"A new and exciting musical opportunity awaits you," the announcement promised. "Come sing with me Family Choir—a group that demands no weekly rehearsals, provides no robes, and sets no age limits."
Articles in this issue:
EPIPHANY MUSIC FOR THE FAMILY CHOIR
Our church uses The Hymnbook for congregational singing, but we have purchased the new Psalter Hymnal for choir use. This book offers a wealth of resources for the Family Choir.
"Amen" (PsH 365) was a favorite of our Family Choir. The adults sang the "leader" part, and the children sang the "amens." After stanza 5 we repeated the last line of "amens" with everyone singing in parts.
Members of the Worship Committee couldn't bring themselves to get really angry at Betty Simmons for providing "lunch." They had determined long ago that elaborate goodies at every meeting was a tradition that had expired with gender-based Bible studies—the Men's Society vs. The Martha Society (and why was it never called Women's Society?). Everyone agreed that in a culture already cholesterol-sensitive, there would, henceforth, be no more late lunches—nothing but coffee, or, preferably, apple juice.
Anticipating an event is as exciting (well, almost as exciting) as the event itself. "Getting ready for a party—choosing my dress, having my hair done, and guessing who the other guests will be—is as much fun as the party itself," said a young woman parishioner of mine. Many would say the same about planning a trip or a cruise. Please consider this article a commercial for rediscovering Advent as a season of anticipation—and waiting.
Listed on these pages are carols and hymns suitable for each of the nine Scripture lessons of the traditional English evening service. Begun by Dean Eric Milner-White in 1918 at King's College Chapel in Cambridge, England, the service of lessons and carols takes place in that chapel at Vespers on Christmas Eve to this day.
The lessons trace salvation history from Genesis through the gospels. After each lesson a carol or hymn is sung, either by the congregation or by a choir. Sometimes two carols are sung after one lesson.
Gathering for Worship:
We prepare for worship in the Gathering Space. Welcome!
Choir: "On Christmas Night" [Sussex Melody]
Processional: "Once in Royal David's City" [stanza 1, soloist; stanza 2, choir; stanzas 3 and 4, choir and congregation]
(PH 49, PsH 346, RL 201, TH 225)
Scripture Reading: Isaiah 9:2; 42:5-9
From Hebrews 1:1-3 NRSV
Long ago, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets;
now God has spoken to us by a Son.
God made the world through the Son, who has been appointed heir of all things and the perfect reflection of God's glory.
The Son is the exact representation of God's being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.
Praise God for the gift of the Son.
We welcome the Light of the world!
How many members of your congregation are taking organ lessons? How many have pianos in their homes? Probably far fewer than a generation ago. Some congregations are getting desperate to find competent organists.
If the trend continues, we could consider going back to unaccompanied singing, typical of the early days of the Protestant Reformation. It's likely, though, that few congregations would have much success with acapel-la singing. Our culture is simply not a singing culture.