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Source: (consider it) Thread: Non-religious music at St Sepulchre's
Baptist Trainfan
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Yes; but I was thinking of Christ Church, Clifton, which is a large charismatic-evangelical Anglican church. I see it's linked to the New Wine Network: could it be that the Bishop wants to promote the HTB network instead?
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Baptist Trainfan
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To go back to the OP. St. Sepulchre's - which I don't know at all - says that it will fulfil all existing bookings and respect its musical heritage to the extent of having Choral Evensong (albeit on Tuesdays). It also seems genuinely surprised at the rumpus that has been raised.

It strikes me that this all may have a lot to do with (secular) musicians saying, "This is our church" and the PCC etc. saying, "Actually, it's ours!"; and also to a fear of "that awful HTB stuff" being expressed by some folk who may not even be part of the worshipping community.

Surely a PCC (or whatever the relevant governing body of a church may be) has the perfect right to say, "Sorry folks; we believe that the way we need to do things is changing and so we're afraid that hiring the building as you used to simply isn't going to be viable any more"? What's so terrible about that?

[ 21. August 2017, 16:28: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Yes; but I was thinking of Christ Church, Clifton, which is a large charismatic-evangelical Anglican church. I see it's linked to the New Wine Network: could it be that the Bishop wants to promote the HTB network instead?

Well, they have lost so many members that they can't pay their quota/parish share.

But they lost members to Woodlands so they are unlikely to woo them back.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Roman Cataholic:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
To be fair, I've heard of an Anglo-Catholic priest who has pretty much been left alone by the HTB incomers and who has actually had more people come to his style of service since they got involved - they support and tolerate him and get on and do their happy-clappy stuff and munching cakes at other times.

I suspect this is rare, but it shows it can be done.

The report Love, Sweat and Tears: Church planting in East London by Tim Thorlby suggests this happens but there are also horror stories. We aee about to be in vacancy - if HTB want to come here then I hope our churchwardens will exercise their right of veto.
I rather think that they are already on their way to a church near you, albeit closer to the University, naturally.
I know for a fact that HTB has been approached by Bishop Mike Hill to look at planting a church in Bristol in the Clifton Area to compete with Woodlands Church.
I wonder how you 'know'.

Mike is due to retire in 3 weeks' time.

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Bishops Finger
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Surely, if the C of E in its wisdom (?) wants to 'compete' with Woodlands Church (which I assume is independent, and not part of the C of E), Christ Church, Clifton, is the place to use?

I note what leo has said, but Christ Church seems to be a lively place still, with a vision for renewing and improving the church building.

[Confused]

@Jengie jon - there are 'Independent Anglican' churches elsewhere, including (would you believe it?) Douglas, Isle of Man, which church appears to be led by a disaffected former Anglican priest. Perhaps the one in Sheffield is some form of similar breakaway?

IJ

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Spike

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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Yes; but I was thinking of Christ Church, Clifton, which is a large charismatic-evangelical Anglican church. I see it's linked to the New Wine Network: could it be that the Bishop wants to promote the HTB network instead?

Well, they have lost so many members that they can't pay their quota/parish share.

Can't or won't?

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Roman Cataholic:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
To be fair, I've heard of an Anglo-Catholic priest who has pretty much been left alone by the HTB incomers and who has actually had more people come to his style of service since they got involved - they support and tolerate him and get on and do their happy-clappy stuff and munching cakes at other times.

I suspect this is rare, but it shows it can be done.

The report Love, Sweat and Tears: Church planting in East London by Tim Thorlby suggests this happens but there are also horror stories. We aee about to be in vacancy - if HTB want to come here then I hope our churchwardens will exercise their right of veto.
I rather think that they are already on their way to a church near you, albeit closer to the University, naturally.
I know for a fact that HTB has been approached by Bishop Mike Hill to look at planting a church in Bristol in the Clifton Area to compete with Woodlands Church.
Not Clifton. Elsewhere
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Bishops Finger
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Thanks, EM, and well done for being so discreet about churches' internal affairs...

IJ

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Baptist Trainfan
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Would anyone care to comment on my post above (the one about the OP)?
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Zappa
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
there are 'Independent Anglican' churches elsewhere, including (would you believe it?) Douglas, Isle of Man, which church appears to be led by a disaffected former Anglican priest ...


You mean there's hope for me yet?

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Bishops Finger
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Well... [Snigger]

@Baptist Trainfan - yes, it's not unreasonable for a PCC to restrict the use of its buildings, and to change hiring arrangements, if they deem such changes necessary to forward the mission of the parish as they see it. It's also not unreasonable for the HTB folk at St. Sepulchre's to be taken at their word on the subject.

Time will tell, and, given the previous lack of a Sunday congregation, one wishes them well. After all, other City churches are being used on Sundays by different denominations.

IJ

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Gamaliel
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What's so terrible, Baptist Trainfan is that St Sepulchre's isn't just any old church that has occasional music concerts, but it had almost become a concert venue that happened also to be a church.

