Pew Sheet – 9th August 2020

The Rector writes ‘The parish Health & Safety Officer, Richard Dring, tells me that all went very well after the 11am in St Mary’s Church last week so well done to you all!  It really is so hard to get used to not stopping and chatting to each other as we take our seats and as we exit the church!.  The ‘humming’ as a prayer response went well in both churches and thank you all for feedback-  our worship should be organic and not imposed from above (e.g. me!) .. our aim is to send our prayers above after all!  Some of you were a little worried about humming but I assure you that the RSCM (Royal Society of Church Music) have stated that humming (as opposed to open mouth singing) from behind a mask has absolutely no safety issues attached. We will try and vary our humming tunes as we go along, together with other innovative experiments in the musical department and again thank you to our Organists for being so flexible and imaginative. 

The Wednesday Holy Communion Service has been going well although I am tending to steam up under the visor so I’m working on that!  I am hoping to have Holy Communion next Sunday 16th at the 11am Service and hopefully we can plan a Holy Communion Service  at the 10am the following week and so on. I’ll keep you informed. Don’t forget to keep booking in for the Service you’d like to attend. This way we can avoid any overbooking. Our capacity is still 40 in St Mary’s and 25 in St John’s but when we spread ourselves across the three Services, we are grand’ 

Music notes 9/8/2020

Hymns for today at St. Mary’s, Carrigaline are:

34       O worship the King

Handel – How beautiful are the feet:

624     Speak, Lord

491      We have a gospel to proclaim.

Apologies for an error in my notes last week, the hymn tune by Haydn was also used for the German, not the Austrian, anthem!

The opening hymn this morning is ‘O worship the King’ sung to a stirring tune written by the English composer William Croft (1678-1727). Croft began his musical training as a boy chorister at the Chapel Royal in London. He went on to become Composer and Master of the Children at the Chapel Royal. In 1708 he was appointed organist at Westminster Abbey. Croft composed many forms of music but became most famous for his church music.

I had occasion to study the choral and organ scores of the Cloyne Cathedral library recently. There are only nine volumes remaining of what must at one time been a much more extensive library. One of the volumes was a collection of music by Croft entitled ‘Music Sacra’ the opening page of which is pictured below. It contained a variety of anthems and psalm settings which were performed at services by the Vicars Choral of Cloyne in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.

Musica Sacra’ was purchased along with with other scores at his own expense by Bishop Charles Agar in London in 1777, and presented to the Vicars Choral library.

The choir had attained a standard of excellence with his encouragement in this period and often performed publicly as well as at services. The ‘Cork Evening Post’  in 1780 contained an advertisement for a charity  concert in aid of the Cloyne Infirmary at which the choir performed choruses from  major oratorios including ‘Messiah’ and ‘Judas Maccabeus’.

Mention of the Messiah brings us to the music of the Gradual which is an arrangement of ‘How beautiful are the feet’ for organ. This choice is inspired by the closing words of the reading from Romans 10: 5-15 which is one of the assigned readings for today.

The words of hymn 624  ‘Speak, Lord, in the stillness’ will be read by Hilary Warren-Perry as an introduction to the prayers.

We will be asking you to hum a response to each prayer as you did last week.

I will finish with a quote from Margaret Rizza, one of our finest contemporary hymn writers:

“Music can bring us together as a community and a church; it can release deep inner feelings which are essential for freedom and growth.”


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Random Notes CCCLII

I must be mum For how could we do without sugar and rum “

A:   Last week the Church of England remembered William Wilberforce (1759-1833) and Olaudah Equiano* (1745-1797) with a  Lesser Festival.     In the context of the current debate on conscious and unconscious Racism in Ireland this prompted me to do some research to understand how people viewed slavery in the 17th and 18th Centuries.

What understandings did people have and how did they reconcile their practices with Christian Beliefs.

In the 17th Century China  Tcha or Tee became very popular in England and with the popularity of tea came a demand for Sugar.   English Merchants discovered that the island of Barbados offered a suitable climate for growing sugar . This led to the importation of Slaves from Africa to plant and harvest the cane and process it to produce sugar.

How did people react to this practice?

A small number spoke out including the Quaker, George Fox who visited the island and preached that  “all blacks ,whites and tawnies “ were equally Gods creatures and asked the planters (not to abolish slavery!) but to treat them gently and free them after a period.

This message was effectively ignored. The 18th Century poet William  Cowper ironically summed up the unwillingness of people to face the reality of the scandal of slavery in the following short poem.

“I own I am shocked at the purchase of slaves

And fear those who buy them and sell them are knaves

What I hear of their hardships and torture and groans

Is almost enough to draw pity from stones

I pity them greatly BUT I must be mum

For how could we do without sugar and rum “

B:  What was happening in Ireland in this period?

A number of anti abolitionists visited and were welcomed in Ireland. Olaudah Equiano (1745-1797) visited Belfast and Dublin and was welcomed by progressive voices in the 1790’s.  Daniel O Connell was seen as  a leader of the Abolitionist movement and used his influence in Westminster to succeed in the final abolition of slavery in 1833.    American abolitionists found a ready welcome in Ireland and indeed O Connell’s message was used  “ as a mighty voice across the ocean calling upon Irishmen not to disgrace their country by supporting slavery” .This in light of the racist attitudes of many newly arrived Irish in the United States.

C: History offers us the advantage of being able to judge peoples acts with the benefit of hindsight  when we now can see clearly how unacceptable slavery and its cousin racism is.

Are there issues to day which we are not willing to face?

If one were told  that a nation of 12 million people was closed off by a state from the outside world, that over 1 million of its members  were sent to prison camps to be “re-educated”, and  no contact is allowed with their relations oversees how should we react. This is the story of the Uighur people in Western China.

Last week Senator Michael McDowell posed the question – was Ireland, a member of the Security Council in the United Nations for the next two years–willing to stand up to the actions of the Chinese Government or would we  remain mum in order not to damage our commercial interests….  

Would we stay mum ?

“For how could we do without sugar and rum “  TM

Olaudah Equiano*(1745-1797) was born in South East Nigeria, was captured and sold into slavery as a child.  He was  “purchased” by a Royal Navy Officer who brought him to England  and where he was taught English. Later he was again sold to a trader who used him to trade but  allowed him some private trading to buy his own freedom. Equiano finally settled in London in the 1780’s, joined the abolitionist movement and informed reformers about the reality of the slave trade .In 1789 he wrote probably the first book by a freed slave on the reality of the slave trade “The interesting Narrative of the life of Olaudah Equaino the African”

Categories Parish Notices | Tags: | Posted on August 9, 2020

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