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Complete Mission Praise


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I play at a small country church somewhere in deepest Sussex, within a two-parish benefice.

 

In June last year, we welcomed our new incumbent.

 

Since then, our "traditional" services - i.e BCP and nowt else, have been manouvered in favour of much more modern flavours - variations of Common Worship etc.

 

The next casualty is about to happen.

 

Our new P-in-C has said that we should experience more modern choral music - i.e change the hymn book. A generous benefactor has come forward to pay for the new books for both parishes.

 

The weapon of choice - Complete Mission Praise, with the intention to replace A and M NS.

 

Myself and the choir on several occasions have said this will be OK, if we can defer to A and M where words have been politically corrected beyond belief or where the harmonies have been b*ggered about with. However, our P in C has pretty much said that the new hymn book will be used exclusively.

 

Has anyone had any experience of this - i.e such a sudden change and without, I should add, much consultation or advice sought with the organist.

 

I am kind of giving my current position until the end of the year, to see what happens across the whole of the church year - and see what else gets tinkered with. Our church has already lost out on Easter Day services, in favour of the other parish (where the rectory resides!).

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Guest Lee Blick

Personally, I would be quite vigorous in insisting that the new Mission Praise be used alongside your AMNS. The leap from AMNS to Mission Praise will leave your choir and your congregation malnourished if you use only Mission Praise.

 

I can understand if your incumbent wants to see a greater use of modern music and Mission Praise provides some of the best music from the last twenty-years for that. But, in my opinion, it is lacking in the traditional liturgical hymns one would expect from AMNS.

 

The other thing you may need to consider, is most of the new material in Mission Praise sound a bit naff on the organ. Some of it is better off on piano/keyboards and instrumentalists. If you do not have those resources on hand, you could use that in your defence if you don't like the idea of using Mission Praise as the only book at your church. But on the other hand this might be an opportunity for you to develop an instrumental group. Be wary of giving this responsibility to other people, particularly if they have little musical knowledge or experience. You could end up with a really crappy geeetarrr group complete with middle-aged ladies playing their descant recorders and it will be a hindrance to your worship.

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Guest Roffensis

How sad, but times are achanging! I have had much the same experience, there is not a whole lot you can do about it, otherwise you will be labelled as being awkward, eletist or narrow! MP is however, better than say "Church Family Worship" which I had to suffer for four years, with its bowlderised verses and cheesy choruses, before finally giving up and quitting, leaving behind a glorious old original Father Willis for later "Organists", including a Church Army Captain to play seaside shanties on, with fitted tremulant. But believe me, there is much worse than MP!!

 

Perhaps the way forward is compromise, some services in each idiom? It can work, but it also means you have to give as well as take B) . Having said that, I tried all those tactics only to be told by a delightful member of the congregation (with two large warts) that if I carried on having the choir singing Psalms, she would leave, as she hated "squeeky" choristers!!! My reply was to ask herself what she was there for in the first place. That went down well!.....

 

Years later, another Vicar elsewhere mentioned how he and his good lady had "suffered Choral Evensong" at Tewkesbury Abbey no less, and how boring it was. See what I mean!? You either reach a compromise, or my advice is to leave and find a place whre you will be appreciated. Churches are begging for Organists, and small wonder. Meanwhile the same people will tell you that you are not being Christian if you raise any objection whatever to "what God wants".

 

I hope things work out for you, I suggest a laid back and cautious approach, but at the same time they should be respecting some of your musical integrity.

 

Incidently, I went into the "Willis" church once, and there they all were, huddled in the nave praying for the radiators, which needed to be replaced. When things reach that stage, to see if God wants it doing or not, you know then that you have lost, that things really are too fare gone!.....

 

Best regards,

 

Richard

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Has anyone had any experience of this - i.e such a sudden change and without, I should add, much consultation or advice sought with the organist.
I'd wager a great number of us have. I had it in both my churches in Bristol. At the first one the new broom decided to abolish the fully choral services which we always sang on saints' days (though we managed to negotiate their retention once a month) and to introduce "100 Hymns for Today" - the last not universally bad by any means, though inevitably there was an emphasis on the riper rubbish. At the second church the diocese simply decided to close the building altogether; this was not without consultation, merely without negotiation!

 

My wholly defeatist feeling about this sort of situation is that if God's representative decides (s)he wants something there's not a lot you can do. You may be able to resist if you have the congregation behind you, but more often than not they will be divided amongst themselves,in which case the most you can hope for is to get your supporters to shout louder. I gave up the struggle long ago. The church must do what it feels it must do. I feel free to regard it as dumbing down, but the church is the people and if that is really what the people want...

