Category : Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of James Weldon Johnson

Eternal God, we give thanks for the gifts that thou didst bestow upon thy servant James Weldon Johnson: a heart and voice to praise thy Name in verse. As he gave us powerful words to glorify you, may we also speak with joy and boldness to banish hatred from thy creation, in the Name of Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Posted in Church History, Language, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer

Eleanor Parker–‘O three and one without ending’: a wittily clever medieval song to the Holy Trinity

One of the points I like to emphasise on this blog is that (contrary to what many people believe who know nothing about the subject) medieval religious literature is often full of creativity, imagination and joy. Here’s a perfect example: this is a witty, playful, exuberant medieval carol on the subject of – of all things – the Holy Trinity. I’ve heard many a solemn, pained sermon on the Trinity, complaining about how difficult it is for us to understand, how it’s always been a stumbling block for believers and a trial to the unwary preacher. That’s how our age approaches mystery and complexity; but in the fifteenth century, they wrote carols about it. That’s how creative medieval religion could be.

Read it all (my emphasis).

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit

(Reuters) ISIS affiliate suspected of R Catholic church massacre, Nigeria says

Nigerian security officials suspect extremists from Islamic State’s affiliate in west Africa were behind an attack on a Catholic church last weekend that killed dozens.

Forty people are now thought to have died after gunmen stormed St Francis Catholic church in Owo, Ondo State, on Sunday, and 61 survivors are still being treated in hospital, according to local authorities. The total is double an earlier estimate.

Nigeria’s National Security Council said on Thursday that the attack was the work of the Islamic State West Africa Province (Iswap) group, apparently reinforcing fears that the militants, who have been restricted to the north-east for many years, are looking to expand their influence and reach to other parts of the country. Ondo, in the south-west, has long been considered one of the safer parts of the country.

Read it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Nigeria, Parish Ministry, Pentecost, Religion & Culture, Religious Freedom / Persecution, Terrorism, Violence

Music for Pentecost 2022–Taizé – Holy Spirit, Come to Us

Enjoy it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Pentecost

A Prayer for the Feast Day of the First Book of Common Prayer

Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, did restore the language of the people in the prayers of thy Church: Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us so to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify thy holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in --Book of Common Prayer, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

(Church Times) Two church musicians awarded for long service

The Queen is not the only one to be celebrating a Platinum Jubilee — two musicians received lifetime service awards from their church communities last month, with a combined contribution of 135 years.

Heather Braddock has been singing in the choir of Christ Church, Woodford, in the diocese of Chester, since the coronation in 1952, when she was 11 years old. On Easter Day, she was presented with a long-service medal and certificate from the Royal College of Musicians, in recognition of 70 years’ continuous service. The congregation also gave her a new sound system.

Ms Braddock, a former secretary in the NHS, has been running the choir for the past 20 years, and served as the PCC secretary for more than 28 years. She is married to Malcolm; their son, Canon Andrew Braddock, is the Interim Dean of Gloucester Cathedral.

She said: “It has been, and remains, a privilege and a joy to sing in, and serve, the choir here. Thank you to all the church family for their kindness and support. And here’s to our ongoing musical tradition here at Woodford.”

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Music for Memorial Day–Eternal Father, Strong to Save (The Navy Hymn)

Posted in Death / Burial / Funerals, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Military / Armed Forces

Eleanor Parker–An Anglo-Saxon Hymn to St Dunstan

The text comes from Hymns of the Anglo-Saxon Church, ed. Inge B. Milfull (Cambridge, 1996), pp. 317-8. Here’s a translation:

Hail Dunstan, star and shining adornment of bishops, true light of the English nation and leader preceding it on its path to God.

You are the greatest hope of your people, and also an innermost sweetness, breathing the honey-sweet fragrance of life-giving balms.

In you, Father, we trust, we to whom nothing is more pleasing than you are. To you we stretch out our hands, to you we pour out our prayers….

Read it all.

Posted in Archbishop of Canterbury, Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(Guardian) St Paul’s Cathedral to admit girls to choir for first time in 900 years

St Paul’s Cathedral is to admit girls to its internationally renowned choir, breaking a tradition stretching back 900 years.

The move comes 31 years after Salisbury became the first Anglican cathedral in England to offer girls places in its choir. Many others, including York Minster, Durham and Exeter, have followed suit.

St Paul’s choir performs at services and events of national importance as well as daily liturgies and three times on Sundays. It will perform at a service of thanksgiving next month for the Queen’s platinum jubilee celebrations.

The choir currently comprises 22 choristers alongside professional singers known as vicars choral. The first girls will join in 2025 after boarding school facilities have been expanded and funds raised for scholarships.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

(RNS) Like that new church worship song? Chances are, it will be gone soon.

The most popular worship song in churches these days is “Build My Life,” from Bethel Music, the megachurch-based worship music hit machine based in Northern California.

Sitting at number one on the top 100 worship song chart from Christian Copyright Licensing International, which licenses worship music, “Build My Life,” first released in 2016, is an outlier in worship music, where hit songs are here today and gone tomorrow.