So, to that extent what the HTB people are doing is probably correcting an imbalance.

Rightly or wrongly, I suspect the various individuals and music groups who use it came to regard it as 'theirs'.

As with all these things, I suspect there are two sides to it. The HTB lot may not have grasped the sensitivities on the one hand whilst the music buffs may not have shown much sensitivity to the setting as a place of worship rather than a concert venue.

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Viola
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Would anyone care to comment on my post above (the one about the OP)?

OK - I will (if I can still remember how to post here!)

I've been following this all very closely on twitter, where a member of the St Sepulchre's choir has set up a petition (with well over 5000 signatures now) and various bigwigs from the music world have weighed in (look up @trollyrobbins if you're interested.) My personal position is as a musician who regularly books churches for concerts and rehearsals (every town/ village has a church, rather fewer concert halls available) so I see this as a worrying thing to happen in a church which still calls itself The Musicians' Church and still claims to be full of music and concerts.

I have seen the letter sent to the very many groups who regularly use St Sepulchre's for rehearsals, concerts and recordings (and pay handsomely for it - at least £630 for a concert if the archived hiring page linked to earlier is correct), and this paragraph is included:

"I am aware that you do already have a number of bookings in the calendar for 2018 and we would be very grateful if you are able to find an alternative venue. However, if you are not able to rearrange the venue, we would look to honour the booking here at St Sepulchre's as previously agreed"

And then it goes on to express sadness that they've sacked the Bookings Manager (also a musician).

Not exactly firm confirmation that the bookings will be honoured, and musicians' diaries are booked a long way in advance.

I expect they are genuinely surprised. I expect they thought that by sending this out in August, when their professional choir (funded by outside sources) is on holiday, no one would notice for a while and it would slip out quietly. Sadly though - the church's connection with Sir Henry Wood (the room dedicated to him has already stopped being used by musicians as originally intended and now appears to be a prayer room bedecked in fairy lights & bookable online for individuals) in the middle of the Proms season, and the availability of choir members on holiday has meant that there are a lot of musicians hanging around London with time on their hands, ready to sign petitions, do choral flashmobs and appear on BBC Radio 4 to put their point of view.

This church, like many central London churches, has a historic mission to a certain sector. Just as St Brides has a mission to journalists (heaven help it), St Paul's Covent Garden to actors, Temple Church, lawyers, etc etc, St Sepulchre's has a longstanding link with musicians. It takes funding from the Musicians' Company, and the Friends of the Musicians' Chapel, to maintain its building and sponsor the musical director. And it has just mightily pissed off its avowed mission field, with one letter abruptly cancelling a huge part of its outreach/ community service.

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
What's so terrible, Baptist Trainfan is that St Sepulchre's isn't just any old church that has occasional music concerts, but it had almost become a concert venue that happened also to be a church.

So, to that extent what the HTB people are doing is probably correcting an imbalance.

Rightly or wrongly, I suspect the various individuals and music groups who use it came to regard it as 'theirs'.

As with all these things, I suspect there are two sides to it. The HTB lot may not have grasped the sensitivities on the one hand whilst the music buffs may not have shown much sensitivity to the setting as a place of worship rather than a concert venue.

I agree with you Gamaliel that there is more to this than meets the (public) eye. I think you've hit the nail on the head when you identify the tensions within the PCC and within musicians (or other outside groupings).

I wonder whether there's a deeper issue with the PCC's reserve (and this is borne a little out of experience). Here the church premises are let to all sorts of community groups on a weekly basis - slimming groups, breast feeding support etc etc. We also have 2 other church groups who use the buildings as their "base."

Outside groups use the halls, kitchens and other facilities. Church groups have access to the "sanctuary" as well -- this includes other church groups who use our baptism facilities. Although we are not overly precious about the sanctuary (a very wet Jubilee meant over 600 people ate in the pews with the street entertainment on the platform), we tend to restrict use to church overseen events.

I wonder to what extent concerts are a form of "worship." Music moves the spirit and much classical music is church based in origin. If then you have a particular view on the sanctity of a place, you will want the event in there to be "right." That may then affect who you feel happy to allow to use the building.

I'm not saying that PCC's see classical music as "satanic" or a spiritual problem, they just want the events in that building to follow a certain path. The best way of ensuring that is to either do it yourself, oversee it from the team or only allow those outside events which follow the broad theme to use it.

A previous PCC was open to use the venue for concerts but a new one, with presumably a renewed view of what church should be like, has other ideas. Some of the old ways don't fit.

As a side question, incidentally, I wonder why - with numbers falling - the Bishop didn't look to turn the building into a concert venue per se. What was his motivation for bringing in HTB who have a well known approach to replanting churches? It all seems very strange even at foundation level.

It always amuses me as well that some churches are happy to accept secular concerts but cavil at being part of, shall we say, a more pentecostal celebration.

