Christmas music in Canterbury in 2014
Our musical groups have been busy across Canterbury this Christmas, as every Christmas. We take part in tens of events – carol services, our own Sunday worship, plus playing carols for the public in the High Street during December.
As we pack away our festive repertoire for another year, here we take a chance to look at a few pieces of music that our brass bands have used over the last few weeks. Hundreds of people will have heard us playing this music, and it is our prayer that something of the message of Jesus and of the hope that he brought to the world will have been felt. Carry on reading »
Canterbury Salvation Army Band at 125
In the last few centuries, the city of Canterbury has heard many sounds. From Cathedral bells and the chatter of market traders and shoppers to river users and the roar of motor cars – there can surely not have been a moment of quiet in all those years. Since Victorian times, there has been one sound in particular that will be familiar to many city residents; that of Canterbury Salvation Army Band. Its music has been integral to services at the church, and it has woven its way into much of the city’s life – services in the High Street, carolling at Christmas and many civic events are all supported by it.
This year, that band becomes 125 years old. My history in the band stretches back only three years, which is almost nothing proportionally – so I was keen to find out more about the group and its past. Twelve and a half decades is a long time; what has changed, and what stays the same? What has the band done so far in its life, and why does it do what it does? Carry on reading »
Easter 2014 in Canterbury
Easter is one of the occasions each year when, perhaps, the Christian faith is most visible in Canterbury with many events taking place throughout the city. For 2014’s Maundy Thursday, a new event was launched in the High Street. Christians from churches across the area were stationed outside M&S, offering passers-by the chance to get their shoes polished. This was as a symbolic gesture, a reminder of the way that the Bible describes Jesus humbling himself through washing the feet of his disciples at the Last Supper.
Good Friday began with a United service at Canterbury Baptist Church, with Easter songs and a thought-provoking message from Pastor Eric Harmer of Barton Evangelical Church. He spoke about how easy it can be for people to know the story of the crucifixion, but more difficult to fully understand its significance; the pain of Jesus’ death may be lost on us as we focus on the physical torture and forget the social and mental torment that he also endured. Easter is a time to remind ourselves and those we meet in the secular world of our belief in the impact of the events of the Gospels. Carry on reading »
Band concert at St Dunstan’s Church
Canterbury Salvation Army Band and Songsters brought an afternoon concert of music to the church of St Dunstan’s, Canterbury, that appeared to go down well with the crowd who gathered to listen.
The layout of the building meant that squeezing all of our players into the church was a logistical challenge – particularly when large items of percussion like the drum kit and timpani had to be brought in too! Luckily, we got set up just in time to open our programme with the piece ‘Ein Feste Berg,’ a lively arrangement of a tune whose words begin: ‘A mighty fortress is our God.’ Carry on reading »
No Christmas, without ordinary people
Have you ever noticed how full of ordinary people the Christmas story is? For a description of the birth of a king, it has remarkably few remarkable characters.
Take Mary, for instance. She was a young girl, just starting out in life – she was probably still living with her parents when she fell pregnant with Jesus. In the gospels, her fiancé Joseph is described as a tekton – meaning carpenter or craftsman – so he was probably not of a particularly high social standing. Both live their lives in an ordinary way yet are chosen for a very specific, important purpose: to help bring God’s son into the world, and to raise him into adulthood. Carry on reading »
Living for God – without limits
In 2015, The Salvation Army worldwide will be holding a special five-day celebration in London to mark 150 years since its founding by William Booth. The theme is ‘Boundless’, a word and message that has recurred throughout the Army’s history – perhaps most famously in Booth’s hymn ‘O Boundless Salvation’.
ALOVE, The Salvation Army’s national youth programme, chose Boundless as its theme for 2012 and described it as:
“… “having no boundaries” or “without limits”. It’s a powerful word that releases people from oppression, grants freedom and opens the doors to new and exciting ways of doing things. It’s also a scary word. A world without boundaries can seem like chaos to people. We recognise the need for a framework of living but we reject the needlessness of boundaries that stop creativity, that slow down movement and hamper mission.” ALOVE cell material (January 2012)
The idea of my faith having no bounds is something I’ve thought a lot about. I think I’m reluctant to tell people what I believe because I don’t like lots of the connotations that the ‘Christian’ label has. Carry on reading »