From the Rector - February 2018

Dear Friends,

Almost two years ago now the Benefice undertook the exercise of reviewing the service schedule. As part of this we discussed forming a “roving choir” to sing on a near weekly basis going around four of our churches for the 9.30 am Eucharist and the other two on other occasions. That initial group was made up of representatives appointed by each PCC with The Ven. John Holliman and myself. The group included Churchwardens, including Bob Thackray who had put in an incredible amount of work, both in advance and after the meeting, how we might arrange the schedule so different services were available across the Benefice so that our churches weren’t competing with the same services at the same time. Bob is also no stranger to the musical world, being involved in choirs and having been the Headteacher of two Cathedral schools. Michael Hockney, the Director of the Benefice Choir was also there. The Benefice Choir sings for five services a year (plus occasional extras) and they, of course, will continue. Other members (at least according to my memory and I apologise if it fails me and I miss some people) included Suzanne Sandford, David Webster, Caro Morgan, Annie Meston, Freddie Yorke, Sarah Jones, Andrew Vaughan, Evis Holliman, Simon (and or Juliet Cooper!) and Simon Franklin (and quite possibly Tony Gowers and Christopher Sykes).

The idea of a roving choir with a choir director then went through PCCs and the Benefice Council for approval then advertising, interview etc. What I am trying to say is that this idea is coming to fruition afier a lot of hard work and time by many people in the Benefice. I want to say thank you to them for their continuing support.

I hope you will also support the new choir.

I am not much of a singer. I do enjoy singing in a choir, not that I can be much part of this one because I tend to be up front. I would encourage people to have a go! Children are very welcome as long as they can read well.

One of the starting points for this Venture was that speaking to people around the parishes it became clear to me just how many people’s first contact with church was being involved in choirs in their youth. Most of the churches in the Benefice at one time had their own choir. I began to wonder what we had lost by not having a regular choir. It, to my mind, is a clear detriment to the worship of God and to our experience of that worship. I also began to question what the loss would be not only to future congregations but also how that might impoverish future generations in their lack of experience of church life and the beauty and diversity of church music.

“He who sings prays twice”
St Augustine

“Be filled with the Spirit, as you sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, singing and making melody to the Lord in your hearts, giving thanks to God the Father at all times and for everything in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Ephesians 5: 18b - 20