

The ensuing black eye which I inflicted upon the poor lady (and the impending litigation) was not part of the plan.

It is for these reasons that I have decided to pen a 'chorus' of my own in the hope that adults will never again have to partake in 'action songs'.

Although it is unlikely that such 'top drawer' writers of hymns as Wesley and Newton will be turning in their graves for fear of being usurped by my humble profferings I am nonetheless quietly confident that 'A statue for the Lord' (as I have provisionally entitled the song) will one day be added to the chorus compendium.

As I stand in solidarity with all who each Sunday breathe a sigh of relief when those immortal words 'It is time for the children to leave us' are uttered (and the looming threat of 'action song' participation is lifted for yet another week) let my song be something around which we can all rally.

'I'm a statue for the Lord.
I'm a statue for the Lord.
I'm standing still,
In God's will,
I'm a statue for the Lord.'
Onward and upward


Derek the Cleric is the fictitious creation of award-winning writer and illustrator Andy Robb. Find out more about Derek the Cleric (and Andy Robb) on Derek's Facebook page:



This article was written and published by The Editor for


Ask Derek the Cleric: Why action songs? Discussion

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Kimm said...
April 29th, 2012 at 1:00PM • Reply

I don't think action songs were what Jesus had in mind when we were encouraged to be prepared to be 'foolish' for the Lord. If it was my first tentative visit into a church on Sunday, action songs would definitely put me off coming again. Not sure what the point of them is supposed to be? The children in our congregation watch the batty adults with expressions bordering on horror.

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