This was my third Summer School in four years and I have greatly enjoyed and gained from each one.

People from all over the country – from cathedral music directors to guitarists in small parish music groups, choristers, cantors, psalmists, lectors and servers – headed towards Leeds, some taking as much as eight hours, thanks to chaos on the motorways, to share a few days with other like-minded individuals.  Old friendships were renewed, new friendships forged, smiles etched on everyone’s face – even this gruff northerner’s.

For me, there are three reasons why I enjoy the Summer School so much:

  1. There is high-quality academic input – never dry or boring, but always helping me to grow in my knowledge and understanding of my own ministry within my parish.
  2. I always come home with specific, practical ideas to employ within the liturgy in my own parish, either through the workshops or modelled in the excellent liturgies that punctuate the day.
  3. Simply meeting and talking with other liturgists, singers, musicians, etc., sharing anecdotes and experiences of our own ministry – there is a real sense of fellowship.

The overarching theme of this year’s Summer School was marking the quincentenary of the Reformation.  This was reflected in the keynote talks (which explored the history and ramifications of the Reformation as well as the ongoing move towards reconciliation) and in many of the liturgies.

The range of workshops, as usual, had something for everyone – including one on Latin (which seemed to go down very well), examining what contributes to building up sacred space, building up a music ministry on limited resources, Lectio Divina, and Musicam Sacram.

Add to all that some great evening social events and gatherings, good food and comfortable accommodation and it all makes for a wonderful few days.  The rousing singing of Bernadette Farrell’s “All that is hidden” at the end of Saturday’s Mass was testimony to just how powerful the experience of the previous few days had been for all of us.

Don’t hesitate to join us next year!

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