Month: October 2023

Christmas | Geraldine Latty + Kate Simmonds

It is no secret that Ruth and I love music by Geraldine Latty.  She has recently collaborated with Kate Simmonds on a whole album of Christmas songs.  Some are suitable for choirs, some for soloists and some for children.  Those of us who know our Christmas Carols will spot some familiar themes and repurposed lyrics thrown into the mix with a modern gospel feel.  Even better news, they are giving the sheet music away for free over on Geraldine’s website.

Why not give it a listen and see if there’s something to put into your Christmas services.

Resound | My Redeemer Lives

Our friends at Resound Worship are hard at work on a double album of that is being release in the new year.  The first single is out this week and it is a proper ear worm!

When we went to this year’s song writing retreat at Wydale, one of the highlights was My Redeemer Lives by Joel Payne and Matt Weeks.  We’ve been fortunate enough to be road testing the song at Holy Nativity and everyone loves it.  It does have one downside however.  Everyone ends up singing it all afternoon when they’ve gone home.  Fortunately, it’s now on YouTube and Spotify so we can listen to it as much as we like.

One of my abiding memories from the song writing retreat is everyone at Wydale recording the backing vocals in the chapel.  Matt Weeks was standing on a chair with his hands in the air conducting us to come in on the right beats.  You can totally tell that Ruth and I are part of the crowd just from listening.  Can’t you?  CAN’T YOU??!!

All of the musical resources that you need so that your community can My Redeemer Lives in your worship are available on the Resound Website.

Working Class Clergy

For the last twenty years, I’ve talked a lot about my relationship with the church as a kid who grew up in a mining family. At the Estates Evangelism Task Group (EETG) one of the big questions we wanted to explore was how we can enable more working class people to be in leadership across the Church of England at all levels. Ministry Division commissioned a report looking into how clergy have experienced being working class within the church; Let Justice Roll Down Like Waters’”: Exploring the wellbeing of working-class clergy in the Church of England: a rally cry for change. I was also one of the participants in the study.

I’m not going to do any in depth analysis here as I’ve linked to the full report above. The report contains a lot of stories from others that I very much relate to; telling our story as people who live, work and breath in a world that is alien to our own. Or as one colleague said to me on Wednesday – ‘it’s time for us to start masking’.

At the NECN conferences in the last fortnight, a short presentation of the findings has been made and the report has been picked up by the Church Times. One thing I would suggest is that some of the stories make for good soundbites but the statistics highlight a wider institutional problem:

“resist the neoliberal understanding of wellbeing as purely self-care, and so focus here on social structures and institutional cultures and processes beyond the control of the individual”.