Category : Liturgy, Music, Worship

National virtual service for Palm Sunday to be led by the Bishop of Manchester

Christians are to be encouraged to make their own paper or card ‘palm’ crosses and display these in their windows in a national virtual church service for Palm Sunday to be broadcast by the Church of England.

The Bishop of Manchester, David Walker, will put a paper ‘palm’ cross in the window of his Salford home in a national service he will lead for Palm Sunday, marking the start of Holy Week and Easter.

The Holy Communion service will be broadcast at 9am on the Church of England’s Facebook page and Church of England website, with readings from the Archdeacon of Manchester, Karen Lund and prayers by Lucy Hargraves from St Peter’s Church in Bolton. All three record contributions from their own homes in keeping with the rules on physical distancing.

In his sermon, Bishop David will speak of the strength and mutual support from the crowd that he addressed in Manchester city centre following the Manchester Arena attack in 2017

At a time when gatherings are no longer permitted in order to stop the spread of coronavirus, he said support and comfort was being drawn from events such as virtual church services and campaigns such as #ClapForCarers to thank NHS staff and key workers.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, Health & Medicine, Holy Week, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

Richard of Chichester’s Prayer (in the Post below) in Music–Bob Chilcott – A Thanksgiving (King’s Singers & Concordia Choir)

Listen to it all and the composer’s website is there [I first learned of this through Preston Trombly].

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

Uplifting music–so needed–from South Africa

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, South Africa

The Latest letter from the Archbishops to the Church of England on the Coronavirus Situation

Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Stay home, protect the NHS and save lives

We are writing further to you given the rapidly changing nature of the situation in our country at present. We want to thank you for the ministry you are exercising and for the creative and imaginative ways in which you are responding to the crisis and showing the love and care of Christ to the communities we serve, particularly to the most vulnerable in our society.

As we move towards Passiontide, focussing on what Jesus did for us on the cross, more than ever this is brought into stark focus. We want to reiterate the advice we have already sent. The government is asking us to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives. We call upon all our churches and church leaders, clergy and lay, to follow this advice.

Read it all.

Posted in --Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, Archbishop of York John Sentamu, England / UK, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Politics in General

(NBC) Coronavirus Pandemic Changes How The World Worships (with a helpful Rick Warren contribution)

Posted in Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Places to Find Streaming Worship Services in The Anglican Diocese of South Carolina today

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Blogging & the Internet, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology

(TLC Covenant) Ephraim Radner– Should We Live Stream Worship? Maybe Not.

The COVID-19 virus has churches scrambling. In many parts of the world, including North America, many churches have been closed to public worship. Bishops and clergy have been furiously sending out emails and instructions, plotting responses and strategizing about the days ahead. Lists of “10 Things To Do in Your Congregation” are making the rounds. From my observations, I can generalize about elements in these responses. There are outliers, of course, but not that many.

The first thing I see is the insistent call to comfort and be comforting. People are afraid and uncertain, we are told, and they need to be loved and assured. These directives are aimed mostly at clergy, but filter down from them: you can’t hug anybody anymore physically, but you should try to do it in other ways, maybe even “virtually.” Call people up; create email chains; issue little daily meditations of warmth and security. This falls into a kind of “motherly” mode. And with it comes another motherly aspect, which is the disciplinary call to behave: wash your hands; don’t get too close; obey the rules; remember that other people count; be kind; be responsible. All this represents an almost fierce maternalization of the church and especially of her leadership.

The second aspect of our moment’s ecclesial response to the COVID-19 pandemic is a corollary of the first. If bishop and clergy all become “Mom,” everybody else becomes “the kids.” Thus, with the church’s maternalization of leadership comes the Christian people’s infantilization. They’re scared, worried, need direction and hand-holding (well, only metaphorically). They also need to be told how to behave, how to be nice to others, how to organize their time well.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Science & Technology

(RNS) Congregations improvise ways to fight COVID-19’s isolation

On a normal Sunday, most of the 100 people filling the pews of the Rev. Lori Cornell’s congregation fit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s description of those at high risk for COVID-19.

So like the majority of churches in the greater Seattle area, Calvary Lutheran Church of Federal Way has suspended its worship services and is turning to technology not only for its weekly celebration of the Eucharist, but for all the pastoral and social contact an aging congregation depends on church for.

But with social distancing and electronic connections come challenges. Cornell is worried older members of her church may become lonesome.

“They have the potential to feel more isolated than ever, so we’re trying to be really mindful of that,” Cornell said. “My concern is for people whose lives very much count on the church and who find themselves often dependent on other people to get them places they need to go, like Bible study, church and other events.”

