Emmanuel was the name of two groups who composed, performed and led worship music in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s. In the course of events, the two groups (one in Ohio, the other New Mexico) “came together” and their music, to some extent, merged.
This page features four albums between the two Emmanuels. As with much of the legacy of the Charismatic Renewal, it deserves to be remembered and disseminated, and we are pleased to do so.
- More music by Jim Cowan and John Flaherty (both of whom are featured on this page) can be obtained from International Liturgy Publications, and my thanks to Vince Ambrosetti for letting me know.
- This page has taken something of “life of its own” since it was first posted. The Steubenville covenant community which produced most of these albums ended up in the “Sword of the Spirit” group until a 1991 episcopal visitation put an end to it. Some from this community discuss these times in the Facebook group Covenant Community: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. My heartfelt thanks to John Flaherty for his support of this page and his work in forwarding the discussion concerning this part of modern Pentecost.
God, You Are My Refuge (EM001) 1977
People who attended any of the conferences (youth and leaders) at the Catholic Charismatic (and Franciscan) University of Steubenville in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s will remember the group Emmanuel, the music ministry of the Servants of God’s Love community. God, You Are My Refuge was their first album.
John Flaherty, a guitarist on all of the Ohio group’s albums, tells us the following:
I attended the College of Steubenville from 1974 to 1978. I played with the original Emmanuel group at the Thursday night prayer meetings in the chapel. We also played the first Steubenville Conference in 1975 for the Priests and Deacons.
The songs are as follows:
- Come Praise Him
- Song of Thanksgiving
- He Is Our God
- Lord, You Know Me
- God, You Are My Refuge
- Medley: Eyes of Jesus/Jesus, I Love You/Psalm 23
- My Child
- Bless Your Holy Name
- Healing of Nations
Below: Emmanuel, at the time of God You Are My Refuge.
Back row standing: Bob and Mary Ledyard, Tony Corasanitti, Tim Slowiack, John Flaherty
Middle row: Mark Koslick, Cindy Teynor, Barbara Venhaus, Betty Jo Thompson
Front row: Mary Crlenjak, Michael Clark.
Emmanuel was always a “cut above” many of their Catholic Charismatic counterparts. They used their own compositions, many of which have artistic value (especially the “Eyes of Jesus” medley) and made a deep impact on those who attended their conferences.
Yahweh in the Morning (EM002) 1979
This was their second album. The people involved were as follows:
- Emmanuel Members
- Mike Clark
- Tom Cramer
- Mary Crlenjak
- Dave Fatula
- John and Barbara Flaherty
- Julia Norton
- Cincy Teynor
- Betty Jo Thompson
- Producer: Martin Leifeld
- Director: Elsie Luke
- Recording Engineer: Henry Root
- Our God is Our King
- Come Praise the Lord
- Great is the Glory of the Lord
- He Lives
- Yahweh in the Morning
- Praise to You Lord Jesus Christ
- Jesus, You are the Way
- Clap Your Hands
- Only You Are God
- You Will Find Your Life in Mine
John Flaherty explains this album as follows:
I have to point out that YAHWEH IN THE MORNING was mostly organized and created by Betty Jo Thompson (later Gilloon.) Betty Jo created what I consider to be the unique, crisp and rhythmic “Steubenville Strum.” Her style of leadership was such that she allowed all members to contribute in a fair and impartial manner. Her guitar and song-writing abilities made her the natural leader of the group, but she never attempted to exert that control. It was always fun to play with Betty Jo as a guitarist. It was fun to be a part of Emmanuel as a whole.
The music is an advance from their first effort, more consistent in composition and performance.
In The Beauty of His Holiness (Dove JL-01) 1977
Meanwhile, in a Massachusetts studio, another Emmanuel emerged, consisting of Jim and Mary Cowan. Jim, a recent convert to Roman Catholicism, put out what has to rate as one of the most primitively beautiful and moving productions to come out of the Catholic Charismatic Renewal. Its cover, designed by Chip and Kathy Schad and showing two children gazing at the New Jerusalem, pretty much reflects the whole feel of the album.
