Angus Ritchie (Director of CTC and Priest in Charge of St George-in-the-East) blogs on two new church plants which are using community organising to make disciples and challenge injustice…
Through our research and our work with inner-city congregations, we are increasingly seeing a connection between community organising and numerical growth. Churches are likely to make new disciples when they are both willing to work with their neighbours for the common good and intentional about becoming more inviting and accessible to those who want to explore the Christian faith .
Tom Daggett, Co-ordinator of our community music programme SingSpire, blogs about a choir of marginalised people who made a wonderful sound…
Over four weeks in December, we worked with a remarkable set of men who came together as a choir and sang in Hinde Street Methodist Church for an audience drawn from across the West London Mission.
Since 1887, the West London Mission (WLM) has combined Christian worship with pioneering social work among some of the most marginalised members of society. The WLM works with Street homeless people, homeless ex-servicemen, men with alcohol dependency, men leaving prison, and those who need affordable counselling.
In this blog, our SingSpire Co-ordinator, Tom Daggett, brings us up to speed with the progress of our community music programme…
Since setting up the SingSpire programme I’ve begun to realise just how singing together can be a community-building initiative. We are committed to this idea and to helping churches realise this potential.
SingSpire’s work thus far has largely focussed on getting new initiatives off the ground. We launched a new ‘Babysong’ group in Stoke Newington and we’re working on an exciting new children’s choir, bringing together four churches and three schools.
Tom Daggett – who co-ordinates CTC’s SingSpire project – blogs on its “Cantignorus Chorus,” one of the choirs which he directs, and on its anthem of hope, ‘Holding out a helping hand’
Few things bring people hope better than singing with others. This is particularly true when faced with tumultous lifestyles, cycles of depression, and a sense of helplessness.
The Cantignorus Chorus set out to do precisely that – bring joy to people who’ve been given a rough time. It sought to do it by making a national statement of hope, by learning and recording ‘Holding out a helping hand’, penned by Rev Niall Weir of St. Paul’s West Hackney.
The Cantignorus Chorus – part of the Centre’s SingSpire programme – recorded the song which it hopes will be a Christmas Number One! Our Community Music Co-ordinator Tom Daggett blogs about a memorable evening, the climax of many weeks’ hard work
UPDATE: You can buy the single here
Last Wednesday evening, the Cantignorus Chorus made history when it travelled a few miles down the road to make its debut recording at Angel Studios – a prestigious studio used by the likes of Robbie Williams, Tom Jones, and the X Factor finalists.
The Cantignorus Chorus – part of our Centre’s SingSpire programme – has been covered on this blog a number of times. Now it has also made it to the pulpit of St Paul’s, as the Revd Canon Dilly Baker (Rector of St Mary’s Stoke Newington) preached about the Chorus in her All Saints’ Sermon at the Cathedral.
Here it is…
“In his holy flirtation with the world, God sometimes drops a handkerchief. Those handkerchiefs are called saints.” What a lovely way to describe a saint – a description offered to us by Frederick Beuckner, an American theologian. A bit quaint perhaps – after all we’ve ditched handkerchiefs and flirting in favour of Kleenex tissues and speed dating. But I like it. I for one prefer to think of God less as a speed dater and more as a flirt. In his love affair with humanity God offers us hints of his presence along the way – the casually dropped handkerchief, impregnated with the scent of the divine. The Saint is the one who keeps alive for us, the whiff of God.
The Centre’s Community Music co-ordinator Tom Daggett wrote last week about the programme he’s developing, SingSpire.
This week saw the first rehearsal of one of the programme’s first projects – the ‘Cantignorus Chorus’.
In this blog he tells us more…
This week, I had the honour of directing the most exciting choir I’ve ever worked with. On Wednesday evening, St. Paul’s West Hackney was host to the first rehearsal of the ‘Cantignorus Chorus’ – a choir formed from the charities which use the church hall throughout the week. These groups work with some of the country’s most marginalised people.
An astonishing 55 people showed up for the first rehearsal The were clients and staff from North London Action for the Homeless, Narcotics Anonymous, Open Doors charity for vulnerable women, 4Sight lunch club for local West Indians with mental health issues, an over-50s dance group, Family Mosaic Housing Association, Growing Communities grassroots gardening project – not to mention members of the church congregation and the wider local community.
The Centre’s Community Music Co-ordinator Tom Daggett is aiming to engage diverse groups of people in deprived areas in singing and music making.
Here, Tom brings us up to date with some exciting developments…
It is often said that there are two things which bring people together better than anything else – food and music! Music can inspire us. It can be a catalyst for change in our lives. It can be a powerful way of bringing people together. The Centre has developed an innovative music programme, ‘SingSpire’, which will help churches to bring people together, through song. Our programme has recently received financial support from the Bishop of London’s Mission Fund, and widespread support from within church music and community music circles.