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My advice is jack it in. No doubt there are parishes in the locale with incumbents who are more sympathetic to your preferred style of worship. If you're already having problems with your vicar and he's only been in post a few months, it can only bode for more difficulties to come. Wave goodbye but ensure everyone understands _why_ you're off. Always nice to leave some disquiet behind to fester whilst you drive onto pastures new! Good luck!

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My advice is jack it in. No doubt there are parishes in the locale with incumbents who are more sympathetic to your preferred style of worship. If you're already having problems with your vicar and he's only been in post a few months, it can only bode for more difficulties to come. Wave goodbye but ensure everyone understands _why_ you're off. Always nice to leave some disquiet behind to fester whilst you drive onto pastures new! Good luck!

 

cheers Bruv B)

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I play at a small country church somewhere in deepest Sussex, within a two-parish benefice.

 

In June last year, we welcomed our new incumbent.

 

quote]

 

 

=======================

 

 

Never mind the RCO......kill the priest!

 

(It's been done before, you know)

 

B)

 

MM

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I don’t like Mission Praise either, but doing in the priest is a little excessive. This question has been asked many times on this board, but why do priests insist on dropping older hymns for anything modern?

 

B)

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Guest Lee Blick
My advice is jack it in. No doubt there are parishes in the locale with incumbents who are more sympathetic to your preferred style of worship. If you're already having problems with your vicar and he's only been in post a few months, it can only bode for more difficulties to come. Wave goodbye but ensure everyone understands _why_ you're off. Always nice to leave some disquiet behind to fester whilst you drive onto pastures new! Good luck!

 

I can understand this sentiment to a point and I can't really talk having given up playing regularly a year ago, but I do believe a proactive dialogue with the incumbant can ensure he does take note of your views. After all you are the organist/director of music/music leader and not he/she.

 

The problem with many Church of England parishes and the "we will do the churchmanship the way the incumbent does" attitude pushes out people who may not like that particular worship tradition or style of music. I think we are seeing a polarisation of 'catholic' and 'evangelicals' within the CofE and the so called MOR churches with decent choral traditions are disappearing.

 

If clergy and musical directors were more accomodating in the worship traditions and musical styles within their churches (especially the smaller parishes) they might find things to learn from each other and appreciate as well as the possibility of retaining/recruiting more members.

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The weapon of choice - Complete Mission Praise, with the intention to replace A and M NS.

 

Mission Praise (to be said in your best Brum accent, please) isn't as bad as some - it has many of the trad hymns in, although the arrangements aren't stunning. The more modern hymns are usually quite well arranged or in their original form. Unlike the Mayhew Hymns Butchered and Badly Arranged (Old & New, in PC speak). It's an abomination, not only of music, but also of words.

 

At a previous church we used MP and AMR - we wouldn't mix them up in a service (at least not for the congregation). It worked quite well.

 

Whatever happens, don't buy Hymns Old & New.

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I think the main reasoning behind the change is to encourage bums on seats.

 

To be honest, I think the music is the last thing that influences bums on seats - more to do with worship style, the incumbent, post service entertainment (coffee, cakes, dealing in hash round the back etc etc).

 

I agree that music will then start to be influenced - but not to the point that there is such a cultural shift from the tradition of that particular church, to something else altogether.

 

I should also qualify what I mean by my church being in a small village. There is no village as such. A collection of houses is more accurate, with a few farms and, on the outer wings of the parish, a couple of golf courses and a pub. We are, therefore, very lucky indeed to muster congregations of 30 on a good Sunday. The choir has been known to out number the congregation.

 

Bums on seats is therefore an issue. Oh, and I forgot to add, our parish has TWO churches - one currently up for closure.

 

 

Whatever happens, don't buy Hymns Old & New.

 

agreed - from experience with MrBouffant's church, they fall apart anyway and have some dubious alterations from the original intent of the composer/wordsmith,

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Guest Cynic
I don’t like Mission Praise either, but doing in the priest is a little excessive. This question has been asked many times on this board, but why do priests insist on dropping older hymns for anything modern?

 

B)

 

 

 

I believe Clergy (as a species) are almost all worried about the following:

1. their congregations are getting smaller

2. they resent having to give way on any issue to other influential people in their church

3. they may have to do things that are new to them when they come to a new parish, because of vested insterests/existing organisations

4. they often dislike traditional ways of doing things, which would enable a service now to look exactly the same as a service (say) ten years ago.

 

In some clergy minds, I think 1 and 4 are related. They still think that doing something more up-to-date necessarily means that these novelties will be found more approachable and (in the well-worn phrase) 'bring the people in' - a sort of boiled-down/softer-edged worship. This is why the trendier more 'born-again' type churches often play down Lent etc. Things have to be perpetually up-beat and intellectually on the lowest common denominator level!

