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The Season after Pentecost

sometimes called "Ordinary Time"

28 June 2018
Some further thoughts and observations about the worship at the 79th General Convention of the Episcopal Church

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.

July 7 - General Convention Revival at Palmer Center

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.

July 8 - Holy Eucharist

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?

July 9 - Eucharist of Reconciliation

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…".

July 10 - Eucharist for the Care of God’s Creation

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.

July 11 - Benedict of Nursia, Abbot of Monte Cassino, c. 540

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).

July 12 - Closing Holy Eucharist

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.

Who knows.

Labels: ,

 
 
Comments:
Sadly, despite all our efforts, mistakes were published. Not sure how that happened after sending and resending stuff (I can only speak for the music in Spanish like I have decided - it was supposed to be all English and the Spanish translation on the bottom). I think the worst part about convention music is the lack of diversity in the musicians and the music. The revival has a lot of African/african American music played and sung by a mostly-white group of people. And, there is one song originally in Spanish as a postlude. I'm exhausted with trying to understand why leadership is always all white.
 
and... thank you for writing these blog posts about the music!
 
Sandra, first, thank you, for your work on these services. Everything surrounding the planning and execution of these services strikes me as challenging given the wide diversity of liturgy, music, and language in our church. And I know that you and many others volunteered your time and resources to make all this happen. Speaking entirely as an outsider, I am inferring from the two versions of the services that were posted that there were insurmountable problems with the process. I know that there is ultimately no perfect solution to planning services of this kind, but I wonder what can be done to have a smoother approach in 2021? Would be grateful for any insights and advice you can share here. It sounds like non-white leadership is a very good place to start.
 

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