Integrity Music and The Porter's Gate, a sacred ecumenical arts collective, release their second single, "The Earth Shall Know," featuring Casey J, Leslie Jordan, and Urban Doxology. The song is available today and will appear on the upcoming project, Neighbor Songs, slated to release October 25.
Artists featured on Neighbor Songs include Josh Garrels, Audrey Assad, Casey J, Leslie Jordan (from All Sons & Daughters), Zach Bolen (of the band Citizens), Urban Doxology, Diana Gameros, Latifah Alattas, Lauren Goans, and Paul Zach, among others.
"'The Earth Shall Know' is a special song to me," says David Bailey, founder of Urban Doxology. "It's a song that brings people together. It's become a call to worship and rally cry for unity in mission both in our local church in Richmond, VA and CCDA churches all around the country. It invites the Body of Christ to consider the 'other' both inside the church and outside the church, and ends with an anthem of intercession for God to 'Heal the land, meet the needs, and set the captives free!' That prayer is both a prayer for God to do what only God can do, but also for us to partner with God as the heart, hands, and feet of God."
The Porter's Gate was founded in 2017 by Isaac and Megan Wardell with a mission to be a "porter" for the Christian Church - one who looks beyond church doors for guests to welcome. It started as a group of 50-plus songwriters, musicians, scholars, pastors and music industry professionals from a variety of worship traditions and cultural backgrounds gathered for meaningful conversation about worship and vocation. The result was the release of Work Songs.
They hosted a second gathering in Nashville in January 2019; but this time, they intentionally curated a select group of greater diversity boasting more than 50 songwriters, theologians, pastors and worship leaders from a variety of cultures and worship traditions. The intent was to cross lines of difference in order to facilitate healthy conversations.
"I really believe that any church in America could find a song on this record that could be done in their church," Isaac Wardell asserts. "This project has emerged out of a local congregation. These creative ideas have flowed out of conversations with real church leaders and pastors and worship leaders. We hope this project actually lands back in the pews and in the hymnals and in the choir lofts of real churches all around America."
Coming to this event with an open mind and an open heart was key for those who gathered to work on Neighbor Songs. The eclectic range of thought, ethnicity, and belief helped shape the diverse musicality of the resulting project that showcases everything from Gospel and modern worship to neo-classical and Mexican Ranchero - the distinct outcome of pairing unlikely collaborators.
"We wanted to involve the people who are really dealing with the pressing questions and issues of our times - the people who are coming face-to-face in a daily way with people's doubts and struggles and questions about the Christian faith - and put those people in the room with songwriters and worship leaders," Wardell continues. "In many cases, we actually paired theologians and songwriters together in the songwriting process. We had a lot of beautiful, surprising moments of really coming up with things that could not have been written any other way except having that group of people in the room."