19 November 2014

A note on this afternoon’s
liturgy, hymns and music

‘To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one’ (Matthew 25: 15) … millions of talents and drachmai … in classical Greece, one talent was worth 6,000 drachmai (Photograph: Patrick Comerford, 2014)

Patrick Comerford

I am presiding at the Community Eucharist in the Chapel of the Church of Ireland Theological Institute this evening. These illustrations and these notes appear on this evening’s booklet:

This evening, we welcome friends from the Association of Missionary Societies back to CITI, and our preacher is the Revd Colin Hall-Thompson, the Senior Chaplain and Organising Secretary for Northern Ireland, the Mission to Seafarers. So our hymns this evening relate to both the readings and to the theme of mission.

Our Entrance hymn, ‘Your kingdom come, O God’ (No 509), is by Canon Lewis Hensley (1824-1905), who published two influential collections of hymns. The tune, ‘St Cecilia,’ by the Revd Leighton George Hayne (1836-1883), is named after the patron saint of music, whose feast day is on Saturday, 22 November.

We sing Gloria as the Revd Christopher Idle’s hymn, ‘Glory in the highest to the God of heaven!’ (No 693). The Revd William Harold Ferguson named the tune ‘Cuddesdon’ after the theological college near Oxford where he had been an ordinand.

Our Gradual, ‘Judge eternal, throned in splendour’ (535), is the only known hymn by Canon Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918), and embodies his two chief interests in life – social reform and the missionary work of the Church.

The Offertory Hymn (532), ‘Who are we who stand and sing?’ is by the Irish hymn writer, Dean Herbie O’Driscoll, who was a curate in Monkstown, Co Dublin. The third stanza this evening is one of two further stanzas he wrote and that we were later included by Bishop Edward Darling and Donald Davison in Companion to Church Hymnal. The tune ‘Monksgate’ by Ralph Vaughan Williams (1872-1958) is based on a folk song he heard in a Sussex village and first arranged for ‘He who would valiant be’ while he was editing the English Hymnal.

We sing Sanctus and Benedictus as Hymn 714, a setting by Franz Schubert for his Deutsche Mass (‘German Mass’). It was included in the Church Hymnal by Bishop Darling after he heard it following the consecration of John Howe as Bishop of Central Florida in Saint Luke’s Cathedral, Orlando, in 1989.

Our Post Communion Hymn, ‘Go forth and tell! O Church of God, awake!’ (No 478) is a mission hymn by the Revd Jim Seddon (1915-1983), who worked for 22 years with BCMS (now Crosslinks), mainly in North Africa, and who wrote many of his hymns originally in Arabic. This evening we are using the tune ‘Woodlands,’ written by Walter Greatorex (1877-1949) when he was Director of Music at Gresham’s School, Norfolk, where his pupils included Benjamin Britten and WH Auden.

The Five Marks of Mission, the Anglican Communion

The Mission of the Church is the mission of Christ:

• To proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom
• To teach, baptise and nurture new believers
• To respond to human need by loving service
• To seek to transform unjust structures of society, to challenge violence of every kind and to pursue peace and reconciliation
• To strive to safeguard the integrity of creation and sustain and renew the life of the earth

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