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And here's a thing. Choirs share with the organist (and/or music group) the responsibility of leading the musical worship. Yet while I have encountered priests and others who insist that an organist must be a communicating Christian in order to do the job, I do not believe that one of them would refuse to admit a child to the choir unless they were already a believer. I wonder why. Double standards?

 

Not really double standards, surely. The O & C is in a leadership role - the child is learning.

 

Regards to all

 

John

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This is not intended to be trivial or mischievous, but is a point which I wonder about.

 

What about a self-confessed adherent to another, non-Judaeo-Christian, nor Muslim, faith, who does not advertise that fact, but who outwardly conforms with certain elements of Anglican religious practice? (I know one or two who are accomplished musicians.) (I.e. not an atheist, or an agnostic, but of a different theism.)

 

[i realise that Christians would regard someone who is, for example, a witch as, presumably, mad, but that there are adherents to that particular faith is incontrovertible.]

 

Hi

 

The question then arises about why they are outwardly conforming to what is, for them, an alien faith. If it's merely to get a job, then it could be considered deception, but if they are genuinely seeking, then it's a different matter - but I would still have issues with allowing them to act publicly in a position of leading Christian worship - and by the same token, I would not expect to walk into a Gudwarra (Sp?) and lead a Buddist act of worship - it would be ethically unacceptable (and I doubt that it would be acceptable to the "congregation" there either.)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Guest Lee Blick

Would a former Christian musician with ample church music and liturgical experience, who is now an atheist or a member of another faith still be allowed to be part of the holy social golf club order, Mr Newnham?

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Would a former Christian musician with ample church music and liturgical experience, who is now an atheist or a member of another faith still be allowed to be part of the holy social golf club order, Mr Newnham?

 

One wonders why anyone who had now become an atheist or a member of another faith would even remotely want to be part of a Christian set up! Doesn't make sense

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Guest Patrick Coleman

Contraburdon's point is well taken - if an individual is convinced a church post is a threat to personal integrity, then don't apply for it. But I couldn't disagree more with Tony - Lee is right that the Church isn't a club, and if he wants to make music in it (to God's glory, intentionally or not), then as far as I'm concerned he's more than welcome.

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Hi

 

The question then arises about why they are outwardly conforming to what is, for them, an alien faith. If it's merely to get a job, then it could be considered deception, but if they are genuinely seeking, then it's a different matter - but I would still have issues with allowing them to act publicly in a position of leading Christian worship - and by the same token, I would not expect to walk into a Gudwarra (Sp?) and lead a Buddist act of worship - it would be ethically unacceptable (and I doubt that it would be acceptable to the "congregation" there either.)

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

 

 

Greetings Tony

 

Were you to walk into a Gurdwara and attempt to lead a Buddhist act of worship you wouldn't get very far since a Gurdwara is a Sikh temple ...

 

Peter

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Greetings Tony

 

Were you to walk into a Gurdwara and attempt to lead a Buddhist act of worship you wouldn't get very far since a Gurdwara is a Sikh temple ...

 

Peter

 

That's what happens when you reply in a hurry! Actually, I do know the difference.

 

Every Blessing

 

Tony

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Isn't it interesting that if you look at clergy advertisements in the Church Times they say things like "Evangelical Parish' or "Catholic LIturgy - Resolutions A, B & C in place'?

 

How often have you seen 'Vicar wanted - must be equally happy leading HIgh Anglo Catholic Mass and Praise Worship'? You don't - because it just doesn't happen - clergy, being human (generally) are just not equally at home in these extremes of worship styles.

 

Turn then to the advertisments for 'Organists': Traditional and mordern music', 'Must be at home in all styles of worship music' etc etc.

 

I'm not saying that musicians are not capable of this - some are - Paul Leddington Wright is a very good example at a professional level - but many (particularly 'traditional' organists are not), yet it seems churches demand a degree of flexibility in worship styles from their underpaid and part-time musicians that they would never expect from their clergy. :rolleyes:

 

Gary Cole

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This is true, but your average parish church does not generally expect its organist is to be highly skilled. It may count itself lucky when it has one who is, but generally churches take what they can get without demanding anything in the way of standards. They simply do not regard music that highly; it is no longer in the culture.

 

Where good musical standards are still sought and valued I am sure you will find the story very different. How many churches that can pride themselves on a flourishing musical tradition and high standards have difficulty finding skilled organists? Not many, I'll bet.

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Guest Stanley Monkhouse

Gary Cole wrote:

"it seems churches demand a degree of flexibility in worship styles from their underpaid and part-time musicians that they would never expect from their clergy."

