Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Church Choirs and Church Fathers

Our Diocesan Bishop, Robert Bennett was with us at St. John’s by-the-Lake yesterday.  He did not “visit” us because it is the Bishop’s church as are all churches in the Diocese—actually the church is the body of Jesus Christ until his return.  However, I had what might be described as having the morning off because Bishop Bob presided and preached.  I acted as a combination of parade marshal and master of ceremony.  As it turned out that was more than enough and by the time we returned home I felt I had put in a full day’s work.  We were joined by parishioners from the other two congregations in our Regional Ministry, Trivitt Memorial, Exeter and St. Anne’s, Port Franks. 
The Choir from Trivitt and their director Richard Heinzle joined us.  Richard combined with our music director, John Adams and they did a great job.  The choir was augmented by some singers from St. John’s (including Lorna and me).  In addition there was a musical offering by Darrell Wiebe, a St. John's parishioner.  It was a good celebration which marked the last visit of Bishop Bob as he has announced his retirement in November. 

Speaking of things choral, Lorna and I attended a choir workshop on Saturday.  It was held at Knox Presbyterian Church in Goderich.  The workshop was led by Rachel Rensink-Hoff who did a wonderful job of engaging us in vocal exercises and singing.  Although she is relatively young (which is a moving target as I age) she is very good at working with senior voices.  I came away realizing how much I could work on in my singing and regretting I didn’t take my singing voice more seriously in recent years.  I think I have been resting a bit on my vocal laurels for some time now (and don’t talk to me about my ability or lack thereof, of sight reading music). 

Knox Presbyterian Church is a very interesting place.  It is a great example of modern church architecture from the 1950’s and has some interesting features such as individual seats with arm rests—although they were firmly anchored to the floor.  The worship space was expansive with a high ceiling.  Unfortunately there is no picture of the worship space on their web site that I can share with you.   It was rather impressive—but not in sync with my traditional Anglican sensibilities.  One interesting feature was the gallery of past and present ministers of the church.  These go back to 1835 or there about.   All the ministers up to the 1960’s had facial hair—beards, mutton chops or at least mustaches.   Needless to say they were all white men (fortunately given the facial hair).  Their expressions were  uniformly stern to say the least—okay they were downright grim and their faces would have broken if they smiled.  I’m sure any gallery of Anglican Rectors covering the same period would have fit right in.  It gives an indication of what “church’ was like ion those day—a very serious business with great concern with hell and damnation and hopefully salvation—of course definitely on their terms.  I am rather glad that aspect of church life has changed for the better, as least from my perspective.   Remember to keep on the sunny side of life and that God loves us. Blessings,

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