St Michael & All Angels

Sharing God's Love

From Jane Lowther

July 2020

I am writing this on Pentecost, the day the Holy Spirit descended on the apostles, and as the Co- Ordinator for Music in Worship at St Michael and All Angels and a member of the choir, I’m missing singing those great Pentecost hymns.

With the church closed for worship, the team have not had much to do. But I have been kept busy with my other role as church treasurer. It is always a struggle to meet our financial commitments and the past few months have been even harder. But it has been a complete joy to be able to use the church bank account to look after funds for the much-needed food bank. I know that Carol, one of our church wardens, used this letter last month to update you on that, so I thought I would think about music during the pandemic and lock down.

Music has always been especially important to me. As a child of the 70’s I could be found recording the Top 40 on a Sunday night! I now listen to Radio 2 all day and I love all genres of popular music and some classical, but people who know me well know that Bruce Springsteen is my passion!

Usually when I hear a new song it’s the melody that gets to me and I would say that it’s the same with church music. But during this strange time, I’ve noticed that I’ve become more aware of the lyrics. Who can fail to be moved by the words of ‘You’ll never walk alone’ sung by Michael Ball and Captain Sir Tom Moore, or the Radio One Live Lounge ‘Times like these you learn to live again?’

I’ve found myself looking to the varied collection of hymns that are available whenever I’ve been struggling over the past few weeks.  When I have been working on the food bank accounts the words of the Hymn ‘When I needed a neighbour were you there’ sprang to mind and Marden has certainly been there for their neighbours. When I’ve needed a prayer and don’t know what to pray, then the words of Graham Kendrick’s ‘Beauty for Brokenness’ seem very apt (you can listen to it using the link below).

While we are unable to worship together in church, some have been joining our zoom service on a Sunday at 6.30pm led by our reader Sarah Emanuel. I have taken to going out for a walk at 9am on a Sunday morning and listening to the Church of England’s on-line service. Together with ‘Songs of Praise’ this gives me a chance to sing.

As I write this, we still don’t know when our church will reopen and based on an article in the ‘Telegraph’ today, we may not be able to sing in groups, but we can still sing at home.

Until we can be back together, I leave you the first verse of my favourite hymn:

‘O Jesus, I have promised to serve Thee to the end;
Be Thou forever near me, my Master and my Friend;
I shall not fear the battle if Thou art by my side,
Nor wander from the pathway if Thou wilt be my Guide.’

Jane Lowther Treasurer and Music in Worship Co-ordinator

You might like to listen to 'Beauty for Brokenness' here.