There will be significant factors at play from the "concert/musicians" side. Posts at the church are funded by outside bodies -- what happens when the aims of those bodies conflict with those of the church? Are they, for example, compatible with the practice of faith? Are there assumptions that if we bankroll, then we have certain expectations which, although unwritten, have assumed the status of holy writ through usage and blind eyes being turned?

Perfectly acceptable use and behaviour to one person, is disrespectful in the eyes of another. Lots of ways you can end up with discord.

IME not all churches have robust letting agreements which detail responsibilities and expectations (leaving it clean, locking the doors).

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Baptist Trainfan
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As a slight parallel, I recall a rumpus in a church I knew over Remembrance Sunday celebrations. Basically the "old" Vicar had let the British Legion run the morning service in their own way that Sunday; but a new Vicar said, "This is not just a Remembrance Service but is also our congregation's weekly act of worship" and tried to impost some form of Vicar-led order and authority.

Result: a major rumpus in the locality with the Legion saying that the Vicar was trying to chuck them out - which he wasn't! But he didn't think that a group of people who never came to church should be allowed to "take over" that day - he was perfectly willing to work with them.

So, and apart (as Viola says) from potentially alienating the very people to whom you say you have a mission, one might want to ask the question: "To whom does a church building - particularly an Anglican church - building really belong to?" (The question for Nonconformists is a slightly different one even though, as EM says, our view of buildings may well be less sacramentally-oriented).

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Curiosity killed ...

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Local solution to the Remembrance Day conundrum is that the church has a service in the morning and works with the British Legion for an afternoon service, following laying of wreaths and all. Not at 11am, but there are other villages around that do that, and the big town one with everyone present and marching is 2pm. It works as it allows people to be at both the 11am things and the big local one.

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Gamaliel
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Yes, I agree with that, ExclamationMark.

I know that part of London well and it almost empties at weekends. I've walked around that area on a Sunday and been surprised how few people were around.

I also know a clergyman not too far away from there and he tells me there's almost every conceivable expression within a short distance of one another, Pentecostal, Ultra-High Anglican, evangelical Anglican, RC, Free Church ...

So I'm not sure what HTB are playing at.

St Sepulchre's is an enormous building and must be very difficult to maintain.

From what I can see the programme of concerts wouldn't cause an issue to the PCC. It's probably more that they want to recover the space for the many mid-week activities that characterise an HTB style lively Anglican church.

I doubt very much that many of the HTB incomers live on the doorstep or within the parish.

It strikes me that it's an opportunistic thing based on the availability of a large and - in their eyes - under utilised building.

With a bit of imagination I can't see why it can't function as both a renowned concert venue and a place if worship.

However sacramental or otherwise we are it strikes me that shared space makes sense in some circumstances.

For instance, there's a great example in Herefordshire of an historic parish church that has been kept open by having the village Post Office incorporated into the building. Everyone benefits. The Post Office stays open, there's a community space for local groups to use and there's still a 'sanctuary' for worship.

Why more places haven't undertaken similar projects is beyond me.

But there we go ...

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
I know that part of London well and it almost empties at weekends. I've walked around that area on a Sunday and been surprised how few people were around.

...

I doubt very much that many of the HTB incomers live on the doorstep or within the parish.

So it's quite likely that folk will commute in, possibly depriving other churches in their home areas of the valuable support they could offer, were they so inclined?
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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
With a bit of imagination I can't see why it can't function as both a renowned concert venue and a place if worship.

Although it might need a lot of tidying-up or re-ordering late on Saturday nights to do so.

quote:
For instance, there's a great example in Herefordshire of an historic parish church that has been kept open by having the village Post Office incorporated into the building. Everyone benefits. The Post Office stays open, there's a community space for local groups to use and there's still a 'sanctuary' for worship.
There's a Baptist Church near Ipswich which does the same. And our own church is used as a Polling Station - not the Hall, as this is in use by a Playgroup which would have to close for the day if the voting was done in there.
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Higgs Bosun
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I know nothing of the details of how the HTB plant came to be at St Sepulchre's, so I did a little digging using the diocesan handbook. Rev. David Ingall is listed as Priest-in-Charge in the handbook, although is 'Rector' in the online directory. This might be a recent change of status, as the 2017 handbook is put together before the start of the year.

He is present in the 2015 handbook as well. I don't have any earlier version available. But this does mean that the plant is at least two and a half years old. So, any thoughts that "the HTB crowd arrive and immediately push out the musicians" should be banished.

The church now has a curate, Sophie Bannister (in the 2017 handbook but not the 2015). Both she and David Ingall are listed as 'LSM': Locally Supported Minister. This means that they are not self-supporting (SSM) or paid from normal diocesan funds ('Common Fund' in London). I don't know where their money comes from.

Churches in or near the City of London don't have many actual people living in their geographic parish. I believe that about 8000 people live within the boundary of the City. Probably quite a few of these are clergy of city churches. Unless people travel in to the church, weekend services are difficult. Those churches which are flourishing tend to be those which lay on services etc. during the week, typically at lunchtime or in the evening, aiming to serve the very many people who work in the area.

