Leading the Choir

(C) Toby Hudson
“leadership… is not matter of personality but trustworthiness and hopefulness.”

What do leading a choir and running a theological college have in common, and what does that tell us about leadership?

Our former Principal, Keith Lamdin, and his wife Ruth, an experienced choir director and singing teacher, have a fascinating article in the March 2017 edition of the Church Music Quarterly, exploring leadership in different fields.

The article also has some specific thoughts for those leading choirs.

Lectionary Reading Blog for 9 April: Palm Sunday

This passage is very carefully selected, if you stray even one verse this way or that, even to 9b, you will find blistering judgement.

Although we clearly associate this passage with Jesus’ passion (especially Matthew 26: 67) there is no direct reference to this passage in the New Testament. The gospel writers did not quote it in their telling of the passion. I wonder whether that was on purpose. I wonder whether for the writers of the New Testament the judgement of this passage is inherent and cannot just be selected out. The “flint face” from v. 7 is possible because there will be no shame as there will be vindication. The adversaries and those who have declared guilt will not have the last word. They will be judged for what they have done. Do we associate that also with the passion? What might that mean for the Roman soldiers; what might that mean for us?

The “I” in this passage is introduced as a “disciple” (v.4, one who is taught – limmud) rather than as a “teacher”. A disciple who both speaks encouragement and who listens (I wonder what he hears). A disciple who crucially does not turn away (sug) even when the going gets very tough. I wonder whether we might in this passion tide not only recognise Jesus in the disciple but also ourselves.

9 April 2017
Isaiah 50: 4-9a

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anna-Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Director of Studies for the Centre for Formation in Ministry.

On Anglo-Catholicism by Gerry Lynch

National Pilgrimage to Walsingham, 2003. (C) Gerry Lynch.

The following is a transcript of a talk given by Gerry Lynch, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Salisbury, and strategic communications consultant to Sarum College, who worships at St Martin’s in Salisbury.

Anglo-Catholicism – a talk in preparation for a visit by Sarum Ministry Students to Sung Mass at St Martin’s, Salisbury, 19th March 2017

I’ve always believed there is more truth in a good anthology of poetry than a whole library of textbooks, so let us start our exploration of Anglo-Catholicism with a poem written by John Betjeman, entitled Anglo-Catholic Congress.

We, who remember the Faith, the grey-headed ones,
     Of those Anglo-Catholic Congresses swinging along,
Who heard the South Coast salvo of incense-guns
     And surged to the Albert Hall in our thousands strong
     With ‘extreme’ colonial bishops leading in song;


Yet, under the Travers baroque, in a limewashed whiteness,
     The fiddle-back vestments a-glitter with morning rays,
Our Lady’s image, in multiple-candled brightness,
     The bells and banners – those were the waking days
     When Faith was taught and fanned to a golden blaze.

Four things characteristic of Anglo-Catholicism stand out for me in this poem – a deeply nostalgic sentiment; a healthy sense of fun and enjoyment of the good things in life; a constant tension between a legitimate sense of the divine through beauty and an unhealthy obsession with the externalities of religion; and under it all a deep and profound Christian faith.

We’ll locate this poem in its historical context – and Anglo-Catholicism’s historical context – later on. But first, let’s look at the worship that you will encounter in St Martin’s later this morning, and the tradition it belongs to. Continue reading “On Anglo-Catholicism by Gerry Lynch”

Lectionary Reading Blog for 2 April: 5th Sunday of Lent

The lament of Israel in v.11 seems to offer the image of this amazing vision.

“Our bones have dried up” they complain, “our hope is lost” and “we are cut off”.

I appreciate the sense of being cut off as a loss of hope, it is something I might experience myself. I do not understand the dried up bones so well. What do they mean with this? Are they speaking of their death? Do they feel dead even while alive?

In Ezekiel’s vision this lament, “our bones have dried up” becomes an image of Israel. A valley full of dry bones. Do we ever feel like this about our own faith communities? As if, we are a valley of dry bones? It is a strong image even if one that does not really chime with our climate. God’s response is wind or breath also translated as Spirit (ruah) rather than blood or water. I would think dry bones need a beating heart, but God knows dry bones need breath, air, space to breathe, Spirit. When our communities sometimes feel like a valley full of dry bones, do we pray for God’s wind to blow life into us?

