Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Roger's January 2020 eNews

Hi Folks

Our first mailing of 2020 is here!  We hope you enjoyed reading all of our Christmas news. The New Year at CMM began in a special way with our annual retreat seeking the Lord for the future direction of the ministry.  Please be praying for us all and for our EBRG Housegroup as we seek to follow where the Spirit leads.

WORSHIP WORKS News:
We are excited to announce that for the first time since the book launch in November 2013, we are going to be holding a Worship Works day in the West Midlands, and you are all invited!  The day, led by myself and my colleague Helen Pollard, will be at my home church in Lickey on Saturday 14th March.  If you have been to a Worship Works day before, we plan to introduce some new content, so it is well worth coming again.  Download a booking form here, or book online here.


TORN CURTAIN News:
The first full CMM performance of Torn Curtain since the premiere is coming up at Trinity Methodist Church in Kidderminster on Saturday 8th February at 7.30pm.  The performance will feature CMM soloists and instrumentalists, as well as our friends the New Life Together Choir.  Tickets are £6 available on the door or in advance from Sue on 01562 752798.

CMM Choir:
The CMM Choir are about to start performing Simeon again after their Christmas break:

  • 26/01 Longbridge Retirement Village, 1800
  • 02/02 Chasetown Methodist Church, 1800
  • 09/02 Baptist Free Church, Marston Green, 1830

The choir will then begin rehearsals in early March for their 25th Anniversary Concerts this summer.  If you have ever been part of the CMM Choir, we would love to invite you to a special afternoon tea at Christ Church, Burney Lane, Ward End, B8 2AS on Saturday 11th July.  Do get in touch with events@cmm.org.uk for more details.

Other CMM Events coming up:

  • 29/02 ROCK in a day, Cheltenham
  • 08/03 MARY MAGDALENE, Pulborough
  • 28/03 WORSHIP WORKS, Hinckley
  • 04/04 JERUSALEM JOY, Cricklade
  • 04/04 JERUSALEM JOY, Port Talbot

For further details on any of these events, do get in touch with the CMM Office.

We are very sorry to announce that due to the very sudden death of a close friend of the ministry, we have had to cancel our musical in a day in Nantwich in April. This means that Saturday 25th April is now available in Annie's diary for a musical in a day event, with CMM soloists already booked.  If you are interested in hosting this day, do get in touch with the CMM office on 01527 576 440 or office@cmm.org.uk

Heart & Soul News

The Heart & Soul team are taking a short winter break and look forward to broadcasting again soon - watch this space for details of where to find them, as sadly it is likely they will no longer be associated with South Birmingham Radio. You can still find most of the past recordings on this page of our blog site.

Every blessing!

Roger


Tuesday, 17 December 2019

CMM Christmas News

Here it is, the email you've been waiting 12 months for!  We have at last finished our annual Christmas newsletters.

Poppy's pages:
"The Christmas lights are going on all around Bromsgrove and we are almost the first in our road..."
Poppy's pages also includes news from the rest of the Jones family - Tim & Emma, Andrew & Gemma and Sally & Karl.  Click here for more!



Annie's news:
"This year has been filled creatively for me with Roger's Torn Curtain..."
As well as all she has been working on at CMM, Annie's news includes something for all past and present CMM Choir members, as well as ballet and the People's Orchestra. Click here to enjoy all Annie has to share.




Christmas news from Helen:
"Thanks for all your love and support in 2019.  Work at CMM has continued to be very busy and fruitful..."
There's a couple of cute pictures of Michael in this one.  Don't miss it!




Amy's Christmas news:
"This is my first Christmas newsletter here at CMM so I thought I would use it to introduce myself..."
If you want to know a bit more about Roger's new PA and long-term CMM Associate Amy (as well as seeing a picture of her beautiful daughter), then click here.




CMM Christmas news and events:
Our latest colour mailing complete with important events coming up in 2020.

As you'll see, our 2020 DIARY shows shows a full and exciting time ahead for us all, and more events will be added as the year unfolds.  We do so value and need your support.  We couldn’t do this without you folk!

