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  • From the Rector: The Resonance of Tradition: The Symphony of Music and Faith at Redeemer

From the Rector: The Resonance of Tradition: The Symphony of Music and Faith at Redeemer

September 11, 2023 11:12 AM | Barbara MacDonald (Administrator)

As you pass the vintage photograph on your way to the choir room, you are walking in the footsteps of a legacy that spans generations. Beginning with a men and boys choir at the turn of the 20th century, the baton has been passed through an illustrious array of faithful contributors. There was Craig, a teacher from the Chestnut Hill School who infused pedagogical grace; Cindy Johnson, whose keyboard artistry lifted spirits; the choral enthusiasm of Mary Reynders; Michael Murray's reinvigoration of the choristers program in 2016; and most recently, the effervescent John Meyer Spressert, who has brought a blaze of youthful energy with his guitar. At Redeemer, music and youth have long been interwoven in a vibrant tapestry, each thread adding a unique hue to our community's spiritual fabric.

In the Anglican tradition, music isn't merely an aesthetic pleasure; it's a form of spiritual language. I would argue that the Book of Common Prayer 1979 and the Hymnal 1982 are not simply books but the reverberating heartbeats of the Episcopal Church. These texts bestow words of solace, acknowledgment of our human frailty, and our hope-filled joy, while also framing our Christian journey with hymns and anthems that resonate through time.

In my last letter, I announced the arrival of a Children’s Homily as part of our Sunday service—an endeavor that excites and, to be candid, terrifies me. But innovation doesn't stop there. We’re charting a refreshed course for music in Sunday School, thanks to Sarah Taylor (spouse of Nigel Potts). Every Sunday, towards the end of the Godly Play and Apostles classes, Sarah will shepherd our youngest from their Sunday School classes into the Children’s Chapel for a 15-minute musical journey. It will be fun, but it’s also intended to be a joyful exploration of our deeply rooted musical canon.

Many of our senior members speak eloquently about the spiritual depth hymns add to their lives, having absorbed them in school chapels long ago. As many schools have unmoored themselves from their respective religious traditions to steer more secular courses, local parishes are the last places remaining for children to recite the prayers and sing the songs of our faith. If we don't acquaint our children with this sacred repertoire, are we not creating a chasm between the spiritual wisdom of our tradition and the souls of the next generation?

My ambition is to sow seeds of our hymnal heritage into the fertile ground of our children’s spirituality. And, as I am wont to believe and say more often these last years, "Faithful experiments are indeed good for the soul!"

In Christ,


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