Watermead began in 1992 when our parish priest explored the possibilities for a hymn, "Our Song Gives Praise", composed by two of the parishioners. A publishing friend had told him that the hymn was good enough for publication, and this acknowledgement encouraged the writing of further music for hymns and mass settings. Through 1992/3 other initiatives were explored, including a collection of parishioners' favourite prayers, and the group of people that had gathered to discuss possibilities for a music-publishing venture were now looking to form a general publishing apostolate.
“Watermead” was chosen as the name we would use, from the lakes and parkland neighbouring the church, and with a loan of £1,000 from the parish finance committee we began our apostolate in 1994. Our choir recorded a cassette of the hymns and mass settings so far written, “Our Songs Give Praise”, and we published the collection of parishioners’ favourite prayers as a book,“Words of Prayer and Encouragement”. We made enough money on both of these projects to pay back the parish loan and to finance further publishing and recording projects. From then on the work has gone from strength to strength.
Today we publish books, music, mass cards, stationery – in fact, anything we are given (stories, words, music, drawings, paintings, etc.) is incorporated into the various projects, and well over two hundred people are represented in the items we produce. There have been many publishing projects, cassettes and CD recordings. Our music is also used as reflective meditations during the retreats that we arrange and these prayerful sessions have become known as “Music as Prayer”.
People who work with us are generous in their giving of time and resources, so we have always been able to share our profits with charities. The Colombian-based "Let The Children Live" charity (www.letthechildrenlive.org) is one of these charities and in 1999 we wrote and recorded their charity song ¡Vivan los niños! We continue to support this charity, along with other charities and good works, through our apostolate.
But the Watermead Apostolate did not begin as fundraising for charities. It began because parishioners in a parish were invited and trusted to share their gifts, talents and time in the mission of the church. Everyone has valuable life experiences that once given a voice can reach out and help others. Our apostolate has become a sharing of those voices - a mission that anyone can feel invited to be part of. Through Watermead we offer people, God’s little ones (“Anawim”), the opportunity to share their faith with others by whatever comes to them (words, music, arts and crafts) on their own individual paths towards God, enabling hearts to speak and communicate.
When we chose the name “Watermead” we were asked why not simply take the name of the parish. At that time many saintly and personal names had been mused over, but it was felt that what we were beginning was for all who wanted to be involved in sharing God’s love – and a title should not imply parochial or denominational ownership. Over the years this name has also proved beneficial as the umbrella under which we offer our Christian message.
To read more about us, read background stories to the products you will see on this website or meet the people involved and obtain further information about our retreats and pilgrimages visit our apostolate's website.