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 »
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 »