So, I'm guessing the story for St Sepulchre's might be something like this. Perhaps 3 years ago the Bishop of London, concerned for the fate of St Sepulchre's, approached HTB (normally the initiative for plants comes from the bishop) and a plant team was put together. They have been building the work steadily over the past couple of years or so, to the extent that a curate has things to do. In particular, the weekday evenings are using the church building more and more. Since this is frequently the time when groups would use the building for rehearsals in particular, this is the core problem.

A couple of other items from the diocese's website are that the electoral role is 86. The patron of the parish is St John's College, Oxford. The patron must have been approving of the appointment of David Ingall to the post.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Higgs Bosun:
Rev. David Ingall is listed as Priest-in-Charge in the handbook ...

He is present in the 2015 handbook as well. I don't have any earlier version available. But this does mean that the plant is at least two and a half years old. So, any thoughts that "the HTB crowd arrive and immediately push out the musicians" should be banished.

According to their website: "Most recently, in September 2013, the existing church community was joined by a planting team from Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB) and St. George’s Holborn and a new partnership established. The vision behind this partnership is to bring together the best of the existing ministry at St. Sepulchre’s, with new services, mission and ministries made possible by the injection of new people and resources from the planting team". So, almost four years.
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Sipech
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quote:
Originally posted by Higgs Bosun:
I don't know where their money comes from.

As they are a registered charity, their accounts are filed with, and publicly available from, the Charity Commission. Their latest accounts, for the year ended 31 December 2016, shows that of their total income of £329k, £98k came from 'other trading activities'. £58k came from the hire of building, while the other £40k came from a flat rental.

Most of the rest came from donations and gifts, though the accounts don't state if anything came from elsewhere within the CofE, though it's noticeable that £67k came from trustees and related parties (note 3). In spite of this, note 28.3 states that there were no related party transactions.

So one thing we can be sure of is that their accounts prep and audit is shoddy, as it contains a contradiction which is material by nature.

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Baptist Trainfan
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Yes, I see that - although I suspect a genuine misunderstanding about the fact that a donation by a Trustee counts as "related". I certainly didn't know that; in Baptist churches the Managing Trustees are usually members of the church who may well give generously, and I've never heard any mention of this.

More interesting to me are the statements "No member of the PCC has been resident in the parish except the Rev’d David Ingall" (possibly unsurprising for a City of London church) and "Hiring of the church for concerts and rehearsals continues to grow and thrive", equally the comment that the two FMC services during the year "went very well". The church appears to be following a mission plan which continues till 2019: so why, one asks, has there been this apparent change in policy? - unless some practical difficulties in hiring the church (e.g. difficulty in getting volunteers to move chairs, the positioning of nw items of equipment) have arisen.

[ 22. August 2017, 15:18: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Gamaliel
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St George's Holborn is a thriving evangelical Anglican parish as far as I know - and its website says that it is dedicated 'to raising up missional leaders' which presumably implies engaging in church-planting and support ...

So St Sepulchre's is relying on them and HTB to help grow the congregation and have been doing so for some time it would appear.

If it's a 'Come over and help us ...' thing then I'm less concerned about planting on other people's toes.

So far, so good.

I suspect then, that it's a case of a gradual conflict of interests as the church has grown its mid-week and evening activities at times when there are rehearsals and so on ... not an easy problem to resolve.

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Gamaliel
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Without raining on your parade, Baptist Trainfan, using a church building a few times a year as a Polling Station wasn't quite what I had in mind in terms of shared space ...

I was thinking of more permanent arrangements such as Post Office use - or perhaps the current vogue for 'pop-up shops' and so on.

There are all sorts of practical difficulties, of course, but whilst I'm more 'sacramentally inclined' than I used to be, I'd still like to see imaginative uses of ecclesial space for community benefit if this can possibly be achieved in a win-win kind of way where all parties benefit.

Obviously, some spaces lend themselves more effectively to that than others.

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Praise the Lord for He is kind.

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Baptist Trainfan
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Yes, I realise that my example was not the best ...
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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Spike:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Yes; but I was thinking of Christ Church, Clifton, which is a large charismatic-evangelical Anglican church. I see it's linked to the New Wine Network: could it be that the Bishop wants to promote the HTB network instead?

Well, they have lost so many members that they can't pay their quota/parish share.

Can't or won't?
Can't - they've lost about 300 people - many have come to us as refugees, seeking something identifiably Anglican.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by Roman Cataholic:
I know for a fact that HTB has been approached by Bishop Mike Hill to look at planting a church in Bristol in the Clifton Area to compete with Woodlands Church.

We're not allowed to do 'junior hosting' but methinks you've been here before and are trying to cause trouble again.

If you are right, then the archdeacon and area dean are liars.

If not, then you are.