Her church’s leadership is using Facebook as a way to stay connected, with plans to post homespun sacred music created by church musicians, and leading video chats throughout the week.

For those not technically savvy, the phone has become an important tool, Cornell said.

Read it all.

Posted in Blogging & the Internet, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(NBC) Americans come together through faith while far apart

Watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, America/U.S.A., Blogging & the Internet, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Science & Technology

(NYT) A Sunday Without Worship: In Crisis, a Nation Asks, ‘What Is Community?

COLUMBIA, MD. — It was Sunday morning, and the vast parking lots of Bridgeway Community Church sat empty.

Instead of greeting thousands of worshipers, volunteers stood in the damp cold, ready to explain to anyone who might not have heard that services are now online only, at least until the threat of Covid-19 has passed.

Inside, the Missions Cafe was closed. The halls no longer resounded with congregants singing or children racing to Sunday school. For a church whose stated mission is to be a multicultural community “where people were sad they had to wait a week to come back,” waiting took on a whole new meaning.

This week, as the coronavirus has spread, one American ritual after another has vanished. March Madness is gone. No more morning gym workouts or lunches with co-workers. No more visits to grandparents in nursing homes. The Boston Marathon, held through war and weather since 1897, was postponed.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Calvin Institute of Christian Worship) Autism and the Church’s Mission

This session focused on how autistic individuals have been excluded from full participation in our faith communities and why the church’s mission is hindered by that exclusion. It ended with a discussion of concrete steps a church can take to become more welcoming and supportive of those with autism.

Listen to it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry

Tuesday Mental Health Break–Hillsong’s Good Grace

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship

(AJ) ‘Each day carries the fear of succumbing to the virus’: Anglicans in Italy experience coronavirus lockdown limbo

The Anglican church in Venice, like the other churches in the city, was not able to hold services on Ash Wednesday by order of the regional authorities, nor on the first Sunday of Lent. Nevertheless, the doors of the church were open during the times set for services so that people could use the building for private prayer. Bishop David Hamid, the lead bishop for Venice, has been in regular contact with the diocese and advice has come from it on how to administer Holy Communion, with no shaking of hands for the “peace.” Fortunately, as yet no information has emerged of a member of the church having contracted the virus, nor of anyone within the wider Anglophone community living in Venice, nor on the neighbouring mainland. At present we are in a “state of limbo” not knowing when we might be able to return to a more normal routine or what might be possible in the future. Each day carries the fear of succumbing to the virus. We are grateful for the emails of support and the offer of prayer that we have received.

What seems somewhat paradoxical is that the two churches which form part of the great panoramic view of Venice—Santa Maria della Salute, and Il Redentore—were built as acts of thanksgiving for the ending of successive plagues. On particular days each year for 400 years, and even today, Masses of thanksgiving are celebrated in these churches and popular traditions associated with those historical events observed. However, when a contemporary “plague” hits the city, a ban is issued preventing them from offering public worship. Hopefully, however, the day will quickly come when, within these same churches, a public thanksgiving will be offered for the speedy demise of the coronavirus and all who helped to combat it.

On March 2, Sims sent the following update:

The restrictive measures are in place through Sunday 8th March, with some slight variations from region to region. Religious services can be held provided people do not group together and a distance of at least a metre is kept between persons. This is a difficult criterion to meet. We have suspended all midweek activities and worship as have the Catholic and Protestant churches. We are evaluating if the criteria can be met on Sunday.

Read it all.

Posted in - Anglican: Latest News, Health & Medicine, Italy, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(Yorkshire Post) Knaresborough’s Pancake Bell sounds again – 82 years after vicar locked out the ringers

Today, the fast, repetitive chime of a single bell was heard again, though the campanologists who revived it were afraid it would fall on deaf ears.

“No-one notices church bells any more,” lamented Derrick McRobert, who performed the five-minute ritual single-handed.

The Shrovetide bell was once part of the soundtrack of life across England, but it continues in only a few Yorkshire parishes, Bingley and Scarborough among them. It used to sound at 4am, in order to wake the congregation, but as the centuries went on it got later and later.

Read it all.

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

(NPR) Listen: The Sound Of The Hagia Sophia, More Than 500 Years Ago

ROMANA: (Singing in non-English language).

HARNETT: Now imagine – it’s the early 13th century. You’re sitting inside the Hagia Sophia. Marble pillars rise up around you. Dusty light filters into the windows in the massive dome above. And this is how you might hear Cappella Romana.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

ROMANA: (Singing in non-English language).

HARNETT: This transformation is possible because of two scholars at Stanford University in two very different fields. Bissera Pentcheva is a professor of art history.

BISSERA PENTCHEVA: A lot of my work is focused on reanimating medieval art and architecture.

