Lent, 2015

26 February 2015
state - church and, ringing of

Each day the General Assembly is in session, Capitol Police screener Larry Toomer climbs the steps of the bell tower in Capitol Square and waits to hear the chimes from another bell tower across the street at St. Paul's Episcopal Church

"One they start ringing, we ring right in between. When they ring, we ring. We ring. When they ring again we ring again."

Capitol historian Mark Greenough says the tradition dates back to the 1840s

Pope, Michael. "Rallying the Lawmakers". WVTF. 22 February 2015.


09 February 2015
Pegram, John - death of

One hundred and fifty years ago today Gen. John Pegram was buried from St. Paul's, Richmond having been killed February 6 at Hatcher's Run.

His death came less than three weeks after his wedding.

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02 February 2015
Tournemire, Charles - on improvising in concert
“First, you create an atmosphere…then you introduce a theme. This is followed by a massive crescendo, reaching a climax in a large, dissonant chord on full organ, followed by a long silence, followed by a second dissonant chord (all to frighten the audience!). Then one concludes quietly on the Voix céleste.”

Langlais, quoted by Timothy Tikker, in "Maurice Duruflé: the Last Impressionist” Ed. Ronald Ebrecht in the article by James Frazier. 

19 January 2015
Eucharists - other forms of

Why go to church? 'Eucharist' means 'Thanksgiving'. We go to give public expression to our gratitude. In the vast mega-cities of the world, entirely constructed environments, congregations assemble to give witness to our generous God. In the bustling urban jungle, they offer places of praise and, more rarely, silence. Of course I can give praise in the privacy of my home – 'seven times a day I thank you' (Psalm 119.164) – but in justice to God and my neighbour I must make visible my gratitude. And we shall recognize the same impulse of gratitude in people of other faiths. In the Hasidic rabbis of the eighteenth century, such as the Baal Shem Tov, or the Sufi mystics like Rumi, one recognizes their gratitude as one's own. Belief in God the Creator overthrows religious division. We recognize a fellow thanker, even if their Eucharists take other forms.

Radcliffe, Timothy. Why Go To Church? London: Bloomsbury, 2008. Page 77

This is exactly why a predominantly Christian America should not be afraid of other religious voices in the public square. And in a world where too many are unjustifiably afraid of other religious expressions, the recent reticence shown by Duke University is reprehensible.

Please pair the above quote with "Unwavering Pluralism and the Beloved Community in the Face of Duke's Decision" by Omid Safi.

Religious folk must lead the way. If we truly believe in God, this should, as Radcliffe says, overcome religious division.

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05 January 2015
synergy - Epiphany

Please note that if you sing the hymn "Watchman, tell us of the night" at Epiphany, or at any other time of the year, that there is a very serious author/composer synergy available to you.

In the previous edition of the Episcopal Hymnal, the Hymnal 1940, the tune WATCHMAN is one of the two tunes paired with this text. This tune is fondly remembered by at least one parishioner in the parish where I presently serve.

The words are by John Bowring. The music is by Lowell Mason.

Bowring was born in 1792. Mason was also born in 1792.

Bowring died in 1872. Mason also died in 1872.

Clearly the similitude of lifespans is a strong argument for this text-tune pairing.

And this might be notable on its own, but that's not all.

If you sing the hymn "Where is this stupendous stranger?" to the hymn tune ST. THOMAS – as Ana Hernández suggests you do – you'll notice some more hymnodic synergy. (The text and tune are both included separately in the Hymnal 1982).

The tune ST. THOMAS is by John Francis Wade (1711-1786) and harmonized by Vincent Francis Novello (1781-1861). They have the same middle names, and they shared six years on earth.

Epiphany is January 6.

Coincidence? You decide.

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