Tony Cummings spoke to the worship leader from Causeway Coast Vineyard Church, KATHRYN SCOTT
Having written one of the classic worship songs of the post-war years, "Hungry", singer, songwriter and pastor Kathryn Scott is surprisingly low key in her attitude towards the music industry. However, with the release of her 'Sing On The Battlefield' mini-album this powerfully anointed lady is once again in the spotlight. She and her husband Alan pastor the Causeway Coast Vineyard Church in Northern Ireland which takes up much of her time though she still makes regular ministry jaunts to the USA, where on every occasion she is asked to sing "Hungry". Now with her new studio project 'Sing On The Battlefield' for Tony Patoto's The Fuel Music, the media is once again wanting to talk to this most talented of singing ministers. I asked Kathryn whether she found it difficult to find the right level of worship focus in the sterile environment of a studio. She responded, "Because we'd been using these songs in church, and in various conferences and things like that, it starts to give you a feel of what happens in the room when you need it. So then when you bring it to the studio, you just close your eyes and go back to that place again - try and recapture that."
Was she, I asked, a prolific songwriter? "No, I'm not prolific," she chuckled. "I used to be. Since I wrote 'Hungry', way back, I don't write as many songs. I used to write literally hundreds of songs, then it slowed down a lot. That is something that used to bother me and doesn't anymore. I have a lot of plates spinning - I'm a mother, a senior pastor, a worship leader and a songwriter. To give all of yourself to all of those things, for me meant the songwriting has not been prolific; but I do want it to be profound when I do write. That's my cunning plan!"
There are several powerful anthems on her latest recording. She spoke about "We Still Believe". "In 2010 my younger sister and her husband were expecting their first baby. Everything was going great until the 20-week scan revealed that something was wrong with the way their little girl's brain was developing. Over the months that followed, we prayed our best prayers; we fasted; we held on as tight as we could to every shred of hope; but nothing changed. Cara Rose was born in May, beautiful in every way, but not healed. She lived for 16 days. We were devastated. People would try to help by saying it was just her time, or that God had a reason behind it all; but none of that sat well with me. The more I read the Scripture, the more I could see God's faithfulness, his kindness, his unrelenting goodness. I also started to see more clearly that we have an enemy at large, and his is the domain of sickness, disease and death. It totally grounded me, like nothing had before, in the certainty of God's goodness and a different understanding of his sovereignty. I started writing 'We Still Believe' before Cara was born. It was the opening phrase that caught me first: 'From the thankful heart to the battle scarred/From the comforted to those who mourn.' It seemed like an image of the Church to me, all at different stages, and yet family crying out as one: "We still believe, we still believe, we're still surrendering our hearts/Your faithfulness is our reward/We still believe, we still believe, and though the journey has been hard/We will confess your goodness God/We still believe.' Even now, it stirs hope in the very depths of my soul. There is nothing beyond the reach of his goodness, whether we see the fulfilment of the longings we carry now, or when we see him face-to-face. And for each one of us who have known the agony of the 'not yet,' the day is coming when Jesus himself will wipe every tear away, and we will enter into his rest."
A song on her CD which she didn't write is Aaron Keyes' "Sovereign Over Us". She enthused, "Aaron wrote this incredible song and we have been using it for quite some time in our church at home. The language of the goodness of God in the middle of 'what the enemy planned for evil' really resonates with us as a community. We have chosen to relentlessly pursue the 'impossible' of the Kingdom - the impossible of loving our neighbour as ourselves; of healing the sick; of casting out demons and seeing the dead raised; of self-control; of forgiveness. It's ALL impossible without complete reliance on the Holy Spirit and surrender to him. And it takes tenacity! For now, we still live in a world where things are not yet as they will be when Jesus returns. That means we have to learn how to deal with disappointment so that we don't become disappointed people, or we will give up on what we've been called to do. It is powerful to sing out, 'Your plans are still to prosper/You have not forgotten us/You're with us in the fire and the flood/Faithful forever, perfect in love/You are sovereign over us.' It is a stunning truth that puts wind back in our sails and helps us pray for the next one, and the next one; to love the next one; to serve our city; to love our Father with everything we've got; to not give up. 'Even what the enemy meant for evil/You turn it for our good/You turn it for our good and for your glory/Even in the valley you are faithful/You're working for our good/You're working for our good and for your glory!'"
The anthem which is making most impact with listeners is the title track. Kathryn commented, "Many times the songs I write begin with an image in my mind that I simply describe with lyrics and wrap in melody. 'Sing On The Battlefield' was just that. I saw myself standing on a battlefield, in the middle of all hell breaking loose. I was exhausted. My sword, drawn and bloodied, was too heavy to lift anymore, I stood staring at the ground, trying to catch my breath. Then something caught my attention. I lifted my eyes and saw him. Jesus was right there in the heat of the battle, looking straight at me. All at once, I was overcome by his presence and couldn't help but sing. As I described what I had seen in my mind's eye to my husband, I used the phrase, 'He makes me sing on the battlefield,' and as soon as it was out of my mouth, I knew it was the beginning of a song. The bridge, taken from Isaiah 60, happened in a spontaneous moment during worship in our home church and is one of my favourite moments every time I lead this song: 'Arise, shine/Arise, shine, for the glory of the Lord is risen on you.' I love the way the Lord uses it to unlock broken hearts. There's something about making a declaration of truth when we're caught up in the fray that sets a different atmosphere over our hearts. 'You make me sing on the battlefield/You make me dance through these tears/You grace my heart to believe again/You make me sing on the battlefield."
Kathryn is from a remarkable Christian music dynasty. She began her recording career as part of The Rainey Family with parents Roy and Mildred Rainey. Remarkably, after five decades of music-making, Mildred Rainey is still ministering and recently led worship at Keswick Convention, Portstewart. Said Kathryn with real admiration, "My mum and dad are incredible. They're still really going strong." Such is the quality of Kathryn's music that it seems likely that her ministry too will stretch out for several more decades.The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.