 

I think that the message is more important than the medium, so in theory even poor hymns will serve; the trouble is, anyone brought up with higher expectations is going to feel disenfranchised. Someone who goes to church nowadays will often find (compared to twenty or thirty years ago)

1. The service has changed, radically. Sometimes physical contact with strangers is not just expected but demanded.

2. The service time has changed.

3. The music has changed. (Sometimes the instruments have changed too).

4. The words of even familiar hymns* have changed.

*How about 'Stand up, stand up for Jesus' which (in the newest book I have here) has changed to the point where the only the first line survives from the original!

 

My belief is that the only things that make churches grow are sincerity in faith and a genuine welcome (without pressure) extended to all comers. Mind you, I certainly think it helps if things are done decently and in order. Good music is a terrific back-up to good preaching. Trouble is............see first paragraph above!

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I play at a small country church somewhere in deepest Sussex, within a two-parish benefice.

 

In June last year, we welcomed our new incumbent.

 

Since then, our "traditional" services - i.e BCP and nowt else, have been manouvered in favour of much more modern flavours - variations of Common Worship etc.

 

The next casualty is about to happen.

 

Our new P-in-C has said that we should experience more modern choral music - i.e change the hymn book. A generous benefactor has come forward to pay for the new books for both parishes.

 

The weapon of choice - Complete Mission Praise, with the intention to replace A and M NS.

 

Myself and the choir on several occasions have said this will be OK, if we can defer to A and M where words have been politically corrected beyond belief or where the harmonies have been b*ggered about with. However, our P in C has pretty much said that the new hymn book will be used exclusively.

 

Has anyone had any experience of this - i.e such a sudden change and without, I should add, much consultation or advice sought with the organist.

 

I am kind of giving my current position until the end of the year, to see what happens across the whole of the church year - and see what else gets tinkered with. Our church has already lost out on Easter Day services, in favour of the other parish (where the rectory resides!).

ooo, I feel sorry for you. If it's causing a real issue, I would take it up with the church wardens and PCC - you might find they're on your side and you can form a powerful alliance...

 

I remember talking to Cynic at the weekend about a church who successfully commissioned and fund raised for a new pipe organ, despite the PinC being dead set against it. I heard the P-in-C was not at all popular and the organ was a bit of a protest against him... so anything is possible!

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The weapon of choice - Complete Mission Praise, with the intention to replace A and M NS.

My sympathy...

 

I had it the other way when I played the organ (no choir) in a country church in the early 1980s. They were using A&M Standard (yes, the old blue one); and I introduced With One Voice (I donated copies), because (a) I couldn't have tried a supplement because that would have shouted "new and trendy", and (b ) it was the best single book then available. I had to demonstrate to the PCC that all their favourites were in there, but even then it was only used for HC - they continued to use AMS for evensong (which I didn't play). Last year the AMS books were still in the pews.

 

There's nothing as conservative as a rural community (all of seven miles from Oxford, this one was).

 

Paul

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I don’t like Mission Praise either, but doing in the priest is a little excessive. This question has been asked many times on this board, but why do priests insist on dropping older hymns for anything modern?

 

:(

 

 

======================

 

The short answer is; they have very ancient beliefs, and wish to window-dress that which they haven't got to offer.

 

 

MM

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Mission Praise (to be said in your best Brum accent, please) isn't as bad as some - it has many of the trad hymns in, although the arrangements aren't stunning. The more modern hymns are usually quite well arranged or in their original form. Unlike the Mayhew Hymns Butchered and Badly Arranged (Old & New, in PC speak). It's an abomination, not only of music, but also of words.

 

At a previous church we used MP and AMR - we wouldn't mix them up in a service (at least not for the congregation). It worked quite well.

 

Whatever happens, don't buy Hymns Old & New.

 

Personally, I would prefer HoN (Anglican Edition) to Mission Praise - which I had to use in a church in Cornwall years ago.

 

Bourdon basher - something your priest has apparently not realised is that MP is not a suitable book for weekly use in the same church - it was not designed for this. It was specifically designed for rallies, conventions and special occasions (such as Luis Palau's visit to London in the early 1980s). I am not sure how this helps you, though.

 

Give it a few months and see how things work out. After that, if you do not like what you see, then perhaps cutting your losses and seeking a church with a more traditional music style might be the answer.

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If you are looking for a comprehensive hymnal, Laudate is pretty good, excellent value for money and the congregation copy has melody lines for many items. It has most of ther trad hymns and many of the best of the new but it does have some rubbish unfortunately - including, inevitably, I Watch the Sunrise and How Great Thou Art. But of the whole is a a good production.

 

Peter

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Guest Barry Williams
Mission Praise (to be said in your best Brum accent, please) isn't as bad as some - it has many of the trad hymns in, although the arrangements aren't stunning. The more modern hymns are usually quite well arranged or in their original form. Unlike the Mayhew Hymns Butchered and Badly Arranged (Old & New, in PC speak). It's an abomination, not only of music, but also of words.

