Wild Birds


We are God’s good people of St George’s,
God’s folk of ocean capes and bays.
We are all worshipping our Saviour,
serving our God through all of our days.

We all take joy from wide-winged osprey
who fly so high, and then go higher:
their praise, their joy and their exultation
will lift up our hearts and so inspire.

We lift our eyes to curlew sandpipers
who cross the seas to nest and feed:
in freedom they set out on their long journeys,
and for their faith God meets their need.

O Holy Spirit, teach us to be wild birds,
to fly with you, praise from the heart:
to follow with courage, to cherish the journey,
so living and trusting to take our part.

  • Ted Witham, Pentecost 2015
  • Metre 98 98 (St Clement)
  • Curlew sandpiper. Migrating annually from the Arctic to SW Australia

    Back in the early 1990s, the late Bob Waterhouse, a priest friend, wrote a song for his parish, The Wild Geese. I thought it might be good to sing this song for Pentecost 2015 at St George’s in Dunsborough. But Fr Bob’s words are specific to St Matthew’s, and the wild geese are not native to Dunsborough. So, inspired by Bob’s song, I gifted the song below to the parish of Dunsborough, who sung it for the first time with appropriate devotion.

    Cape Naturaliste via Dunsborough

WIde-winged eastern osprey

Those Who Wait Upon Our God

Let us sing before our God
to hear each one’s harmony,
Let us make a choir of joy
and like the birds join melody.

Those who wait upon our God
shall rise up like birds in flight,
Those who quiet their hearts in praye
r shall be so filled with delight.

Let us come before our God
meditating in quiet prayer,
Let us keep our minds in peace:
Holy Spirit more aware.

With Saint Francis as our guide
in prayers let’s gaze on our Lord:
With Saint Clare who lifts the bread
faith with courage to record.

Let us turn to each in love
strengthened with God’s living grace,
Binding up the poor and lost,
Bringing love to every place.

Those who wait upon our God
shall rise up like birds in flight,
Those who quiet their hearts in prayer
shall be so filled with delight.

Ted Witham 2014

77.77 Monkland TiS 83

When the Bay mists with grey

When the Bay mists with grey
and your voice calls in squalls,
I praise your Name in awe.
When the loud swirling cloud
of the storm is your form,
I praise your Name in awe.

When our Star from afar
warms the day with its ray,
I praise your Name in joy.
When white and gold flash bold,
a wildflower shows your power,
I praise your Name in joy.

When the song sweet and strong
of a bird speaks your Word,
I praise your Name in awe.
When our friends kind acts send
and their care is a prayer,
I praise your Name in joy.

  • Ted Witham 2014
  • 666D ‘Laudes Domini’ (TIS 227)


Saint Elizabeth of Hungary

We praise you, God, for your great saint
Elizabeth of Hungary:
the queen who gave her throne away
to learn to live in poverty.

Like your dear Son, she chose to not
take her great wealth as her just due:
with love, she emptied out her claim
and humbly meek, she followed you.

To serve her friends became her life,
she built a hospice for the poor;
she helped the sick, and left the court
to study God for evermore.

Franciscan friars taught her that
to love God is the highest call.
Not only did she serve her peers,
but now her life inspires us all.

Franciscan sisters in the West
honoured her name in Bunbury;
they helped new settlers make a life
in their hardship and poverty.*

Teach us, dear God, deep gratitude
for all the wealth you’ve given us.
Teach us to take the narrow way
that leads us to be generous.

Let us like saint Elizabeth
make serving God our highest aim.
We give ourselves for others’ need
to magnify Christ Jesus’ Name.


* The Anglican Sisters of St Elizabeth of Hungary (OSEH) served in south-west Australia in the 20th Century. They earned the nickname “The Little Grey Sparrows“.

Metre: 88 88 “Morning Hymn” TiS 557, TH 11

Saint Elizabeth of Hungary – The Miracle of the Roses by Gustave Moreau

Love, All Love

The heart of our God is love, all love;
Love fills the Universe with love.
The galaxies sway their loving song;
Each living cell beats out with love.

The heart of Jesus is love, all love;
He raised the lowly, embraced the poor;
He mends the broken and rises from dying,
Lives on to love for evermore.

The heart of Francis is love, all love;
Embraced the leper, clung to the Cross.
He sings in joy, he’s humble in loving;
God All in All, all else is loss.

The heart of living is love, all love;
Love fills our hearts, turns to the Son.
With bread and wine the love inside us,
We take this love to everyone.

Ted Witham 2010
Written for the WA Third Order Convocation 2010
Metre 9898 St Clement TIS 458
O Waly, Waly TIS 536

I’d Like to Rise Up

I’d like, I’d like to rise up,
I’d like to be yeast for you.
I’d like, I’d like to sing joy,
to fill the world with you.

I need your Living Presence,
I need to know you’re near.
I need you to live. I need—
to leave behind my fear.

I need your Present Power,
I need to know you’re strong.
I need you to live. I need —
to give voice to my song.

You choose to freely give your love.
You chose to lift the Christ.
You choose us to live. You choose —
us in praise to rise.

© Ted Witham tssf 2009 Salley Gardens (TIS 674)
or 7676D Ellacombe (TIS 361)


The Resurrection of Jesus