Have a wonderful Christmas and a Jesus-filled New year!

Roger




Friday, 29 November 2019

Roger's December 2019 eNews

Hi Folks,

There's just time to send our news before the rush of Christmas cards and newsletters (do keep your eye out for ours in the next few weeks!).  November 2019 really has been an exciting month for us, seeing God move in incredible ways.

Our main news is the success of our visit to the United Arab Emirates.  Mary and I, along with a wonderful CMM team of Ann Steer, Bill Carpenter, Devon Brown, Mick and Lorraine Green, Paul Edwards and Yvette Roberts flew out to Abu Dhabi on Tuesday 12th October. Then followed a whirlwind two weeks including three performances of Rock, Two Spirit Works evenings, three opportunities to preach and numerous other meetings and rehearsals.  The performances in Al Ain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi all were absolutely wonderful, and the latter included a choir of 200 and was live-streamed on YouTube.  You can watch again here, although the actual performance of Rock doesn't start until 30 minutes in! I have written a fuller report of the visit, which you can read on our blog here.

We are also absolutely delighted to be able to announce that the video of the premiere of Torn Curtain is also available to watch on YouTube.  This was our special performance with a scratch choir of approaching 200 and a live orchestra of over 40 players.  If you are unsure, this musical of Torn Curtain is 11 songs exploring how we are welcomed into the presence of Jesus through the curtain to worship and find intimacy with God.  This is separate from the Torn Curtain communion setting, and there will be more information on this in a future mailing.

CMM Choir have just begun their tour of Simeon performances, with two brilliant first productions at Harborne Baptist Church and St Thomas' Aldridge.  If you'd like to see them in action there's still plenty of time:
Saturday 30th November, 7pm, St John's Church, Walsall Wood
Sunday 8th December, 6pm, Holy Trinity Church, Lickey
Sunday 26th January, 6pm, Longbridge Retirement Village
Sunday 2nd February, 6pm, Chasetown Methodist Church
Sunday 9th February, 6.30pm, Marston Green Baptist Free Church

Finally, if you're stuck for any Christmas present ideas, don't forget about all we have to offer!
For presents on a Christmassy theme, why not try Alison Fuggle's wonderful Christmas poetry book, 'With all the trimmings', or our CD 'Songs of Christmas'?
Or for those looking to grow in their relationship with Jesus we have our 'Spirit Works' and 'Worship Works' books.
For the book lovers among you there's Alison Fuggle's novel 'Encourager' or Graham Allan's biography of Roger, 'Musical Man'
Finally, we have lots of excellent CDs of course!  We particularly recommend our new releases - Tim's new jazzy instrumental CD 'Jones got rhythm' or our brand new musical 'Torn Curtain'.

God bless you all, and watch this space for our Christmas newsletters!
Roger

CMM in the United Arab Emirates

St Andrew's Abu Dhabi
For two weeks in November, Roger and Mary led a musical tour in the United Arab Emirates, together with seven other CMM team members, Ann Steer, Yvette Roberts, Paul Edwards, Devon Brown, and Mick and Lorraine Green.  They were joined by local soloist Sarah Sorrell.  The tour was based in Abu Dhabi, with visits and performances also in Al Ain and Dubai.



There were:

  • Three performances of ROCK (the musical about Simon Peter), which also involved several rehearsals and planning meetings.
  • Three opportunities for preaching and leading music and worship in Anglican churches in Abu Dhabi and Al Ain.
  • Two SPIRIT WORKS seminars, involving teaching and practical activities based upon the power and gifts of the Holy Spirit. 

