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Organists and Churches

Those who have been following the discussion about the relationship between organists and ministers may like to see two posts in particular from Dr Huw Clayton’s blog: ‘Organists’, from 23 August 2010, and  ‘Organists and Churches‘ of today, 23 June 2011, which comments on the discussion on these pages:

…Of particular interest is the suggestion that clergy, lay readers and all relevant musicians should actually meet to discuss the liturgy and theme for a service, then try to match the music to it. I’ve been to a number of meetings like that, and they can work.

However, there are snags. They begin when there is no incumbent in the church, or when the incumbent has about six churches (and yes, I do play in a benefice where the incumbent has six churches) and therefore cannot pick the music for all of them except on rare occasions. It then devolves onto whoever is willing and able to do it – that might be the organist, lay reader, choirmaster, even the churchwarden. Moreover, under such circumstances the incumbent doesn’t always have time to decide on a ‘theme’, and you have to second-guess from the lectionary as to what it might be…

It’s rather sad that there is such a clash of egos in so many places that prevents systems like this from working. Perhaps the best way forward is simply to talk more often in a bid to gain mutual trust and respect – with or without full-blown meetings. And if that can’t be arranged, then really, the question should be asked as to whether the organist is right for that church – with or without the desperate shortage of organists at the moment.

(Do follow the hyperlink to read the whole article)

The illustration, which is mine, is by M V Plante, via Flickr and issued under Creative Commons Licence

1 comment on this post:

UKViewer said...

I think that in our benefice, with five churches with another 4 attached, our Vicar can only choose music and hymns for specific services. However, we do have quarterly meetings of our Benefice Council where we discuss worship and services and the themes for them (in outline) and who might be leading them.

This combined with a sensible rota, published monthly in advance allows a certain amount of liaison between all involved to try to coordinate things. Key among these are actually the Church Wardens who take an active part in this.

It all depends upon good will and communication. Its not perfect, but a workable regime that has developed and tweaked as we have used it. Conflicts do arise, but the Vicar in the end is the final arbiter of what is or is not used in a service.

23 June 2011 17:34

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