God's Secret Weapon
Henri always said music is our secret weapon and it was the singing which had the greatest impact on me when I first encountered the Glory experience. As a child I was always fascinated by the piano. In my family there was a lot of music, and my cousin was a child prodigy on the piano. On my fathers side my cousin was a professional singer. So there was a lot of music in our family. I was musical in the sense that I sang in the school choir, always very keen on the piano, wanting to play. So whenever I went to visit houses where there was a piano I headed straight for it, running my fingers up and down the keys but I couldn't play a note. I managed to pick out a melody with one finger, but that was it. In a way there was always something within me that was wanting to express music, but I had no opportunity.
When I was at grammar school they wanted me to take an English degree, but we couldn't afford that so I ended up in journalism. It was through that job that I became involved with Glory meetings, after I was saved in a Methodist church and baptised in the Spirit in a Pentecostal church. On the newspaper where I worked in Mansfield, one of the senior reporters, a chap called Peter Green, a Baptist, was sent to report on a Henri's Glory Rally in the Co-op Hall in Mansfield. He came back with a couple of Glory News and threw them on my desk, "You've had an experience", he said, "These might suit you". I took them home and read them from cover to cover. I can't describe the sensation but it was almost like coming home to me. There was a Spirit about it that wrapped itself all around you. I wanted to know more. I noticed there was an advert for Glory Tapes and I remember sending off for these tapes and getting this letter back from Henri. "Praise the Lord lad! Glory Hallelujah! Hope these tapes bless you and you'll get the Glory!"
I'd never heard anything quite like this and I can actually cast my mind back to the room at home when I put these tapes on the reel to reel recorder. It was a Mansfield open air meeting in the Market Place and I remember the effect the singing, and the music had on me. Immediately I heard it, it I felt something inside. I can't find words to express it. Unless you have been in a Glory meeting and felt the Spirit of the Glory, you can not actually tell people. It was the Love, it was the Joy, it was the blessing, it was God's presence, it was something wholesome, and powerful. I can never explain what came over me, when I first put that tape on. I wanted to be in it, I wanted to be part of it, I wanted to know more about it! So I went and told this reporter that I had heard these tapes, and he said, "Oh it's marvellous; there are huge crowds there every weekend!" He told me about Connie's singing and how it affected people, not just in the Market Place, but in the streets around.
People were stopped in their tracks, listening to her singing, "It is no secret what God can do". The young people at the church where I fellowshipped said, "We'll have to go to Newark". So we went and one of the first choruses they were singing was "Lets all get together, together in the Lord". They were clapping and dancing and I just felt, "I've come home!" This was wonderful, marvellous, and I found myself dancing and shouting and praising God. It was right! It was what I wanted! It released what I had inside. I remember that first meeting so well. We had been singing this particular chorus, "Life is wonderful... I let Jesus in, He changed everything, Life is wonderful now" at the church I attended. When Henri invited two or three of us on the platform, I little knew what it was leading to. I said, "I've got a chorus I'd like to teach you", so even in this first meeting I got up and introduced a new chorus. It wasn't one I had written but it was wonderful to see how the folk were blessed. I was just thrilled with it all, and went regularly to the meetings.
My interest was immediately drawn towards the piano. Hilda was playing the piano and clavoline in those days. I used to stand looking and wishing I could play like that. It was wonderful. On the end of some of the tapes there was a little piece of music, Henri on the accordion with Hilda playing choruses. I thought that there was something of the Spirit in the beat of those choruses. It was the combination of Hilda and Henri which went so well together. I was very blessed to hear Sally Bills singing on those first tapes, and I was interested to know that Sally was composing these choruses. There were people coming to the meetings from all over the country and I got friendly with a couple of nurses from Portsmouth. One of them was Doreen Lyons.
We went down to Portsmouth for a holiday and fellowship at the Baptist Church. They were keen on open air meetings there at Southsea. We used to sing all the Glory choruses. One day the person who was supposed to be playing the accordion didn't turn up; we had the accordion, but no one to play. I said to Doreen, "Give it to me, let me have a go". I picked it up and fiddled about with it for about five minutes and found a few chords on the left hand, and that's what really started it all. After that I used to sit with Hilda and get the beat of the music and it just came. I thought it was just marvellous. I always liked words, and soon after that I just sat down and wrote the chorus, "Take your harp down off that willow". It expressed perfectly what the Glory was all about. It was the first chorus of mine to be put on the back of the Glory News.
