Monday, November 19, 2012

Pet peeve

So I have several pet peeves when it comes to worship and making sure it's human factors (leadership, arrangements, venue, sound, timing, etc) are done well. But today I'll just mention one peeve.


I feel sorry for singers when the sound is not adjusted so we can hear them (at least a little, so they give us the lead as we attempt to sing tunefully and in time).

Normally a sound maladjusted guitar or keyboard can be heard. And drums normally need the volume turned down! But singers sing their hearts out and all too often are not heard which means ... they might as well not be singing.

So, sound guys and girls. Listen up. If the singers are not being heard, bring them up a notch or two on the desk so they can lead and we can follow!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Ages since

Ages since I have posted here. Partly busyness, partly being frequently in the parish of which I am the Priest in Charge. Bit hard to post on Sunday by Sunday things without people thinking a finger is being pointed at them!

So, in general terms, noting that I do get to a few other services, what am I observing?

(1) Review and revise. Much of what we do has a background. We were right to begin doing certain things in a certain way at a certain time. But months, or even years later, should we keep doing it that way? Review might confirm the way things are going as being the right way to keep going. But it might open the question of revision. Change!

(2) Minimal is good. Always good, in any of the different types of services I am involved in, to flow with minimal leadership. Because people know what to do and when to do it, without being invited or directed to do so.

(3) Inclusive language watch.  I have been noticing lately that some versions of the Bible (even though approved for use in our church) are very exclusive in their language. In short: too much 'men', 'man', 'he', 'him' when the context is God addressing all of us, women and men. Could we try harder to use (say) the NRSV?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Don't preach

The heading is intentionally provocative. Normally we want to encourage preaching but there is one part of a service in which preaching should be forbidden. That is every part of the service which is not actually the sermon itself. It is very tempting to preach when introducing songs or leading the prayers or giving the notices. I strongly recommend resisting that temptation. First, it is simply annoying as a member of the congregation to find oneself poised to worship the Lord in song only to have to listen to a short excursive sermon; or to want to engage in prayer for others only to find that a short discourse on something such as faith or prayer or anything else in the intercessor's mind needs first to be endured. Secondly, it is rude to the preacher her or himself. Little sermons interspersed through the service undermine the commission of the preacher to be the preacher at that service. Likely they detract from the message the preacher has been given by God.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Not in abeyance

I know this blog looks like it is in abeyance, but it is not.

Am pretty busy these days attending to worship and preaching Sunday by Sunday in one location (St Aidan's, Bryndwr, Christchurch, as interim Priest in Charge).

Soon I hope to post some links to material I developed for Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Day services.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Things that bring joy when we worship

OK. Most important 'joy' in worship is that joy that comes from being in God's presence.

But important joys come from the service of worship being well performed. (By contrast think about the anti-joys that come when the sould system coughs, rattles and booms, or the dignity of the service is destroyed by some crass action or crudity invoked in the course of someone speaking).

Two joys noticed recently by me have been intelligently led, well crafted intercessions.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Experts tips from a expert in all matters of the oral arts

Lovely post here about the reading preparation and performance of a famous actress who is a regular lector in her congregation in Paris.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

The challenge of preaching

Working on tomorrow's sermon. Do not think I have the force and flow of ideas I seek. Turn to various reputable internet sites for possible catalysing assistance. No. Worthy thoughts, standard recitations of history of life and times of the text. But good news is what I seek. Where is it?!

Monday, January 9, 2012

The preacher got it

Yesterday, perchance, I heard a preacher preaching whom I did not expect to hear preach and who did not expect me to turn up to hear him preaching. The self-confession of the preacher during the sermon is that he did not preach often (and it was a bit scary having a person listening, me, who made a full-time living out of preaching).

In a way it put a bit of acid on me: what would I say at the end of the sermon? With a set up like that, even saying nothing would be, so to speak, saying something. To have said nothing would be, I sensed, to have implied I did not think much of the sermon.

So I listened more intently than usual.

Fortunately for me, to say nothing of the preacher, the sermon was very good.

Why was it a good sermon? I thought it would give more substance to me saying 'That was a good sermon' if I could tell the preacher why I thought it was good. This is what I said:

1. There was a message and he stuck to it, kept coming back to it, and didn't lose track of it.

2. The opening of the sermon was touched on in the closing of the sermon.

3. The sermon connected with the passage of Scripture read before the sermon.

I have no reason to think the preacher ever reads this particular blog, but he could well have done, because the sermon, effectively, followed frequently repeated advice here.