Is our worship any good?

I’ve just read a booklet entitled ‘Evaluating Worship’ by Mark Earey, and I found it fascinating – he talks about the different models of worship that exist, for example, do you think:

  • Worship is for the individual to draw closer to God, or
  • Worship is to enable us to be more open to the readings and preaching, or
  • Worship is our duty – it doesn’t matter whether we like it or not, or
  • Worship is heaven on earth – as the angels are singing ‘Holy, holy, holy’ in heaven, so we reflect that praise on earth…

The models of worship are different to ‘styles of worship’ – so any of these models could be formal or informal, they could use hymn books or the words on a screen. In fact, often when we argue about the style of worship (eg. we mustn’t have bongo drums in the service) we are really trying to defend our model of worship (eg. I don’t care whether people like bongo drums – people should see worship as a duty).

I don’t particularly prefer any style – I like both formal and informal worship – but a more interesting question for me has been ‘What is my model of worship’ – none of the above really resonate for me.

Having reflected on it, for me it is about the family of God coming together around the table and being equipped to serve the community. I value us showing up, week by week, getting to know each other well and becoming a spiritual family. I also value us being sent out into the world to serve others and to let God’s love be known.

There are many sobering scriptures where people think their worship is great but God has other ideas – the classic example is from Amos 5:

I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies…Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Amos 5.21–24, NRSV)

The booklet ends with a quote from the theologian the Reverend Michael Vasey:

The evaluation of worship in any Christian tradition has to attend not only to the emotional and aesthetic experience but to its outworking in agape, justice and mission.

How can you tell if worship is any good? Not by asking ‘How many of us liked it?’ (the ‘emotional and aesthetic experience’). What Vasey reminds us is that the truest evaluation of worship will always be based on what are essentially long-term criteria, rather than the short-term criteria we often apply.

An evening with Rudyard Kipling

Jonathan Jones, the Farnham Town Crier, will be performing on Saturday 9th July at 7:30pm at St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale, GU9 0LT, to raise money for the restoration of ‘Emily’ the pipe organ. Entry is free but donations are very welcome!

Jonathan explains, “I will present, in the first person, Rudyard Kipling’s “Something of Myself”. It is the story of Rudyard Kipling’s life, based on his autobiography and interspersed with dramatic readings of his poetry, including ‘If’, ‘Tommy’, ‘The Glory of the Garden’, ‘Recessional’, ‘My Boy Jack’ and ‘Gunga Din’. It covers his traumatic childhood, his early years in India and the tragic loss of his son John in the Great War.”

The Reverend Lesley Crawley said, “This will be a fantastic evening, we are so very lucky to have Jonathan performing for us once again. His “A Christmas Carol” performance was unforgettable. Do come along for a wonderful community evening and please help us to restore ‘Emily’!”

So far over £5300 has been raised to restore and rebuild the Edwardian Pipe Organ. The target is £23,000.

Introducing our Curate Hannah

My name is Hannah Moore and in a few weeks time I will be moving into your Parish with my family to work and worship with you.

I was born in Bedfordshire, but at the age of five, I moved to South Africa with my parents and sister for a short work contract of two years. We ended up staying for 23 years. I met my husband, Michael, whilst at school and we have been married for 20 years. We have two children, Rachael and Reuben.  Michael is a teacher and works at a secondary school in Fleet.

I qualified as a teacher and taught at a primary school before I had Rachael. I have also worked in the private sector on the planning and development of a Titanium mine. When we returned to England, I set up my own business in partnership with my sister and my mum running After School Craft clubs, which I did until I started my training for ministry.

Over the last three years, I have been studying at St Mellitus Theological College in London, as well as working for the Church on the Heath where I was training in ministry,  and at  All Saints Church in Fleet as a Children’s and Families worker.

When I am not working I love to watch sport. I am mad about cricket so enjoy watching England and I try to keep up with where Liverpool FC is in the Premier League table – not close enough to the top for my liking! I can also be seen out and about walking our two dogs (and the cats that often come as well.) I also love to relax with a good book or challenge myself with a jigsaw puzzle. Now that I have finished a very intense period of my academic studies I am looking forward to being a happy strummer on my guitar again.

Please continue to pray for my family as we prepare to move. Moving can be stressful, so I am keeping the words of my favourite Psalm in mind during this time as we sort out cupboards and say our goodbyes in Fleet., “I lift up my eyes to the hills from where will my help come? My help comes from the Lord” (Ps121).

Michael, Rachael, Reuben and I are really excited to be moving into your parish and getting to know you all.

Hannah Moore

**Hannah is being ordained at Charterhouse on 3rd July at 3pm – all welcome. All welcome to come back to St George’s straight afterwards for bring and share meal – at about 5:30pm.