Christian Unity Week

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Christian Unity Week

Post by musicus » Sun Jan 18, 2004 10:48 pm

Is anyone involved in Unity services this week? Planning music for them can be a problem. Do you give 'em the Westminster Hymnal and hope to win them all over to Rome, or do you let your hair down and give them the Graham Kendrick Songbook - or what?

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Christian Unity Week

Post by pirate » Mon Jan 19, 2004 10:08 am

What I have found working with interchurch groups is that their different take on how to plan these things can be frustrating to say the least. We can all just about agree on a song or hymn to open proceedings, then it sometimes seems like a 'lucky dip'. 'Well, let's have a reading now.' 'Where shall we put the intercessions?' 'I have a lovely poem about the theme...' Anyone used to having even a simple structure (eg Mass) can become seriously disorientated as people weigh in from all sides with their favourite 'bit'. Interesting though. I have also found that sticking out for a progression/structure of some sort can be the most useful contribution to make, plus some of the psalms of the St Thomas More Group!

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Post by presbyter » Mon Jan 19, 2004 10:54 am

Well I'm just sitting here working out how to adapt the prayers from the Christians of Aleppo into something a little more straightforward, that folks may grasp with a little more immediacy than the originals - see the PAGES of material on the Vatican web site.

"A" unity service? Thought this is a week of prayer - we're doing the prayers daily.

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Post by presbyter » Mon Jan 19, 2004 12:25 pm

Well - if they don't know "Peace, perfect peace" - we'll just have to learn it......

and if they don't know "Immortal Invisible" for today, I'm stuck.

Oh why do these Syriacs make prayer so complicated! Am going for the shape of 'noble simplicity' of the Roman Rite.

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Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Tue Jan 20, 2004 8:12 am

I am our parish's rep. for the Churches Together Group in our area. This year we have abandoned the idea of a Unity Service due to lack of interest. In previous years, the group has co-ordinated united worship for the Week of Prayer for World Peace and for Christian Unity Week. Rather than actually planning a joint service, each church in the group has taken a turn to lead the worship. Some churches have seen this as an opportunity to give a flavour of their own style of worship to the other churches in the group. Others have used the 'freedom' of such a service to explore different styles of worship. In our church, we've dared to push back benches and use the space, for instance. As far as music is concerned, when we've hosted, we've tried to choose one or two universally known hymns – usually trad. Rather than GK – and have also included some of the music we use regularly, including home-grown stuff! We've always found others very appreciative of new music, or rather, music that is new to them.

Sadly, the response to these united services has dwindled so much that we took the decision to scrap them this year. I'm waiting to see if anyone notices......

Presbyter wrote:"A" unity service? Thought this is a week of prayer - we're doing the prayers daily.


You are right, Presbyter, and as well as the united worship, we've tried producing prayer leaflets for all the churches to use during both weeks; I ended up collecting up almost as many as I had put out.....

I am sorry to sound so negative but our problem at the minute is more acute than trying to decide what music we should sing; we need to find a way to remove the apathy there seems to be towards almost anything ecumenical.

TT

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Post by presbyter » Tue Jan 20, 2004 9:29 am

Tsume Tsuyu wrote:Others have used the 'freedom' of such a service TT


I find Pirate's and Tsume Tsuyu's comments about the difficulties of putting the services together a little sad. The worship material for the week is put together by the World Council of Churches and Rome. It is given to us - the form for each day and the lectionary material. Sure, we are free to adapt and I have judged this year's prayers from the Eastern traditions to be a little flowery in their language; a bit too wordy and therefore difficult to grasp immediately. I am making them more simple and leaving some out but their essence remains. Suggestions as to where to put songs and what these songs could be about are also given. Why design a "camel" liturgy (a horse put together by a committee) - the unfamiliar structure of which may not enable prayer - when something sensible is given?

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Post by pirate » Wed Jan 21, 2004 1:54 pm

Ah, now, Presbyter, you're right - the stuff produced for Christian Unity week is usually good and usable and adaptable if necessary. I am guilty of generalising about planning on a couple of occasions not in Church Unity week but at other times, so without the particular guidelines and suggestions.

Having said that I have in front of me the order of service produced by our local churches together group and I would be surprised if any of it came from the official booklet; it seems to me to be very English in tone and 'feel'.

I don't know how it was in the celebrating because (and here is another point we might like to consider) it took place at the same time as our Sunday evening Mass, where I am one of the music group. Options might be: to make a choice (okay, if you can get to another Mass); to cancel the evening Mass and ask everyone to join the unity service (okay if you can get to another Mass); to ask for a better time for the unity service itself... There are lots of issues around this. What do other people think?

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Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Thu Jan 22, 2004 5:56 pm

Presbyter wrote:I find Pirate's and Tsume Tsuyu's comments about the difficulties of putting the services together a little sad. The worship material for the week is put together by the World Council of Churches and Rome. It is given to us - the form for each day and the lectionary material.


