Monday, July 24, 2006

August 2006

Dear Friends

Birthday Celebrations

Thank you to all who joined us for the “Rector’s Birthday Bash”, and for the unexpected gifts. It is always good to spend relaxed time together. The weather “played ball”, enabling us to share a most pleasant afternoon.

Vision & Development

At a recent Diocesan Clergy Day we were reminded that “Change” is a fact of life, and only speeds up; that the only positive way to control “Change” is to have a vision to give it direction and a mission to channel it. We ALL find change difficult, and no matter how well qualified our leadership is in dealing with it, “Change” has an uncanny ability to leave us feeling anxious and confused, and leads to distrust. Only a clear and concise Vision will keep us focused. I believe that we have such a focus at Corpus Christi.

Our vision is, “Our lives: a place where others meet Christ.” This vision is given flesh by our Statement of Purpose, which defines what we understand to be our environment (“a Christ-centred, traditional Anglican community guided by the Holy Spirit”); our mission (“building the Kingdom of God in the wider community through outreach and service”); our values (“friendship, youth participation and broad-based parishioner involvement”); and what we offer those who choose to be part of our Christian community (“inclusive, flexible, reverent and dignified worship opportunities; spiritual and relational growth, care, fellowship and ministry development”).

It is so easy to be subjective in evaluating changes and developments in parish life. Our Statement of Purpose helps us be more objective. I invite you, in any moments of anxiety or confusion about where we may be going as a parish, to engage me critically, and to do it against the principles and values highlighted in our Statement of Purpose.

Anxiety & Confusion

I am aware of two recent developments that have created anxiety for some:

The first is the expected advent of an additional hymn book. This purchase is to enable greater flexibility in our worship. I am encouraged that in addition to the 100 copies being purchased by council, we have already received donations towards a further 25 copies.

The second relates to the use of languages other than English in our worship, and certainly this created some “upheaval” at a recent Ministry Team meeting. While all who attend Corpus Christi recognise English as our main language of Worship, the regular, limited use of other languages of Africa importantly gives recognition to our diversity, and helps us be more inclusive in the worship opportunities we offer our growingly diverse Corpus Christi community.


This national conversation is underway. I have received mixed responses from parishioners as to the value of the movies (no pun intended!), but despite this I am encouraged that the Davis Home Fellowship Group has made a decision to discuss the values highlighted over the next few weeks. It seems that as Christians we struggle to accept an approach that highlights the Value (Acceptance, Responsibility, Forgiveness …) but not the Source (God!). We need to hold in mind that although God-inspired, this discussion is designed to attract a Nation that has embraced a secular Constitution. As those who do recognise the Source, let’s be part of the CONVERSATION!

New Look

We hope you enjoy the new look of our Magazine. It is designed to be both easier to read and cheaper to produce! Any comments or suggestions should be directed to the Production Editor (Jeanne Jackson!) or the Managing Editor (me!).


Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Additional New Hymn Book

04 July 2006

Dear Friends

Additional NEW Hymn Book

The decision: At our Council Meeting on 27 June 2006 we made the decision to purchase a new Hymn Book, Songs of Fellowship Volumes 1, 2, & 3 Combined (SOF), to be used in addition to our present volume of Ancient & Modern Revised (A&M). The initial purchase of 100 copies (ideally we need 150 copies) will be made with part of a generous donation received from one of our fellow parishioners.

Why a new additional Hymn Book? Our present Hymn Book (Ancient & Modern Revised) is a collection of what one may choose to describe as “Classical Hymns”, and is itself a compilation of what was known as Ancient & Modern, 100 Hymns for Today, and More 100 Hymns for Today. There is a need to have access to more contemporary hymns, and Songs of Fellowship Volumes 1, 2 and 3 Combined is one of the more complete volumes of this nature. Yes, we have met this need by printing hymns in the Pewleaflet, but this is limited, and does not provide easy access to more contemporary music, especially outside of Sunday Worship.

Why Songs of Fellowship (SOF)? There are a number of compilations available, all of which try to have a balance of classical and contemporary hymns. The value of SOF is that it keeps the wording of the older hymns in more traditional language. Other compilations, such as The Complete Anglican Hymnal, have modernised the traditional language - often successfully, sometimes jarringly. In terms of the ethos and history of Corpus Christi the choice of a more traditional language compilation makes sense.

Why not throw out the old Hymn Book? Although SOF uses traditional translations of the more classic hymns, the wording is not always the same, and there will be times when we want the A&M words. There are also many hymns in A&M that have not been incorporated into SOF. The purpose of purchasing SOF is to enhance, not replace, our present collection.

Will SOF change the traditional nature of our Worship? A hymn, be it classic or contemporary, is neither good nor evil of itself, and either form can be used to enhance or detract from our worship experience. The singing of a contemporary hymn does not equate to throwing tradition out the window. SOF does contain hymns that some may consider puerile, but these have been included for children, and will not normally be used in our Sunday Worship. We will also not sing hymns over-and-over-endlessly-and-needlessly. The challenge is to move beyond “either/or” comparisons in our thinking, to “both/and”. The issue is not, “Is this classical?” or, “Is this contemporary?” but, “Does it add value to my experience of worship and to my relationship with God?” We believe much of what SOF offers, will.

What is the cost? We have sourced copies of SOF at R90 each (normal retail price is R160 each), and the initial purchase is being funded out of a donation, not out of day-to-day funds.

Can I and my family contribute? Yes! If you wish to make a donation towards the purchase of further copies of SOF, please place R90 x the number of copies you wish to donate into an envelope clearly marked “Hymn Books”, and place it in the collection plate, hand in to the office, or post. If you wish your donation to be “In Memoriam” of someone special, please indicate this, and we will make sure this is inscribed in the books you donate.

Yours faithfully