The Epiphany Season
I've about had it about up to here with all the anti-wealth rhetoric leading up to the annual conference of the Consortium of Endowed Episcopal Parishes (CEEP) meeting in Boston this week. I am not attending this year, but I have attended a conference in the past, and I've worked for three endowed parishes in the Episcopal Church in the past twelve years.
I'm not sure what it is exactly that people assume happens at these CEEP conferences, but from some of the discussion on social media, you might assume that attendees sit around wearing cassocks and smoke cigars lit from flaming dollar bills.
Spoiler alert: this is not what goes on.
The list of CEEP member parishes (which is public) includes nineteen Episcopal cathedrals, and churches from every state except Alabama, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Vermont.
Some of what I read online is anti-endowment. This just doesn't make any sense. Every parish asks members to give. Why is it so problematic if members give a lot? What if the church, from a gift, or a series of large gifts, is able to begin an endowment? Do we really not want financial security for our churches?
Parishioners give large gifts to their parishes because they love God, and they love the places in which they have worshipped God. Eli Lilly famously endowed three churches in Indianapolis, Indiana along Meridian Street, the street that bisects not only the city but lies at the north-south axis of the whole state: Christ Church (now a cathedral), Trinity, and St. Paul's; together, they are the "Meridian Street Parishes".
My first full-time job was as the Assistant Organist and Choirmaster of Christ Church Cathedral, Indianapolis. I was elated. I had "made it" as a professional church musician, which was my goal from about age 12.
At the same time, I also realized that my thirteen-year-old Ford Crown Victoria wasn't the best choice of car for the extreme commute that I faced from Bloomington, Indiana for the foreseeable future (especially in the winter months). So, I decided it was finally time to buy a new car, and I bought a gray Honda Civic (not a Lexus, mind you). I still drive it. It turned 180,000 miles this weekend.
Given that a full-time assistant organist position was a rarity in the church (and still is) I think it's safe to say that one of the reasons the position existed was because of Christ Church's endowment. Since this endowment was begun by the pharmaceutical industrialist Eli Lilly, I enjoyed telling people that I had bought my new car with "drug money."
That's not all. I also played an organ that was purchased with "drug money." Ruth Lilly, who gave a $100 million gift to Poetry magazine in 2002, also gifted Christ Church with an organ in 1991: the gallery organ built by Taylor and Boody in 1992.
It is said that the bishop at the time, the Rt. Rev. Ted Jones, suggested that the gift would be better deployed by gifting several smaller churches in the Diocese of Indianapolis their own pipe organ rather than adding an additional organ to the Cathedral (Christ Church already had a sizeable organ by Hellmuth Wolff in the chancel).
And while there is nothing wrong with this idea, per se, it doesn't have quite the same grand vision that Ruth Lilly must have had. The presence of this additional organ greatly enriches the music and liturgy of worship in this cathedral for the whole Diocese. Furthermore, the Cathedral sits in the very center of busy downtown Indianapolis and is uniquely suited to offer music to the whole region, not just on Sundays but during the week as well. Five weekdays a month, I played the organs (both of them at every service, mind you) at Evensong. These services were also broadcast on the radio. For many years, the Cathedral was able to maintain a weekly organ recital series, in part due to the high quality of both of those instruments, particularly the Taylor and Boody.
For me, personally, I will say that the organ was a delight, and I spent every spare moment I could on this organ. I sincerely believe this organ made me a better organist early in my career, and everyone – Episcopalian or otherwise – who has heard me since is a beneficiary. I probably don't say it enough, so let me say it again now: thank you, Ruth Lilly.
Isn't it the nature of gifts that giving begets more giving?
Everything that is given to our churches – pledges, endowments, stained glass windows, organs, vestments, 30 copies of an anthem, a new clergy position, a bronze bust of someone who appears in Lesser Feasts and Fasts – all of it has the possibility to form congregations and communities as disciples of Jesus Christ.
I hope that we are not too quick to criticize the givers of these gifts, but rather we respond with immense gratefulness and go and do likewise.
to give and give, and give again,
what God hath given thee;
to spend thyself nor count the cost;
to serve right gloriously
the God who gave all worlds that are,
and all that are to be.
–Geoffrey Anketel Studdert-Kennedy (Hymnal 1982: Hymn 9)
We should be grateful for CEEP. We don't need fewer CEEP conferences or attendees. We need more.
