The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Matt's Christmas song shares message of hope 

Church deacon, author and songwriter Matt McChlery, a member of a West Norfolk writers’ group, has launched a new Christmas song to share his message of hope and peace. Sandie Shirley reports.

"Have you Heard describes the Christian reason for the season. It declares why a baby born to a humble family in a barn with smelly animals became a man who is important to us all as our Saviour,” explains Matt, who teamed up with singer songwriter Kate Mills to release the song in November.  
The former primary school teacher whose great, great, great grandfather wrote the Victorian hymn: ‘Onward Christian Soldiers’ says he has known the saving power of Jesus Christ when he looked death in the face.
Matt, who has walked the waters of faith to combat cancer, is a member of the Association of Christian Writers’ ‘Brecks and Pens’ group near Downham Market was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He was just 36 with a wife and young family when he heard the bleak hospital report nearly six years ago.  

“I knew I was safe in Jesus’ hands whatever happened, but I am weak; I am not strong, but he has been my strength. I learnt God was with me. He was carrying me and fighting for me,” says Matt who is also a live performer, worship leader, speaker and music tutor.
That dark time spurred him on to write a blog detailing his journey from diagnosis to remission two years later. His chronicles have inspired nations while he achieved a ‘finalist’ position for a national blog award.

Matt was born in Zimbabwe and at 40 is something of a veteran songwriter after writing his first composition at just 15. Now a deacon at the King's Church, Wisbech, he has also taught himself the guitar and plays hand drums.

Sustained and encouraged by his faith, his songs have always reflected a gospel signpost for others. They have been heard and sung in churches, communities and aired on worldwide radio stations as well as a few seasonal TV programmes.

Matt also plays renditions of other worship songs, but his influential talent has had a different spin when invited to play at coffee shop or festivals and he sings recognisable cover songs from the radio such as Coldplay and Adele.

“The lyrics still carry something that will point people towards God,” says Matt, who uses social media, you tube and his website to further extend his message.  

Covid-19 has called a halt to live events yet on-line work has increased and Matt offers virtual concerts. “I have also been taking part in a song writing challenge to write a song every month for the whole of 2020; I have not missed a month yet,” he says.  Now he has launched a crowd funding campaign to record a new EP.

You can listen to the song here.

Find out more at: www.mattmcchlery.com

Pictured above is author and songwriter Matt McChlery.

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