[Photo Courtesy of the British Union]
United Kingdom | Veronica Whittle, Fartown Seventh-day Adventist Church

Adventist singer Tara Goddard from West Yorkshire was one of three talented performers who made it to the finals of the first BBC One Songs of Praise, Gospel Singer of the Year competition 2021. The program was hosted by Mark De-Lisser, a renowned choral director and vocal coach who was assisted by three judges – Alexander Burke, David Grant, and Heather Small, all music celebrities.

Having made it through the preliminary rounds, Goddard was one of five singers in the semi-finals which were broadcast on Songs of Praise on Sunday, January 31. Her powerful and passionate rendition of the song “Pass Me Not, O Gentle Savior” won her a place in the finals which was aired the following Sunday. As the first of the three finalists to perform, Goddard’s song choice was “His Eye Is on The Sparrow.” Her comment before she sang was that she wanted to show the judges that this was not just about performing but about ministry and for them to see the God to whom she was singing.

Indeed, the judges in their feedback expressed that her belief in God clearly came through. 

When asked why she had selected those two songs, Goddard’s response was, "I chose 'Pass Me Not O Gentle Savior' because I do not want the Lord to pass me by, I want him to hear my humble cry. He is always with me--in bad times and good--and I just love the meaning of the words. I have been through a lot and the Lord has never passed me by."

Regarding “His Eye Is on The Sparrow,” Goddard said, "I grew up singing this song, and as a child believed that if God takes care of the sparrow, what will he do for me? It is also one of the songs I am frequently asked to sing."

Goddard started singing at the age of five with her family in Birmingham, Alabama, where she was born, and has continued using this gift in service for the Lord over the years. In 2017 she moved to the UK and joined the Fartown Seventh-day Adventist church in Huddersfield with her husband and three children. Not only has she blessed local congregations with her singing ministry but other churches as well in the North and South of England. Goddard has also been an inspirational singer at the SEC Camp Meeting in 2019, the NEC Pathway of Hope virtual evangelistic campaign held in September 2020, and on the Adventist Radio Christmas program in 2020, to name a few.

“Being on national TV has been great for me,” Goddard comments. “I believe that God has given me a gift to sing to praise him and that singing is a ministry he has given me to touch people, old and young, to tell them how wonderful he is. If I just reach one person then I will keep singing as long as God allows me to do so. This is my way of doing the Lord's work, and I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me."

Goddard would like to extend her thanks first and foremost to God, to her husband Pedro, who strongly encouraged her to enter the competition, and her children. She also thanks the Fartown and Huddersfield Seventh-day Adventist churches and the current minister, Pastor Pardon Chenjerai, as well as Pastor Steve McKenzie, BBC Songs of Praise team and BBC One, family, friends and many more.