Category : Liturgy, Music, Worship

(NBC) A Powerful example of how one parish choir director made a huge difference–Opera student raises $40,000 in performance for college tuition

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Education, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Stewardship, Young Adults

(NPR from 2014) Falling In Love With Language — Through The Power Of Hymns

Anyone thoughtful — no matter what their spiritual leaning — can appreciate the art of the hymn: the rhythm, the sonorous language, the discipline and structure. My first encounter with that power — despite having been part of a youth group as a teenager — came when I was a freshman at a dignified religious institution. I remember cigarette smoke and a song, a somber little something blaring from a nearby room. Three of us stood in the parking lot with Newports hanging from our teeth. I don’t recall our conversation, but that night I had my first true experience with hymns and their lyrical magic.

If you want to unravel that magic, I recommend starting with Shakespeare’s Common Prayers: The Book of Common Prayer and the Elizabethan Age. Journalist Daniel Swift offers a scholarly treatise on cultural history, Shakespeare’s plays, and Anglican liturgy, among other things. It’s an arresting but heavy read, one that should be of course followed by The Book of Common Prayer, where it finds its inspiration. Swift calls the latter a “history of response” and argues that, in its pages, “Shakespeare found a body of contested speech: a pattern and a music of mourning.” Both works are rich and welcome companions to any collection of hymns. The Oremus Hymnal, a collection of pieces for varying occasions, is a good one for the uninitiated“At even, ere the sun was set” an evening read, resolves:

Once more ’tis eventide, and we,
oppressed with various ills, draw near;
what if thy form we cannot see?
We know and feel that thou art here.

Read it all.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

John Rutter – Nun danket alle Gott (Now Thank We All Our God)

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

The Words of All 3 Stanzas of now thank we all our God

Now thank we all our God
with heart and hands and voices,
who wondrous things has done,
in whom his world rejoices;
who from our mothers’ arms
has blessed us on our way
with countless gifts of love,
and still is ours today.

O may this bounteous God
through all our life be near us,
with ever joyful hearts
and blessed peace to cheer us,
to keep us in his grace,
and guide us when perplexed,
and free us from all ills
of this world in the next.

All praise and thanks to God
the Father now be given,
the Son and Spirit blest,
who reign in highest heaven
the one eternal God,
whom heaven and earth adore;
for thus it was, is now,
and shall be evermore.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

“Now Thank We All Our God”: the story behind the hymn

At the beginning of 1637, the year of the Great Pestilence, there were four ministers in Eilenburg. But one abandoned his post for healthier areas and could not be persuaded to return. Pastor Rinkhart officiated at the funerals of the other two.

As the only pastor left, he often conducted services for as many as 40 to 50 persons a day, some 4,480 in all. In May of that year, his own wife died. By the end of the year, the refugees had to be buried in trenches without services.

I think of Martin Rinkart every thanksgiving; his gift of this hymn is simply stunning given the circumstances in which it was written. We sang it with our family around the dinner table yesterday. Read it all–KSH.

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Thanksgiving 2017 Music: O Clap your hands, by Orlando Gibbons

The singers are Quire Cleveland under the direction of Peter Bennett. Listen to it all–KSH.

Posted in Liturgy, Music, Worship

Thomas Tallis for his Feast Day: If Ye Love Me


If ye love me, keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may bide with you for ever, ev’n the spirit of truth. John 14: 15-17

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

Music for his Feast Day–Sing Joyfully, by William Byrd (1540-1623)

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship

A Prayer for the Feast Day of William Byrd, John Merbecke+Thomas Tallis

O God most glorious, whose praises art sung night and day by thy saints and angels in heaven: We offer thanks for William Byrd, John Merbecke and Thomas Tallis, whose music hath enriched the praise that thy Church offers thee here on earth. Grant, we pray thee, to all who are touched by the power of music such glimpses of eternity that we may be made ready to join thy saints in heaven and behold thy glory unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

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

Church of England Cathedrals attract record numbers at Christmas

Christmas attendance at services in cathedrals last year reached its highest figure since records began, statistics published today show. A one year rise of 5%, meant that 131,000 people came to cathedrals to worship last Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

Increased attendances were also recorded at services in Advent with 635,000 coming to worship during the busy pre-Christmas build-up. Average weekly attendances at services on a Sunday also increased to 18,700.

Meanwhile, over 10 million people visited cathedrals and Westminster Abbey with half donating or paying for entry.

The Rt Revd John Inge, Bishop of Worcester, and lead bishop for cathedrals and church buildings, said: “Behind these figures lie stories of worship, learning, exploring faith and spirituality and encountering God at times of joy and despair.

Read it all.