This diocese has open and transparent governance. The only church planting agreed upon so far is that done by Christ Church, not HTB.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by Roman Cataholic:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by leo:
quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
To be fair, I've heard of an Anglo-Catholic priest who has pretty much been left alone by the HTB incomers and who has actually had more people come to his style of service since they got involved - they support and tolerate him and get on and do their happy-clappy stuff and munching cakes at other times.

I suspect this is rare, but it shows it can be done.

The report Love, Sweat and Tears: Church planting in East London by Tim Thorlby suggests this happens but there are also horror stories. We aee about to be in vacancy - if HTB want to come here then I hope our churchwardens will exercise their right of veto.
I rather think that they are already on their way to a church near you, albeit closer to the University, naturally.
I know for a fact that HTB has been approached by Bishop Mike Hill to look at planting a church in Bristol in the Clifton Area to compete with Woodlands Church.
Not Clifton. Elsewhere
But Clifton is the uni. area - unless they're thinking of the University of the West of England - but their students are more thinly spread throughout the north of the city.

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by leo:
We're not allowed to do 'junior hosting' but methinks you've been here before and are trying to cause trouble again.

If you are right, then the archdeacon and area dean are liars.

If not, then you are.

This diocese has open and transparent governance. The only church planting agreed upon so far is that done by Christ Church, not HTB.

Others would disagree with you vehemently on the level of openness in the diocese. Like every organisation of its type transparency will be situational.

As regards the specifics here, there's no point in planting in order to spike Woodlands. There's lots of opportunities but I rather think it will be in a choice area (if history is repeated) rather than one which really needs it.

PM me if you want to know more

[ 23. August 2017, 07:14: Message edited by: ExclamationMark ]

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Sipech:
quote:
Originally posted by Higgs Bosun:
I don't know where their money comes from.

As they are a registered charity, their accounts are filed with, and publicly available from, the Charity Commission. Their latest accounts, for the year ended 31 December 2016, shows that of their total income of £329k, £98k came from 'other trading activities'. £58k came from the hire of building, while the other £40k came from a flat rental.

Most of the rest came from donations and gifts, though the accounts don't state if anything came from elsewhere within the CofE, though it's noticeable that £67k came from trustees and related parties (note 3). In spite of this, note 28.3 states that there were no related party transactions.

So one thing we can be sure of is that their accounts prep and audit is shoddy, as it contains a contradiction which is material by nature.

Yep I saw that too. You get a clearer picture of everything from the previous year' accounts (also available on the Charity Commission website), as these were put together under an older system. That shows £28k from a Parish Rate which most of us don't get. The income of £172k seems massive for the size of the electoral roll.

The big issue is not so much income but expenditure and declining reserves. There's a lot of money going out -- most of it not on Ministry or Mission. That's a very bad thing.

There's also the possibility of friction in this kind of situation where you have restricted funds and restricted income, That can relate to activity and personnel who are not or who are no longer, in full agreement with changing practice and vision. IME such restricted funds can be a force for inertia when the rest of the operation wants to spread its wings.

If you have income as here which much be used for a special type of music which no longer fits the missional brief, then there will clearly fault lines in any operational use of the building.

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Baptist Trainfan
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Interesting note in those earlier accounts: "We are beginning to explore ways of building on the strong relationships we have with many hirers to draw members of our wider community into the life of the church more generally". Omitted from the more recent ones.
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L'organist
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CORRECTION
In my earlier post (page 1) I referred to St David's Westbourne Road as having had an Anglo-Catholic tradition - but it seems my experiences there in the 1970s were not typical and it has formerly been a MOTR parish church. Apologies to anyone who may have been offended.

What I said about current provision for Holy Communion are accurate.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Interesting note in those earlier accounts: "We are beginning to explore ways of building on the strong relationships we have with many hirers to draw members of our wider community into the life of the church more generally".

It does rather point to a number of organisations sharing the use of the building.

Whilst I am not an HTB fan, although I share their churchmanship, I can see that they would be keen to run things in their own way. That may or may not accommodate a group of classical musicians to whom the sacred nature of the building and perhaps even some of the music, is secondary to the art of the music itself.

HTB wouldn't have a non believer leading their worship: why then would they be over happy with a non believers (or those actively opposed to church) running a high profile event in their building? There's the potential for all sorts of mixed messages.

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L'organist
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One of the things that the HTB plant at St Sepulchre's is doing is being very obstructive about memorial services for dead musicians.

In the case of prominent musicians although they may live in one parish, they have a circle of friends, aquaintances and admirers from far and wide: a memorial service at a place within reasonable reach for all is therefore a good thing. However, it would seem that recent attempts to arrange for such things have met with a less than welcoming attitude.

As for suggestions above that the PCC must have views, this assumes that 'plant' parishes run on the same lines as other CofE parishes, but that isn't the case. What often happens is that an EGM is called and a new PCC is elected, stuffed full of people from the 'plant' - that is if those on the PCC at the time of planting haven't already resigned and been replaced by those prepared to put up with the plant.

And, as has been noted above, the actions of bishops in inviting in 'plants' can be questionable, to say the least.But this is what the new 'mission-shaped' CofE is all about, eh?

