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04 July 2014


DURING his last two years before retirement as Master of Music at Derby Cathedral, Peter Gould has arranged an organ pilgrimage around the diocese. His aim is to play every working pipe organ in an Anglican church. His tour has taken him to rural places far away from his base at the Cathedral, in the south of the diocese, and has led him to discover instruments of all kinds - some of them treasures whose existence he had not suspected.

In each place, he plays some Bach, and a selection of other music, appropriate to the location, the day, the instrument, or the audience. Some churches have taken the opportunity to invite local schools, so that children who will probably never have heard a church organ can be introduced to its thrilling sound.

It has been a revelation to some who regularly attend some of the churches, too. These days, organ music is seldom or never heard in many churches, even when there is a working organ in place, either because there is no one competent to play it, or because the style of worship demands a music group.

In the churches where I serve, we are fortunate to have both good organs and good organists, and the music is to my taste; I am greatly looking forward to hearing the Peter Gould touch in our setting.

I AM not a football fan, but I can occasionally be persuaded to watch a little of the World Cup. Although I am ignorant of the finer points of the game, even I can see and appreciate the skill of players at this level. So it was that I heard a little of the commentary on the Italy-Costa Rica match.

If Italy had won this game, England would still have had a chance to proceed to the next stage of the competition; so the commentator, all pretence of neutrality discarded, was cheering for Italy all the way.

At one point, an Italian player took a shot at goal while he was offside (no, I cannot explain that rule - I just know it is not allowed), but the referee had not noticed. The shot missed, but the commentator remarked: "I wouldn't object if Italy got an offside goal - and nor would any of the England supporters."

Really? Whatever happened to sportsmanship and fair play? Is winning now the only thing that matters, no matter how it is achieved? Is that how children are taught to play? Is this the much-vaunted educational value of competitive sport?

And, if an offside goal had been awarded against England, how loud would have been the complaints that "We was robbed"?

I HAVE been a churchgoer all my life, but I have recently experienced a form of liturgy previously unknown to me: a pet service. The Rector's two worries proved unfounded: the weather was fine, but not oppressively hot; so we could comfortably be outdoors; and no member of the congregation ate any other.

The publicity for the event had optimistically featured a cat, a rabbit, a guinea pig, and a parrot, as well as a dog, and our vicinity is amply populated with horses, but in the event the only non-human participants were dogs, dogs, and more dogs, ranging from a tiny Yorkshire terrier to two very large and imposing (and muzzled) German shepherds. There was plenty of barking and tail-wagging, but no growling, snarling, or violence.

It was a pleasant, friendly experience, enjoyed by a number of young children who are not normally part of our congregation, but I was still left wondering, "Why?" Perhaps I shall hear some reactions later, and come to understand how this could encourage people to respond to the gospel. Perhaps it was a Fresh Expression?

MEMBERS of the General Synod have just been blessed with the arrival of a fat envelope of papers. We are due to debate the final approval of the Women in the Episcopate legislation, of course, but, although that will occupy much of our time, we have many other things to consider, including a return to the deeply contested question of what clergy wear in church - or, rather, what we are officially allowed to wear, which is a very different thing.

But the most interesting area of the Church's current thinking is the economic and social life of our country. I am excited, as I feel that we may be revisiting the glory days of William Temple (before my time), and Faith in the City (very much of my time), when the Church of England was more radical than any of the main political parties. It seems to be becoming so again, in formidable alliance with the Roman Catholics.

We shall be marking the launch of the Churches' Mutual Credit Union, which offers an alternative to the banking system that has done so much harm to the poor; and having a debate on the Common Good. We shall hear about the Archbishop of York's strong support for the Living Wage, and we may even reach a debate on the "bedroom tax".

My father and grandfather would be delighted.

The Revd Sister Rosemary CHN is a nun at the Convent of the Holy Name in Derby.


Fri 20 May @ 03:09
Dean of Llandaff announces his resignation https://t.co/0FLLmJPQpM

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