Posted in Church of England (CoE), England / UK, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(AJ) Freedom from slavery theme of 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity

The 2018 Week of Prayer for Christian Unity will focus on freedom from slavery, with prayer topics that are of special importance to the Caribbean. These topics include the plight of Haitian refugees, human trafficking, violence, the debt crisis and credit union movement, strengthening families and colonial reconciliation.

Developed by an ecumenical team in the Caribbean, the theme for the week, “Your right hand, O Lord, glorious in power” (Exodus 15:6), represents the abolition of enslavement in its many forms, according to background material included in the Week of Prayer resource booklet.

Exodus 15:1–21, the song of Moses and Miriam, was chosen as a motif because of its themes of triumph over oppression, it adds.

The choice of theme reflects the Caribbean’s colonized past, from the islands’ Indigenous inhabitants who were enslaved and, in some cases, exterminated, to the African slave trade and the “indentureship” of people from India and China. “The contemporary Caribbean is deeply marked by the dehumanizing project of colonial exploitation. In their aggressive pursuit of mercantile gains, the colonizers codified brutal systems which traded human beings and their forced labour,” says the Week of Prayer resource booklet for 2018.

Read it all.

Posted in Ecumenical Relations, Ethics / Moral Theology, Globalization, Law & Legal Issues, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Politics in General, Sexuality, Spirituality/Prayer, Violence

(Baltimore Sun) Maryland churches ponder security in wake of Texas shooting: ‘This evil can happen anywhere’

The Rev. Alvin C. Hathaway says it’s the duty of any church to do all it can to ensure the safety of its congregants, so he has long had security cameras in place throughout Union Baptist Church in West Baltimore.

But after yet another mass shooting left 26 people dead at a Texas church Sunday — the worst such incident at a place of worship in American history — the church and community leader is feeling a special urgency.

Hathaway was hard at work Monday on an email to other local religious leaders to urge action across denominational lines on matters of security.

“It’s tragic to think that this anger, this violence, is now invading our sacred spaces, the places where we try to foster peace and reflection, especially in a country that espouses religious freedom,” he says. “But this is clearly a fact of life now. We must think about security over and against our freedoms.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Pastoral Theology, Religion & Culture, Violence

(Christianity Today) the Sutherland Springs, Texas, church shooting raises important qtns about security in places of worship

Violent incidents in churches are on the rise, including high-profile shootings in sanctuaries. In September, a shooter killed one person and injured seven others after Sunday worship at Burnette Chapel Church of Christ outside Nashville.

“The prevailing problem is denial,” said [church security expert Carl] Chinn. “People think, ‘It won’t happen here.’ If they were following the news, they would know it’s happening at small churches in small towns and big churches in big cities.

“The denial is worse in churches because we believe God will protect us,” he told CT. “I believe God will protect us … but that doesn’t mean we don’t have to be intentional about security.”

Chinn previously reported that 2015 marked a record year for violence on religious property or involving senior pastors, with 248 incidents and 76 deaths.

“I don’t know how many wakeup calls it will take,” he said.

Read it all.

Posted in Ethics / Moral Theology, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Stewardship, Violence

A NY Times profile of the Sutherland Springs, Texas, Gunman

Before a gunman entered a rural Texas church with a ballistic vest and a military-style rifle, killing at least 26 people on Sunday, he was convicted of assaulting his wife and breaking his infant stepson’s skull.

In 2012, while stationed at Holloman Air Force Base in New Mexico, Devin P. Kelley, 26, was charged with “assault on his spouse and assault on their child,” according to the Air Force.

“He assaulted his stepson severely enough that he fractured his skull, and he also assaulted his wife,” said Don Christensen, a retired colonel who was the chief prosecutor for the Air Force. “He pled to intentionally doing it.”

He was sentenced in November of that year to 12 months’ confinement and reduction to the lowest possible rank. After his confinement, he was discharged from the military with a bad conduct discharge. It is unclear whether his conviction would have barred him from purchasing a gun.

The case marked a long downward slide that included divorce and being charged with animal cruelty.

Read it all.

Posted in Animals, Anthropology, Children, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Marriage & Family, Psychology, Religion & Culture, Violence

William Temple on Worship for His Feast Day

Both for perplexity and for dulled conscience the remedy is the same; sincere and spiritual worship. For worship is the submission of all our nature to God. It is the quickening of conscience by His holiness; the nourishment of the mind with His truth; the purifying of the imagination of His beauty; the opening of the heart to His love, the surrender of the will to his purpose and all of this gathered up in adoration, the most selfless emotion of which our nature is capable and therefore the chief remedy for that self-centeredness which is our original sin and the source of all actual sin. Yes, worship in spirit and truth is the way to the solution of perplexity and to the liberation from sin.

–William Temple Readings in St. John’s Gospel (Wilton, Connecticut: Morehouse Barlow, 1985 reprint of the 1939 and 1940 original), p. 67

Posted in Church History, Liturgy, Music, Worship, Theology