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Gamaliel
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There speaks the Puritan ...

[Biased] [Razz]

The point is, nobody seems to have had an issue with classical concerts being held at St Sepulchre's in the past. I doubt if the HTB types would have that much of a problem with it either unless it happened to cause practical difficulties in terms of the use of the space.

It so happens that the only concert I've attended at St Sepulchre's was a performance of Rachmaninov's setting of the Liturgy of St John Chrysostom.

Of course, such a performance takes the music completely out of context - it wasn't in the setting of an actual Orthodox Liturgy. It was a performance not a eucharistic service.

One could lay the same charge at performances of Bach's cantatas or works by Byrd or Tallis.

These are performances of 'sacred music' but not actual acts of worship per se. Of course, nobody would object to the use of this music in an actual worship context, but even there some difficulties might arise.

I've teased ExclamationMark on Puritanism, but it is certainly an issue and not one confined to HTB-style churchmanship.

I've known Orthodox folk bemoan the hiring of professional singers who aren't necessarily Christians let alone Orthodox to form the choir in some parishes. In one instance I've heard of a Welsh choir who were called in to sing with the Greek words set out phonetically for them to follow ...

[Roll Eyes]

But in the case of St Sepulchre's, I'd have thought it wasn't beyond the wit of man to come up with some kind of solution that would satisfy all parties involved ... but people being people ... that's easier said than done.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
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http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Interesting note in those earlier accounts: "We are beginning to explore ways of building on the strong relationships we have with many hirers to draw members of our wider community into the life of the church more generally".

It does rather point to a number of organisations sharing the use of the building.
Yes - so what led to the apparent change of policy between 2016 and 2017?

[ 23. August 2017, 12:46: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Viola
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
Interesting note in those earlier accounts: "We are beginning to explore ways of building on the strong relationships we have with many hirers to draw members of our wider community into the life of the church more generally".

It does rather point to a number of organisations sharing the use of the building.
Yes - so what led to the apparent change of policy between 2016 and 2017?
John Rutter CBE, composer familiar to any parish which still has a choir, reckons the timing might have had something to do with the resignation of the previous Bishop of London. (Telegraph article)

Two articles in The Guardian today (one a letter signed by an amazing role call of today's top classical musicians - many of them known to be devout Christians) put the musicians' point of view pretty well.

Guardian article

Letter

[ 23. August 2017, 18:06: Message edited by: Viola ]

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"If ye love me, keep my commandments" John 14:15

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leo
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We have recently signed a deal committing us to host some university concerts for the next 10 years.

We don't see it as misuse of our buiilding but as part of our outreach - we get people turning up to serbices who'd first been to a concert and who now see it as 'their church'.

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Bishops Finger
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Indeed. On a much smaller scale, Our Place is hosting a secular 'community concert' later this year, in connection with the nearby Community Centre, as our church is more capacious, and has much better acoustics, than the CC hall.

IJ

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
But in the case of St Sepulchre's, I'd have thought it wasn't beyond the wit of man to come up with some kind of solution that would satisfy all parties involved ... but people being people ... that's easier said than done.

Well you could see it from another POV. Lots of other empty churches around who would be happy to accommodate the concerts!

Without knowing any more than has already been made clear, ISTM that it demonstrates the difficulty of expression a church's mission where you have competing priorities. It's made worse in this case by history and by the outside funding of certain activities at the church which may or may not be compatible with the essential aims of the Christian church.

From my own POV, I have no problems with a secular concert in a church building. The real issue comes when the decision has to be made over complicating events or priorities. Of course, I'd probably set the conflict bar in rather a different place from others - as in many things YMMV.

It's not quite the same as "new Vicar kicks Yoga class out of church hall" but it's along that continuum.

As a matter of record, the only groups I've personally had to disinvite fro using church premises were church ones. A couple because they didn't respect the fabric of the building and an internal one who were very unhealthy indeed.

[ 24. August 2017, 06:38: Message edited by: ExclamationMark ]

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by ExclamationMark:
[It's made worse in this case by history and by the outside funding of certain activities at the church which may or may not be compatible with the essential aims of the Christian church.

I think one of the questions which may have to be asked in these sorts of situation is whether the church is able to interact with the user-groups in any meaningful way from the point of view of mission/evangelism. Sometimes this is possible; often not - especially if this means a change to the way things have always been.

Of course there is also a point of view which say that (virtually) any activity which "brings people into the church [building]" or "makes it a centre for the community" or simply provides income is a Good Thing. It does seem to me here that there is a fundamental change going on in the church from a "traditional Anglican" mindset to one which in many ways is more Nonconformist or even sectarian (in the sociological sense).

[ 24. August 2017, 07:41: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Gamaliel
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Yes, I think that's the case.

And I broadly agree with what ExclamationMark is saying too ...

However, I think there are particular sensitivities here that wouldn't normally apply. St Sepulchre's has been seen as 'The Musicians' Church' for 70 years. That's more than 2 generations. Simply saying, 'Well, there's another empty barn-like church down the road, why don't you use that?' isn't going to go down very well.

