Thank you Dave Fellingham!

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A few days a ago, when Terry and I were praying together, we began to sing a song written by Dave Fellingham. It was:

“Almighty God , we come to you, we come before your throne.

We enter by a new and living way, in confidence we come…”

We hadn’t sung it for years, but the words came back to us, and the tune, and it seemed so appropriate.

Later as I reflected on it, I felt overwhelmed with gratitude for those songs that Dave wrote all those years ago. Back in the 70’s and 80’s Christians were ripe for new expressions of worship. The baptism in the Holy Spirit was like rain on the dry ground of evangelical mainstream churches that had become sterile and  rigid, and people were gasping for new life. As they got flooded by the Holy Spirit, fresh desires for worship were awakened and the need grew for new songs. David Fellingham was one of the first to write beautiful new songs at this time. In fact I would say he pioneered a whole new genre.

One of the main features of his songs was that often they were chunks of scripture set to new melodies. This had the excellent effect of helping Christians to absorb truth as they sang. Often the songs were in a new idiom: they seemed complex when Dave introduced them as they were frequently written in different parts for men and women; but once learned they were fun and satisfying to sing, and not difficult at all! The arrangements were innovative and boldly modern at the time. Dave also led the way for a whole raft of instruments to be used as well. At the Downs Bible weeks there was a full orchestra for several years; and later the groups that followed owed a lot of their creativity to Dave’s inspiration.

Of course there were other song writers and worship leaders who began to impact the Christian scene, such as Graham Kendrick, Noel Richards, and Chris Bowater. In America, Integrity music was also greatly instrumental in introducing new songs, sounds and singers. In Australia Hillsongs became hugely influential.

As our church in Brighton, now known as CCK, grew, it became a breeding ground for musicians inspired by Dave Fellingham. It is such a privilege to count among our friends such outstanding worship leaders and song writers as Stuart Townend, Paul Oakley, and the inimitable Phat Fish. Kate and Miles Simmonds (now in Sydney) and Jules Burt, and Simon Brading  are also from CCK , and now many others are following on.

 

Nationally and internationally of course the Christian scene has been so blessed by Matt Redman, Tim Hughes….one could go on and on. Every church you go to has its own worship teams and it is no longer considered new and innovative to be led  by  musicians playing guitars, drums, violins, trumpets, saxophones, keyboards…you name it!

 

But I would pay tribute not just to Dave’s amazing musical ability, but to the desire in his heart to express worship to Jesus and to lead others into his presence and enable them also to worship.  We owe him a lot. He led the way, motivated by passion and love for God, and truly follows in the footsteps of David the Psalmist, “The man anointed by the God of Jacob, Israel’s singer of songs.” (2 Samuel 23:1).

Thank you Dave!

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13 Comments

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13 responses to “Thank you Dave Fellingham!

  1. Thelma Pitcher

    Wendy, we agree with everything you have written. It was like the wind of God flowed through the Church, & Dave was the one to pass it on. Still use the words of his songs in personal devotions and prayer even now.

  2. Donna Walker

    Do you remember “By the working of the strength of his might” with the chorus “He is alive” which took us into the vocal stratosphere?! I still find myself singing very quickly through the verse to remember a passage of scripture!

    • Do you or anyone know, are the “Downsweek ” songs available on CD ? The tapes have long ago been eaten by the tape player but parts of the songs keep coming out of my mind and mouth. such good songs.

  3. Bryan McGill

    We had great songs and music at Downes – not that the current crop of songs don’t have good theology but the music is not as good in my opinion. And good article, Wendy. You said it all for us.

  4. Agreed. Musically some of Dave’s songs sound very dated now alongside more recent worship songs, but nothing before or since has crammed in so much pure scripture. It’s thanks to his songs that I have big hunks of Ephesians not just memorised but alive in me heart. I would love to see some of the modern worship writers adopt this approach.

  5. Beryl Ashton

    I totally agree, and feel very blessed to have such wonderful songs saturate mind, body and spirit over the years! Thankyou Dave.!

    • We bought the cds that Dave re-released at his farewell concert at CCK the other year. It was great listening to all these “golden oldies”. I hadn’t listened to some of them for years but the memories came flooding back.
      The great thing about Dave Fellingham is that although he is a genius song writer he is also “an all round good guy”. I so appreciate the love and support I had from Dave and Rosie over many years at Clarendon (CCK).
      Marilyn

  6. When you have learned scripture through song, the song is always associated with the scripture, the two seem to work together in your spirit

  7. In Terrible as an army with Banners” Dave gives Ephesians 3v10 a refreshing twist “….. Bringing to life the purpose of God”. God has promised “My word will never come back void” If we use His word and are IN His will then that is whatt I expect to Happen. Thanks Dave for refreshing insight into scripture.

  8. When I die I want “Wonderful Love Coming to me” sung as a testimony to His love and grace.

  9. Singing “We will rise, we will meet Him in the air when He comes again…” never fails to draw me to the Holy Spirit with such a great truth. I wonder if the “air” is the spiritual realm lost at the fall when perhaps we lost spiritual vision, enabling Satan to hide in plain sight. When Jesus returns, will Satan and his hordes suddenly find they have nowhere to hide ? What a thought.

    There are endless sxamples of what Daves writing has done for me, “Thanks Dave”

  10. Apollo Gomes

    Was pretty distraught when I just couldn’t recall this wonderful inspirational song by Dave Fellingham which we used to sing in our church in days gone by, some 3 decades back in Mumbai (near Bandra), then Bombay. ‘Terrible as an army with banners’ is one such song.Can we have a link to this clip by Dave ? Would like to reintroduce this song based partly because on Colossians 1:26 ‘ the mysteries that are hidden in Christ ‘ – which believers must appropriate rightfully as their inheritance.
    Had been saved in an NFI outreach of late 1984 where Duncan & Arun led and would very much like to have the lyrics as the tune is still keeps haunting and alive !! Praise Jesus !
    Regards and sincere regards and fondly in mind despite some unsavoury moments of a time, thankfully all long erased by the Holy Spirit.But these are some of the pleasant memories & would like to keep Alive !!.
    PS Had written to Terry some decades back when there the breakdown in Mumbai.

  11. Apollo Gomes

    Was pretty distraught when I just couldn’t recall this wonderful inspirational song by Dave Fellingham which we used to sing in our church in days gone by, some 3 decades back in Mumbai (near Bandra), then Bombay. ‘Terrible as an army with banners’ is one such song.Can we have a link to this clip by Dave ? Would like to reintroduce this song based partly because on Colossians 1:26 ‘ the mysteries that are hidden in Christ ‘ – which believers must appropriate rightfully as their inheritance.
    Had been saved in an NFI outreach of late 1984 where Duncan & Arun led and would very much like to have the lyrics as the tune is still keeps haunting and alive !! Praise Jesus !
    Regards and sincere regards and fondly in mind despite some unsavoury moments of a time, thankfully all, long erased by the Holy Spirit.But these are some of those pleasant memories & would like to keep them Alive !!.
    PS Had written to Terry some decades back when there the breakdown in Mumbai.

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