Why? Because I think we all agree that it's important to use endowments wisely. To whom much is given, much is expected. I can't remember who said that – it was either Jesus or Gandolf the Grey.
Do these parishes mess this up sometimes? Yes, for all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.
We should be grateful for endowed Episcopal parishes. We don't need fewer endowed Episcopal parishes. We need more.
Every church asks its members to give. We should be grateful when members actually do and when some of those members have the means to give more than the church can wisely spend in a given fiscal year.
And, frankly, we don't just need more endowed Episcopal parishes, we need more dioceses that are endowed. Nobody remembers the diocese when it comes time for an endowment, and that's a shame because a well-endowed diocese would have an opportunity to more creatively staff itself for the work of the kingdom beyond the more "required" diocesan work. (Actually, I could be totally off-base on this, but it's a thought that I've had more than once.)
I've worked in rich churches, and I've worked in poor churches. In my experience, endowed churches are still just churches. The copier still breaks down, the staff still celebrates birthdays, the undercroft still floods, the Gospel is still preached, the Eucharist is still celebrated, God is still praised.
What makes endowed churches different is that they can and should do more. They should be the best versions of themselves that they can.
Endowed parishes should be encouraged to think and act creatively, and many do. These innovative staff positions, creative projects, and new missions should be more readily shared with the wider church. Many of these projects fail. I know. I've seen them. These results should be shared too.
Finally, the whole Consortium should be willing to act boldly and creatively for the sake of the Gospel. The UCC and the Methodists have attractive, memorable national advertising campaigns. Why doesn't the Episcopal Church?
If Bishop Curry would agree to do a Super Bowl commercial, the members of CEEP could probably pick up the tab.
On the First Sunday after Christmas, we sang a service of Lessons and Carols with Holy Eucharist at the parish where I serve as organist and director of music.
I'm not breaking new ground here. Drop me a line (comment below) and let me know what lessons are used at your service. I'd love to know more about what the church is up to here.
I want to share some thoughts on this with you today for several reasons.
I hope this will be useful to many Episcopal (and other churches) that may wish to imitate what we have done.
Some background: St. Peter's, St. Louis, the parish where I work, had a long custom of Morning Prayer, but has in recent years moved to a near-weekly celebration of the Holy Eucharist at the principal liturgy. When we conducted this service on Sunday morning three years ago, we were able to use the full nine lessons in a "Morning Prayer" mode. But, with the addition of Holy Eucharist, this was untenable.
Can I just pause here to say how much I admire (and envy) the custom of Christmas Lessons and Carols at Church of the Advent, Boston on New Year's Eve?
St. Peter's has full choral Lessons and Carols services for Advent and Epiphany, so this Christmas service is not as important as it may be in some places. It seemed good to us to be slightly experimental with this liturgy in that it does attempt to fully reconcile a service of Lessons and Carols with a celebration of the Holy Eucharist, and the result – I think – was very successful.
Here's a play-by-play of the service, which was preceded by the Prelude on "Irby" by David Willcocks (found in the Oxford Book of Christmas Organ Music).
I do think it's good to begin this service with this hymn, though I have been known to use a different hymn. And I think it's good to have at least two stanzas sung from the choir where possible.
I had toyed with the idea of the full soprano section singing the first verse in unison, but without the aid of a conductor, this proved unwise. There's nothing wrong with a solo voice, it seems!
To add a bit of originality, I wrote my own descant for this tune.
The textual differences between the Hymnal 1982 and the version found in Carols for Choirs 2 are maddening. Pick one and stick with it. (Note to self: take this advice next year.) When in doubt have the congregation sing one version and the choir another (haha! This is a joke!).
Here is where "local interests" may appear, but seldom do. We added in the full name of our Diocese and made a couple other minor changes to eliminate gendered language.
It is important to omit the Lord's Prayer from the Bidding, as it will be prayed during the service of Holy Communion.
Beloved in Christ, be it this Christmastide our care and delight to prepare ourselves to hear again the message of the angels; in heart and mind to go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, and the Babe lying in a manger.
Let us read and mark in Holy Scripture the tale of the loving purposes of God from the first days of our disobedience unto the glorious Redemption brought us by this Holy Child; and let us make St. Peter’s Church glad with our carols of praise: But first let us pray for the needs of his whole world; for peace and goodwill over all the earth; for unity and
brotherhoodconcord within the Church he came to build, and especially in this Diocese of Missouri.
