Saturday, 15 August 2009

Srs. Elizabeth and Rose attend SSG SUMMER SCHOOL,

3-7 AUGUST, 2009

Liturgies, lectures, seminars, workshops and sheer SOUND: the Society of St. Gregory's Summer School, once described as “a retreat at a hundred miles an hour”, was held this year in rural Norfolk, at Ditchingham, amid narrow lanes and rolling cornfields. As August days blazed and then gave way to nights bright with a harvest moon, we explored the theme of “joyful hope” in Christian living and dying.

Bishop Michael Evans delivers keynote speech

Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia interested me in his keynote speech by insisting that there is nothing sacrosanct about Latin as a liturgical language. Moreover, if we want to get closer to understanding the Scriptures, he said, let us look back to Hebrew and New Testament Greek. With regard to the controversy over translating the beatitudes, for example, Bishop Michael said that 'happy' comes closer to the Koine 'μακαριοι' [makarioi]and does more to convey an idea of the joyfulness which is the essence of Christian hope than does the translation 'blessed'.

On the afternoon of the Feast of the Transfiguration I went to the Composers' Forum. Christopher Walker, Paul Wellicome and Edwin Fawcett, three very brilliant composers, gave constructive and practical advice on six compositions submitted by SSGparticipants. Among other things, the panel encouraged composers to be specific in communicating the dynamics of each piece – to give very precise directions about how you want it to sound: is it loud or soft; are there swells; is it for solo or group; is the speed marking accurate and have you marked all this information for the accompaniment as well as the melody? Many practical tips were shared and each piece was sung through, so we had a marvellous opportunity to listen to some very beautiful new work.

Sr. Rose reads at Morning Prayer
A workshop on the Ministry of reading offered by permanent deacon Peter Tibke focussed on issues surrounding the role of reader. People tend to think that anyone can read, thus the need for training and practice is not widely recognized. We looked at three key aspects involved in proclaiming the Word of God suitably: conviction, preparation and delivery. Together we discussed such varied points as the need for eye contact with the congregation, the need to project the voice in larger assemblies and the need to understand the different genres of Scripture in order to read with understanding. Even a point as simple as that of arriving in good time is crucial. Since we receive Our Lord no less in the Liturgy of the Word than in the Blessed Sacrament, due seriousness and honour should be given to the task of reading at Mass.
The Summer School was far more than just a time of study. As a social event it was also hugely enjoyable, particularly the Big Sings and the Final Concert. I came away stimulated and refreshed, with my hope in the vitality of the Church rekindled.

By Sr. Rose of Lima

The theme of the summer School was: “As we wait in joyful hope”
For the closing liturgy I was asked by Fr Tim Menzies, co-ordinator of the week, - to offer a short reflection on what had most touched/moved me during the week’s experience.
The Bishop of East Anglia, Michael Evans, gave a keynote lecture on Wednesday and he said to us that life is a journey – a pilgrimage; and to live in joyful hope. He challenged us to make a difference IN THE HERE AND NOW in ministry and in service. He also invited us to experience a foretaste of heaven and to enable others to do so; - to be ministers of hope: joyful hope.

Ann Blackett gives lecture

I attended the workshop on
“God’s holy people and the places we make – liturgical spaces” led by Ann Blackett.
I found these sessions energising and they led me to reflect that each and every one of us is sacred space.
In the final keynote lecture, Ann Blackett focused on living in joyful hope in relation to Pastoral Care of the Sick. Her sharing of her journeying with her Dad through chemotherapy, dying and death was a visible example for me of living in joyful hope.
She also highlighted that what we hope and pray for can change – especially with the illness and death of a loved one.
Above all, I returned home from the week with this:
Our hope is when we are Christ to one another.

By Sr. Elizabeth