20th May 10am Holy Communion - Edward Johnsen Followed by plant sale
At my secondary school every pupil had to have a little blue hymn book to use in assemblies. It belonged to us, it could fit in a pocket, and since I often found myself pacing up and down railway station platforms waiting for trains, I sometimes took out the hymn book, and read it. I had never been christened, never been taken to church. The attitude of my parents towards the Christian faith moved between simple dismissiveness and outright hostility. Yet that little hymn book mattered to me somehow. I knew the tunes to a few of the hymns. I knew I felt something when I sang some of them in school. And as I paced up and down the platform there was one that drew me more than any other: ‘My Song is Love unknown”. I got to know it off by heart. Strange how deeply rhythms and tunes and phrases can become embedded in us, can become seeds within us. It was around that time in my life, around the time of my sixteenth birthday, that I took the momentous step of walking a mile along the canal one Sunday morning and attending the village church. My life would never be the same again. Less than a year later I was baptised and confirmed. “Singing our way into or out of belief” is the intriguing title of a talk to be given at Lanercost Priory on Sunday 11th March at 3pm. The speaker is the Revd Dr John Bell, who is a member of the Iona Community (a Christian community with bases in Glasgow and on the isle of Iona). John is a hymn writer, an occasional contributor to Radio 4’s ‘Thought for the Day’, and a world-travelling lecturer on issues related to spirituality, worship and society. When I saw the title of this particular talk that he offers I knew I wanted to try and get him to come here, and am delighted we have been successful. I don’t know exactly what he is going to say, but I am sure (having heard him speak before) that he will be thought-provoking and engaging. His own introduction to the subject is as follows: ‘Studies have shown that what we sing is what we end up believing, irrespective of the calibre of pulpit oratory we experience. In this lecture, we reflect on how songs, traditional and contemporary, shape popular theology.’ Tickets are free but limited. Please apply to me by phone or email.