And because this of all things would rejoice his heart, let us at this time remember in his name the poor and the helpless, the cold, the hungry and the oppressed; the sick in body and in mind and them that mourn; the lonely and the unloved; the aged and the little children; all who know not the Lord Jesus, or who love him not, or who by sin have grieved his heart of love.
Lastly let us remember before God all those who rejoice with us, but upon another shore and in a greater light, that multitude which no
manone can number, whose hope was in the Word made flesh, and with whom, in this Lord Jesus, we for evermore are one.
The Almighty God bless us with his grace; Christ give us the joys of everlasting life; and to the fellowship of the citizens above may the King of Angels bring us all. Amen.
This Invitatory Carol after the Bidding Prayer should be considered optional, I think. I had planned on one initially. But in the late stages of putting the service together, I decided to cut it.
I'll note the full specifics of the music we used below.
I referred to this as our "just add water" Lessons and Carols, since it was mainly music we had sung on Christmas Eve.
But obviously the choice of music can make the service anywhere from exceedingly simple to ridiculously complex. A very satisfying order could be made of all hymns from the Hymnal 1982. One or two pieces should be sung after every lesson (one of which could be a hymn).
This is the First Lesson in the King's service.
In our service, these Lessons are read very much as they are every Sunday. They were from the NRSV, as they are every Sunday of the year. They were introduced with "A lesson from..." and concluded with "The Word of the Lord / Thanks be to God."
This Lesson is the Old Testament Lesson for the First Sunday after Christmas in the Revised Common Lectionary. (It is the same set of lessons in all years, A, B and C!)
This is the Fifth Lesson at King's.
This is the Sixth Lesson at King's.
This is the Seventh Lesson at King's. We felt especially justified not including the Eighth Lesson since we get a hefty dose of it next Sunday when we celebrate the Feast of the Epiphany. (Our feelings on this might change when we don't celebrate Epiphany on Sunday.)
Not only is this the Ninth Lesson at King's, but it is also the Gospel Lesson for the First Sunday after Christmas. (Note that this lection is four verses longer than King's.)
We had a Gospel procession during the hymn preceeding, and read this Gospel in the usual way for a service of Holy Eucharist. (Note: there is no sermon or creed.)
In this case, the Collect for the First Sunday after Christmas.
After which, the service procceds like a standard Holy Eucharist.
Final thoughts: we did not incorporate the Epistle Lesson for the First Sunday after Christmas. This is a very short lesson, and this would be easy to do. It does not seem desireable, however, to incorporate the proper Psalm in a service of this type.
I'm also aware that this activity flies in the face of the perscription NOT to replace the Word of God with a service of Lessons and Carols in the Book of Occasional Services. I think that guidance is, well, misguided.
As promised, here are the full details for the Service of Lessons and Carols and Holy Eucharist sung on the First Sunday after Christmas at St. Peter's, St. Louis.
It is only speculation, but I venture the opinion that the immense popularity of the Service of Nine Lessons and Carols at King's College Chapel, Cambridge, (when compared with the popularity of sung evensong anywhere) arose from the fact that the invention of this service aroused a response through its paradoxical quality. Here was a cathedral foundation singing not Stanford in C or Wood in the Phrygian mode but the earthy, secular, cheerful, friendly songs of Christmas. The collision of this earthiness and familiarity with cathedral remoteness and beauty caused a minor explosion in the affections of the British public. It is interesting to observe how, with the gradual rising of the standard of that choir to something as near perfection in its own line as mortals dare approach, there has been, over the fifty years of its acceptance as a national institution, a gradual de-sacralizing of the music. One by one the vestiges of cathedral romanticism have been pared away—Walford Davies's "O little town," for example, gave place to a Bach recitative and chorale, and this in turn gave place to the austere medieval hymn "Corde natus." Carols of the F-sharp major Pettman school have gradually made way for the fresh simplicity of Berkeley's "I sing of a maiden," the good-humored asperities of Mathias' "Nowell," and the gaunt medieval coolness of "There is no rose." King's College Chapel will remain romantic as long as it stands; even Thomas Tallis will sound romantic there as long as people think of the place with the affection they show at present.
Routley, Erik. Church Music and the Christian Faith. Agape, 1978, pp. 47-48.
The Latvian composer Ēriks Ešenvalds was in St. Louis this weekend for the premiere of a new choral work with the St. Louis Chamber Chorus. On Friday afternoon, he gave an interview to the public radio station here.