 

At a previous church we used MP and AMR - we wouldn't mix them up in a service (at least not for the congregation). It worked quite well.

 

Whatever happens, don't buy Hymns Old & New.

 

 

Hymns Old and New contains very little genuinely modern music. Much of the so-called 'modern' music is in reality Spinners and Seekers in ecclesiatical garb. Almost everything is set with simplified harmonies in impossibly low keys. It is clearly not intended for choirs.

 

The words are amended without regard for language or theology. Even children laugh at the alterations.

 

Philip Spratley wrote an extremely competent review and analysis of Hymns Old and new in 'Laudate', the Guild of Church Musicians' quarterly magazine, October 2003. It is a very fine piece of objective criticism. Philip is happy for copies to be distributed, so if anyone wants a copy, please send me a private e mail with your name and postal address. (The article is not available in electronic form.)

 

Barry Williams

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Hymns Old and New contains very little genuinely modern music..........Almost everything is set with simplified harmonies in impossibly low keys. It is clearly not intended for choirs.

 

The words are amended without regard for language or theology. Even children laugh at the alterations.

 

 

Barry Williams

 

Unfortunately I’ve had experience of this hymnbook and everything you say is so true. To say “simplified harmonies” is to do it justice, it’s not that good. At best the harmonies are weak, at worst they’re plain unmusical. You have to wonder what makes a church throw out a perfectly good hymnbook and replace it with H O & N.

 

:rolleyes:

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Our new P-in-C has said that we should experience more modern choral music - i.e change the hymn book. A generous benefactor has come forward to pay for the new books for both parishes.

 

I have some very fine worship songs which would give you and your choir the chance to offer some more modern music to your congregation. They include "God's Supermarket", "Let me be the putty, Lord, around your window pane" and "God's 4 Seasons" - I'll try and put copies up on tinternet in the next few days...

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I have some very fine worship songs which would give you and your choir the chance to offer some more modern music to your congregation. They include "God's Supermarket", "Let me be the putty, Lord, around your window pane" and "God's 4 Seasons" - I'll try and put copies up on tinternet in the next few days...

 

You missed off "The world is full of smelly feet", surely? :rolleyes:

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Our new P-in-C has said that we should experience more modern choral music -

 

How about doing some music by Moore, Shephard, Archer, or slightly older, Leighton, Mathias etc, or is that not the sort of modern choral (s)he was referring to?

 

:lol:

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Guest Barry Williams
How about doing some music by Moore, Shephard, Archer, or slightly older, Leighton, Mathias etc, or is that not the sort of modern choral (s)he was referring to?

 

:lol:

 

 

Try offering clergy with ideas like that some REAL modern music, such as Riff, Hip Hop, Rave, Bop. Pop, Heavy Metal etc. They do not have a clue about really modern music in church - of any type including Nicola Le Fanu and James McMillan, let alone 'old' modern music such as Leighton and Britten.

 

Barry Williams

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Unfortunately I’ve had experience of this hymnbook and everything you say is so true. To say “simplified harmonies” is to do it justice, it’s not that good. At best the harmonies are weak, at worst they’re plain unmusical. You have to wonder what makes a church throw out a perfectly good hymnbook and replace it with H O & N.

 

:lol:

 

 

============================

 

 

Some of the harmonies are just plain WRONG!

 

I lost count of the number of mistakes, and because I have to ignominiously work around this dreadful catalogue of mistakes and errrors of omission, I don't think there is barely a single hymn for which I haven't got an alternative harmonisation.

 

The trouble is, it's all in my head, and if we ever manage to cobble together a choir, I would have to write them all out each week, just for them to make musical sense.

 

Whoever was the "msucial advisor" to this appalling publication, they deserve to be stripped of any musical qualification they are unlikely to have; or was it a way around various copyrights, I wonder?

 

MM

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Try offering clergy with ideas like that some REAL modern music, such as Riff, Hip Hop, Rave, Bop. Pop, Heavy Metal etc. They do not have a clue about really modern music in church - of any type including Nicola Le Fanu and James McMillan, let alone 'old' modern music such as Leighton and Britten.

 

Barry Williams

 

 

=============================

 

 

This is exactly what I have argued for at least 20 years, because the crap that was imposed on us then, is now the old-rubbish the kids wouldn't bother listening to nowadays.

 

The REALITY is that of middle-aged hippies, in mid-life crisis, trying to convince themselves (but no-one else), that they are a really "happening" people, bursting with life and energy and really quite young at heart........before it finally gives out and calls it a day.

 

Don't get me started!

 

The church died when theology died, and when it lost touch with reality. For the most part, what we get to-day is probably much less enlightened and relevant than what I heard 40 years ago.

 

MM

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