I use one of the parish churches here for music concerts with a summer recital programme and other cultural events I help organise. There are sometimes tensions but I'm working with the current incumbent to resolve those and all the indications are positive so far. Arguably, the previous incumbent was far too free and easy and the current one is the opposite - so a happy medium will be reached somewhere.

But this is on a far smaller scale to what we've been talking about at St Sepulchre's.

Perhaps it wasn't practical given the current programme to scale things back rather than close the options down ... but it does seem rather drastic.

I'm all for intentionality and yes, worship and service should come first. I can well remember an extra-mural lecturer fuming and flustering during an architectural visit to an ancient parish church when I was a teenager (I used to go to his classes because I was interested in medieval stuff) because the vicar asked us all to sit quietly for a moment while he said the Lord's Prayer and reminded us that it was, first and foremost, a place dedicated to the worship of Almighty God ...

So, whilst I have no problems whatsoever with churches of whatever stripe being 'gathered' and intentional communities - in fact, that's what they OUGHT to be - there are ways of integrating/combining that with community use.

I suspect with St Sepulchre's it's been the scale of the concert operation that's been the problem, not the idea of concerts in and of themselves ... but then, I wouldn't at all be surprised if there's a Puritanical element creeping in alongside that too.

--------------------
Let us with a gladsome mind
Praise the Lord for He is kind.

http://philthebard.blogspot.com

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pete173
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Just to say that there are some conversations going on wrt the St Sepulchre's issues. (A bit of a pain that this all broke during my holidays. So much for a quiet August!)

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Pete

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L'organist
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posted by Exclamation Mark
quote:
Whilst I am not an HTB fan, although I share their churchmanship, I can see that they would be keen to run things in their own way. That may or may not accommodate a group of classical musicians to whom the sacred nature of the building and perhaps even some of the music, is secondary to the art of the music itself.


How very dare you!

No musicians - singly or as a group - are trying to "run" things at St Sepulchre's: all they are seeking to do is (1) have memorial services for colleagues who have spent their lives using their God-given ability to not only entertain and inspire but, frequently, interpret and enhance the scriptures and sacred texts ad maiorem Dei gloriam (to the greater glory of God); and (2) give performances of works either settings of such sacred texts or interpreting events from old and new testaments.

I think you'll find that the sacred nature of the music is very well understood and felt by those performing it. I can also assure you that they are also keenly aware of the "sacred nature of the building" - in fact one of the complaints levelled at plants is that they frequently move into a church and set about a re-ordering with scant regard to the "nature of the building", disposing of furnishings such as traditional lecterns and altars without a care. And their wanton disposal of hymnals, psalters and other items of religious music (up to and including organs) is well documented.

It would seem you don't see there is anything to be celebrated about the musicians' art as being inspired by God? So you won't be singing Craftsman's art and music's measure for thy pleasure all combine any time soon (it comes from the well-known hymn 'Angel voices').

A pity that those of a so-called 'purist' bent seem unaware of the thoughts of Saint Augustine on the matter of music.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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Augustine the Aleut
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I am reluctant to get into a conversation where I lack much of the background knowledge about the players at Saint Sepulchre's, but I have had occasion to point out to clerics that, from the point of view of a pew-dweller, much religious content is conveyed through art (and music) and the gifts which artists (and musicians) can bring to us. Sometimes, much more so than wordiness and text and discussion.
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Viola
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Another nice article on the subject in the Church Times here., echoing L'organist's (and my) outrage at this view that us classical musicians are all a bunch of heathen, trying to desecrate churches with our Handel oratorios, Bach masses & (heaven forbid) Beethoven symphonies.

A couple of days ago, I made the mistake of reading a comments thread on this story on the Premier Radio website. Luckily, I've now mislaid it, as I got quite cross about being described as a disciple of Lucifer and a hater of God. Singing & playing great music has taken me closer to belief & God than anything else, but unfortunately a lot of evangelical practices & attitudes (a strong 'them & us' mentality) sent me out again.

Some people, astonishingly, get as much spiritual food from rehearsing & performing (or listening to) great classical music, particularly when surrounded by inspiring architecture and a reverent atmosphere, as others do from the kind of service that has me running for the hills. But apparently we're wrong and shouldn't be allowed to pay for the privilege of having our groups in your churches.

Or that's how it feels, anyway.

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"Commandment number one: shut the hell up." Erin Etheredge 1971-2010

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Baptist Trainfan
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I am a Baptist minister of fairly Evangelical bent; I am also someone who loves classical music, both sacred and secular (for example I found last week's Proms performance of Bach's St. John's Passion or the Rachmaninov concert with interpolations of Russian sacred music both glorious). I have sung in choirs and, on Sunday's "off", love nothing more than Choral Evensong in a Great Church or cathedral.