And at that time, Whitney Houston was very popular singer. You know, she still is one of my top, top singers because there is such a freedom in her voice. … We couldn't buy her sheet music in Soviet Union, but we did saw her on TV, we heard her on radio and audio cassette. So, so main subject in during music school was piano playing. And I was very good in the piano. So I just learned to play her songs by listening. And I was surprised to figure out that her songs consisted of playing chords – six, seven different chords. … Those beautiful songs were created just with simple chords. And that was like the next step.… But that was the beginning at age 10, 11, thanks to Whitney Houston.
Listen: the Whitney Houston portion comes at about 13 minutes in.
Built into the very warrant for sacramental worship is a verb of performance. Hidden in that performance is a vision of life in Christ that is not a state of being but rather an act, an act of the worshippers who enact a cosmos and a community that is nothing less than God’s act of creation.
McCall, Richard D. Do This: Liturgy As Performance. University of Notre Dame Press, Notre Dame, Ind (2007). p. 2
I've always been quite taken with Stephen Cleobury's arrangement of "The Cherry Tree Carol".
It's a traditional English carol about a pregnant Mary and her husband Joseph walking through an orchard. Mary wants a cherry and the cherry tree itself, recognizing who Mary is, bows down to her so that she can easily pluck cherries.
I find the idea compelling. Nature itself recognizing the Queen of Heaven.
And because Mary is still pregnant throughout this carol, it works at Advent or Christmas carol services.
But as I compared two slightly different versions of Cleobury's arrangement recently, I noticed a profound difference in the role Joseph plays in the carol.
In Cleobury's first version of this arrangement from 1985, he sets a seven stanza version of the carol. (This version is available in a publication called A Trio of Carols from Oxford.) Joseph doesn't really do or say much here.
"Old" version from 1985
Joseph was an old man And an old man was he, When he wedded Mary, In the land of Galilee. And as they were walking Through an orchard so good, Where were cherries and berries As red as any blood. O then bespoke Mary, With words both meek and mild, ‘Pluck me one cherry, Joseph, For that I am with child.’ ‘Go to the tree then, Mary, And it shall bow to thee; And you shall gather cherries By one, by two, by three.’ Then bowed down the highest tree Unto our Lady's hand; ‘See,’ Mary cried, ‘See Joseph, I have cherries at command.’ ‘O eat your cherries, Mary O eat your cherries now; O eat your cherries, Mary, That grow upon the bough.’ Then Mary plucked a cherry, As red as any blood; Then Mary went she homewards All with her heavy load.
In this carol, Joseph seems to know that the tree is ready to bow down to Mary. He encourages her to go to the tree. In the penultimate stanza, Joseph rejoices with Mary, if the lines "O eat your cherries, Mary" can be considered rejoicing. Maybe it's just some encouragement? This is odd. Perhaps Mary is skeptical about the tree's intentions. Anyway, Joseph comes off as a supportive husband in this one.
In the version that is more familiar to us now, however, the carol is rather dramatically reworded. There is an additional stanza, and Joseph doesn't come off well at all. This "new" version is published in Advent for Choirs from Oxford and is published separately. It was in the King's College Choir's hands as early as 1996.
Joseph was an old man and an old man was he, When he wedded Mary, in the land of Galilee. Joseph and Mary walked through an orchard good, Where was cherries and berries, so red as any blood. O then bespoke Mary, so meek and oh, so mild: ‘Pluck me one cherry, Joseph, for I am with child.’ O then bespoke Joseph, with words most unkind: ‘Let him pluck thee a cherry that brought thee with child.’ O then bespoke the baby, within his mother’s womb: ‘Bow down then the tallest tree, for my mother to have some.’ Then bowed down the highest tree unto his mother’s hand; Then she cried, ‘See, Joseph I have cherries at command.’ O then bespoke Joseph: ‘I have done Mary wrong; But cheer up, my dearest, and be ye not cast down.’ Then Mary plucked a cherry, as red as any blood; Then Mary went she homewards all with her heavy load.
Things take a severe turn in that fourth stanza. In this "new" version, he is not exactly a supportive husband.
In the "old" version, Joseph was happy to tell Mary how to get the cherries. In fact, he was privy to the knowledge that the cherry tree was willing to bow down. Here, however, he seems to have some unresolved issues with Mary's pregnancy.