When I saw how that chorus blessed people I wanted more. People draw it from you. It wasn't just a question of sitting down and writing choruses, though I was full of the Spirit and I wanted to communicate the blessing in some way. God was leading me in my life, I wanted to spread the Gospel and the Glory. I went to Ireland with David and Glyn Greenow, ministering and sharing, and I found God had given me the gift of communicating His blessing through music and singing. I didn't sit down and actually write choruses, I found it began to be spontaneous with the outpouring of the Spirit and my own experience. Gradually I began to realise that music could be something spontaneous, for the moment.
There would be a message or a testimony in the meeting and suddenly there was a song born there and then to express the experience, the experience of God working in reality in our lives. As every convention came along, for the few months before, I used to find these choruses coming through. By the time we got to the convention there were about half a dozen new choruses waiting to bless the folk. We decided it might be a good idea to make a tape of the choruses, so we set up a recording session and made a series of six on 3 inch reel to reel. I remember we advertised them in the Christian Herald and the response was enormous, not just from the Glory folk, but from everybody. Once people had heard one tape they wanted more. We were really busy in the Glory office; they were gone as fast as we could run them off! There were no fast copiers and no sophisticated recording techniques in those days, but it was sufficient at that time.
Today, people still ring me up for tapes. There are several choruses that stand out. When I was in America with the Camerons, Simon was preaching how the Glory of God would spread everywhere. The chorus "All over the world the Spirit is moving" came to me. I got up and sang it, having instantly tuned in to something that was real in the Spirit. Another chorus, 'The dancing heart' chorus, embodies the reality of 'The Glory' and it's from the Scriptures. It has been a great deliverance to some Christians who are still not persuaded, that dancing and rejoicing are God's way! It's scriptural, it's honest and it works! It's worked in many congregations and in all denominations in many parts of the world.
The Cameron family were greatly blessed by coming down from Peterhead Scotland to Newark. Their Apostolic Church turned on its head. Because of the singing and the dancing, they were on the television in Scotland on several occasions. When Henri went to Peterhead, Charlie Stephen, one of the Camerons' nephews, composed the chorus, 'He set me free my lovely Jesus set me free' and others started writing choruses, including Aunty Janet, another member of the family. I went up to Peterhead and in the car I was singing a few of my choruses and Simon Cameron said, "Are these your choruses?"
After that they couldn't get enough of them. Every time I went to Peterhead they used to sit there with a tape recorder and get me to sing the latest choruses. When they first went over to America, nothing seemed to be working. There didn't seem to be any openings for their ministry. Simon happened to have a tape that I had made for him; no fancy accompaniments, just the piano accordion, no sophisticated recording techniques. He said to his family, "Well, we've got these songs and this music that embodies the Spirit. This can liberate people". So they went to a recording studio and got them to make a master from this tape. They had ten inch vinyl disks made, which were so basic, just like the 1920's gramophone records; not too good in the age of stereo and hi-fi, no fancy covers, just a voice and an accordion.
They went to few meetings with those records, people took them, got blessed, and wanted more. The Glory anointing opened up the door when nothing else could. They went to some huge conventions after that and took the Glory anointing to thousands of people. I remember one convention in Miami Florida, with at least four thousand people. In America Gospel music is big business. There were all these tables, all these stands, marvellous presentation, marvellous covers. The Oak Ridge Boys and other top USA Gospel groups were there. Marvellous recordings and musicianship. The Camerons had a little table in amongst the records with just plain covers yet people used to be queuing to get the Glory recordings. The other groups used to come to John Cameron and ask, "What's the secret? How do these records sell so well?" He used to say, "It's reality! People want reality! People are touched by reality! People are touched by the Spirit of God in these songs!"
The first trip I made to America with them started with a convention at the Shoreham Hotel in Washington DC. We were asked to get up to minister, but we didn't testify, we didn't preach, we just sang, "I want more of Jesus", "I want to live for Jesus every day", "I fell in love with the Nazarene". Afterwards there was a lady who came up to us and told us her name was Georgia Simmonds, She come from Richlands, Virginia. She asked us to join her for a meal. So we all got together with this lady, and she said, "I want to tell you something. When I came to this convention I was as low as I could possibly get. I've lost my husband recently and another family member and I couldn't really see any way forward. When you people started to sing, something I can't describe entered into me.
