Canadian worship leader ROBERT CRITCHLEY answered questions from Tony Cummings.

Robert Critchley
Robert Critchley

Tony: Make with your biography.

Robert: I live near Midland, Ontario with my wife Dawn and children Bethany, Noah and Elijah. I have been involved in worship leading ministry and songwriting for 20 years. I served on the staff of Toronto Airport Christian fellowship as a senior worship leader from Sept1995-Jan2003 and continue to serve TACF as an associate minister, leading worship at conferences and renewal services. I am a featured worship leader on the Worship Experience, Catch The Fire recordings as well as numerous indie releases. Probably my best known song is "What A Faithful God". My wife Dawn and I penned the words in 1988 a short time after our son Gideon at just two days old went to be with Jesus. The song reflects a revelation of the God Of All Comfort's faithfulness to us through a difficult time.

Tony: How did you come to record a hymn project?

Robert: I have always loved the hymns and used them in worship services. I grew up on hymns in the Anglican Church. Steven Doherty of Kingsway and John Hartley were visiting last January (2003) whilst taking in some of the Pastor's conference at TACF. Steven has always encouraged me regarding my treatment and use of traditional hymns. John, having heard them in a live conference setting, conspired with Steve about doing an album with me using traditional hymns with a contemporary arrangement. There have been many such projects produced so we were looking to do something unique in content and sound that would take the listener into the presence of God.

Tony: How did you find working with John Hartley?

Robert: Working with John was amazing. Meeting him was like meeting a lifetime friend. I was already acquainted with the quality of his work as reflected in his CD 'Heaven And Earth'. He was really interested in me working with material that I was passionate about. In a like manner he was dedicated to getting a passionate performance from me. I have never been pushed so hard in tracking but I learned a ton from John about capturing feeling and intensity as well as "a good take technically". He pursues excellence but is very gracious in his manner. John is a great guy.

Tony: What's your favourite hymn and why?

Robert: It is honestly difficult for me to pick a favourite hymn, but right up there on the list would be "Fairest Lord Jesus". I love being outside in nature. A walk through the woods or along the seashore often puts me in a worshipful mood as I reflect on how awesome our creator is. As breathtaking as nature can be, it can never compare with the beauty of the one who created it. CR

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