Singing the Faith plus

The Methodist Church
July 2019
 
 
Singing the Faith Plus

Imposing hymns


Hymn writing keeps Ally Barrett up at night.

“A hymn is inflicted on a congregation. It sells that congregation not only a theology but a sensibility that will borrow a ring of truth from the way it scans and slips easily off the tongue, aided and abetted by its tune and harmony. All these lend it a credibility that it would not otherwise have. As a hymn writer, this occasionally keeps me up at night.”

Ally’s comments will give any of us who have attempted to express our faith in congregational song pause for thought. In New words, familiar tunes she offers particular reflections on the pros and cons of setting fresh texts to well-known hymn tunes.

Ally’s own hymn, May this place be one of nurture, in a freshly-revised StF post, is worth looking at as we start planning for the new Church year and, for many, the taking up of new roles in local and national church life. The hymn’s words also offer pertinent insights for all of us discussing the proposals sent down from this year’s Conference on Marriage and Relationships.

Methodist Prayer Handbook

 

Talking of the new Church year, you can now pre-order your copy of the Methodist Prayer Handbook from Methodist Publishing.

 

This year, it takes as its theme: Responding to the Gospel.  As well as including a cycle of prayers for every day of the month, the handbook also contains a full lectionary for 2019-20. We will have the lectionary available on StF+ later in August.

Hiroshima Day (6 August)

   

In 2017, a treaty was endorsed by 122 countries at the United Nations HQ in New York to prohibit the possession of nuclear weapons. That year, we took the opportunity to look at the generation-defining event that led to the need for such a treaty: the nuclear destruction of Hiroshima on 6 August, 1945.

 

Visit again our exploration through hymns of the issues raised by that event:
 

  • the harnessing of the earth’s resources for purposes of devastating destruction
  • the task of peacemaking and the challenges this can pose for Christians
  • hope and forgiveness

 

On 6 August, many Christian denominations also mark the story of Jesus’ transfiguration. We note this and thank David Hamflett for pointing us towards some helpful worship resources that place Hiroshima and the Feast of the Transfiguration side by side.

Creation Time

 

The “harnessing of the earth’s resources” is also a key theme during Creation Time, which begins on 1 September and runs until the feast of St Francis on 4 October – and so spans the “harvest season” for many in Britain.

Singing the Faith Plus has developed a unique section on Climate and Creation, inspired by the Statement of Methodist Conference: Hope in God’s Future. It includes a wide range of worship resources and suggestions of useful theological materials.

All We Can (British Methodism’s relief and development agency) has prepared free Harvest resources “to inspire congregations to deepen their roots and celebrate how lives in Ethiopia are being transformed by the power of potatoes”. The worship resources include prayers, a talk for all ages, sermon notes, and an inspiring film.

 

Note also a new Song for the Season of Creation (“Everything holds together” by Michael Guite), commissioned by the Church of England’s Environment Working Group and premiered by the choir of St Bride’s Church, Fleet Street. A number of arrangements of the song are available, including one for congregations. Get a feel for the music on the St Bride’s website.

You can get in touch with me by emailing stfplus@methodistchurch.org.uk.

 

 

 

In the meantime, if you are taking holiday or getting away over the summer, I hope you get the kind of break you need and you have safe travel.

 

With good wishes from all of us at Singing the Faith.
 

Laurence     

            

Laurence Wareing

 
The Methodist Church
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