More of Jim Cowan’s music can be found here.
Its performers are as follows:
- James Cowan (vocals, guitar, keyboards and synthesiser)
- Mary Cowan (vocals)
- Chuck Denison (vocals on “Jesus I Need You,” lead guitar and harmonica)
- Schuyler Scribner (guitar on “Praise Ye The Lord”, also the recording engineer)
The songs for individual download:
- Psalm 128
- Come to Me
- Root of Jesse
- Praise Ye the Lord
- Open the Door
- Wherever You Go
- How Lovely is Thy Dwelling
- God is Coming Back for Me
- Breathe on Me Breath of God
- Jesus I Need You
- Receive Our Prayer
Schuyler Scribner, the recording engineer, recalls the production of the album as follows:
I recorded that 1977 album for Jim in a stone chapel in the woods of Hamilton, Mass, while they were attending Gordon College…
After mixing there were a lot of problems with the pressing. I’ve always wished that I could get the master tapes back & remix, as much was lost in the pressing process. That album was recorded on a 4 track Teac 3340, and we used an Octave Cat monophonic synthesizer…one of the first, to get all the orchestral sounds. The guitar track on “Praise Ye the Lord” was played at 1/2 speed, with tape rolling at 1/2 speed as well, much like the Chipmunks do, to get that sound.
The idea of the whole album was to use as much technology as was available at the time (primitive by today’s standards) to make everything sound as natural & orchestral as possible. Jim was a little overwhelmed by the whole thing, but had a lot of faith, and liked what he was hearing. He really is quite a special artist. We all had a lot of fun.
Come to Me (1655) 1983
Back in Steubenville, after a four year hiatus (and a name change of the community to the Servants of Christ the King) Emmanuel produced another effort, the tape Come to Me (I don’t think it was ever in vinyl, thus the lack of cover art.) With Martin Leifeld’s promotion to Director of the Christian Conference Office, Jim Cowan came from the “New Mexico Emmanuel” to become the group’s director and composed most of the music for the tape
Members of the group for this work were as follows:
- Michael Clark–Vocal, Tambourine
- Jim Cowan–Vocal, Guitar, Piano
- John Flaherty–Vocal, Guitar
- Joe Pino–Vocal
- Matt Senecal–Vocal, Mandolin
- Carol Cuomo–Vocal, Cello
- Charlotte Dausch–Vocal
- Betty Jo Gilloon–Vocal, Guitar
- Eileen Hanley–Vocal
- Pam Minto–Vocal
- Nancy Schreck–Vocal, Flute
You can download the songs individually:
- Come to Me
- Wherever You Go
- Celebrate (supposed to have been on Yahweh in the Morning)
- Harden Not Your Hearts
- Jesus I Need You
- As For Me And My House
- Sing A New Song
- You Alone Are Holy
- Open the Door
- Song of Victory
Come to Me‘s compositional quality remained high, but lacks the spontaneity of the three other “Emmanuel” albums. John Flaherty comments on this as follows:
COME TO ME is the first Steubenville product that Jim Cowan was involved in creating. Most of the music was written by him, except CELEBRATE, which was Betty Jo’s and HARDEN NOT YOUR HEARTS which I wrote. Many members of the group were new as, by 1983 we had been assimilated into the Sword of the Spirit. The rigid rules governing men’s and women’s roles had caused some members of Emmanuel to move on and others to retire to “baby making.”
Cowan’s music on this albumn has a folksier feel to it than his later works…But like most music that we’ve been writing in our heads most of our life, when it is finally put to paper in our youth, it is very, very sweet indeed.
In 1985 and 1987 I would work with Jim in producing the O Worship the King series, Vol’s 1 and 3. Jim did a volume 2 mostly on his own.
View Emmanuel on Video
This video was taken on Friday, 29 July 1983, during the opening service of the National Catholic Charismatic Conference of Young People and Youth Ministers at the University of Steubenville, OH. It features Jim Cowan and Emmanuel, for the most part the same group that produced Come to Me.
The video isn’t the best quality, and is taken from the back, but AFAIK it’s the only one I know of around from this era at this conference and of this group.