 

Far be it from me to try to temper the clergybashing – I enjoy it and am one! – I’m not so sure that's quite fair. Many clergy I know are as at home with Solemn High Mass as with BCP Mattins and Praise services with hands-in-the-air-is-it-raining rituals. Personally, I get something from them all. I don’t think, on the whole, it’s the clergy that make the demands stated in the organist ads, or that are limited in their preferences for worship styles, but rather the laity. Some congregations have very limited ideas of what is proper, some feeling that they alone are the keepers of a sacred flame and guardians of what is truly Anglican. (Read Owen Chadwick on Archbishop Parker’s consecration in 1559, and you'll wonder if there has ever been any lasting consensus of what is truly Anglican). Anyway, back to congregations: it is their herd-mentality that often determines the worship style, the music style, and so on, especially in the suburbs where one tends to have an articulate and opinionated (I don’t mean this pejoratively, necessarily) congregation. Incoming clergy rarely try to impose their will on this (one hears about the times that they do because they so often cause controversy), but rather work with it and gently develop it. For myself, I am pleased to have musicians who are competent, loyal, thoughtful, like a bit of fun and variety, and are interested in creating a sense of transcendence. Is this asking too much? And before I am accused of knowing nothing about church music, I’m an ex-organist and choirmaster who once was competent enough to pass the FRCO exam.

 

Regards to all

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Anyway, back to congregations: it is their herd-mentality that often determines the worship style, the music style, and so on, especially in the suburbs where one tends to have an articulate and opinionated (I don't mean this pejoratively, necessarily) congregation.

This I recognise! However, I think it depends very much on the individual minister. My late father-in-law was a middle-of-the-road clergyman of exactly the type you describe. A musically educated man - he was an RCM-trained violinist - he was nevertheless content to adapt to the customs of the various churches in his care.

 

On the other hand I have mentioned before the first church I had in Bristol. When I arrived it was ruled by a strong, but benevolent hand by a much-loved priest who was a very strong supporter of choral music. When he retired the articulate and opinionated sections of the congregation hasted to bend the ear of the new incumbent. As always, it was the objectors who made the most noise. That they won significant concessions in the way of diminishing the choir's contribution to worship was entirely due to the fact that the new priest was himself very much in sympathy with them. His predecessor would have had none of it.

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Guest Barry Williams
Gary Cole wrote:

"it seems churches demand a degree of flexibility in worship styles from their underpaid and part-time musicians that they would never expect from their clergy."

 

Far be it from me to try to temper the clergybashing – I enjoy it and am one! – I’m not so sure that's quite fair. Many clergy I know are as at home with Solemn High Mass as with BCP Mattins and Praise services with hands-in-the-air-is-it-raining rituals. Personally, I get something from them all. I don’t think, on the whole, it’s the clergy that make the demands stated in the organist ads, or that are limited in their preferences for worship styles, but rather the laity. Some congregations have very limited ideas of what is proper, some feeling that they alone are the keepers of a sacred flame and guardians of what is truly Anglican. (Read Owen Chadwick on Archbishop Parker’s consecration in 1559, and you'll wonder if there has ever been any lasting consensus of what is truly Anglican). Anyway, back to congregations: it is their herd-mentality that often determines the worship style, the music style, and so on, especially in the suburbs where one tends to have an articulate and opinionated (I don’t mean this pejoratively, necessarily) congregation. Incoming clergy rarely try to impose their will on this (one hears about the times that they do because they so often cause controversy), but rather work with it and gently develop it. For myself, I am pleased to have musicians who are competent, loyal, thoughtful, like a bit of fun and variety, and are interested in creating a sense of transcendence. Is this asking too much? And before I am accused of knowing nothing about church music, I’m an ex-organist and choirmaster who once was competent enough to pass the FRCO exam.

 

Regards to all

 

There are far more cases of the laity voting with their feet in protest at 'new worship styles', often brought in by a new incumbent, than anything else. The stories are legion and continue without let or hindrance. Only a few of them hit the press. One hears of bishops placing clergy to 'modernise' worship and then we learn of 'Common Worship' being introduced, with Songs of Fellowship, etc, neither having any trace of modernity. Describing congregations as having a 'herd mentality' gives a rare and valuable insight into at least one view from the pulpit of those in the pews. The clergy I have worked with have adopted a very different approach and I am grateful for that.

 

There is no shortage of good organists, but a great shortage of organists in churches. Certain posts attract a large number of very well-qualified applicants. The advertisements for such posts do not carry sentences on the lines of 'Must be at home with contemporary and traditional music' or 'Openness to all types of music, modern and traditional essential'. It is obvious what is happening.