Furthermore, the in utero Christ gets a voice in this carol, which is perhaps unique in the carol repertoire(?).
But the inherent conflict in this carol gives the narrative more texture. From within the womb, Christ instructs the "tallest tree" to bow down.
The connection we are meant to draw, I think, is that "him…that brought thee with child" is depicted here with nature itself operating at Mary's command.
In the "old" version you could describe Joseph as lazy, at worst. In the "new" version Joseph is mean, but his momentary cruelty allows for Mary's command of nature to stand more clearly as a symbol.
What I find utterly awkward in this "new" version, is the egg-on-his-face Joseph of the penultimate stanza.
O then bespoke Joseph: ‘I have done Mary wrong; But cheer up, my dearest, and be ye not cast down.’
There is a brief apology in there, which is nice. It's addressed to us, the audience, but I wish we could just sit Joseph down and be like, "look, dude, apologize to your wife directly."
It would be the catharsis this carol needs.
The feeling of things being unresolved persists for me, not only with Joseph's weak, saccharine apology but also with the way Cleobury masterfully arranges the last line of this carol: "all with her heavy load."
Not only is she bearing the infant Christ, but she's burdened with this mean "old man" as her husband.
The heaviness of the organ part, especially as performed in King's College, Cambridge, is marvelously evocative of these burdens. (You really need to be listening on proper speakers/headphones, or with a subwoofer, to get the full effect.)
This post was written by the Employment Task Force of the Association of Anglican Musicians
General Convention starts in less than a week, and the service bulletins still contain errors that will hinder the participation of the people.
I'm not going to go into full detail the way I did in my first post on this subject, but here, briefly, are the remaining services for General Convention.
I think this service sounds really interesting. If you're unaware of the word "revival" in Episcopal parlance, you can find information on the recent and upcoming Episcopal Revivals here.
I'm fascinated by the compelling blend of evangelical and liturgical. I'll be honest: the first time I read the versicle and response "Lord, send a revival. / And let it begin in me!" I got chills.
For me, this is some of the most compelling of the liturgy that will be offered at General Convention. This seems like exactly the time and the place for this kind of service, and it builds on the present Episcopal Revival movement.
What I don't like so much is that the printing of the Acclamation Hymn is woefully incomplete. The last three lines are missing. This is the kind of error that hinders the participation of the people gathered for this service, most of whom will not know this hymn at all.
I also question the choice of having the hymn "I have decided to follow Jesus" twice in this short service, albeit to different tunes. But who knows. Maybe it works.
But the second iteration of this hymn includes what appears to be English words engraved under the notes, and Spanish words printed below the hymn. A closer inspection reveals that the "English" words actually contain stanzas two and three in Spanish, but they don't correspond to the Spanish "translation". (Did you follow that?)
Another example of a significant error that will, in this case, prevent people from singing in unison.
UPDATE: the plot thickens. The music listing that was made available quite recently (Music of the Liturgy) indicates that the final hymn is to be "This little light of mine". If the music has been changed, it's very possible that there is now yet a third set of service bulletins that we do not yet have access to.
The sources of this service appear to be Enriching Our Worship 1 and Eucharistic Prayer A.
One also notes at this service the repetition of Siyahamba, which was sung on July 7. Why all the repeated hymnody at this Convention?
This service is Rite II beginning with the Penitential Order, and has a Eucharistic Prayer called "Mass of the Immigrant". It does live up to its name: "Your Son Jesus Christ, our brother, the immigrant from heaven and a model of immigrants…".
I can't identify the source of the first part of the service, but the Eucharistic Prayer is Prayer C.
It is puzzling that the Song of Praise "Sing of the raven, bird of creation" is printed in the time signature of six-four and not nine-four as the Hymnal has BUNESSAN. The result is that half of the strong beats arrive on weak parts of the bar, and vice versa.
Is Canticle 12 (Song of Creation) truly to be recited? Another wasted opportunity. And if so, why make people stand for it?
Even in the newly published Music of the Liturgy document there is no attribution for "God of the galaxies", a hymn which really gives "Earth and all stars" a run for its money. I suppose it is simply mistitled in the service leaflet, and that the attribution for "Honor the earth" by "Douglas Mews/ Shirley Murray, lyrics" applies here.
This "Silent Song of Praise" has been the most-discussed element of these services so far, at least among Episcopal Musicians. It is preceded by the Taizé "Veni Sancte Spiritus", so I suppose the intent is to have a bit of Taizé-style silence to follow. But silence in Taizé is not meant as a "hymn", it is meant as silence. Even on paper, this just doesn't appear to work in the context of a Rite I Eucharist.
