Month: December 2015

Glasgow Remembers – 1st Anniversary of the Queen Street Tragedy

Glasgow Cathedral was full for the 1st Anniversary of the Queen Street tragedy on 22nd December. The names of the victims on the “reserved” signs at the end of the pews were a poignant reminder of why we were there, if any was needed. Joining members of the families of those killed or injured were local and national politicians, representatives of the member churches of Glasgow Churches Together (GCT), members of the emergency services which had been involved on the day and members of the public who felt the need to mark the anniversary. Musical support was provided by the St. Mungo Singers, Dr. Noel Donnelly (on harp) and Cathedral Director of Music, Andrew Forbes. The service was emotional yet consoling, with prayer, scripture reading, music and poetry, and reflective symbolism. The opening hymn was John Bell’s beautiful “We cannot measure how You heal” with its so appropriate final words: “Lord, let your Spirit meet us here to mend the body, mind and soul. To disentangle peace from pain and make your broken people whole.” It was followed by the gentle “Lord of all hopefulness”, as the church representatives processed to the sanctuary. Dr. Laurence Whitley, minister of the Cathedral, welcomed everyone to the service which was, he said, an opportunity to be in solidarity with those affected by last year’s tragedy. Fr. David Wallace, Chair of GCT, then...

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Carols for Peace 2015

The Satinwood Suite was packed out for the annual Carols for Peace service on Sunday 13 December. Perhaps it was a sign that Glaswegians felt the need to pray for peace in light of all the violence happening in our world. The service was a wonderful and uplifting mix of prayer, mime and music (instrumental and choral). The musical support was provided by the St. Mungo Singers, the Rutherglen Salvation Army Band, instrumentalists John Allan, Monica Dyer, Annette McKirdy, Pauline McNichol, Ann Marie Berry and Carissa Swan, plus Trinity High School Choir and piper Willie Park. The atmosphere was set by some of the instrumentalists playing on the landing of the main stairs as people arrived. At the entrance to the Satinwood Suits, they were invited to pick an olive wood Christmas decoration brought directly from the Holy Land (marking the link with our twinned town of Bethlehem) by a contact of the small Scottish charity Olive Tree which sells Palestinian products. As the congregation gathered, the instrumentalists and the Salvation Army band played and the St. Mungo Singers sang. Then piper Willie led in the procession of civic and church representatives, to the strains of Highland Cathedral. The service began with the joyous “Angels we have heard on high”. Baillie John McLaughlin welcomed everyone on behalf of Lord Provost Sadie Docherty and the City Council. He reflected that...

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Music for the Holy Year of Mercy.

“The Vatican has chosen a composition by English Catholic composer Paul Inwood to be the official setting for the hymn of the Holy Year of Mercy. Paul’s setting was judged the best entry in an international competition organised by The Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelisation and judged by a committee that included Mgr Massimo Palombella, Director of the Sistine Chapel Choir. The hymn, which is available in Italian, English and French, has been recorded with the Sistine Chapel Choir and the support of Vatican Radio. The text, which runs to four verses, has a Latin antiphon and refrains. Paul Inwood, a former director of Liturgy in Portsmouth Diocese, said that his setting was inspired by music from the Taizé Community, the ecumenical monastic order from France that uses a contemplative, repetitive style of music to enhance prayer and meditation. “I deliberately kept the music very simple so that even the smallest parishes can hopefully make use of it,” he added. “There are even guitar chords, so it should be doable even in the smallest groups.” As someone who has written and composed Liturgical music for decades, Mr Inwood said: “You get used to hearing your music slaughtered in parishes around the world. But you realise that if it helps them pray, that is what matters.” Jesuit Fr Eugenio Costa, who told Vatican Radio that Mr...

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Blessing of the Crib 2015

As Lord Provost Sadie Docherty said in her words of welcome to the service, the Blessing of the Crib in George Square is an event which is growing in importance as part of the City’s calendar of celebrations, and one which enables us to share the true meaning of Christmas. For once, the weather was favourable – the seemingly endless rain had stopped and it was not cold. George Square was bright with lights and people skating or enjoying the various attractions. By contrast, the crib could be described as quite simple, even plain, but its very simplicity caught the eye against the surrounding dazzle. The Lord Provost was joined for the service of blessing by representatives of the various churches involved in Glasgow Churches Together, and by the children’s choir from John Paul II Primary (resplendent in Santa hats with flashing lights) and the Alba Brass ensemble. The children led us in singing several well-loved carols before Archbishop Tartaglia blessed the crib which he described as a reminder of the peace and heavenly joy of Christmas. He then read the simple narrative of the birth of Christ from St. Luke’s Gospel. This was followed, appropriately, by the carol “Away in a Manger”. Fr. David Wallace, Chair of Glasgow Churches Together, led us in brief intercessory prayers for the City, its civic leaders and its citizens, and for peace...

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The Vigil of St. Andrew

Rain, sleet and wind affected the turnout for the ecumenical service for the Vigil of St. Andrew, held in St. Andrew’s Cathedral on 29th November, but inside the Cathedral the atmosphere was warm and welcoming. An instrumental group (John Allan on whistle, violinists Carissa Bovill (also on harp) and Benedict Morris) together with the St. Mungo Singers and members of Night Fever (Stacey Dodwell, Louise Grant, Marie Kane and Joanna Sweeney) provided music to set the tone for the service.   The Vigil began with a procession of church representatives, including Archbishop Tartaglia, Rev. Tom Pollock (Moderator of Glasgow Presbytery), and Very Rev. Ian Barcroft, Dean of Glasgow & Galloway Diocese of the Scottish Episcopal Church. They were accompanied by flag bearers carrying saltires and a copy of the Lectionary which were placed on the sanctuary. Fr. David Wallace then led the opening prayer which expressed the wish for Scotland to be “a community in which everyone matters, everyone has an honoured place, and the dignity of each is assured.” Archbishop Tartaglia welcomed the congregation to the celebration before it proceeded with the singing of Psalm 23 (24) and a reading from Romans 10:9-18. Night Fever then led us in the singing of John Bell’s lovely, challenging and appropriate hymn “Will you come and follow me, if I but call your name?” . The second reading, from Ephesians 4:1-6...

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