 

Barry Williams

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Contraburdon's point is well taken - if an individual is convinced a church post is a threat to personal integrity, then don't apply for it. But I couldn't disagree more with Tony - Lee is right that the Church isn't a club, and if he wants to make music in it (to God's glory, intentionally or not), then as far as I'm concerned he's more than welcome.

 

Thank you Patrick. That is the most positive statement I've heard or seen in a long time, and one which makes me think. Thank you again.

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I'm sorry to pull this thread back to the original topic, but has anyone else noticed that at weddings and funerals, where people have to actually pay for the musicians, they nearly always choose an organist to play it even when their choices are more suitable for a guitar, or even better dropped in the dustbin?

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I'm sorry to pull this thread back to the original topic, but has anyone else noticed that at weddings and funerals, where people have to actually pay for the musicians, they nearly always choose an organist to play it even when their choices are more suitable for a guitar, or even better dropped in the dustbin?

E.g. The couple last year who had obviously taken the film Love Actually a bit too much to heart and decided that they too wanted the bride to come in to The Beatles' All You Need is Love performed by organ and choir. I wasn't present but I gather it was predictably knuckle-chewing, though no doubt the couple were delighted which I guess is the most important thing.

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On the subject of music in worship, what was one supposed to make of last night's Songs of Praise - The Big Sing, from the Albert Hall?

 

It seemed to me to be all music and no worship; rather like a big participation event loosely themed around something vaguely religious. The authors of the 'bang up to the minute' song-type hymns were described as 'worship leaders' but their pieces seemed mostly like an excuse for a sing-song. I'm not sure what The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music (let alone Edelweiss or You'll Never Walk Alone) had to do with enhancing any liturgy.

 

The two 'traditional' hymns, O Praise Ye The Lord and Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer suffered from having every note banged out as if with a mallet, with no sense of singing through a line and were thus no more uplifting than the rest of the 'show'.

 

I have no idea which if any of the performers have any Christian faith and I don't know how many viewers it may have taken closer to God but it left me feeling that whatever it was about was nothing with which I wanted to be associated.

 

And can anyone tell me why it was felt desirable to make 'sing' into a noun? It's things like that that turn nice people into grumpy old men.

 

What was the point of the whole thing?

 

Best wishes

 

J

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On the subject of music in worship, what was one supposed to make of last night's Songs of Praise - The Big Sing, from the Albert Hall?

 

It seemed to me to be all music and no worship; rather like a big participation event loosely themed around something vaguely religious. The authors of the 'bang up to the minute' song-type hymns were described as 'worship leaders' but their pieces seemed mostly like an excuse for a sing-song. I'm not sure what The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music (let alone Edelweiss or You'll Never Walk Alone) had to do with enhancing any liturgy.

 

The two 'traditional' hymns, O Praise Ye The Lord and Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer suffered from having every note banged out as if with a mallet, with no sense of singing through a line and were thus no more uplifting than the rest of the 'show'.

 

I have no idea which if any of the performers have any Christian faith and I don't know how many viewers it may have taken closer to God but it left me feeling that whatever it was about was nothing with which I wanted to be associated.

 

And can anyone tell me why it was felt desirable to make 'sing' into a noun? It's things like that that turn nice people into grumpy old men.

 

What was the point of the whole thing?

 

Best wishes

 

J

 

 

I missed this - maybe just as well. Was there a credited Director of Music?

 

This reminds me: I was most amused/entertained by a Sunday Morning Radio 4 service a couple of weeks ago. It came from Birmingham Cathedral but none of the staff there were responsioble for the music which would have done credit to a hard-working and affluent Baptist Church in the southern USA. To be honest, the first voice I heard after a lot of very American-sounding singing was so out of place I nearly burst out laughing. From that point on, I was agape/aghast to learn where in this country it was coming from. When I remember some of Marcus Huxley's wonderful Choral Evensongs over the years on Radio 3, this one came as a total and utter surprise! I assume that the clergy werre all patting themselves on the back for being trendy and up-to-the-minute, but IMHO this was as far from what one expects of a CofE as it would be possible to get. If one ignored the texts (which in any case were anything but clear) the performances though 'very professional' would have appeared thoroughly in keeping with the seedier kind of lounge bar. Sorry if this hurts anyone's feelings, but this is how it sounded.

 

I wonder if the cathedral clergy or the BBC Religious Dept. think this 'brings the people in'? Like Justadad above, when anyone expects worship and gets throughly wrong-footed by this sort of thing, who gains? Is this 'Christianity Light' getting anyone anywhere? Is this true to our faith and likely to inspire others? I have an opinion which you may guess at.