Oh yeah, this service is Rite I. Kind of.
The Acclamation is. The Collect for Purity is. And then [*record scratch*] the salutation to the Collect of the Day is not ("And also with you").
But then we're right back to Rite I with the Collect of the Day.
And then [*record scratch again*] the Gospel Acclamation is back in Rite II ("Glory to you, Lord Christ").
Why the back and forth with the two Rites? It is perplexing, and I can think of no justification for it. This is the only appearance of Rite I at the Convention, and it's not even permitted to be itself.
Finally, we settle with Eucharistic Prayer II (which is found in Rite I).
The Sequence Hymn is "In Christ alone", which I find lamentable. The phrase "...the wrath of God was satisfied" is there in black and white for all in attendance to sing. I'm sure that will go over well.
Maybe the Presiding Bishop is preparing to shift his focus from the "loving, liberating, life-giving" God to the "reverent, redeeming, wrath-filled" one.
It comes as no surprise to us that the THX "Deep Note", the sound created by Andy Moorer that accompanies the THX logo, was inspired in part, by organ music.
... I wanted to start with something that would thoroughly bewilder everyone. They wouldn't be sure that the sound was being played properly, or whatever. That is, to start with chaos and then evolve into the big chord, like a great organ chord. I'd always been impressed by the huge pipe organs and the sounds it could produce, so that was sort of the idea I had in the back of my mind.
listen: #43 | THX Deep Note, Part 1 from Twenty Thousand Hertz
The good stuff starts about nine minutes in, but really the whole thing is worth hearing.
“Wasted opportunity”. That's the phrase that comes to mind when I consider the “Silent Song of Praise” that will occur at the worship service on July 11 at the General Convention of the Episcopal Church in Austin, Texas.
There are, it occurs to me, many opportunities for silence in the liturgy. Silence may be kept after the lessons. Silence may be kept during the prayers. Silence may be kept after the bidding to Confession. Silence may be kept (and rarely is in most churches!!) at the Breaking of the Bread.
But music is another matter. Music is rarely silent.
It is sometimes, of course. The famous 4'33" by John Cage is silent. That's the whole point. It has even recently been used as congregational song. But note that this was a congregational "performance" of 4'33" relating to a theme of confession.
It's not that I'm unsympathetic to the idea. General Convention must be (I imagine) a busy, noisy, stressful place. And who doesn't want some silence in the midst of that? But again, Song + Praise ≠ Silence (unless you are in outer space, in which case, please reach for Hymn 431).
But perhaps the “Silent Song of Praise” is just a symptom of a larger mix-and-match, kitchen sink approach to the liturgical planning that we see for General Convention.
Don't get me wrong, I know that planning liturgy and music for General Convention is very hard work. I once sat down with the Rev. Charlie Dupree and we discussed this very topic.
It is a very tall order to plan worship for a body as large and diverse as the Episcopal Church's Triennial Family Reunion, but an examination of the available service leaflets for this year's General Convention reveal a litany of errors and confusing choices.
The service leaflets themselves are marred by technical and typographical strangeness and inconsistencies. But more than this, the concept of these eight services seem to relish in a kind of "liturgical restlessness". It's more innovation than is really necessary, even at a gathering of this type, I would think. And it seems to me that by trying to please everyone, few people would walk away with a sense that this is the kind of worship that they could find in their home diocese. It brings to mind those words of C. S. Lews, “Jesus said to Peter, ‘feed my sheep,’ not, ‘experiment on my rats’”.
When I began examining these services I expected to find one or two mistakes. As I discovered more and more, however, some of which are somewhat ludicrous (Absolution before Confession, being one example), I became vaguely angry about the whole thing. If the national Episcopal Church cannot correctly juggle the limited amount of options without serious error, perhaps we have introduced too many already. Truly, we need to have “deep engagement with the structure, content, language and theological thrust of The Book of Common Prayer (1979), with a view to increasing the Church’s familiarity with the book in its entirety” as resolution A069 so aptly puts it.
I will continue examining a few more of these services (possibly all of them) in the coming days. I at least have more to say about the use of a Rite I Eucharistic Prayer on July 11. But for now, I have just one final observation.
