It is not the place of this blog to add anything substantial to the discussion of the recent events at General Theological Seminary in New York City (see today's New York Times for an overview of the situation: "Seeking Dean’s Firing, Seminary Professors End Up Jobless")
But we would be remiss if we did not at this occasion quote the Rt. Rev. Euguene Sutton, Bishop of Maryland and his sermon to the Annual Conference of the Association of Anglican Musicians this summer.
My brothers and sisters, this bishop believes that our parishes need to focus more on their community’s worship as the vehicle for the kind of evangelism that works for us. The problem for the Episcopal Church is not that we are neurotically and unhelpfully fixated on music and liturgy. Rather, the problem for us from an evangelical and church growth stance is that we are not focussed enough on our worship.
This seems to pair well with the perspective of Derek Olsen on the situation at General Seminary:
One of the points of controversy regards the current Dean’s approach to the liturgy and his alteration of this fundamental schedule. Apparently in the name of relevance he has cut this schedule back: there’s no Morning Prayer on Monday and Thursday, there’s no Eucharist on Wednesday or Friday (or Saturday or Sunday). Medievalists and those with a grounding in classical Anglican liturgy will, no doubt, note the irony of skipping Eucharists on Wednesday and Friday…
What’s the big deal? Well, the big deal is that this pattern teaches our future clergy that their spiritual obligations can be altered and shifted if they conflict with more important things. Of course, as time goes by, life interferes more and more until the very idea of an obligation is dispensed with in the name of efficiency and—I suppose—relevance.
It should be noted that one of the faculty members in question is the noted church musician David Hurd, whose work is found throughout the Hymnal 1982
It should also be noted that the hymn tune GENERAL SEMINARY takes its name from General Theological Seminary and was composed by former professor David Charles Walker. It is found at Hymn 382 to the words "King of glory, King of peace".
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