2 April 2017
Ezekiel 37: 1-14

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anna-Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Director of Studies for the Centre for Formation in Ministry.

Lectionary Reading Blog for 26 March: Mothering Sunday

Two mothers meet around an ark (tebah – this word is only used here and in the story of Noah in Genesis 6-8).

The water that should have destroyed the baby has saved him. Two mothers who are both instrumental in his salvation. Although it might seem that the birth mother is of low-status (slave) and the adoptive mother of high-status (princes); the story is clear that for the identity of this boy the birth mother’s belonging to the clan of Levi is more important than the high-status of the foreign princes.

This shared motherhood seems to be without envy or strive. Both mothers are crucial. Both mothers nurture. Both mothers have to let go. Moses is named by his adoptive mother an Egyptian name that means (in Egyptian) ‘son’. When the name is re-interpreted for his Hebrew family an association is made with the Hebrew verb “to draw out from water”. A reflection of the story of his two mothers? Maybe, but also an association on his future destiny. He will draw the people of Israel out from water. Two mothers from two very different cultures. Two mothers who do mothering very differently. Both mothers help Moses to develop into the legendary leader he will become.

26 March 2017
Exodus 2:1-10

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anna-Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Director of Studies for the Centre for Formation in Ministry.

Congratulations to Sarum College Graduates!

Photographs by Ash Mills Photography

Each year on Presentation Day students along with their family and friends celebrate achieving their academic awards from Sarum College.

This is an important occasion in the life of the college and especially this year, as we had our first joint ceremony of students from our MA Programmes with the Centre for Formation in Ministry.

This year’s Presentation Day was held on Saturday 4 March 2017 and took place in St Thomas’s Church, Salisbury. Sarum College Principal, The Revd Canon Dr James Woodward welcomed and congratulated the graduates on their achievements. The Very Revd June Osborne, Dean of Salisbury gave the Presentation Day address, picking up the theme of moderation from the reading, ‘Faces of Moderation: The Art of Balance in an Age of Extremes’ by Aurelian Craiutu.

In an excerpt from the reading, Craiutu states: “While it is important to strive for moral clarity, we should never assume that we possess it, because that would give us a false and dangerous sense of self-righteousness. Moral clarity is not a moment of instant enlightenment, but a normative goal that we should work for our entire life to achieve.”

Congratulations to all who received their awards!

Awards from the Centre for Leadership Learning

Master of Arts in Christian Approaches to Leadership were awarded to Jeremy Fagan, Antony MacRow-Wood, Rebecca Roberts and Steven Sheppard.

Postgraduate Diplomas in Christian Approaches to Leadership were awarded to Elizabeth Ann Massey.

Postgraduate Certificates in Christian Approaches to Leadership were awarded to Rolison Sims.

Awards from the Centre for Liturgy and Worship

Master of Arts in Christian Liturgy were awarded to Thomas McLean, Maureen Penrose and Roger Wilcock.

Awards from the Centre for Contemporary Spirituality

Master of Arts in Christian Spirituality were awarded to Barry Abbott, Patricia Bancroft, David Cole, Alison Craig, Dawn Harrison, Isabel Keegan, Sarah Kinch, Ken Livingstone, Anna Roecker, Andrew Schofield, Regine Slavin, Linda Soderberg, Deborah Waldron and Clive Woodward.

Postgraduate Diplomas in Christian Spirituality were awarded to Chris Pettet.

Postgraduate Certificates in Christian Spirituality were awarded to Hilary Beresford.

Awards from the Centre for Theology, Imagination and Culture

Master of Arts in Theology, Imagination and Culture were awarded to Jacqueline Bean, Roland Bean, Jonathan Guy Edwards and Richard Truss.

Postgraduate Diplomas in Theology, Imagination and Culture were awarded to Rhona Floate and Ann Parker.

Postgraduate Certificates in Theology, Imagination and Culture were awarded to Janet Tanner.

