Thursday, July 28, 2016

Choosing music for church

I've been asked to look at song choices for August so I wrote this for our local congregation in East Geelong.
Some suggestions for Music in August 2016
Preamble - We have a congregation of about seventy which includes many older people, some families and about 16 under twenty. Our resources include an organ, piano and drums and under-used are players of guitar, trumpet, stringed instruments, banjo-mandolin etc. Texts are placed on the data projection but TIS books are in the pews. To choose music for congregational singing the following resources are mostly used: Together in Song, All Together series from Adelaide, some newer songs and chants, and songs from favourite composers such as Bell, Murray, Mann. The pattern has been to have an introit, opening hymn, a hymn/song related to the lectionery gospel reading, two other hymns, and a song to go out. On the first Sunday of the month we include a communion hymn such as Tis 239 Jesus the Lord said, or Tis 526 Lord Jesus Christ, and a sung ‘Holy holy’ which is TIS 761. Sometimes a soloist sings during Communion e.g. Take this bread.
Some suggestions:
Introit This is the day that the Lord has made Alleluia Tis 185 (to learn)
Alleluia alleluia give thanks to the risen Lord Tis 390 Here in this place (Gathering) Tis 474 (not all verses)
Opening hymn: God is love Tis 153 Christ is the world’s light Tis 246
We have a gospel to proclaim Tis 245 Lord the light of your love Tis 675
Sometimes a song especially for children
e.g. TIS 175; Did you ever see a kookaburra laugh
TIS 579 The blind man sat by the road and he cried.
Hymn/Song related to gospel reading e.g. August 7 Tis 122 What shall I do my God to love
August 14th Comfort comfort Tis 647 August 21st TiS 737 Lord Jesus Christ lover of all (Bell)
August 28th TiS 686 / ATE 292 Lord Jesus we belong to you (Robin Mann)
Third Hymn 218 in All together everybody - Spirit, spirit o gentleness
Tis 598 Dear Father Lord of humankind Tis 87 You are before me Lord
Tis 689 Lord hear my praying
Fourth hymn Dreams and visions ATE No 249 For you deep stillness; No 22 NCYC 1999
Tis 588 In heavenly love abiding Pass it on
Song to go out: TiS Shalom Sent by the Lord am I - All Together book
Now unto him who is able to keep May the road rise up to meet you All Together book
All over the world the spirit is moving You shall go out with joy Tis 755.

Isa, one little guinea pig died this week.

When I brought the guinea pigs inside tonight because of the cold wind I noticed that Darren was looking very poorly, and he just lay down and an hour or two later he died. The other guinea pig is whistling a bit and restless and tried to help but tomorrow we'll bury the poor little guinea pig in the garden. Here's an old photo of him in a cardboard house. (And later - on Tuesday) Fuzzie stayed up all night sitting on the black jumper wrapped little guinea pig that died. This morning after 9 a.m. Andrew dug up hole in the front garden for a burial, and we planted succulents. Then Fuzzie went back to his pen with soft toys which didn't really make up for the loss of Darren. Isa, a sad day.
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Wednesday, July 13, 2016

the Big Freeze

This week has seen snowfalls throughout the Otways and many parts of Victoria. But they are still surfing nearby!

Sunday, July 10, 2016

A short story I wrote

I wrote this as a draft last year but fine-tuned it today.  The location is real but not the characters.

Inside the Circle



The trams clanged past and men and women in black surged towards their offices.  My bones were aching and I had not brought my stick through sheer anxiety about being thought old and useless. Near the cathedral a park bench beckoned though a senior kind of man was sitting there.  I couldn’t walk any further, even to go up several steps to move inside the Anglican cathedral for respite.

I took out my takeaway cappuccino and blueberry muffin I had bought at Macdonalds opposite. I  suppose I could ignore the man. He seemed to be one of those ‘bring me your tired, your poor’ kind of person, in a shabby jacket, unpolished shoes (like mine) one unlaced. Perhaps he sleeps in the sheltered walkway behind the cathedral. He was leaning back, his eyes closed as he fiddled with his fingers. His face was craggy and he had a speckled grey beard. A plastic bag lay at his feet and I could smell the remains of hot chips which had drawn a congregation of seagulls.

As I sat down he stirred and opened his eyes. Perhaps I should share my muffin, so I broke it in half and offered him a share on a paper napkin. I remembered our minister had talked about a circle and how we list family and friends in the centre, but  the homeless, the refugee, the stranger are on the outer.

I  sipped the coffee, put the half-muffin away, and took out my A4 sketchbook which is my habit in daytime visits to Melbourne. I started to block in his lean limbs and body, a cathedral doorway a nice background to suggest the irony of the poor and the elaborate building. My 6B pencil skimmed over the cartridge paper, quickly outlining the elements of the composition. 

The man moved nearer to me, scanned the sketch and said, ‘You’ve got that right.’  His voice was not bogan but a pleasant tenor. Educated in fact.

The air was shimmering in the late afternoon light  and shadows formed shapes on the cathedral wall.  I felt pleased, puffed up with pride in my ability to speak with a stranger.

‘I’d better go back to work, ‘ the man exclaimed after he glanced at his watch.

I didn’t answer that one.

He undid his jacket, flung it into his supermarket bag and he had a nice black shirt on and a large cross dangled from his neck, the kind tourists buy in Jerusalem. ‘I have to prepare for Evensong, ‘ he said.

A clergyman?  They often do look shabby these days!

‘I have to play the Widor Toccato  which is a challenge these days.’

Oh, he’s the organist!

 ‘I love that one, ‘I enthused.  ‘I’ve downloaded it  - illegally of course - from the internet, but I can’t play much of it.  So fast.  My fingers…you know. And my slowing brain.’  I was chattering on, talking hey presto like that music.

He gave me a wicked grin,  revealing fine gold tipped teeth.  He wasn’t a homeless man sleeping in the shadows at all.   I must stop speculating about people, turning them into my fictional characters.

He slowly stood up from the garden bench, bearing his weight on his hands and arms. He leaned down with care to tie up a shoelace.

He’s probably got arthritis,  just like me.

‘Well I might pop into Evensong and catch a later train home,’ I told him. ‘I’m not an Anglican but. ..’

‘That’s excellent,’ he said. He stood up awkwardly and limped towards the Cathedral  side door.   And I’m sure he was thinking,  now I’ve invited that bag lady into  our cathedral.  What next!

He’s into my inner circle now.