On Saturday 27th October 2018, Tony Kirby will be giving a talk on the subject of “English hymns and hymn writers since the Reformation”. The talk will be held in Debden Parish Church, starting at 3.00 pm, and has been organised by the Debden History Recorders Group.
If the talk given by Tony earlier this year on the subject of “The impact of railways on Essex” is anything to go by, we will be entertained to a whistle stop tour of the subject, which will be both informative and enjoyable. Tony has indicated that there will be some audience participation on this occasion; so please be prepared to join in singing at least some of the hymns he will be discussing.
Although entrance will be free, there will be a Retiring Collection to assist in the maintenance of our Grade 1 Listed Church. Light refreshments will be available after the event.
It has been lovely walking our dog first thing in the morning over the past weeks with the wonderful summer weather. The warmth of the sun is gentle as I look ahead to the day and its tasks. The fields are turning rapidly into that rich golden yellow indicating harvest is approaching whilst the rabbits, birds and the occasional deer I see are gathering their first feed of the day.
I have been particularly taken by the bird song I regularly hear as I walk the fields around the village. I am not in any way a bird expert, (so do correct me if I am wrong!) but I believe the song I hear is from a skylark. For such a small bird, its happy song echoing across the standing barley and wheat enthrals me and I have to stop and search the sky to try and locate the little brown bird singing so sweetly as it hovers and soars overhead.
This experience of nature reminds me of a couple of things. One is the infinite variety of creation, flora and fauna, that draws me to think again of the beauty and wonder of our world. For me particularly, it speaks of a Creator; ‘The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.’ (Psalm 19 verse 1). Secondly, the melodious and mesmerising variation in the skylark’s song stirs something within that is deeper than just listening to sound. Like music, it has a spirituality that speaks to body, mind and soul. The author Hans Christian Anderson says, ‘music speaks where words fail.’ Whereas Bishop Isidore of Seville, recognised as one of the latest of the Church Fathers who lived in the sixth century, talking of music and creation said ‘music rouses the emotions, it calls the senses to a different quality.’
There is no wonder that music has always played such an important part of culture, even if song fashions change over time. We are very fortunate to have access to many good quality musical experiences in the area, with the Saffron Hall and Thaxted Festival to name two. Thank you for all who came and supported the Rectory Garden Concert early in July. People generously contributed over £300 to improvement projects at Wimbish and Debden churches. We enjoyed St Mary’s Brass Band music and a unique take on popular folk music from Chris Bishop. We enjoyed ourselves in the hot summer weather and hope you did too! Watch this space for details of another similar event in future years!
Enjoy your music, whatever genre that may be!
Revd John Saxon