Earth Mama

Earth Mama, a.k.a. Joyce Johnson Rouse, (b. 1954) is an American musician.  Her music ranges across several genres, tied together by her piano and her clear alto and focused on ecology, peace and justice.  Among her fourteen albums are Under the Rainbow, Blessings of the Universe, Magnificent Healing and LovingKindness.  Her songs have been used by Earth Literacy, the Paris Climate Talks, the United Nations New Songs for Peace and UNESCO and have been recorded by Maureen McGovern and Marie Osmond.  As well, “Standing on the Shoulders”, from her record Love Large, was the official theme song for the National Parks celebration in Washington DC of the 100th anniversary of women’s suffrage.

Earth Mama discovered Friends as a teen through reading the novel The Peaceable Kingdom.  At that time, she also visited Chappaqua Meeting.  In the early 1990’s, troubled by the church she was attending, she said to herself, “I wish I could just go somewhere peaceful.”  She started worshiping at Nashville Meeting, and she and her husband Richard are members of Roanoke Meeting now.  She has been active in Quaker Earthcare Witness and has attended Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association and Friends General Conference Gathering and visited Pendle Hill. 

I enjoyed Earth Mama’s beautiful, deeply felt music.  Her song “Standing on the Shoulders” is especially moving.

A quote about her early experience of Friends worship:

“Though a little nervous, I was welcomed and sat at peace in the space as I listened and observed this new experience. I felt calmed, and the quiet contrast to services of organ prelude, choir, special music, joyous hymns, rising and sitting, and reciting the Nicene Creed was immense. I was able to sit quietly without disruption and pray or absorb the energy in the room.”

And a link to “Standing on the Shoulders”:

Gary Sandman

April 2023

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