HARNETT: Jonathan Abel is in the computer music department.

Listen it all.

Posted in Church History, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Science & Technology

(AP) No handshakes: Viral outbreak spooks Asian places of worship

In a popular Catholic church in the Philippines, nearly half of the pews were empty for Sunday Mass. The few hundred worshippers who showed up were asked to refrain from shaking others’ hands or holding them during prayers to prevent the spread of the virus that started in China.

In Hong Kong, Cardinal John Hon Tong, wearing a mask, announced the suspension of public Masses for two weeks and urged churchgoers to instead watch them online.

Buddhist temples, Christian churches and Muslim mosques have been ordered closed since Jan. 29 in mainland China, where the new coronavirus strain was first detected in the central city of Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Mosques have canceled weekly Friday prayers since January under an order to avoid “collective religious activities.”

Religious leaders should encourage Muslims to “trust the party” and avoid crowds, the Communist Party-controlled body that oversees China’s officially authorized mosques said in a statement.

The restrictions and dwindling crowds in religiously diverse places of worship underscore the extent of the scare over the outbreak that has permeated many aspects of life in the hard-hit Asian region.

Read it all.

Posted in Asia, China, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Religion & Culture

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Fanny Crosby

O God, the blessed assurance of all who trust in thee: We give thanks for thy servant Fanny Crosby, and pray that we, inspired by her words and example, may rejoice to sing ever of thy love, praising our Savior; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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

(Psephizo) Ian Paul–What is going on in the Bishops’ comments on Civil Partnerships?

Marriage is a creation ordinance, a gift of God in creation and a means of his grace. Marriage, defined as a faithful, committed, permanent and legally sanctioned relationship between a man and a woman, is central to the stability and health of human society. It continues to provide the best context for the raising of children.

This is what you would hear if you attended any marriage service in the Church of England. And the statement last week does indeed have many virtues, as (slightly surprisingly) Jeremy Pemberton points out:

The latest pastoral guidance by the Bishops of the Church of England is designed to address the change in the law in England and Wales that has now opened up Civil Partnerships to opposite sex couples as well as same sex ones.

In the guidance they have provided, the bishops make one or two things clear:

  • Sex is for heterosexual marriage and nowhere else
  • That civil partnerships are a form of friendship
  • That they should be sexually abstinent, whoever is in the CP

Let’s look at the good things first. First of all, this is clear guidance. No one can be in any doubt about where the bishops stand over the question of sexual relationships. Secondly, at least it does not discriminate further against LGBT people – it takes precisely the same stance over the sexual lives of heterosexuals as well. Thirdly, there is a certain bravery about offering guidance that is so massively at variance with the mores of the time. According to a recent survey, only 4% of British people now think that sex should wait until marriage in all cases.

All three of these things are important, not least the fact that the statement treats people of different sexuality in precisely the same way. It is worth noting that, if the bishops had decided to call the Government’s bluff at this point, and said ‘Look this is a duck!’, in other words, that the legal differences between CPs and marriage were in fact negligible, then they would have needed to withdraw the previous statement, and ruled that same-sex clergy couples could not now be in CPs. No-one appears to have noticed this, and I wonder what the response to that would have been, especially at this stage in the Living in Love and Faith process?


This leads us into the question of the responses and criticism. The first common one was about the timing; why make this statement now, given all that is going on? The simple answer is that the Government changed the law, and this created a gap in the previous statement. Better say something now, before a clergy couple entered a CP and something had to be done retrospectively. Some complained about the closeness to the reporting of the Peter Ball affair—but that is completely spurious, as there is no real connection between establishment protection of a someone who abused young men, and the idea that marriage is the right place for sex. If anything, the latter is an appropriate response to the former.

But, secondly, there were loud howls of protest that a statement was being made whilst the Living in Love and Faith process was underway—howls based on a bizarre misapprehension. LLF has never involved suspending the current doctrine of the Church on marriage and sexuality—after all, weddings are continuing, and the liturgy continues to express that doctrine! In fact, LLF is not even designed to be a process that revises the doctrine of the Church on marriage.

Read it all.

Posted in --Book of Common Prayer, Anthropology, Church of England (CoE), CoE Bishops, England / UK, Ethics / Moral Theology, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Theology, Theology: Scripture

Leander Harding–the mission of a Cathedral to the modern world

In the remainder of this report I want to focus on responding to the immense missionary challenges that are facing the Christian Church in general and the Cathedral in particular. In November I gave a set of talks in the Diocese of Dallas on this problem entitled Modernity and Mission. The topic was the focus of my study and prayer for the Summer and Fall. I believe I have a better understanding of what is distinctive about the missionary environment in which we find ourselves and greater clarity about what an authentic missionary engagement with modernity looks like. I have been trying to share some of these thoughts in the Dean’s Forum. As a result of this study I believe strongly that The Cathedral of All Saints is uniquely positioned to be especially effective in reaching contemporary people for the sake of Jesus Christ.

