New article- "Why Churches Should Ditch The Projector Screens And Bring Back Hymnals"

Discussion in 'Sacred Music' started by anglican74, Oct 28, 2019.

  1. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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    See here:
    https://thefederalist.com/2019/06/18/churches-should-ditch-projector-screens-bring-back-hymnals/

    Some previews:
    A couple of decades ago, churches split in a grand debate over worship. Contentious arguments raged over every aspect of worship style, components, decorum, and practically everything else. Every church seemed to be choosing between opposites—organ or praise band, historic liturgy or rock liturgies, contemporary songs or historic hymns. The fallout was ugly. Assemblies erupted in dissonance and members on the losing side transferred out.

    Years later, the voices have calmed and the dust has settled. Some pastors declared a sort of “separate peace” by establishing rival worship services—one traditional, one modern. Others went the “blended worship” route. While this included enough elements from both styles to at least keep the group together, everyone was left a little dissatisfied. Mixing pipe organs with electric guitars tends to do that.


    Perhaps we no longer hear about the worship debate because everyone is simply tired of fighting. Positions have calcified. No matter how well-intentioned, few minds are being changed. Bringing up the subject only tears open wounds that haven’t quite healed.

    More likely, the reason you don’t hear much about the worship wars is that one side has won. It may not be a total victory, but one side is clearly winning while the other is cowering in a back pew hoping a pack of millennials doesn’t make them wave their arms in the air and sing whatever Chris Tomlin or Bethel Music wrote that morning.


    What do you guys think?
     
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  2. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Nice article. CCM wins the contest in numbers of churches using it, but there is nothing permanent about that fact. I think more and more people will get fed up with CCM-singing churches, and the trend will reverse.

    I really like to sing hymns. They speak to me. They lift my spirit. They help me give genuine, heartfelt glory to God. The contemporary songs currently in use are so shallow and meaningless, they're not worth singing.... and that's why, if you visit one of those churches, you'll see a large portion of the congregants disengaged and standing there looking bored during the 'praise and worship.'
     
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  3. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I can’t pray to CCM. The beauty of traditional Anglican worship is the mixture of choral and congregational singing and organ accompaniement, and the use of the beautiful system of Anglican chant for the Psalms, and some renditions of the Canticles, for example, those by Dyson (the composer, not the vacuum-cleaner chap).

    One thing that drove me to Orthodoxy was a certain knowledge that we would never have CCM or even Gospel music, although some people tried to introduce it into the Coptic church in the extra-diocesan areas, where there were no bishops to supervise the clergy (an ecclesiological error made by Pope Shenouda). Pope Tawadros II has rectified this problem to a large extent by ordaining new diocesan bishops. Also, in Egypt, the parish in the dirt-poor pig farming community of Muqattam had basically become a megachurch, but it was raised to a diocese and a firery new bishop, His Grace Bishop Abanoub, was sent in to get a handle on the problem. He’s reminiscent of the splendid retiring Archbishop of Sydney.

    But that incident aside, the Orthodox church is almost totally free of CCM and primarily uses a capella music, although some Greek churches have pipe organs, and there is a really excellent setting of music by Tikey Zes for the Greek church which features organ accompaniement (I strongly prefer the music of Tikey Zes, Michaelides and other recent Greek Orthodox composers to Byzantine Chant, except when one of the two groups of cantors is female, but this is alas rare).

    However I have since realized that there are healthy, young and vibrant communities elsewhere in Christendom where I could have gone. Traditional Anglican communities in the US with traditional worship appear to be healthier than the more liberal parishes in the Episcopal Church (some of the more conservative parishes, like the Old North Church and Holy Trinity Wall Street, as well as the parish I attended, pull decent-sized congregations, although I expect since Fr. Steve retired and was replaced by a priestess, that parish has contracted, and it also had an incompetent music director who made the traditional choral Eucharist feel like CCM, even though it wasn’t; I learned to join some absolutely lovely elderly people including a splendid gentleman who served as the lector, at the 8 AM said service). In Chico, CA, the old Episcopal church restored by the Anglican Province of Christ the King (which TEC had sold to a Chinese restaurant) is outperforming the Episcopal parish to a substantial degree. Elsewhere, the Diocesan Latin Mass communities in the Roman Catholic church tend to fill their churches, and lack the unpleasantness of the SSPX. And finally there is an obscure group of Covenanting Presbyterians, the Reformed Presbyterian Church in North America, whose services feature a capella exclusive psalmody (but without “lining out” or other unpleasant traditions of early Presbyterians). I have a copy of the RPCNA’s psalter, which sets the Psalms to traditional melodies used by various traditional congregational hymns, and causes them to be rhyming and metrical.

    That said, I strongly prefer the chanted Coverdale Psalter or the Jordanville Psalter (the Coverdale Psalter corrected against the LXX), and I also love reading the KJV Psalter, but I have heard it does not lend itself to singing to the same extent as the Coverdale.
     
  4. Liturgyworks

    Liturgyworks Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I agree with the opinions of this article. CCM is not suitable for divine worship. I think new editions of the BCP should have a rubric limiting the allowed instruments during ordinary worship to the organ, harpsichord, clavichord, violin, bass and viola, woodwind, brass, harp, and handbell, and requiring a capella singing in the absence of these (I think the piano is very unpleasant and causes traditional worship services to be even more unpleasant). I also think a mixed childrens choir should be prohibited and a mixed adult choir allowed for small parishes only; the best and most traditionally Anglican approach is to have a boys choir and gentlemen clerks comprising a male choir, which is what one sees at Westminster Abbey, St. Paul’s, Gloucester Cathedral and most other cathedrals. St. David’s in Wales has a girls choir, which I think is acceptable provided it is a discrete entity, used for specific purposes and musically differentiated from the boy choristers.

    In a small church, a mix of good male and female adult choristers tend to deliver the best results, I think. I have seen choirs of just five or six, with two men and the rest, women, do a splendid job in some smaller Orthodox parishes, but it all comes down to choir direction.
     

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