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  • Hymns & Songs about the Bible

    Help!  Anyone got any good suggestions?  Without going into detail, I've just got myself into trouble with a pianist over choosing one that refered to it as containing 'stories' when 'everyone' knows it is the 'truth.'  In my view, the two are not mutually exclusive, and I note that BPW 200 and MP 629 are examples of mainstream evangelical hymnals using hymns with this word in relation to the Bible.  They wouldn't normally be my choice as they're so old and pietistic (or some such) but I have a whole sermon to deliver predicated on the phrase 'God has given us a book full of stories' (which I could cheerfully problematise on what we mean by 'has given' but won't) so singing it was an obvious choice.

    In the end we will probably be singing MP 64, which just about fits the theme, and I will have to interweave bits of BPW 200 into what I say...  Dibley are so much more tolerant than their near neighbours...!  (Perhaps I should have said 'God told me to chose this hymn' rather than, as I did 'it fits the theme'!).  Ah me.

  • Year to View

    I have just finished typing up the programme for our 'Thing in a Pub' for the next year and it's looking good.  Lots of good speakers and diverse topics  Let's hope folk are inspired to join us to....

    enjoy - engage - encounter


    faith - friendship - fun


    November 2007


    Faith & Science


    Christians in Science


    December 2007


    Sing Christmas


    Radio Leicester broadcast


    January 2008


    Social - Quiz of the Year



    February 2008


    Faith & Volunteering


    Head of CVS


    March 2008


    Saving lives...

    Air Ambulance




    Meaningless genealogies?!  Researching family history


    Local Revd Dr type person

    May 2008


    Social evening



    June 2008


    Complimentary Therapies - A Christian Perspective


    Local health visitor-cum-acupuncturist - cum-minister's wife!

    July 2007


    Faith & Policing


    Chief Constable

    August 2008


    Faith & Politics


    Local MP


    September 2008


    Social Evening



    October 2008


    Faith & Fair Trade


    Area rep for Tearcraft

  • Albert and the Undertakers?

    Last night I went to visit a family to discuss arrangements for a funeral.  As part of the service they asked for a recording of 'Albert and the Lion' to be played.  I have no objection, but I am more than a tad bemused by this.  I have heard a few people in this locale talk of having this poem at funerals - but why?

    In the mean time, I have to prune other bits down so that we have time for this (I seem to recall the recording being quite long to allow for all the laughter along the way) as the crem. slot is tight.

  • Star Quality?

    Many moons ago, in the days when Northampton Borough Council provided free music lessons in schools, I scraped, in every sense of the word, my way to Grade 4 violin, alongside learning piano in the evening from a teacher who didn't believe in exams for non-paying pupils - I guess I got to about Grade 5 at my peak.  It has therefore been interesting to watch start of the 'Classical Star' and to see these young, talented people competing for the CD contract.

    I was first struck by the difference in ages of the competitors and the impact this had - a 14 year old with 25% less life experience than some of the others could hardly be expected to come across with the same levels of sophisitcation and self awareness.  I was especially struck by the differences in the two violinists - one who works in a pub to get the money topay for occasional lessons and the other who studies privately in Russia.  This isn't about 'right' and 'wrong' but I did find myself siding with the girl who pulls pints to pay her way, and who is clearly somewhat intimidated by her rival.  Even though, to be fair, there were shots of the latter looking very uncertain and bemused too.

    Part of me rails against the injustice that now in schools you have to pay for music lessons and that if you happen to be too poor to pay, then tough luck (but see * below).  At least the girl in the competition had parents/relatives who had been able to support her as far as Grade 8, many of the children I meet aren't so fortunate - I was truly blessed to be a child when I was.  I know there is no such thing as a level playing field, and in a sense this competition reflects that.  Whilst I think the judgements made this week were fair, in terms of who was the least ready to progress towards a recording contract, it seemed they were also those less likely to have the opportunity so to do in the future.  I am left wondering how gifted and talented youngsters from the 'back streets' get the breaks these days - no free music lessons, no university grants...  How much star quality is undiscovered or undeveloped right on my door step?  And what, if anything can I do about it?

    * The school where I am governor currently has a bursary scheme for one year's worth of lessons available to a small number children on free meals, but that is funded from our rent payments.  Whilst this is a great use of the revenue, it creates tension when we have to consider the costs of rental and the best use of our money in the service of the Kingdom.  I'm happy enough that we subsidise children learning music, but most of my folk are ignorant of the fact and it seems are concerned only with our bottom line.  Eeeh, it's a tricky one.

    I shall watch how the competition unfolds with interest - and hope that it suceeds in showing that classical music is both enjoyable and accessible.  May the best musician win!

  • Like supermarket, like church...?

    In so far as I am already up to my ears in Christmas preparations!  I have just had confirmation from the school choir leader that they will take part in our outreach service - so that's 25 children plus a few parents.  Plus a hundred senior citizens for tea.  Plus a dozen 40's/50's to lead the worship.  Plus anyone else who happens along.  I just hope there's enough room in the 'inn' (school hall) for us all - but it's a lovely problem to have.