We do often use the material from the WCC as the basis for the unity week worship. I agree, it's usually very good and, where it is less so, it is adaptable. What I think is sadder is the fact that our Churches Together Group has voted to abandon the united services for Christian unity and for peace altogether this year. There are some worthwhile ecumenical ventures going on behind the scenes but these involve the same few people and none of the clergy of the subscribing churches show any real interest in any of it. They never come to meetings and rarely support events, even the services. Planning of worship is left entirely to the laity - not a problem for me, but sad that they don't even seem interested. I'm sorry but I'm feeling very negative about this just now. The only thing to do is keep praying, I suppose....

TT

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Post by presbyter » Thu Jan 22, 2004 11:38 pm

Tsume Tsuyu wrote: The only thing to do is keep praying, I suppose....
TT


Oh keep working at it too TT :D So far this week, I've had a URC and a Methodist minister join me in leading our daily prayers. Mind you, that doesn't say a lot for the C of E. There are six Anglican parishes - of varying degrees of churchmanship - in the local clergy fraternal. Not one of their clergy has turned up yet and we all met together on Tuesday. They were reminded the prayers were on and at a convenient time too!

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Post by presbyter » Thu Jan 22, 2004 11:42 pm

presbyter wrote: They were reminded the prayers were on and at a convenient time too!


Now I wonder - if no C of E turn up by the end of this week, shall I drop a line to their Bishop to say what a poor lot I think they are? :wink:

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Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Fri Jan 23, 2004 12:16 am

Thanks for the encouragement, Presbyter. I suppose I did sound a bit defeatist. Actually, we do manage to co-ordinate some really worthwhile ecumenical work - a group of us lead the worship at a local care home every Sunday, providing a service for folk from many denominations who otherwise wouldn't get to church at all. We also organise an annual Lent Study which involves various mixed house groups meeting for the 5 weeks up to Holy Week, to study the Bible together. Both of these are really worthwhile - enough for the group to have decided not the throw the towel in yet.

I shall pray for the appearance of a C of E cleric before the end of the week for you! If you don't get one, shop 'em!!! :)

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Post by Dot » Sat Jan 24, 2004 10:34 am

Now I'm addressing my reply to the right topic (and it would be useful to have a reminder of the topic heading while typing a reply) I will try to recall what I wrote under the wrong topic and deleted without copying first, while chastising my children. Dear oh dear, has anyone got children more distracting than mine?

OK, I have just been preparing to lead an ecumenical service tomorrow evening, and wondering whether to draw on the readings for the 3rd Sunday of Ordinary Time, or the main text for the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (John 14) or the texts for day 8 of the Week. If I draw from all of them, and there are links between them, will I have devised a camel liturgy? Would it stand up to scrutiny by the ordained clergy? I doubt it.

After reading the discussions going on in this Forum, I am not encouraged to continue in the ministry which I do already. I am only encouraged by the experience of doing it and delivering it.

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Christian Unity Week

Post by Tsume Tsuyu » Sat Jan 24, 2004 2:11 pm

Dot wrote:After reading the discussions going on in this Forum, I am not encouraged to continue in the ministry which I do already.

Well, from feeling despondent and quite negative, I'm pleased to say that I've gained encouragement from Presbyter's comments.

I hope my own comments haven't discouraged others. They weren't meant to; they were just a reflection of my experiences.

Dot wrote:I have just been preparing to lead an ecumenical service tomorrow evening...... Would it stand up to scrutiny by the ordained clergy? I doubt it.

Is it likely to be scrutinised by the ordained clergy? If you've agreed to take it on, I don't think you are going to be criticised for what you can within the limits of your own knowledge and understanding. That's what I do! And, anyway, there isn't anything wrong with a camel liturgy as long as there are links. I think Presbyster is saying that drawing bits and pieces together may result in a service that doesn't 'hang together' as well; It doesn't mean it is any less meaningful or that the intentions are any less. If I've misinterepreted this, I'm sure Presbyter will put me right!

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Christian unity week

Post by organist » Tue Jan 27, 2004 7:29 am

Only 3 Catholics at the unity service I attended - our new priest, one stalwart and myself. The service was based on the material provided in the unity week booklet including some good words sung to "Auld lang syne" not a good idea! We did hear an excellent sermon in which the preacher used "You in your small corner, I in mine" as an illustration of the problems of Northern Ireland and elsewhere. Thank goodness we didn't have to sing it!
At the peace and at the tea afterwards, there was much greeting and meeting and at the group meeting there was a new buzz with 2 new clergy "on the block". The clergy fraternal meet today and they have invited the eladers of the smaller churches who have never joined the group. We agreed to support "Soul in the City" in the summer. Never despair!
The annual Advent service held in our church was well supported except by musicians and singers from the other churches who clearly took the opportunity to have a night off. :roll:

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