Roger writes,
This has been one of our most exciting and spectacular opportunities ever, and it has been amazing how God has opened the door for us in this exciting and welcoming Muslim country in their “Year of Tolerance”.  Much of our freedom to perform and minister was been due to the ongoing diplomacy of the Rector of St Andrew’s, Rev Andy Thompson, although the initial idea, invitation and project management was due to his colleague Rev Gill Nisbet, who first encountered CMM whilst on the community at Lee Abbey!  Gill’s vision really came to pass! 
In each performance of ROCK, in Al Ain, Dubai and Abu Dhabi, the enthusiasm and hospitality of the Christians in the local churches was exceptional.   Over 20 different denominations were involved in the choirs, and the dancers, led by Sharon Craggs and Lily Brito, provided a spectacular dimension, so that each ROCK production was more than just a performance - it was a multi-media act of worship! 
In the SPIRIT WORKS sessions it was obvious that there was a thirst and openness to the work for the living Jesus and many were encountered by his Spirit.  One memorable instance was when a mother was prayed for her by her two young children, and she told us afterwards that she had really received the Spirit for the first time in her life!  
The final performance was not in a church, but in the Theatre of the Zayed University and introduced and welcomed by Her Excellency Noura Al Kaabi, UEA Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development.  It was much greater than we could have anticipated!  We had 200 in the all-age choir, with at times over 18 dancers on the stage, almost 800 in the audience, and over 1300 watching on the live stream!   Two film crews also appeared on the day!  The link for you to see this performance is: https://youtu.be/D7XL4fjeCDk
(NB. The actual performance of ROCK starts 30 mins in!) 
Please do keep remembering the church in the UAE in their prayers, especially that the seed sown of his word will continue to strengthen and bear fruit in the years to come.  Many aspects of the trip were memorable and exhilarating, but perhaps this comment from a member of the choir expresses it best:  
“This was the highlight of my 8 year stay in Abu Dhabi.  God speaks again to me during this performance.  I will remember this to the end of my days.  Thanks again, Roger and team.”
To God be the glory, great things he has done!  











Thursday, 31 October 2019

Roger's November 2019 eNews

Hi Folks,

My November news is slightly early but you’ll just how much the Lord still has for us to do!

Last month began with Annie leading a special JAIRUS’ DAUGHTER in a day event in Weston-super-Mare, while Mary, Helen, Devon and myself attended the wedding of one of our trustees, Mick Green.  Congratulations to Mick and Lorraine, and may God bless you both richly!

Then on Saturday 12 October we launched the new TORN CURTAIN musical at the Coton Centre in Tamworth with an orchestra of 40 and a choir of over 150.  Huge thanks to my colleagues Helen, Annie, Tim and Amy for all their hard work leading and organising on the day and all of those who assisted in so many ways.  A special mention must go to Annie, who has worked long hours trying to orchestrate the musical, and Saturday was a testimony to her diligence and immense skill.  This date was also a gift day for the CMM Trust, and we are so blessed by the response.  Thank you letters and emails will shortly be sent, but for those who gave anonymously or in cash on the day, please know that we really appreciate your love and support.

Since the launch we held a wonderful ROCK event in Trowbridge with the team travelling to Abu Dhabi next month (see below for more info!) and then have had a wonderful Spirit-filled WILDFIRE music week at Brunel Manor in South Devon.  Helen has also taken TORN CURTAIN on the road to a Methodist Women in Britain event in Lincolnshire and all were delighted with how well the musical worked as a short day event.

The sad news here at CMM is that we have to report the death of the chair of the CMM Trust, Geoff Rudge after an illness lasting approximately a year.  Geoff has been one of my closest friends since 6th Form, and we are devastated by his loss, but know he is with the Lord in glory.  Do read the tribute on our blog post here.  Our prayers are with his wife Mary, and all of the family.  Geoff’s funeral, on Tue 29 Oct was a sad yet joyous occasion.  It was a privilege to lead the music at church and crematorium, and both events were filled with praise, testimony and God’s word – just as Geoff would have loved it!

