© St Ninians Episcopal Church, Glasgow which is a charity registered under no.SC010966
Rector writes Welcome home! I hope (despite a somewhat watery summer) you have had a good holiday break and are ready for a new season of life at St Ninian’s. We may be small in numbers but there is a rich life amongst our members and a rich liturgy to sustain us. We all have different talents to display and in the light of that truth we are having, later this month, our first Arts Festival, to display to the world what talents exist. This is an important opportunity to have people visit the church who would not normally darken the doors of such places. I do not have any expectations of “capturing” new members (fabulous though that would be) but I am coming to the conclusion that this generation are wrapped up in an unhealthy obsession with electronic gadgets to the exclusion of appreciating two of the great pillars of our civilisation; namely, the arts and architecture. The great Victorian masterpiece which is our building is not just for the private enjoyment of members of the congregation but needs to be appreciated by everyone, whether they be religious or not. Society will be greatly diminished if buildings like ours are abandoned because society perceives them as having outlived their usefulness. This, then, is a wonderful opportunity for us to “sell” the concept and to get out there and encourage and bring people to our Arts Festival. I am anxious that non-church goers appreciate that we are not specimens in a museum but that our membership is alive and above all talented. This is a marvellous opportunity to show the world that being a member of St Ninian’s adds value to life. It shows that you are not a disparate bunch of folks who just turn up on a Sunday and in a completely private way attend the Eucharist and then disappear until the following Sunday. Your lives are interconnected, and you share with each other the journey of faith with all its ups and downs, triumphs and failures. Of course, there is no point in visitors arriving to see a moribund and lacklustre congregation going through the motions. In the Anglican liturgical tradition, the role of the congregation is equal in importance to that of the priest. One without the other just does not work and both need to speak with precision and enthusiasm. If a visitor observes me mumbling or being lackadaisical in my duties, then the obvious conclusion is that I am not really all that bothered. Now I know that is not true because we are loyal to God through our regular attendance at St Ninian’s and we (me included) must never fall into the trap of allowing familiarity to breed contempt. A large part of our attraction is the high standard of our music and liturgy. To enhance that and to add to our repertoire, at the end of this month we will start rehearsing the new setting to the Eucharist – Richard Shepherd’s “The Addington Service”. Shepherd was born in 1949 and is currently the Director of Development and Chamberlain of York Minster. He is a leading composer of church music. He composed the setting in the early 1970s and his aim was to produce a congregational setting with support from the choir rather than the congregation listening to a choral concert, so to speak. It is a tuneful setting which is calm and serene in its atmosphere. In keeping with our desire to be “thematic” in our liturgy, the most fitting time to sing this setting will be between Christmas and Lent. In due course, when we have the hang of The Addington, we will be able to sing four different settings which will cover the different liturgical seasons rather than concentrate on one setting ad infinitum. All in all a quite remarkable achievement for a small congregation! So, plenty to do in the new season. Let’s up and at ’em! The Rector