William L. Wallace Collection

Hymns and Other Worship Materials

William (Bill) Livingstone Wallace is a retired New Zealand Methodist Minister and one of our most prolific contributors. Bill says that his work springs from communicating with the fire in his gut and his observation of both the internal and external aspects of the Cosmos. Since an early age, he has been both sympathetic to and critical of the church, announcing at the age of 13 his belief in evolution. In his youth, he struggled with the disconnection between art and spirituality in his own and other denominations and with the way in which all of the liturgies prior to the sermon were regarded as preliminaries and longer sermons were viewed as superior to more concise ones.

At varsity, he found an intellectual home in the ecumenism and radicalism of the Student Christian Movement, and at theological college was frustrated to discover that neither these nor liturgy were regarded as major elements in the curriculum. In parish life, he found that writing hymns was a more acceptable way of presenting radical thoughts than sermons. They allowed these thoughts to slide into the mind on the back of music.

His radicalism sprang from his experiences as a laborer and his exposure to great inequality in the Philippines. It was these that led him to abandon the idea that wealth is a gift from God and with it the belief in an intervening deity.

Bill found his true spiritual home when he was introduced to the Christian mystics, especially Hildegard of Bingen and Meister Eckhart. This explains why he has sometimes been called a prophetic mystic.

Along with his parish work, Bill was the hymn selector for the Praise Be Television Program. He also chaired Contemporary Hymns N.Z. Ltd. and was the convener of the N.Z. Methodist Media and Communications Committee. He was the inaugural chair of the N.Z. branch of the Interfaith World Conference on Religion and Peace and initiated the formation of a Citizen’s Advice Bureau, an adventure playground, a suburban team ministry, and coordinated a Community Care Centre.

He holds a B.A. in philosophy and a Dip. Ed. and is the author of nine published collections of his hymns as well as other resources on our website. His aim is to help people be empowered by the divine within them and the Cosmos and to work to overthrow the forces of personal and institutional greed which destroy both the ecosystem and human society.

Click here for a complete list of his work on ProgressiveChristianity.org

Additional Hymns by Bill can be found on Hymnary.org

Some of Bill’s Collections on our website:
Boundless Life Hymns
Festive Worship
Seasoned Celebrations: Winter, Fall, Spring, Summer
Sing Young, Sing Joyfully
Celebrating Mystery Hymns

Bill’s newest collection of hymns, Cosmic Mystery.

His hymns have appeared in 13 different denominational hymn books, 17 other hymn collections, and other worship material has been included in 15 different anthologies. All of these are suitable for most Progressive Christians. However, they do not address the problem that an increasing number of Christians are facing, namely the difficulty of belief in an intervening God.

In New Zealand, where Bill lives, the last Census showed that about 50% of the population claimed to have no religious affiliation at all making it one of the most secular countries in the world. Bill does not believe that God has died but rather believes that a metaphysical tribal intervening God is dying. In Bill’s opinion, so is the belief in dualism, i.e., the belief that everything can be divided up into a series of self-contained opposites and that, therefore, as a consequence, there are no systems religious or otherwise, that are totally superior in all respects to all other systems.

What is also beginning to die is the belief in the supremacy of words which Christianity has been blighted with since the Reformation. Scientists are now beginning to affirm that there always will be mystery beyond what they have discovered. So what we need is the mystic, cosmic mystery that is beyond words coupled with the evolving scientific revelation of the nature of the cosmic processes.

In Bill’s belief, attempting to control the actions of God through the manipulation of prayers is best replaced by increasing awareness of God’s processes within the evolution of the Cosmos and of ourselves.

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