Singing the Faith plus

The Methodist Church

June 2020

 
Singing the Faith Plus

This newsletter comes to you during Refugee Week. The Refugee Week website contains a wealth of ideas inspired by the theme 'Imagine' – including eight Simple Acts that can all be done at home. Why 'Imagine'? “Because when things feel stuck; when the old ways of doing things are no longer working, that’s what we need to do.”

 

You can always find a range of resources reflecting on this theme in the Refugees and Migrants section of our website. The status of refugees is also one of the topics implicit in the Bible Month materials on the book of Ruth.

 

Other social concerns are highlighted on “special” Sundays in July (see below). Of course, every Sunday is special (see our article This is the day), and in this newsletter are reminders of StF+’s commitment to encouraging the singing of hymns (Jan Berry’s article is a thought-provoking piece) and to exploring the remoter corners of scripture through use of the biblical lectionary.

Wellbeing - always important

   

In the early days of lockdown, there was much conversation about its impact on mental health. The issues haven’t gone away. Following Mental Health Awareness Week last month, it seemed inappropriate to simply remove our link to Wellbeing resources from the StF+ home page. We haven’t “moved on”.

 

Instead, we are looking to refresh our Wellbeing page occasionally. This month, we are pleased to feature a resource from The Arthur Rank Foundation: Rural Isolation and Loneliness. Described as a “toolkit for rural churches”, it explores feelings and experiences common to individuals in all walks of life.

 

Its selection of Bible readings that ask “what it is to be human” also happens to link with the Methodist Church’s God in Love Unites Us study materials.

Special worship resources for July

      

For some, recent months have allowed – even encouraged – more than the usual opportunities for personal reflection. Two upcoming Sundays offer different themes for that reflection. 

 

The resources compiled by the organisers of Rural Mission Sunday (19 July) aim to “create space for you to stop and ‘notice God’ in a new way; to find, in George Herbert’s glorious phrase, ‘heaven in ordinary’."

 

The previous week, Action for Children Sunday (12 July) urges us to consider how we can support children in our society – those known to us and those who come to us bundled up anonymously in statistics and media reports. A worship outline has been crafted on the theme: 'Choose Childhood'.

 

Resources for both these Sundays can be adapted for home or streamed worship, and will in any case provide food for thought in the weeks that follow.

Hymns on StF+ - a pause to reflect

    

During the past nine years, we have published over 130 hymns on the StF+ website. Our main goal has been to select hymns that will complement what is already contained in the printed Singing the Faith hymn book.

 

Next year will mark the 10th anniversary of both book and website. We are taking this opportunity to pause and re-evaluate both the hymns we have already published on the site and the criteria we use to select them.

 

This is an exciting opportunity and we look forward to placing our publications process on a new footing in due course. For the moment, however, we are putting a temporary halt to receiving and assessing any hymn submissions not already in our possession at 25 May 2020.

 

If you have thoughts about the kinds of hymns and tunes we publish on StF+, we’d be very interested to hear from you. Get in touch at stfplus@methodistchurch.org.uk.

Hymns - it's a physical thing

       

We are delighted that hymn writer and theologian Jan Berry has allowed us to produce edited extracts of her 2014 address to the Hymn Society Conference of Great Britain and Ireland.

 

In The power of words and music in shaping faith, Jan reminds us that hymns are a physical thing. Words that have been shaped shape us in turn: not only our reason and intellect but our emotions and our very breath.

"Soul in paraphrase"

    

Our suggestions of hymns to accompany the August lectionary are online now. We can continue to explore hymns that may be new to us, even when we can’t sing them together.

 

And perhaps take a few moments, also, to read the George Herbert poem, Prayer (1), from which Rural Mission Sunday has taken its inspiration (above). In it, Herbert describes prayer in different ways, including as the “soul in paraphrase, heart in pilgrimage”. Now, there’s food for thought!

 

Take care. And, as ever, keep up with the latest StF news by checking on our Facebook page.

With good wishes from all the StF team.
 

Laurence

 

 

Laurence Wareing @ stfplus@methodistchurch.org.uk.

 

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