We fly to Abu Dhabi on 12 November for an incredible, yet very busy tour, mostly with ROCK,  the story of Simon Peter.  Nine of us are going, including soloists Ann Steer, Yvette Roberts, Devon Brown, Bill Carpenter and Paul Edwards, plus Mary and myself, together with Mick and Lorraine.  Over in the UAE we will be supported by Sarah Sorrell (soloist) and local choirs in various towns and cities.  The itinerary (12-25 Nov) will include:

  • Several productions of ROCK, including in Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Al Ain
  • At least two SPIRIT WORKS seminars
  • Preaching/leading services in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi

We are excited and somewhat nervous about this wonderful but challenging opportunity.  To say we welcome your prayers is an under-statement!

The CMM Choir have the first few dates for their SIMEON productions:

  • 17 Nov - Harborne Baptist 1830 
  • 24 Nov - St Thomas’ Aldridge 1830
  • 30 Nov - St John’s Walsall Wood 1900
  • 08 Dec - Holy Trinity Lickey 1800


We are excited about our all-age, all-abilities TORN CURTAIN music weeks next year:

  • 23-30 MAY Sat-Sat           - Rydal Hall, Cumbria
  • 02-08 AUG Sun-Sat         - Willersley Castle, Derbys
  • 15-22 AUG Sat-Sat           - Scargill House, N Yorks                                
  • 25-31 OCT Sun- Sat          - Sidholme, Sidmouth

Do come if you can.  You book directly with the centres themselves.

Finally, next year Mary and I are leading a party to OBERAMMERGAU & SALZBURG (13-19 Sep), including the Passion Play, some touring and a special Mozart concert!  We’ve heard that there are just two twin/double rooms left.  Click here for a booking form.

God bless,

Roger

Thursday, 24 October 2019

Jesus, friend of little children

We recently received an amazing email:

Dear Roger,
 
I am hoping that you will remember me from the early 1990s. I was Jairus' Daughter in the Girls' Brigade production and tour, and made the recording with you in 1992. I was 12 when we were touring and I turn 40 next year...! I have been meaning to get in touch for a while having found CMM on social media a year or so ago. I'm so pleased that CMM's work goes from strength to strength, and that you are continuing to share the good news of Jesus Christ.
 
I now live in London with my husband and our three beautiful children. I studied Theology at Cambridge, and have spent my professional life working in the charity sector in fundraising and volunteer management.
 
Jen as 'Jairus' Daughter'
I particularly wanted to get in touch to let you know that I have just been approved to train for ordination. It comes after four years in the discernment process with Southwark Diocese and I will be starting training next September. As part of the process, I have, of course, spent considerable time reflecting on the experiences God has given me over my life. It has been wonderful to think back to my time working with you and the team on Jairus' Daughter: being introduced to extempore prayer, worship songs and the transformative power of the Holy Spirit aged 12, which was quite a change from the Church we attended each week as a family. The experiences I had as part of Jairus' Daughter affected me deeply and, I believe, helped to lay the foundations for my future ministry.
 
I loved Theology as an academic subject and studied it avidly at school and university, but the study made me really question my faith and I didn't get confirmed as a teenager as I wasn't sure I really believed. I returned to Church properly in my 30s - wanting to give my children the same experience I had had - and started attending my local CofE Church in 2012. I gradually became more involved in Church life (leading children's groups, PCC Secretary etc.) and then started preaching regularly after I began to feel called to something more.
 
I wrote to you, when I was 12, saying that Jairus' Daughter had helped me to realise that I would like to be a vicar when I was older (the letter was in fact written before the first women priests were ordained in the Church of England!). My Mum found a copy of this long-forgotten letter and ambition at exactly the time that I started to feel called to further ministry four years ago - God's perfect timing!
 

Roger with Jen at CRE earlier this month
So thank you for everything you did to nurture my faith and lay the foundations of all that was to come for me - and all that is still to come. I am so grateful to you and the Jairus' Daughter cast for the rich and deep faith that you all shared so completely with a young girl. I was very sad to learn of Mike Stanley's death - a truly wonderful man who lived out his faith in all he did.
 
Sending my thanks, love and very best wishes to you,
 
Jen x

Thursday, 3 October 2019

Geoff Rudge - a tribute


We are heartbroken to announce that Geoff Rudge, chair of the Christian Music Ministries Trust, died yesterday morning, 2nd October 2019. Geoff had been ill for approximately a year. All our love and prayers are with Mary, his wife, and the whole family.

