Category Archives: music

Reflections on a rainbow

 

Last Wednesday (July 18) I and several others from the parish, had the privilege of being part of a ‘Rainbow Service’ at St Mary’s Church in Guildford, a communion service which celebrated diversity and in particular welcomed people from the LGBTI+ community, along with family, friends and allies.

The word ‘privilege’ is often used to describe people’s feelings when they have attended an event, so often used that it has become a cliché and I thought carefully before using it, but it really did feel a privilege to be part of a warm, joyful, colourful service which not only celebrated diversity but was also ground-breaking. There have been other such services in other places but this was, I believe, the first in this part of the Diocese of Guildford. It was also packed, and not just with Anglicans, for it was an ecumenical service. I don’t know who came from which church but among those I was particularly pleased to welcome were three from the Godalming Unitarian Chapel including the minister Sheena.

The word privilege is important here for another reason too. Those who identify as straight and cisgendered have been privileged in society, and LGBTI+ people have been at best marginalised and discriminated against. More than that they have often been persecuted, attacked, forced to hide themselves. In some places they are imprisoned, killed. Though in many countries society is much more welcoming now – we have equal marriage after all, though ceremonies cannot be conducted in the Anglican Church – discrimination remains and the church is in large part responsible. There were those I knew there who had experienced direct discrimination and humiliation from both church and society, and I knew just a few of the congregation.

During the service there were references to the wounds that have been and continue to be inflicted, but there was no sense of bitterness, simply an offering of ourselves to God and a joy that God welcomes us all here, now, as we are, and loves and celebrates us. The Confession included the words: ‘Forgive us when we don’t believe such love is true or possible, when we wonder how you could love us just as we are, when we forget our intricate construction, fearfully, wonderfully made, in your image! You know our hearts – and you love us still.’

There was joy, there was wonderful music, and there was colour, not least in the ribbons that we all wore and then tied to a huge circle of wool which we all held, before placing it on the altar, in the rainbow cloth in front of the altar, in the rainbow banner which until the night before had adorned St Mark’s in Hale, in the amazing rainbow cupcakes which a lady called Liz had made, in the installation celebrating and challenging us on inclusion which Lesley Shatwell had prepared, in the rainbow collages which Dave and Helena Walker encouraged us to make.

There was also talk, lots of it, with people lingering over nibbles, wine and those cupcakes, making friends, just feeling welcome. It was, as I said, a privilege and the first, I am certain, of many such occasions.

Stella Wiseman

Arts at St Mark’s

NEWS RELEASE

5th October 2017

 

Arts at St Mark’s as church holds inaugural arts festival

 

St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale, is holding its inaugural arts festival over the weekend of October 20-22.

 

The festival, which will include a concert, a ceilidh, art exhibition, arts, craft and music workshop, and a sung service on Sunday morning, has been organised by a group of artists and musicians in the church who were inspired by the wealth of creativity in the parish.

The festival is open to all at no charge and among the workshops on offer on Saturday will be stone-cutting, working with clay, music and an opportunity to redraw the map of Hale in an art workshop.

There will be a concert on Friday evening at 7pm featuring organ music, a ‘Cajun Boogaloo’, Wildflowers choral group, and the rock-a-billy country band Fingersmith and the Rocking Thumbs, and on Saturday at 7pm there will be a ceilidh and a celebration of work from the daytime workshops.

The Sunday service at 11am will be almost entirely sung (including the sermon) and will take place in a church decorated with artwork from Saturday.

Licensed Lay Minister and musician Lesley Shatwell, one of the organisers, will be leading the Sunday service. She said: “I love all kinds of music, but since I have been licensed as a lay minister, I have been wanting to share the variety of religious songs, gospel music and folk hymns; and maybe to see if I could put them together into a completely musical service.

“Creativity was bubbling up throughout our parish and I am not sure who first thought, ‘We could have a festival to celebrate all of this’, but the idea took hold. People offered time and expertise, musicians looked through their repertoire to select the right pieces and suddenly, it is all taking shape very quickly. Admission to the concert is free but donations may be made in aid of parish funds and the century-old organ, known as ‘Emily’, which is in need of refurbishment.

For further details call 07592 571243 or visit http://www.badshotleaandhale.org

 

Singing Together

Last Thursday fifteen of us met at St. Marks church for a lovely evening singing together.

Frances had invited local renowned musician, Len Tyler, to meet us and encourage us all to sing even better than we do already!

Len is an expert in the Kodály method of singing. This encourages us to listen, think, and sing at the same time. Within an hour we, as a group, were all singing confidently in four parts. We all felt very pleased with ourselves.

Many of us feel we would like to meet again. Len is extremely busy so cannot join us, but I did a Kodály course as part of my teachers training many years ago, and I am very happy to revise it in order to lead a few sessions if everyone is happy about that.

I suggest we meet again on Thursday 18th May at St. Marks church at 6:15 until 7:30, to sing and socialise.

Len has said he would visit us again in a few months and it would be good to show him what we can do!

See you all soon and  keeeeeep singing!