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On the subject of music in worship, what was one supposed to make of last night's Songs of Praise - The Big Sing, from the Albert Hall?

 

It seemed to me to be all music and no worship; rather like a big participation event loosely themed around something vaguely religious. The authors of the 'bang up to the minute' song-type hymns were described as 'worship leaders' but their pieces seemed mostly like an excuse for a sing-song. I'm not sure what The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music (let alone Edelweiss or You'll Never Walk Alone) had to do with enhancing any liturgy.

Oh, good grief! Sounds awful. Reminds me why I make a point of trying never listening to this sort of "junk food" religion.

 

And can anyone tell me why it was felt desirable to make 'sing' into a noun? It's things like that that turn nice people into grumpy old men.

I may be wrong - probably am - but I think its use as a noun actually goes back to the nineteenth century - though maybe mainly in America.

 

What was the point of the whole thing?

It's all about comfort zones, isn't it? Not about what is really needed or wanted.

 

It's things like that that turn nice people into grumpy old men.

Welcome to the club. :rolleyes:

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Guest Lee Blick
On the subject of music in worship, what was one supposed to make of last night's Songs of Praise - The Big Sing, from the Albert Hall?

 

It seemed to me to be all music and no worship; rather like a big participation event loosely themed around something vaguely religious. The authors of the 'bang up to the minute' song-type hymns were described as 'worship leaders' but their pieces seemed mostly like an excuse for a sing-song. I'm not sure what The Hills Are Alive With The Sound of Music (let alone Edelweiss or You'll Never Walk Alone) had to do with enhancing any liturgy.

 

The two 'traditional' hymns, O Praise Ye The Lord and Guide Me O Thou Great Redeemer suffered from having every note banged out as if with a mallet, with no sense of singing through a line and were thus no more uplifting than the rest of the 'show'.

 

I have no idea which if any of the performers have any Christian faith and I don't know how many viewers it may have taken closer to God but it left me feeling that whatever it was about was nothing with which I wanted to be associated.

 

And can anyone tell me why it was felt desirable to make 'sing' into a noun? It's things like that that turn nice people into grumpy old men.

 

What was the point of the whole thing?

 

Best wishes

 

J

 

It wasn't supposed to be a service. More of a concert with audience participation. I would have thought that was obvious. I have been to several of these and they are great fun.

 

Go ahead Justadad, be a boring grumpy old fossil with the rest of them in their high and mighty organ lofts :rolleyes:

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Go ahead Justadad, be a boring grumpy old fossil with the rest of them in their high and mighty organ lofts :rolleyes:

 

Pace Justadad's response, I for one would much rather be a boring old fossil in this context.

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It wasn't supposed to be a service. More of a concert with audience participation. I would have thought that was obvious. I have been to several of these and they are great fun.

 

Go ahead Justadad, be a boring grumpy old fossil with the rest of them in their high and mighty organ lofts :P

 

Who, precisely, are these people (grumpy old fossils?) in their "high and mighty organ lofts"?

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Hi Lee

 

I hate to break it to you but the fact that you have enjoyed participating in something does not, alone, make it good, or worthy of prime time, public service broadcasting :P

 

The Big Sing was broadcast in the God slot which, traditionally, featured a service complete with prayers and lessons. Over the years the format has seen the religious element diluted in favour of more universally acceptable gaiety, reflecting similar changes in many parish churches. My concern is that The Big Sing represents a logical extension of this dilution to the point where all the religion has been stripped out of the service and one is left with a hotch-potch of sacred and secular music, performed averagely, in pursuit of the notion that this will get more bums on pews.

 

Well, I suppose it might. All I'm saying is that it will get my bum off the pew and in search of something less likely to rot my teeth, let alone my soul.

 

Whatever next? Candle I The Wind on Choral Evensong?

 

Best wishes

 

Jurassicdad

 

Paul - details here, http://www.bbc.co.uk/religion/programmes/s...s/20071028.html

 

It wasn't supposed to be a service. More of a concert with audience participation. I would have thought that was obvious. I have been to several of these and they are great fun.

 

Go ahead Justadad, be a boring grumpy old fossil with the rest of them in their high and mighty organ lofts :P

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My concern is that The Big Sing represents a logical extension of this dilution to the point where all the religion has been stripped out of the service and one is left with a hotch-potch of sacred and secular music, performed averagely, in pursuit of the notion that this will get more bums on pews.

 

Well, I suppose it might.

Dare I suggest that, at the parish level, the logical extension of this dumbing down is to dole out McDonalds instead of communion wafers on a Sunday morning? And why not? It would lend a nicely contemporary context to the service and might just attract a few kids! :P

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