A new study entitled “Worship at the Speed of Sound,” from Southern Wesleyan University professor Mike Tapper and colleagues, found that the lifespan of a hit worship song has declined dramatically in recent years.

Read it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

More Music for Easter–Come, Ye Faithful, Raise the Strain

Lyrics:

1 Come, ye faithful, raise the strain
of triumphant gladness;
God hath brought his Israel
into joy from sadness;
loosed from Pharaoh’s bitter yoke
Jacob’s sons and daughters;
led them with unmoistened foot
through the Red Sea waters.

2 ‘Tis the spring of souls today;
Christ hath burst his prison,
and from three days’ sleep in death
as a sun hath risen;
all the winter of our sins,
long and dark, is flying
from his light, to whom we give
laud and praise undying.

3 Now the queen of seasons, bright
with the day of splendor,
with the royal feast of feasts,
comes its joy to render;
comes to glad Jerusalem,
who with true affection
welcomes in unwearied strains
Jesus’ resurrection.

4 Neither might the gates of death,
nor the tomb’s dark portal,
nor the watchers, nor the seal
hold thee as a mortal:
but today amidst thine own
thou didst stand, bestowing
thine own peace, which evermore
passeth human knowing.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Easter–John Rutter: Most Glorious Lord of Life

Listen to it all.

Lyrics:

Most glorious Lord of life, that on this day
Didst make thy triumph over death and sin,
And having harrow’d hell, didst bring away
Captivity thence captive, us to win.
This joyous day, dear Lord, with joy begin,
And grant that we may for whom thou diddest die,
Being with thy dear blood clean wash’d from sin,
May live for ever in felicity.
And that thy love we weighing worthily,
May likewise love thee for the same again;
And for Thy sake, that all like dear didst buy,
With love may one another entertain.
So let us love, dear love, like as we ought;
Love is the lesson which the Lord us taught.
The day of resurrection! Earth, tell it out abroad;
The Passover of gladness, the Passover of God.
From death to life eternal, from earth unto the sky,
Our Christ hath brought us over, with hymns of victory. Amen.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Easter 2022–This joyful Eastertide

Listen to the whole glorious thing.

Lyrics:

1.This joyful Eastertide
away with sin and sorrow!
My love, the Crucified,
has sprung to life this morrow.

Refrain:
Had Christ, who once was slain,
not burst his three-day prison,
our faith had been in vain:
but now hath Christ arisen,
arisen, arisen;
but now has Christ arisen!

2. My flesh in hope shall rest
and for a season slumber
till trump from east to west
shall wake the dead in number. [

3. Death’s flood has lost its chill
since Jesus crossed the river.
Lover of souls, from ill
my passing soul deliver.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Easter–Christus resurgens – William Byrd, John Rutter, The Cambridge Singers

Listen to it all.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music For Easter–Since By Man Came Death from Handel’s Messiah

Take the time to listen to it all from the Oxford Philomusica.

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for Easter–The Lord is Risen Indeed! William Billings

Listen to it all and you can read more about it, including finding the lyrics, at Lent and Beyond.

Posted in Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for Easter 2022–Jesus Christ is Risen Today

Posted in Easter, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for Holy Saturday–Spiegel im Spiegel for Cello and Piano (Arvo Pärt)

Posted in Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Canticle for Holy Saturday

In the midst of life we are in death.

We grow and wither as quickly as flowers;

we disappear like shadows.

To whom can we go for help, but to you, Lord God,

though you are rightly displeased because of our sins?

And yet, Lord God Almighty,

most holy and most merciful Saviour,

deliver us from the bitterness of eternal death.

You know the secrets of our hearts;

mercifully hear us, most worthy judge eternal;

keep us, at our last hour,

in the consolation of your love.

[You, O Lord, are gracious and compassionate,

slow to anger and rich in love.

As kind as a father is to his children,

so kind is the Lord to those who honour him.

For you know what we are made of;

you remember that we are dust.

As for us, our life is like grass.

We grow and flourish like a wildflower;

then the wind blows on it, and it is gone

no-one sees it again.

But for those who honour the Lord, his love lasts forever,

and his goodness endures for all generations.]

Posted in Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship

(Guardian) In pictures: Good Friday around the world

Look through them all.

Posted in Globalization, Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Photos/Photography

Music for Good Friday–St Pauls Cathedral Choir: God So Loved The World (John Stainer)

Listen to it all.

Posted in Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Alone Thou goest forth for Good Friday

Alone thou goest forth, O Lord, in sacrifice to die;
is this thy sorrow nought to us who pass unheeding by?

Our sins, not thine, thou bearest, Lord; make us thy sorrow feel,
till through our pity and our shame love answers love’s appeal.

This is earth’s darkest hour, but thou dost light and life restore;
then let all praise be given thee who livest evermore.

Grant us with thee to suffer pain that, as we share this hour,
thy cross may bring us to thy joy and resurrection power [The Hymnal 1982 #164].