Margaret 😃

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Sponsor a stop to save Emily

‘Emily,’ the pipe organ at St Mark’s Church, Upper Hale is 103 years old and in need of a complete overhaul. The Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale have been fundraising and so far have raise £2500 towards the target of £23,000.

St Mark’s Church are appealing to the community to help save this local piece of history by sponsoring an organ stop. A ‘stop’, when it is pulled out, allows pressurized air to a set of organ pipes. This changes the sound of the organ, perhaps making it sound like a group flutes or oboes. There are eight stops available for sponsorship at £100 each, in addition there are pipes available at £60, £30 or £15 each.

The Reverend Lesley Crawley said, “Pipes and stops can be sponsored anonymously or not, and those sponsoring them will be able to write who they are sponsoring it for. They will receive a certificate and the church will display all the names and notes that people write on a ‘Sponsoring a Pipe’ manuscript. There will be a celebratory concert once ‘Emily’ has been restore to which all those who have sponsored a pipe will be invited.”

To sponsor a pipe or stop please send the note of who you are dedicating the pipe to and your  donation (payable to The Parish of Badshot Lea and Hale PCC) to St Mark’s Church, Alma Lane, Farnham, GU9 0LT. For further information or to ensure your donation is gift-aided then call the Reverend Lesley Crawley on 01252 820537.

St George’s Choir

In the last year St George’s choir has grown from three members to eight. (I include myself). At the choir’s request we now practise weekly instead of fortnightly, and so we can be a little more adventurous, tackling some simple anthems as well as hymns for Sunday. We are following the first ‘Voice for Life’ singer’s workbook, experienced singers and newcomers all learning and revising together.

I’ve never led a choir before, and I find it exhilarating to build it up and try out new music which will enhance the worship on Sundays by making ‘a joyful noise unto the Lord’, we hope! The new hymn books provide an opportunity to discover contemporary songs and new ways of singing the liturgy. But we have to tease out the musical tastes of all comers, so that faith is nurtured by the music, and nothing jars. Singing Taizé chants in Latin is not everyone’s cup of tea!

When inviting me to be organist in the parish Lesley and Alan didn’t enquire into the state of my soul! One of my main aims in life is to play the organ, and organs just happen to be in churches! Faith comes to me through the music, especially when it’s going well, and the music suits the service, and people are kind and encouraging, even when I’ve made mistakes. The Royal School of Church Music calls music ‘a sacramental language which ministers to us’. That’s how I see it.

Another quote from the RSCM magazine: “Singing does more than keep our spirits up: it joins us in the celestial harmony of faithful pilgrimage.’ That is our mission, to engender harmony in the relationships as well as the music of the church. Church music is the soundtrack to people’s lives – baptisms, weddings, and funerals all require this great gift of God to sooth, to calm, and to bring lasting joy.

Frances Whewell

I’ll name that Hymn in One!

As many will know, Barry Hall has moved with his family to Bournemouth and Frances Whewell has agreed to be the new Parish Organist, playing at all three churches at various times in the month.

Frances will also be choosing the music, and together with her we are developing a “Repertoire” for each service.  That is a number of hymns which the congregation knows and loves, and which we will be able to sing about three times a year on average.  This restricts the number of hymns that we can sing, but means that when we sing them we will be more confident, and newcomers have some chance of getting to know the hymns and songs.

In drawing up such a list we are almost certain to get it wrong, and although we have been discussing this with the Worship Groups for each church, we would also like to offer everybody the opportunity to look at the list and offer their views – there is no guarantee that this will change the list in cases of personal favourites, but where it highlights an obvious mistake it allows us to correct it.

The lists are available on the web here.  Please do let me know

  1. what we have forgotten
  2. what we have included that no one knows (or likes!)

Weight of numbers will probably count for something in determining which changes get made.

Alan Crawley

Photo thanks to Georgie Fry

“It has always been done this way”

One of the difficulties when reading the Bible is to determine which elements are culturally conditioned from the time of writing, and which are eternal truths.  This is not an easy task.

However, the same is true of many of the things that we take for granted in our churches today.  This is the start of an occasional series looking at some church history – particularly in the area of churches and worship.

This month I shall begin with church music.

Organs did not appear in general use in churches until about the 12th Century as music was associated with heathen cults.  Prior to this the music was not sung, but chanted and consisted primarily of the Psalms.

Hymns as we would recognise them started being written in the 17th and 18th centuries, with Charles Wesley a major contributor.  Carols only started being sung in church in the late 18th and early 19th centuries (having been sung outside church earlier in history).

In the 19th century the organ started to replace the Parish Band and hymns were introduced into the service – often with a robed choir.  Until then most Church of England Churches did not have music in the service; however they might have a Parish Band who would play at the end of the service.  This is because the Book of Common Prayer contains very few references to music, and where it most obviously does it referred to Cathedrals and College Chapels.

In 20th Century in some churches Parish bands started to reappear, often with electric guitars and drums, but also in a folk style.

So hymns as many would recognise them in the service have been a feature of worship for about 200 years, and modern worship songs have been around for about 50 – out of the 2,000 year life of the church.

Alan Crawley

Photo thanks to Georgie Fry