September #ThemeOfTheMonth: Music as Worship

Added about 10 months ago by Sacristy Press

How does music inform Christian worship? How important is music to the life of the Church? Find out what two of our authors have to say about this during the course of September as part of our #ThemeOfTheMonth.

Gillian Warson, author of Using Vintage Hymns in Worship, reflects on what we’ve learned about the importance of hymn singing as a result of Covid-19 and the restriction of singing in churches. She asks us to engage critically with the text of familiar hymns.

Warson evidently appreciates the potency of adding tunes to verses, and of how verses themselves are amenable to memory. And this feel for language continues in the sensitive way in which she discusses the major issues and apparent obstacles to singing of some hymns. Here, difficult questions of gender inclusivity, militaristic vocabulary, anachronisms, and verses redolent with the theme of empire are fully faced and discussed in a nuanced way. The meanings of words slip and slide, change and develop. But hymnody is a living literary tradition. I warmed to the judgement expressed here that too often “popularity seems to trump suitability”. The final chapter, a re-reading of C. F. Alexander’s “All things bright and beautiful” in the light of the environmental crisis, is a perceptive reflection… This is a gem of a little book and all who have the responsibility and privilege of leading worship — musicians and ministers alike — would benefit from reading it.

The Revd Christopher Irvine, The Church Times

"The text is written post-first lockdown and it is hardly a surprise that Warson is driven to ask whether hymn singing is a thing of the past. She asks the question: “What can we do to ensure that hymn-singing does not fade to a fond memory but remains a living tradition?” Such is our time."

Tony Jasper, Methodist Recorder

In his book Resounding Body, Andy Thomas shows how music-making can help to transform individuals and communities into the body of Christ. He encourages music leaders to step up and persevere in low-resource contexts, and challenges all those who lead music in worship to refocus on building communities, not just on producing musical results.

Written in an engaging style, full of human stories and underpinned with solid theology, this book sets before us a vision of what church music and church musicians can be: signs and foretastes of the Kingdom of God, learning in microcosm the lessons of being the body of Christ that the whole church needs to take on board. It is the perfect guide for any church that wants to focus on what really matters when setting up a choir or music group, and will provide refreshing food for thought, prayer and action for existing groups of church musicians.

Mark Earey, Director of Anglican Formation and Tutor in Liturgy and Worship, The Queen’s Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education

Thomas offers insight into the joys and frustrations of an ordinary Anglican church with limited musical resources. … Though clearly a helpful guide for those who lead worship bands and choirs, this book also reminds us that music is there to help God’s people engage with God’s Spirit.

April McIntyre, Transforming Ministry

Keep your eye on our blog and social media through out the month to see what these two authors have to say on our #ThemeOfTheMonth: Music as Worship and pick up your copies of their books here

Please note: Sacristy Press does not necessarily share or endorse the views of the guest contributors to this blog.

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