Geoff has been so important to us in more ways than we can express here. Roger met Geoff on his first day at Saltley Grammar School, and they grew together both in life and as followers of Jesus. In Chapter 11 of Roger’s biography, ‘Musical Man’, Graham Allan reflects on some of the people who have been important to Roger’s ministry. Geoff is the first person to be mentioned.

It was Geoff who encouraged Roger to attend Christian Endeavour with him at Grenfell Baptist Church in 1964. At this group, Roger first saw what living for Jesus really looks like, and it was instrumental in his giving his life to Jesus in 1966. Roger says, “The morning after I became a Christian, I sat with Geoff in a classroom at Saltley Grammar School. I said to him, ‘Geoff, I became a Christian last night.’ And he replied, ‘Right. We’ll have a prayer meeting then.’”

Even though Geoff wasn’t a great singer, he was a worshipper, and he truly appreciated the power of music to touch many. For many years he was Roger’s right-hand-man when it came to organising choral house parties to Israel, and he was one of the EBRG house group who first encouraged Roger to leave teaching and go full-time in ministry.

In the book ‘Musical Man’, Roger made a few comments about Geoff. This is what he said:

  • God gives me the idea and Geoff gets on with it! This particularly relates to Israel. There have been eight choral house parties travelling to Israel with Geoff, but he has been several times more, planning and establishing links and contacts.
  • We raced each other around Ward End Park once. Geoff won by 1 yard!
  • We stood on the terraces at Birmingham City together and Geoff subbed for me when I was vacuum cleaner at the Odeon Cinema.
  • In September 2014 Geoff and I celebrated the 50th anniversary of our friendship with our respective wives, both called Mary.
  • Geoff was a Barnabas to me. And he continues to encourage me.
Geoff was incredibly practical and straightforward. He did not mince his words or water things down; he knew the power of the Gospel and shared it with grace and strength. He was never afraid to confront issues or face challenges – he chaired the CMM Trust with much wisdom and love.

We will miss him greatly.

In the time of our dying we’ll see the saviour’s face
Beyond struggling and crying we know his power and grace
In the loving without ending know the truth we are defending
And we’ll see Christ face to face: knowing Him!


(from Wildfire by Roger Jones, lyrics by Alison Fuggle)



Friday, 27 September 2019

The miracle continues!


36 years ago, my vicar Peter Lawrence asked a life-changing question at a meeting of our support group, EBRG. He asked, ‘Do you think God may be calling Roger and Mary to give up teaching and go into full time Christian Music Ministry?’

After a period of prayer and consideration, consulting many friends and associates, we met together once more to see where we thought the Lord was leading. Peter posed the question again, and one by one each member of the group said ‘Yes.’

Peter turned to me with a twinkle in his eye and said, ‘There you are, if it all goes wrong you know who to blame!’ A year later, I gave up teaching and 35 years later, by God’s grace I am still in ministry. I still remember in the early days a £5 note arrived through my door every month in an unmarked envelope – it was a wonderful reminder of God’s constant care and attention.

But 2019 isn’t just my 35th anniversary in full-time ministry with CMM. As I write this letter my wonderful colleague Annie is celebrating 25 years at CMM, having originally only had a 2-year contract! Helen, too, has now been with us 14 years.

Looking back to that night in 1983, with Sally just a babe in arms, we would never have thought that the ministry might still be going in this way in 2019.

The Lord has provided through you – through your prayers, your participation and your financial donations.

But now it is time to look ahead to where God is leading in the future. For a number of years my musical ‘The Torn Curtain’ has been out of print for various reasons, and we feel that now is the time to refresh it and bring it right up to date. We published the setting of Holy Communion separately, and have added three songs to the first eight songs of the original musical to make it more complete. I am so thrilled by the finished product – we were even blessed to have my good friend Jonathan Veira singing solo on two of the tracks on the album.