I went back to my room and I knew I had received something new. I couldn't do anything but rejoice. I wept and I laughed. I laughed and I cried and I've got such a joy I can't describe it. Everything's different now". At that time the Oral Roberts University in Oklahoma was being dedicated by Billy Graham. Georgia said she wanted us to be her guests, and take us to Tulsa. In the station wagon riding along on the way, she told us how her whole life had been changed. "God has blessed me in a way I can't describe", she laughed, "All I can say is I've got a dancing heart". As she said it, something struck me. "That's it," I exclaimed! "Got a paper and pencil?" And as we drove along the Dancing Heart song came just like that, eight verses and a chorus. When we got to Tulsa we knew one or two of the students at the University, and they wanted us to have a meeting, so they hired a hall down in Tulsa.
The Glory meeting was in full swing there when somebody mentioned dancing and I was prompted there and then by the Spirit to introduce the 'Dancing Heart'. I had no tune, just the words. I stood up and just started to sing and really by the end of the six months we were in America, I had sung it thousands of times. It went on and on in the meetings once it started, and set the people dancing. Really, if anything sums up my experience of the Glory, that song is it. God gave me a singing heart, a dancing heart, a praising heart, a thankful heart! It's a very strange thing, hard to explain, but it's different to ordinary Gospel song writing. People ring me up and say, "There's something different about your choruses". Well, they are not my choruses really.
I read somewhere once that what comes from the heart, touches the heart. If it comes from the intellect it will only touch the intellect. If it's coming from the heart or sanctified emotion, transformed emotion, anointed emotion, what ever you want to call it, it touches that part of people, it reaches the soul and spirit. I know that, in a way, this is the problem I have with people, when they ask, "Why aren't you doing it now, why aren't you churning it out now?" People think it's something you can turn on and off, but it's not: my choruses were drawn out of me by my own and other people's experience. I'm not saying it won't happen again. Everything has to be in God's time. I'm sensitive to the Spirit of God and recently I've had one or to things at work in me. There was a period when I did not have any new choruses for a period of several years, and all of a sudden something happened and some of those choruses that came then were richer than before.
Nothing manifests without an origin and God is the One who sows the seeds. I don't like things that are copied or contrived because they don't work, they don't have the reality of experience. There's a side of me wishes that the technology which is around today had been there when I was in full swing with Henri, but I know that God's timing was right and perfect. I get letters now from all over the world, asking to use various choruses, so it's not the technology. Many people still want something clear cut that they can understand, dissect, but you will never be able to do that with the Spirit of God, because God is a law unto Himself. His law is love, and love will manifest in many ways. You will never get joy and peace and love to manifest through man-made efforts.
God's blessing is real; it's not cut and dried; it's not tidy; you can't tidy God or the Spirit of God up and make Him respectable. He's never been respectable in the eyes of men, but He is respectable in the true meaning of the word. The Holy Ghost is a gentleman. He will never push Himself on anybody, He respects our freewill as human beings. The Spirit of God is spontaneous flowing from the heart of God. The blessing takes on a form, it has to take on a form to communicate to us, but it's in the form that the traps come. Forms are always limiting and that's why, from time to time whatever form God's move takes, God Himself will see that that form is shattered. He does this because the form limits the life that is trying to be manifest. The important thing is to let the life keep flowing and for us to be willing to be changed. It is so sad when the move of God becomes a monument.
What happened to Henri was unique; that's not to say it couldn't happen to someone else in just as unique a way. God spontaneously fits each vessel in a unique way to be able to manifest His Glory. The tragedy is that every member of Christ body has that unique ministry, but instead of expressing it so many are looking at somebody else trying to be like them and copy. In a way music does go beyond words because it works on a different level.
There are many instances in the Bible where music brought the anointing. It can elevate or depress. If you look through the choruses God gave me, you will not find negativity. Everything is positive. A major key may appear more positive, but a minor key experience, where everything may seem to be a valley of darkness, is not negative as far as God is concerned, because He, Jesus, is the Lily of the Valley and it's in that valley that our experience often becomes more fruitful. I was staying at Gran Staples once and Sally Bills got on the piano and started to play one of her choruses, "Can you smell the perfume of the ointment, can you feel the presence of Jesus?" and as she sang the room was filled with this beautiful perfume; absolutely unbelievably exquisite.
The love that began to pour out of me was unbelievable. I thought my heart was going to burst with the love that welled up. Nobody can ever tell me that Jesus wasn't in that room, and to me that experience really illustrates what the power of singing in the Spirit can do. If it can release the manifestation of His presence in terms of actually being able to experience that reality physically then there's nothing it cannot do; Healing, Salvation, Deliverance, Glory!!!!!!!. Roy Turner Newark