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Sept. 11 anthem from LifeWay: ‘United Through It All’

This is America! We’ll rise above it all!
We’re united in our victory, united in our cause;
We’ll stand against all enemies, Liberty has no walls.
We are stronger than those towers, this country will not fall;
We are Americans! United through it all.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)–The days following Sept. 11, 2001, were filled with patriotism. American flags waved from every car, home and business. Countless people made the pilgrimage to ground zero in New York to pay their final respects. Patriotic anthems were sung with renewed vigor.

Gradually, however, choruses of “America the Beautiful” faded, and as the anniversary of Sept. 11 approaches, Christians must ask themselves, “What do we do now?”

For Randall Bayne, Michael Allen and Steve Mauldin, the answer was simple: offer an anthem of hope. Through an inspiring series of events, the three men penned “United Through it All” shortly after the attacks.

Just two days before the attacks, Bayne stood atop the World Trade Center, enjoying the view of the harbor. Two days later, as he prepared for a trip to an annual gospel quartet convention in Louisville, Ky., he watched the horror unfold on his television.

“I decided to go to the convention anyway,” Bayne said. “I felt like God wanted to me fulfill this commitment I had made.” Bayne continued to listen to news reports as he drove to Kentucky.

“It was all just so overwhelming, and eventually I just had to pull over and collect my thoughts. That’s when the lyrics to ‘United Through It All’ just came to me. It was totally from God.” Bayne scribbled out the words on the back of a bank statement, and in five minutes he had sketched out the rough outline to the song.

After arriving in Louisville, Bayne was joined by Allen, an engineer and songwriter from Charleston, S.C. Bayne shared his lyrics with Allen, and together the two worked on the finishing touches until 4 a.m.

Later, Bayne shared the song with Mauldin, an award-winning producer from Nashville, Tenn. Mauldin offered some lyrical advice, then recruited some musicians from the quartet convention hall to record the tracks on Friday morning. The following Monday the tracks were engineered in Nashville at Westhouse Studio by Keri West.

“It was amazing,” Bayne said. “Thirty minutes after sharing the song with Steve we had a quartet singing it … and one day later we were in the studio cutting a single. Since, we have just prayed for God’s blessing on it, that this song will touch other people’s lives.”

In just four short days, “United Through It All” was conceived, written, performed and recorded. But God wasn’t finished with the anthem yet.

Rhonda Buescher, managing director for music publishing and recording of LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention, had once taught Bayne at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. The two stayed in touch over the years and Bayne often visited Buescher when he was in Nashville on business. Soon after recording “United Through It All” he made one of those visits.

“Randy visited me on this occasion and showed me the song out of excitement about its acceptance by school and military performing organizations,” Buescher said.

Bayne invited Buescher and her husband to a concert featuring a performance of the song by the United States Army Field Band and Soldiers Chorus during a music educators national conference, which was later televised by TNN, a nationwide cable network.

“I saw the song’s potential and shared it with Jim Gibson, the director of [LifeWay] music, publishing and recording, who encouraged me to pursue use of the song,” Buescher said. “I scheduled a lunch meeting with Steve Mauldin and his wife, Deborah, to discuss the possibility of LifeWay having the exclusive print rights to the song in the Christian marketplace.

“We really wanted to publish this song because we see its potential for ministry,” Buescher continued. “We anticipate that major secular and Christian artists will record and popularize the song soon, and we know that church and school choirs will then be interested in performing the song for Sept. 11 memorial services in the months ahead.”

LifeWay Christian Resources has taken “United Through It All” and used it as a foundation to offer Christians ways to cope with the upcoming anniversary of Sept. 11.

“What this song does is not so much express our anger as express our commitment,” said Gene Mims, vice president of LifeWay’s church resources division. “It is so important right now for us to be united. There is hope, not defeat, in what happened on 9/11. God was not taken by surprise, nor is he powerless to act. We need to discover where God is at work and join him. The events of 9/11 not only galvanized Americans, it has united them.

“There is no one more patriotic than an evangelical Christian,” Mims continued. “A lot of churches will unite around this and be very mindful of our leadership in this time. Christians have incredible ministry opportunities as our country undergoes change as a result of 9/11. Sometimes we forget that we are at war. But as Christians, we must realize that on a broader scope the kingdom of God is always at war. There is evil in the world and as citizens of the kingdom, we need to be mindful of that.”

In conjunction with Sunday, Sept. 8, being set aside as United Through It All Emphasis Sunday, LifeWay will offer a large array of resources for churches and ministry leaders to assist in dealing with the anniversary of Sept. 11. These resources are expected to be available on LifeWay’s www.lifeway.com/unitedthroughitall website Aug. 1.

“We want to give churches a resource for services,” said Jim Johnston, managing director of publishing services and multimedia. “If a pastor or minister of music is struggling with what to do for their services commemorating 9/11, we want to offer them some choices.

“In no way are we dictating to churches,” he said. “We understand how time-pressured church staffs are, and we would like to offer them a centralized location to find quality sermon aids.”

LifeWay will offer many online, downloadable resources, including drama ideas, sermon illustrations, video backdrops and Sunday School supplements. Many of these resources will be geared toward both church and community services.

Anyone accessing the www.lifeway.com/unitedthroughitall site also can listen to clips from the song, order music and download or purchase other related resources.

“At this time, we are moving past feeling to trying to understand,” Mims said. “We at LifeWay are trying to offer resources to those who are seeking knowledge and understanding. As we reflect on the cost of freedom, we can point others to the freedom from sin available through Christ. In his freedom, we can withstand evil days and endure the changes in our lifestyles that inevitably result from 9/11.”

    About the Author

  • Brandy Campbell