Awards from the Centre for Formation in Ministry

Master of Arts in Theology for Christian Ministry and Mission were awarded to Juliet Jensen.

Bachelor of Arts in Theology for Christian Ministry and Mission were awarded to Rowena Pearson and Wendy Tucker.

Postgraduate Certificate in Theology, Ministry and Mission were awarded to Deborah Mallett.

Bachelor of Arts in Theology, Ministry and Mission were awarded to May Barker, Melanie Otto, Mary Nicholson and Joanna Slade.

Higher Education Diplomas in Theology, Ministry and Mission were awarded to Stephen Everard, Catherine Edwina Fennemore, Sarah Hargreaves, Mark James, Gay Maynard, Gerard Mee, Elizabeth Jan Mitchell, Deborah Perreau, Karen Rizzello, Clarissa Shaw Notice, Janette Smith, Jane Thompson and Liza Wortelhock.

Next year’s Presentation Day celebration will be held on 10 March 2018 at St Thomas’s Church.

Lectionary Reading Blog for 19 March: 3rd Sunday of Lent

I have always thought the Israelites in the desert to be a grumpy and grumbling lot – murmuring.

Complaining about everything. Reading Exodus 17 today I wondered what it would be like to be with my husband and three children camped in the desert and there is no water. This is not complaining about the colour of the Christmas cards; this is life or death. What does Moses expect?

Just as in Numbers 20, a similar story, it is not completely clear what Moses does wrong; so in this passage it is not clear why the people are not allowed to ask for water. Why does Moses interpret this desperate cry as testing the Lord. It must be to do with tone and attitude. I wonder how lament is different from complaint. Reading it in the context of John 4, as we do this Sunday, reminds us that the rock at Horeb could be in us waiting to let the living water of the Spirit flow. If only we can ask for it without quarrelling and complaining, without the doubt whether God is among us. It would be a pity if the mountain of God (as Horeb is also called – Exodus 3) would become again Massah (= testing) and Meribah (=quarrel).

19 March 2017
Exodus 17:1-7

This weekly blog on one of the lectionary readings is by Anna-Claar Thomasson-Rosingh, Director of Studies for the Centre for Formation in Ministry.

Bookshop Bestsellers: February 2017

  1. Receiving Christ in Five Different Ways York Course Booklet by Canon John Young, York Courses £3.99
  2. Let Me Go There: Spirit of Lent by Paula Gooder, Canterbury Press Norwich £8.99
  3. Finding Your Hidden Treasure by Benignus O’Rourke, Darton, Longman & Todd     £10.99
  4. The Way of Christlikeness by Michael Perham, Canterbury Press Norwich £16.99
  5. Transformed by the Presence of Jesus by Liz Babbs, CWR £4.99
  6. Dethroning Mammon: Making Money Serve Grace by Justin Welby, Bloomsbury £9.99
  7. How to Pray: A Practical Handbook by John Pritchard, SPCK £9.99
  8. Lectio Divina: From God’s Word to Our Lives by Enzo Bianchi, SPCK £10.99
  9. Life in the Psalms: Contemporary Meaning in Ancient Texts by Patrick Woodhouse, Bloomsbury £12.99
  10. Into the Silent Land by Martin Laird, Darton, Longman & Todd £10.99

Book of the Month: March 2017

Hanging by a Thread by Samuel Wells

The arresting and compelling organising theme of this book is this ‘there was a time when the cross was an answer – today the cross is a question’. This short, tightly argued but fluent book considers the risk, cost and suffering of the cross in the light of six key contemporary concerns. They are the reliability of history; the fragility of trust; mortality; meaning; the nature of power; and, the character of love. Rich, engaged and stimulating – this book would make a good base for a study group at any time of the year. It is easy to see why Wells is such a popular communicator in today’s church.

Reviewed by James Woodward, Principal of Sarum College.

Published by Canterbury Press, Hanging by a Thread normally retails at £8.99. Until 31 March 2017 it can be purchased for just £5.99 (+£2 postage) from our online shop or £7.99 and POST FREE by phoning 01722 326899 or emailing bookshop@dev.sarum.ac.uk.