Posted in Christology, Church History, Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A John Keble Hymn for his Feast Day–New every morning is the love

New every morning is the love
our wakening and uprising prove;
through sleep and darkness safely brought,
restored to life and power and thought.

New mercies, each returning day,
hover around us while we pray;
new perils past, new sins forgiven,
new thoughts of God, new hopes of heaven.

If on our daily course our mind
be set to hallow all we find,
new treasures still, of countless price,
God will provide for sacrifice.

Old friends, old scenes, will lovelier be,
as more of heaven in each we see;
some softening gleam of love and prayer
shall dawn on every cross and care.

The trivial round, the common task,
will furnish all we ought to ask:
room to deny ourselves; a road
to bring us daily nearer God.

Only, O Lord, in thy dear love,
fit us for perfect rest above;
and help us, this and every day,
to live more nearly as we pray.

Posted in Church History, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship

John Rutter pens new work after Ukraine invasion – and holds surprise parish premiere

St Mary Magdalene, Wandsworth Common, played host to the premiere of ‘A Prayer for Ukraine’ this week, with funds raised going to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s Ukraine appeal.

He explained: “How can a composer respond to a global tragedy?

“I suppose by writing music: like everybody I have been shocked and dismayed by the events of recent days.

“The first thing I wanted to do was write music that would respond in my own way.

Read it all and do take the time to listen to it as well.

Posted in Church of England, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Ukraine

(Halifax Courier) Probably the country’s oldest active bell ringer has celebrated his 100th birthday

Terry Halstead, from Todmorden, took up the hobby when he was in his teens and still at school.

“Four of us lads went to Christ Church, in Todmorden, and they agreed to teach us the art. It was probably a mistake – four teenagers were something of a handful – but I have loved it ever since,” he said.

“I continued when Christ Church closed as a Church, and moved to St Mary’s in Todmorden, where a new set of eight bells were installed by the local ringers, seven newly cast, and one chiming bell taken from Christ Church. As I got older St Mary’s proved to be a wise move. “It is a ground-floor ringing room, there are no well-worn stone steps to climb.”

Read it all.

Posted in Aging / the Elderly, Church of England (CoE), Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

A huge day for the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina–the Consecration of our new Bishop, Charles “Chip” Edgar

Please note that the event will be livestreamed for any of you so inclined.

Posted in * South Carolina, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

(BBC) Isle of Man to hold candlelit vigil in support of Ukraine

Prayers will be led by the island’s bishop and the Manx Youth Band and the Manx Concert Brass will conclude a minute’s silence by playing the Ukrainian National Anthem.

Organiser Claire Christian MHK said coming together to “demonstrate the strength of the Manx nation’s support for the Ukrainian people and world peace” was the “right thing to do”.

“In doing so, the people of the Isle of Man can join the chorus of voices around the globe condemning Russia’s aggression and calling for peace,” she said.

Read it all.

Posted in England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Spirituality/Prayer, Ukraine

Big week for the Anglican Diocese of SC (I)–Charles “Chip” Edgar will be consecrated as the next Bishop on Saturday

The Very Revd Charles “Chip” Edgar will be consecrated as the next Bishop of The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina in a special service at the Cathedral Church of St. Luke and St. Paul in Charleston on Saturday, March 12, 2022.

The service will begin at 10 a.m. with a processional of the Bishop Elect, members of the College of Bishops of the Anglican Church in North America, retired Bishops and clergy of the Anglican Diocese of South Carolina, the Diocese of the Carolinas and the Reformed Episcopal Church.

The consecration will be led by the Most Revd Foley Beach, Archbishop of the Anglican Church in North America.

The Revd Dr. Jamey Graham, Pastor of Saint John Baptist Church in Columbia, South Carolina, will be the preacher. Pastor Graham and Bishop Elect Edgar began meeting together and developed a close friendship following the racial unrest in Baltimore in 2015. They have preached in one another’s pulpits and deepened the relationships between their families and congregations in the years since.

Read it all.

Posted in * South Carolina, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry

For his Feast Day–Charles Wesley’s And Can it be

Listen to it all.

Lyrics:

And can it be that I should gain
An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

Refrain:
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis myst’ry all: th’ Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above—
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For, O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship

For Their Feast Day–(CH) John and Charles Wesley

John and Charles Wesley are among the most notable evangelists who ever lived. As young men, they formed a party which came to be derisively called Methodists, because they methodically set about fulfilling the commands of scripture. In due course they learned that works cannot save, and discovered salvation by faith in Christ. Afterward, they carried that message to all England in sermon and in song. John Wesley is credited with staving off a bloody revolution in England such as occurred in France.

Although the brothers did not set out to establish a church, the Wesleyans and the Methodists are their offspring.

Both preached, both wrote hymns. But John is more noted for his sermons and Charles for his hymns. Here we present two hymns by Charles and a sermon by John.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, England / UK, Evangelism and Church Growth, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Theology