Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ

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Scripture References

Further Reflections on Scripture References

This text is a joyful, unusual coalescence of elements; far from a typical communion song, it speaks both of being fed and of feeding. The sharing of the body of Christ is at the center, but the benefits highlighted by the text are unity and empowerment. Sharing the feast of the Lord’s Supper affects the broader world; the earth itself “breaths again” as the Living Lord is remembered.


Sing!  A New Creation


Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ

Additional Prayers

A Prayer of Thanksgiving
God of earth’s bounty, you grow grain and grapes in the annual miracle of planting and harvest. Now let bread and grape feed both body and soul with the substance of your blessed Son, in whom we pray. Amen.
— Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.

Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ

Tune Information

C Major
Meter refrain


Musical Suggestion

Since its composition, “Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ” has been sung at several assemblies of the World Council of Churches and is now being sung at communion services throughout the world. It is a natural choice for use on Worldwide Communion Sunday, the first Sunday in October.
Surely one reason for the hymn’s widespread popularity is its music. The tune LINSTEAD is a lively, spirited Jamaican folk tune that is easy to learn and fun to sing. Youngsters especially will find the jazzy syncopations irresistible, and even the youngest children can memorize the four-bar refrain.
The song is even more effective when rhythm instruments, such as maracas and claves, are employed.
If you are fortunate enough to own some congas, encourage your drummer to improvise around the rhythmic pattern found in the first bar of the melody.
The keyboard part is written to be playable on the organ, but piano or keyboard seems a more natural choice, and improvisation is certainly appropriate. Finally, if you have a bass player in your midst (either upright or electric), have him or her play along to complete the Caribbean sound. All this joyful noise helps remind us of what communion really is: the joyful feast of the people of God.
(from Reformed Worship, Issue 52)
— Alfred V. Fedak

Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ

Author Information

Baptized in the historic St. Bavo Church in Haarlem, Fred Kaan (b. Haarlem, Netherlands, July 27, 1929; d. Penrith, Cumbria, England, October 4, 2009) began his theological education at the University of Utrecht but moved to England in 1952 and completed his studies at Bristol University. Ordained by the United Reformed Church in 1955, he served the Windsor Road Congregational Church in Barry, Wales (1955-­1963), and the Pilgrim Church, Plymouth, England (1963-1968). From 1968 to 1978 he was initially minister-secretary of the International Congregational Council in Geneva, Switzerland, and then executive secretary of the World Alliance of Reformed Churches. He returned to England in 1978 to become the moderator of the Western Midlands Province of the United Reformed Church, after which he served the Central Church in Swindon and the Penhill United Reformed Church (1985-1989). As an ecumenist, Kaan had associations with Christian communities and social action groups throughout the world. He began to write hymns because he wanted to "fill the gaps" not covered by traditional hymnals, especially in the area of the social responsibility demanded by the gospel. Considered one of the important contributors to the recent "explosion" in English hymn writing, Kaan wrote some two hundred hymns and translations. His hymns were collected in Pilgrim Praise (1968, 1972), Break Not the Circle (1975), The Hymn Texts of Fred Kaan (1985), and Planting Trees and Sowing Seeds (1989). Kaan's 1984 doctoral dissertation (Geneva Theological College) is entitled "Emerging Language in Hymnody."
— Bert Polman

Author and Composer Information

DOREEN POTTER (1925-1980) was born in Panama and received her primary and secondary education in Jamaica, where she studied piano and violin. She then moved to England where she trained as a teacher of music at St. Katharine's College in Liverpool. In 1957 she obtained a Licentiate of Music degree at Trinity College, London, where she played violin in several orchestras. She married Philip Potter, who served as general secretary of the World Council of Churches in Geneva. Through that connection she met Fred Kaan and began writing tunes for his texts. In 1975 they published BREAK NOT THE CIRCLE which included twenty new hymns through the Agape division of Hope Publishing Company. "Let Us Talents and Tongues Employ" the "Communion Calypso" to her tune LINSTEAD has become the most popular of the hymns that first appeared in this collection. This hymn is now widely sung all over the world and appears in most all denominational hymnals here in the states. LINSTEAD has also taken on a life of its own and now appears with a number of texts. Hope's new hymnal WORSHIP & REJOICE (2001) has used the tune three times. Unfortunately, Doreen Potter died of cancer at the age of 55 before many of her musical settings achieved popularity.
— Hope Publishing (http://www.hopepublishing.com)
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