About

Note from Executive Producer:

Sometimes loss can turn into love, and this is what occurred with our family.   In June of 2013 our family’s home burned to the ground.   Through our faith, the support of family, friends, neighbors, and our community we have been able to rebuild and regroup.  Upon this experience, instead of replacing all that we had before, I decided to try to make a life long dream come true.  I contacted an artist that I had listened to for years and boldly asked if he might consider meeting with me and hearing my ambitions.  He said yes.  I explained to him that my desire, for a very long time, was to take the brilliant words of Reinhold Niebuhr and turn them into a melody where all could hear.  I especially felt that this artist, Billy McLaughlin, would understand and feel what I was envisioning based upon the way his songs moved me.   These words, taken from The Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr, were first shared with me by my grandfather.  I have always felt that they are incredibly far-reaching and can not only bring peace to those with chemical addictions, but also to those who have experienced loneliness, depression, food disorders, mental illness, physical illness, financial difficulty, discrimination, oppression, and all forms of abuse.   I am currently a graduate student of Northwestern University in St. Paul, MN and working on my Master’s in Divinity.  Through my coursework, I have learned that Reinhold was a Professor of Divinity at Yale University and the words that he so brilliantly crafted were not by chance.   It is in great honor of his wisdom that we bring you The Serenity Prayer through song in hopes that it resonates deep within you and heals what ails you.

May God’s Face Shine Upon You, Today, Tomorrow, and Always,

Lori, Rachel, & Evan Morris Werch

graceandtruthinpresence@gmail.com

 

Note from Composer:

When you hear from a friend after a long gap it’s always so great to hear their voice. So it was when Lori Morris Werch called me recently during what was a brutally long MN winter. She explained that she was excited to be moving back into her home which had burned down months ago after we last talked.  “The two things that got me through those hard months of living with my two kids in a hotel were your music Billy and my favorite prayer…..the one that starts ‘God grant me the serenity to accept’ and I have an idea about how to celebrate our survival of this ordeal.”

I said, “Take your kids to San Diego for a week and get out of this cold and snow.”

‘No, we just want to get re-settled and finally be home. I want to put the two things that helped me the most together and fulfill a dream I have had since I was little. I want you, Billy, to write a song for the prayer and produce the recording . Instead of spending money on a trip I want more people in the world who are going through tough times within or outside the recovery community to feel the power of those words!”

My immediate response was, “Lori, that’s not what I do as a musician. It’s not really what I’m good at. Songwriting takes a very long time for me and I might not come up with anything to make words that weren’t written in typical song rhythm to flow. Plus those words are so important to so many people that it’s too intimidating so I have to say no even though I’m honored you asked.”

“Well Billy I know you can do this and you don’t have to decide right away. Please think about it and I’ll call you in a week. Talk to you then!”

The next morning I followed my usual routine of starting the coffee pot and doing the dishes so the coffee would finish brewing just as the last dish is put away. I was my usual half-awake self as I dug into the dishes and I just started singing a little melody that was running through my head during the night. As I was putting the last dish away and filling my coffee cup I realized that the words to the prayer fit the melody perfectly with just a repeated portion of the last phrase. The song had come to me in my dream and I was already singing it by my first cup of coffee!!! I couldn’t believe it!!!

I called Lori and sang it to her over the phone.  The project I said no to is here for you now because she made it possible by skipping vacation, convincing a reluctant composer to reconsider, and allowing me to pull together ( with the invaluable assistance of arranger and co-producer Nate Sabin) a world-class group of talented musicians who captured the passion and power of the Serenity Prayer.

If this song resonates with you and the people you choose to share it with, like me we can all be grateful for how Lori chose to celebrate the most awful situation by making a gift of music to share a powerful message of healing with the world.

Billy McLaughlin
billy@billymclaughlin.com

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