Monday, October 3, 2011

St. Francis of Assisi - Oct. 5th, 2011

Having started Michaelmas term with a celebration of Albert Schweitzer, Reid and I couldn't help but notice the similarities between Schweitzer and St. Francis of Assisi. (Reid noted a possible difference: that St. Francis arguably treated animals better than he sometimes treated people.) His reform of Medieval monasticism, commitment to poverty as a value ("holy poverty"), and his reverence for life, were the themes that we drew on for our liturgical planning.

A central point which we focused on was: if all of us were willing to show other people the same compassion and respect which we treat our pets, world would be a much better place. Congregants were invited to bring along their pets for the "Blessing of the Animals". As it happened, no animals were brought in person (so to speak), but many people presented cell phone pictures which were blessed instead.

Service Outline

Prelude - "We Were Poor (But We Were Happy)" Paddy McAloon
Invocation - "Lord Make Us Servants Of Your Peace"
Psalm Tone - "Praise Tone" Stephen Rush
Gospel Hymn - "I Want Jesus To Walk With Me"
Prayer Response - "Beati Voi Poveri" Taizé
Offertory - "Wa Wa Wa Emimimo"
Sanctus - "Blues Sanctus" Stephen Rush
Communion - "Occuli Nostri" Taizé
Closing Hymn  - "I Know The Lord's Laid His Hands On Me"
Postlude - "Endangered Species" Ornette Coleman

Sunday, September 25, 2011

St. Michael & All Angels - Sept. 28th, 2011

Service Outline

Prelude - "A Call for All Demons" Sun Ra
Invocation - "I Shall Not Be Moved"
Psalm Tone - "Trust" Stephen Rush [Psalm 103]
Gospel Hymn - "We Are Climbing Jacob's Ladder"
Offertory - "Way Down in the Hole" Tom Waits
Prayer Response - "Tu Sei Sorgente Viva" Taizé
Sanctus - "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord" Franz Schubert
Lord's Prayer - "The Lord's Prayer" Taizé
Communion - "Breathe in the Spirit, Breathe Out Compassion" Stephen Rush
Closing Hymn - "Redemption Songs" Bob Marley
Postlude - "Levels & Degrees of Light" Muhal Richard Abrams

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Hildegard of Bingen - Sept. 18th, 2011

Hildegard of Bingen is one of Canterbury House's favorite saints. Her life and work is staggering in its depth and scope. In the past, we have tended to focus on Hildegard's ecstatic visions, and her relationship to scholarship and wisdom. This year we chose to commemorate her by exploring God's presence in the natural world, and the theme of healing: physically and emotionally.

Andrew Kratzat is a brilliant bassist and composer from Fort Wayne, IN currently based in Ann Arbor. He played with Quartex for several years, and I have had the pleasure of working with him in a number of contexts over the years, from freely improvised music to gypsy jazz. In late July, he and his fianceé Alicia Doudna were in a near-fatal traffic accident on I-94 just outside Marshall, MI. They are currently making extraordinary progress through constant and hard work, excellent medical care, and relentless devotion and support from family and friends. For updates on Andrew & Alicia, please visit:

As a prelude, we perform Kratzat's piece "Victor Jara", written for the Chilean musician and activist, who was martyred on Sept. 16th, 1973, five days after his country was taken over by the regime of Augusto Pinochet. The rubato and modal nature of Hildegard's chants lend themselves well to a John & Alice Coltrane-style interpretation. In the past we have done "O Virtus Sapientaie" and "O Felix Anima"; "Caritas Habindat" is new for Quartex:

"Loving tenderness abounds for all
from the darkest
to the most eminent one beyond the stars,

Exquisitely loving all
she bequeaths the kiss of peace
upon the ultimate King."

Service Outline

Prelude - "Victor Jara" Andrew Kratzat
Invocation - "There Is A Balm In Gilead" trad. (Spiritual)
Psalm Tone - "Nature" Stephen Rush [Psalm 104]
Gospel Hymn - "Breathe On Me Breath of God" Edwin Hatch, Robert Jackson
Offertory - "Could You Be Loved" Bob Marley
Prayer Response - "Da Pacem Cordium" Taizé
Sanctus - "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord" Franz Schubert
Lord's Prayer - "The Lord's Prayer" Taizé
Communion Hymn - "Kristus Din Ande" Taizé
Closing Hymn - "I Saw The Light" Hank Williams
Postlude - "Caritas Habundat" Hildegard of Bingen

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Constance & Her Companions - Sept. 11th, 2011

Constance & her Companions is the name given to a convent of nuns in Memphis, TN who provided aid and comfort to the many victims of the yellow fever plague of 1878. The nuns caught the fever themselves, and all of them died as well. For this, they are lauded as martyrs. Our service explores this sense of divine mission ("The Summons"), sacrifice ("Unsung Heroes", "Throw Down Your Earthly Crown"), and redemption ("Now The Green Blade Riseth", "And On The Third Day"). There are overtones which recognize the victims of Sept. 11th, 2001 but we chose not to refer directly to it during the service.

Service outline

Prelude - "Unsung Heroes" Bill Frisell
Invocation - "The Summons" John Bell
Psalm Tone - "Where Is God?" Stephen Rush [Psalm 25]
2nd reading is taken from Sandra Schneiders
Gospel Hymn - "Now The Green Blade Riseth" trad. carol (French)
Homily by Clara Bosak-Schroder
Prayer Response - "Une Soif" Taizé
Offertory - "Throw Down Your Earthly Crown" Dirk Powell
Sanctus - "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord" Franz Schubert
Lord's Prayer - "The Lord's Prayer" Taizé
Communion Hymn - "Our Soul Is Waiting For God" Taizé
Closing Hymn - "His Eye Is On The Sparrow" C. D. Martin, C. H. Gabriel
Postlude - "And On The Third Day" Mike Gibbs

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Albert Schweitzer - Sept. 4th, 2011

We begin Michaelmas Term this year by celebrating the life and work of Albert Schweitzer, scholar of the organ, revolutionary theologian and doctor to the Third World. In our discussion, Reid Hamilton and I were inspired by Schweitzer's philosophy of "reverence for life", as well as by his view of Jesus in relation to eschatological trends in Jewish society in the 1st century. Our postlude for this week is Wayne Shorter's "Armageddon".

In my research, I found that Rachel Carson dedicated her 1962 book "Silent Spring" to Schweitzer. I instantly recalled Carla Bley's composition "Silent Spring", which was commissioned from her by Steve Swallow in 1966. I could not find absolute proof of a link (like an interview where Bley said "Oh yeah, Silent Spring was written about Carson's book") but the similar time periods, and Bley's predilection for socially-conscious composition projects, I figured it was a safe assumption that the two were related. We do Bley's "Silent Spring" as our prelude.

Service Outline

Prelude - "Silent Spring" Carla Bley
Invocation - "Heaven Shall Not Wait" John Bell
Psalm Tone - "Praise" Stephen Rush [Psalm 150]
Gospel Hymn - "Break Forth, O Beauteous Heavenly Light" - J. S. Bach
Prayer Response - "The Kingdom of God" Taizé
Offertory - "He Came Down" trad. (Cameroon)
Sanctus - "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord" Franz Schubert
Lord's Prayer - "The Lord's Prayer" Taizé
Communion Hymn - "O Poverty" Taizé
Closing Hymn - "I Want to be Ready" trad. (Spiritual)
Postlude - "Armageddon" Wayne Shorter