Pastor Steve's Class

Pastor Steve's Sunday School Class:

       New Sunday Morning Class: September 9:30 AM

I don’t know how I came across Maddy Prior, who is a British “folk” singer who used to appear with Steeleye Span and others, but I find her renditions of church hymns from the 18th century quite appealing and moving. They are sung with a cool purity, an austere style that focuses attention on the melody, harmony and lyric of the song itself. You can watch one of her “live” recordings on Youtube with the sound off and it’ll put you to sleep quickly. But, listening, the power of those hymns by Watts and Wesley and others shines through with extraordinary force.

For one thing, the accompaniment used on her recordings is small, ensembles consisting of, typically, violin, bass viol, recorders, oboes, hand drums, guitar, clarinet, etc. varying with they hymn. Ensembles like this were considered “gallery bands” in England, in that since most village churches couldn’t afford large organ installations, and the “pianoforte” was not yet invented, small bands led the music from the balcony, or “gallery.” It’s entirely likely that writers like Isaac Watts, Charles Wesley, Nahum Tate and others would have written for that kind of instrumentation.

Anyway, I bought her CD “Sing Lustily and With Good Courage” a couple of years ago and it keeps finding its way back into my car. I find some of them incredibly moving and their words and tunes rattle around in my head all day.

We’ve spent a couple of quarters on Sunday mornings on the Psalms this Spring and Summer. The Psalms were the foundation of all congregational singing and people like Wesley, Watts and Tate took it all to new level, and are the true founders of all modern hymn singing.

Our plan is to listen, examine and interpret one hymn per week. We’ll hear Prior and her band sing it, and then we’ll examine what it teaches and how it uses the Bible. Below are what we’ll begin with. You’re Invited! We meet in the second room on the right of the first floor of the Educational Building at 9:30. Bibles are provided. See Newsletter for Schedule.