Summer School 2015

The Word that is Life


The 2015 Summer School of Liturgy and Music was held at High Leigh Conference Centre, Hoddesdon, Hertfordshire from 27th to 31st July.

In the renewed liturgy after the Second Vatican Council, the Word of God has a special place. The selection of readings at Mass were greatly expanded so that the treasures of the Bible were opened up and the revised Lectionary has become a shared gift across the denominations. Scripture has not only been the source of the words we proclaim but also those we sing and pray.

Over the last couple of years, the Summer School has reflected on the 50th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council and how it deepened our appreciation of the liturgy, not only in the Constitution on the Liturgy, but in the other documents as well. The Constitution on Divine Revelation. Dei Verbum, expressed the Church’s understanding of place of scriptures in the life and faith of the Church.

In this year’s Summer School, the place of scripture in the liturgy and the life and mission of the Church was explored through keynote inputs, a range of workshops and liturgy and music.


Fr Kevin talkSpeakers

Director of Liturgy: Mgr Kevin McGinnell, chair of the Society of Saint Gregory, Episcopal Vicar for Education & Formation for the Diocese of Northampton and Chair of the Joint Liturgical Group of Great Britain.

Director of Music: Stephen Dean, composer and Director of Music for the Diocese of East Anglia. He is also the founder of the National Network of Pastoral Musicians (NNPM) as well as of Decani Music

Keynote Speaker: Fr Thomas Whelan is Dean of the faculty of Theology and Spirituality at Milltown Institute in Dublin and member of the Irish Council for Liturgy


There were four workshops in the morning which ran as three-session workshops over the Summer School week. This allowed participants to explore the topic in greater depth, but were still of interest to those attending for just one session. Morning workshops were:

Workshop 1

  • Fr Tom Whelan – ‘The Word that is Life’ – a follow up to the keynote talk on exploring Scripture
  • Mgr Kevin McGinnell – ‘Exploring the Lectionary’ – how it uses Scripture over the three-year cycle
  • Stephen Dean – ‘Singing the Word’ – focusing on hymns based on the Gospels, Psalms and other Old Testament scriptures
  • Cherry-Willow Pauls – ”Accompanying the Liturgy’ – using piano/organ and other instruments to the best advantage.

The afternoon workshops were single sessions – a response to requests in recent years to be able to enjoy a greater diversity of workshops to choose from. Thus, the following were the same workshop repeated over three days:

  • Fr Allen Morris – ‘Engaging with Sunday scripture’ – how do we help the parish community engage with Sunday readings?
  • Martin Foster – ‘Why choose a Mass setting?’ – what are the questions that should be considered when making such a choice
  • Caroline Dollard – ‘Liturgy of the Word with Children’ – exploring theory and practice including liturgical principles
  • Chris Olding – ‘Common Psalms’ – exploring settings of these and how they might be used.

Plus…‘Big Sings’, Bookshop, Bar and traditional social events.

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