When hymns in these service leaflets come from published resources of the Episcopal Church, there is no indication of this. There are no hymn numbers for hymns from the Hymnal 1982 or hymnal supplements.
But let alone any reference to published resources, there is no attribution of authors or composers of sacred music. The copyright permissions will be available online, each leaflet tells us, but what of material in the public domain? Will Henry Francis Lyte be credited as the author to “Praise, my soul, the King of heaven”?
There is a way in which creative input, both of the musicians in the room and the composers and authors of the sacred music being sung at these services, seems deeply undervalued. To not print anyone's name – living or dead – in these leaflets is a mistake, I believe.
As a church musician, I hope that my contribution to the life of the Episcopal Church is valued. If I wrote music and saw it used at an occasion like this, only to find no reference to my name in the printed material, I would be very disappointed.
These are not anonymous contributions. All of this music, all of this poetry, was born out of the ongoing creation of our loving, liberating, life-giving God (to borrow a phrase). Let's properly acknowledge the contributions of church musicians and artists at all gatherings of the Episcopal Church, please, and especially at General Convention.
My mother is here for the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), and she showed me their printed worship orders. Even they can get this right in their worship services.
At a time when Prayer Book revision (and by extension Hymnal revision too) is at least up for discussion, all of this warrants some deeper reflection.
19 June, 12:30 p.m.: An astute reader points out that the Offertory Music listed for July 5 also likely contains an error. "¡Recesito Alleluia!" is probably meant to be "¡Resucito Alleluia!"
©MMXVII Sinden.org: a site for fun and prophet
Looking for Carol Spreadsheets?
Hungry? Try the Liturgical Guide to Altoids Consumption
Thirsty? Try the Tibia Liquida
The Eric Harding Thiman Fan Page: The greatest composer you've never even heard of.
Questions? Problems? email the sexton.
Alex Ross: The Rest is Noise
Book of Common Prayer
The Daily Office
The Lectionary Page
Ship of Fools
The Sub-Dean's Stall
Vested Interest - Trinity Church in the City of Boston
Andrew Kotylo - Concert Organist
Bonnie Whiting, percussion
conjectural navel gazing: jesus in lint form
Friday Night Organ Pump
Halbert Gober Organs, Inc.
in time of daffodils
Joby Bell, organist
Musings of a Synesthete
My Life as Style, Condition, Commodity.
Nathan Medley, Countertenor
Notes on Music & Liturgy
The Parker Quartet
Roof Crashers & Hem Grabbers
That Which We Have Heard & Known
This Side of Lost
Zachary Wadsworth | composer
Advent (Medfield MA)
All Saints, Ashmont (Boston MA)
All Saints (Indianapolis IN)
Atonement (Bronx NY)
Broadway UMC (Indianapolis IN)
Cathedral of All Saints (Albany NY)
Christ Church (Bronxville NY)
Christ Church (Madison IN)
Christ Church (New Haven CT)
Christ Church Cathedral (Indianapolis IN)
Christ's Church (Rye NY)
Church of St. Stephen (Hamden CT)
Congregational (Belmont CA)
Coventry Cathedral (UK)
First UMC (Lancaster SC)
Gloria Dei ELCA (Iowa City IA)
Immanuel Lutheran (St Paul MN)
Immanuel Lutheran (Webster NY)
John Knox PCUSA (Houston TX)
St Andrew (Marblehead MA)
St Andrew's, Oregon Hill (Richmond VA)
St Bartholomew the Great, (London, England)
St James's (Lake Delaware NY)
St James's (Richmond VA)
St James Cathedral (Chicago IL)
St Mary's Cathedral (Memphis TN)
St Matthew and St Timothy (NYC)
St Paul's (Cleveland Heights OH)
St Paul's (Indianapolis IN)
St Paul's Cathedral (Buffalo NY)
St Paul's, K Street (Washington DC)
St Peter's (Lakewood OH)
St Peter's ELCA (NYC)
St Stephen's (Richmond VA
St Thomas (New Haven CT)
St Thomas ELCA (Bloomington IN)
Second PCUSA (Indianapolis IN)
Towson Presbyterian Church (MD)
Tremont Temple Baptist (Boston MA)
Trinity (Indianapolis IN)
Trinity on the green (New Haven CT)
Yes, but they're not the kind you buy on Wheel of Fortune.
the owner of a bower at Bucklesfordberry?
Full daintily it is dight.
interested in touch lamps?
And fountain pens.