Rector’s Letter July 2016

There are two jobs I have to do each month that I find especially difficult. One is writing this letter! Andy, our esteemed editor, kindly sends an e-mail to remind me that copy for the next edition of the magazine is due and when I see it I must admit that my heart sinks a little. Having something to say month after month is a challenge to say the least. And when I’ve chosen the subject the next problem is translating my scattered thoughts into readable and logical prose. It takes me several hours to do this and it can be a frustrating experience as one grapples with language and grammar. In the (nearly) twelve years I have been in the parish of Llandudno I must have written around 140 magazine letters – some better than others! Over the years I have tried to vary the subjects between matters of topical concern and those of church doctrine or practice.

The ‘reward’ for this effort is when somebody says that what I have written has been of help to them. By the same token it can be very disheartening when someone admits that they haven’t even bothered to read what one might have laboured over for several hours.
The other equally challenging monthly task is the choosing of the hymns for the 10.30 am service. This time it is Norman rather than Andy who sends the e-mails and breathes down my neck! Organists naturally want to plan their music in good time – I understand that. But it doesn’t make the task any easier!

Perhaps you have never thought about it – but choosing hymns is a very tricky business. To begin with you can’t choose the same one too often; and then you need to pick hymns which fit in with the season, or the theme of the bible readings, and must also take into account that some hymns are more appropriate at one part of the service or another. Then there is the balance to be struck between traditional hymns and modern worship songs not to mention the need to give folk the hymns they like whilst also introducing something new from time to time. When someone complains that they didn’t know any particular hymn my usual response is “Well you do know it now!” Of course, there are a number of very helpful publications which list suitable hymns for each Sunday, but each time I sit down to draw up the list there are always many difficult decisions to be made.

Of the two difficult monthly tasks I have mentioned the choosing of hymns is, I think, the more important. Admittedly hymns are only one element in an act of worship – but they set the tone of the service and can be the difference between a joyful and a tedious experience. A rousing hymn can raise our spirits, a more reflective one can make us profoundly aware of the presence of God. As powerful teaching aids, hymns can deepen our understanding of the faith – they can renew within us a longing for God, penitence for our sins, zeal in our Christian discipleship etc. So hard as it sometimes is, I take this task very seriously.

Perhaps you can help me with both of the tasks I have mentioned. Is there a subject you would like me to write about in future letter? Let me know and I will do my best to cover it when the opportunity arises. Do you have a favourite hymn – perhaps one which we hardly ever seem to sing? Mention it and I will try to include it as soon as is practically possible. Meanwhile as your parish priest I will continue to strive to produce magazine letters and hymn lists to the best of my ability and hopefully to the glory of God.

Fr. John

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>