The churches I have served have, from time to time, hosted concerts and rehearsals (including, a couple of times, Andrew Carwood's group). There have also been occasions in my life when performances of music or dance in secular contexts (such as "The Protecting Veil" at Sadler's Wells) have been deeply spiritual experiences.

But I also like some modern worship music; although I agree that much of it is inane and repetitive, I believe that it "speaks to" many people. And, this week, my present church has run a children's Holiday Bible Club and I have enjoyed singing songs which, though highly appropriate for the occasion, might well make some "classical" musicians cringe.

Now, as a complete outsider to the current row, I can see that the way St. Sepulchre's has gone about things could well appear high-handed. One gets the impression that there was little or no consultation between the church leaders and the "user groups" before the letter was sent out. (Having said that, one wonders how practical it would have been to open a consultative process with so many disparate users).

Nevertheless I would say that a church should retain the right to decide what activities take place in its building; that they have to assess each activity in terms of their perceived mission; and that past tradition, while never being lightly dismissed, should not be the final arbiter of present practice. All this means that I have sympathy for both "sides" in this debate but, if pushed, would have to come down on the side of the church (even though I am no fan of HTB).

ISTM that the real issues that lie beneath this whole debacle are that on one hand we have the musicians, who very much feel that the church is, if not "theirs", at least their home of decades from which they are being "evicted"; and on the other hand we have a church leadership which has not only taken a radical change of direction but one with which the musicians are unhappy on aesthetic (and, in some cases, theological) grounds. I am not sure that this clash of cultures could ever be resolved amicably as the two groups seem to share so little common ground.

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ExclamationMark
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
posted by Exclamation Mark
quote:
Whilst I am not an HTB fan, although I share their churchmanship, I can see that they would be keen to run things in their own way. That may or may not accommodate a group of classical musicians to whom the sacred nature of the building and perhaps even some of the music, is secondary to the art of the music itself.


How very dare you!

No musicians - singly or as a group - are trying to "run" things at St Sepulchre's: all they are seeking to do is (1) have memorial services for colleagues who have spent their lives using their God-given ability to not only entertain and inspire but, frequently, interpret and enhance the scriptures and sacred texts ad maiorem Dei gloriam (to the greater glory of God); and (2) give performances of works either settings of such sacred texts or interpreting events from old and new testaments.

I think you'll find that the sacred nature of the music is very well understood and felt by those performing it. I can also assure you that they are also keenly aware of the "sacred nature of the building" - in fact one of the complaints levelled at plants is that they frequently move into a church and set about a re-ordering with scant regard to the "nature of the building", disposing of furnishings such as traditional lecterns and altars without a care. And their wanton disposal of hymnals, psalters and other items of religious music (up to and including organs) is well documented.

It would seem you don't see there is anything to be celebrated about the musicians' art as being inspired by God? So you won't be singing Craftsman's art and music's measure for thy pleasure all combine any time soon (it comes from the well-known hymn 'Angel voices').

A pity that those of a so-called 'purist' bent seem unaware of the thoughts of Saint Augustine on the matter of music.

Actually I was accusing HTB not the musicians. I am not an HTB fan, although I share their churchmanship, I can see that they would be keen to run things in their own way.

I was (rather clumsily I admit) pointing out some views I have come across over the years.

My own view is rather different - provided the buildings and people are treated with respect and there's nothing deleterious to the broad theme of Christian worship and understanding, then anyone and anything is welcome.

It does cut all ways. There is an expectancy in some churches that everything will have to be "sacred" and there's is also an expectancy in some who have used a building for a while that they can do anything they like, how they like, when they like. That cuts both ways too. I don't agree with either no least because I don't believe in a sacred/secular divide (Psalm 24:1).

It goes across the churchmanship too -- I've encountered Anglo Catholic Churches who won't allow joint youth services because they are too "charismatic."

I can't help but think that, on the basis of the information we have in the public domain, was that it was naïve at best for the Bishop to invite HTB to get involved. After all, they are hardly shrinking violets in the way they go about things.

Posts: 3759 | From: A new Jerusalem | Registered: Apr 2009  |  IP: Logged
Helen-Eva
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quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
It strikes me that this all may have a lot to do with (secular) musicians saying, "This is our church" and the PCC etc. saying, "Actually, it's ours!";

I tend to think it's a good thing if otherwise non-church goers feel a big emotional investment in a church building and I disagree with the finding expressed somewhere earlier (sorry - I'm bad at links) that those attending secular concerts in a church don't feel the love and presence of God. I went to concerts in churches through my childhood while being brought up atheist and my experience of those sacred spaces and music in them was probably part of what brought me to faith.

Surely anyone wanting to come through church doors to sit quietly and moderately reverently (during music or whatever) during which time they might look at the stained glass windows and feel some kind of spirituality is kind of a good thing?

--------------------
I thought the radio 3 announcer said "Weber" but it turned out to be Webern. Story of my life.

Posts: 622 | From: London, hopefully in a theatre or concert hall, more likely at work | Registered: Aug 2009  |  IP: Logged



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