There are many blessings of modernity for which to give thanks, modern medicine and a remarkable rise in the standard of living right across the world. Modernity is also characterized by what the old preachers called worldliness, a mentality which is preoccupied with the things of this world in which God is not so much denied as forgotten. The experience of transcendence, of holiness and otherness is rare. The experience of awe which leads to worship is rare and so modern people are in jeopardy of losing their souls and of losing that which is essential to our humanity: the worship of the one true and living God. It requires something powerful to break out of the captivity to this worldliness and the diminution and constriction of the human heart that must be its consequence. It requires something like a Gothic Cathedral.

Read it all.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Secularism, Theology

More Music for Epiphany–The Three Kings – Peter Cornelius

Listen to it all.

Posted in Epiphany, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Epiphany 2019–Brightest and Best of the Sons of the Morning [Thrupp]

Words: Bishop Reginald Heber
Tune: ‘Epiphany’ – Joseph Thrupp

Posted in Epiphany, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for Epiphany–Jacob Handl (1550–1591): Omnes de Saba venient

Posted in Epiphany, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Christmas–John Rutter: All Bells in Paradise

(A new carol written for the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge in 2012)

Lyrics:

Deep in the cold of winter,
Darkness and silence were everywhere;
Softly and clearly, there came through the stillness

a wonderful sound to hear:
All bells in paradise I heard them ring,
Sounding in majesty the news that they bring;
All bells in paradise I heard them ring,
Welcoming our Saviour, born on earth a heavenly King.
All bells in paradise I heard them ring:
‘Glory to God on high’ the angel voices sing.

Lost in awe and wonder,
Doubting I asked what this sign might be:
Christ our Messiah revealed in a stable,
A marvellous sight to see.
All bells in paradise I heard them ring,
Sounding in majesty the news that they bring;
All bells in paradise I heard them ring,
Welcoming our Saviour, born on earth a heavenly King.

He comes down in peace, a child in humility,
The keys to his kingdom belong to the poor;
Before him shall kneel the kings with their treasures,
gold incense and myrrh.
All bells in paradise I heard them ring,
Sounding in majesty the news that they bring;
All bells in paradise I heard them ring,
Welcoming our Saviour, born on earth a heavenly King.
All bells in paradise I heard them ring:
‘Glory to God on high’ the angel voices sweetly sing.

Enjoy it all.

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Christmas: Carol of the Bells (for 12 cellos) – The Piano Guys

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Oxford in Voice (6/6): Christmas

Watch and listen to it all.

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music For Christmas-O Magnum Mysterium [T. L. de Victoria (1549-1611)] from Holy Trinity Coventry

Listen to it all. A reminder of the English translation of the words:

O great mystery,
and wonderful sacrament,
that animals should see the new-born Lord,
lying in a manger!
Blessed is the Virgin whose womb
was worthy to bear
Christ the Lord.
Alleluia!

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship

More Music for Christmas–Handel: Messiah, For unto us a child is born

Enjoy it all from the London Symphony Orchestra.

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship

The story behind the Longfellow poem that became a Hymn–I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day, A Carol for the Despairing

Like we do every year, my parents took my brother and me to see “A Christmas Carol” on stage to get everyone into the Christmas spirit (which is no small feat at the end of November). The story is familiar and heartwarming, but the song they ended their production with struck me: “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” Set to music a few decades later, this poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow was written over Christmas of either 1863 or 1864, in the middle of the bloodiest war in American history.

The carol is not cotton candy; it is a beating heart, laid bare in seven stanzas with simple language. At the second-to-last verse, I noticed dimly that I had begun to cry; by the end of the song, my face was wet with tears.

“And in despair I bowed my head;
‘There is no peace on earth,’ I said;
‘For hate is strong,
And mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men!’”

It isn’t quite right to call this a cynic’s carol, but in this verse it is a desperate and bitter one. It’s a carol from a man who has had the nature of the world uncovered before him. It’s one of the only carols that still rings true to me in 2018.

Like all good poets, with “Christmas Bells” Longfellow reached out across almost 155 years of history to take my hand.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Christmas, Church History, Death / Burial / Funerals, History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Military / Armed Forces, Poetry & Literature

Music for Christmas 2019– Pentatonix’s Mary, Did You Know?

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship

The Gloucester Cathedral Choir sings In the Bleak Midwinter for Christmas 2019

Listen to it all.

Posted in Christmas, Liturgy, Music, Worship