LOGO angelican
January 2014  
Vol 8 Issue 15


Practicing Month to Month


 Dear friends,


A very happy New Year and blessings for 2014.  As we begin a New Year there are a few events we would like to draw to your attention.  Please see the sidebar for upcoming events and Sundays.  Of special interest is Sunday, January 19 when we look forward to welcoming the Rev. Dr. Karen Hamilton, General Secretary of the Canadian Council of Churches, to St. Laurence as our guest preacher and guest for 'Conversations." She is in Calgary for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity and for the launch of a Leadership and Learning Kit for Congregations on the topic of Human Trafficking in Canada.  You will also want to mark Sunday, January 26 on your calendar as after the service we will be having a parish lunch.  Donations will be collected for our partner church in Ramleh Israel to help some of their youth go on a pilgrimage to Canterbury.


As we continue our exploration of Music as a Spiritual Practice there is a lovely article by choir member Baby Brydges below. 









Barb Brydges on Music as a Spiritual Practice



How can I keep from singing?


I protested when I was first asked to write this column about music, because I am probably the LEAST musically-talented member of the choir. Then Anna asked me, "What makes you attend choir practice every Thursday evening and sing every Sunday, including arriving at 9 am for practice prior to the service?" A good question and, on reflection, I've discovered that it has a number of answers.


I've always loved singing and in my childhood every car trip was an excuse for singing songs with my sisters. We only had a few recordings at home, mostly Broadway songs to which we learned all the words. In elementary school I was lucky enough to be part of a junior choir at St. Andrew's Anglican Church here in Calgary. All that ended with junior high, as did my participation in music as anything other than a listener. I realized that I really can't carry a tune on my own, and although I can read music, the notes on the page don't create the equivalent sound in my head. My singing became limited to Christmas Eve sing-alongs. For a long time after I joined St Laurence, I was hesitant to join the choir, knowing my musical limitations. I'm so glad that I finally worked up the courage to take a chance.


Miguel de Cervantes wrote, "He who sings scares away his woes," and I find that very true. Sometimes at the end of a long work day, the last thing I want to do is to attend practice, but singing always revitalizes me. Maybe it's partly the deep-breathing, certainly it's the distraction from daily cares, but mostly it's the inexplicable magic of music itself. Has a society has ever existed that doesn't use music for its most important moments: sacred rituals, celebrations, and all the deepest expressions of love and joy?


Since I'm essentially a 'word' person (I'm a librarian after all), there's something particularly powerful for me about combining words with music. I can get distracted when listening to solely instrumental music; that doesn't happen when the words and music are equally evocative, as happens in the best hymns. It's the form of prayer that's most natural to me, perhaps because it's not how we express ourselves in daily life (outside of musicals, few people sing their conversations). The best lyricists are also poets, who succinctly express what most of us can't find the words to say. In the restrained Anglican tradition, music is our emotional expression. We sing "Joyful, joyful we adore thee" because in our hearts we know that "a song must rise, for the spirit to descend."


How many of you look at the dates of the hymns we sing, and the names of the writers and composers? I always do, and while the lyrics of contemporary hymns are often more meaningful to me, I feel a deep sense of connection to the long tradition of the Christian church when we sing songs whose tunes date back to the 14th century or the Middle Ages, or whose lyrics were composed by John Milton, Charles Wesley or Isaac Watts. I know that my grand-parents and great-grandparents sang those same hymns, and there's something very comforting in that.


By and large, St Laurence choir members are musically talented group, but are they also very tolerant, and willing to accept those of us who just try. And by trying, I know I've improved (as long as I have Margaret and Linda's strong voices beside me). I'm very saddened by people who don't participate in singing because they think they have poor voices. I firmly believe that everyone can sing. There's nowhere better to try than in supportive environment of a church where no one judges your voice, but everyone lifts their voices to the glory of God.





January at St. Laurence

Sunday, January 5

Epiphany 10 am Service. The Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee presiding. 


Tuesday, January 7 

Church Office reopens after Christmas Break

Office Hours 9:30 am to 2:30 pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday


Sunday, January 12   

10 am Service. The Rev. Don McLeod preaching and leading "Conversations." 


Tuesday, January 14

Living the Question 2.0. Afternoon session 1:30-3:30 pm. Evening session 7:30-9:00 pm.


Thursday, January 16

9:30 am Contemplative Prayer Service


Sunday, January 19

10:00 am Service. Guest Preacher and "Conversations" guest Karen Hamilton - Canadian Council of Churches


Tuesday, January 21  

Living the Question 2.0

Afternoon session 1:30-3:30 pm. Evening session 7:30-9:00 pm.

Wednesday, January 22 7:30 pm  Parish Council Meeting


Sunday, January 26

10:00 am Service. Rev. Anna Greenwood-Lee presiding. Please join us after the service for a parish lunch. Donations will be collected to help youth in our partner church in Israel go on a trip to Canterbury.


Tuesday, January 28  

Living the Question 2.0

Afternoon session 1:30-3:30 pm. Evening session 7:30-9:00 pm.