To buy a new vocal score and CD click here

We are launching Torn Curtain on October 12th at the Coton Centre in Tamworth. You are all invited! We will be learning the musical in a day with a scratch choir and orchestra, as well as our wonderful CMM soloists. Arrive from 10.30am to sing or play, or for the performance at 5pm to watch.

To book click here.

We have also, on the advice of the Trustees, decided to make the launch a Gift Day for the ministry. It will be a celebration, praising Him for all that is past, and trusting for all that is to come (I might have just set that old hymn to a new tune!). I have slowed down my workload a little, but have no plans to retire. I still have lots of energy and enthusiasm to keep going, and as the Lord still seems to be presenting me with plenty of doors to open, I intend to follow wherever he leads. Please be praying that the Lord leads people to continue to give generously so that the ministry can continue.

If you aren’t able to be present on the day, please prayerfully consider whether the Lord is calling you to contribute to the Gift Day from wherever you are:

Click here to find out more and donate


CMM hopes for 2019-20:

  • Using ‘Torn Curtain’ to minister to choirs and audiences through performances and music weeks. This is a musical that is very clear with the Gospel, but is also a wonderful discipleship tool, encouraging people to come closer to the Lord in worship.
  • Introducing the ‘Torn Curtain Communion Setting’ to groups and churches.
  • Adding Torn Curtain and Angel Voices to our house-group notes series, and bringing out small group leaders’ notes and sermon series ideas for Worship Works.
  • Using the numerous invitations for musicals we have in the diary to share the gospel and bring a fresh anointing of the Holy Spirit – we currently have 7 musical-in-a-day invitations, 4 other musical invitations, as well as a Rock musical tour in Abu Dhabi!
  • Continuing to lead Worship Works and Spirit Works events – we are particularly excited by the Spirit Works week at Lee Abbey in June.
  • Continuing with the wonderful ministry that is the ‘Heart & Soul’ radio show. This is a terrific opportunity to share the gospel and make contacts with others in ministry across the country (and beyond!).
  • We don’t currently have any ‘Musical Man’ events in the diary, but we are open to invitations. These evenings are an opportunity for me to share some songs, and a little of my testimony.
  • Helen and Tim are working at making sure the musicals are available into the future by establishing our presence on various sheet music websites – this is an important work that will take time to complete.
I would like to thank you, for myself as well as on behalf of the trustees, for partnering with us in ministry, some of you for so many years. We really appreciate your continued support and look forward to seeing where the Lord leads us in the future.

Thursday, 25 July 2019

The Intern's Tale part 10 - June and July 2019

Hello folks,

Apologies for not writing my blog in June, it has been a rather busy and testing couple of months.
During the course of June I managed to fit quite a lot in.  Firstly finishing off a promotional video for Pharisee (watch this space).  It has taken me a while to get this done as I have been trying to get it all to fit in time with the music that I’ve created which means changing the length of how long the pictures are shown individually - this takes loads of time!

I have slowly been arranging ‘God is our Shelter and Strength’ and getting the piano part done. The vocals are finished and so I have now just got to fit the piano part around it and then it will all be finished.

Throughout June and July, we had 5 of our CMM Choir Concerts, all of them went very well! The soloists were brilliant, they worked hard, and we had some great audiences. I played for 3 of the 5 concerts as I was then struggling to play with my shoulder.

For the Torn Curtain recording, the CMM Choir and others met up at Christ Church for a SATB recording for the CD. The recording was strange as once we had learnt the little snippets, we recorded them, but only Helen, Roger or Annie could be able to hear the backing track. It went very well, and it was good to be involved in the recording. We even got a little certificate that says we have been involved in the recording haha... I had a good time doing it and I do have some pictures on my camera which will eventually make its way to the CMM page haha.

On the 26th June I finally had my shoulder surgery. I had a subacromial decompression of the shoulder joint, so basically, they shaved off some of the bone of my shoulder so that eventually I will be able to lift my arm again and play my instruments comfortably. It has been a difficult few weeks as the physio exercises have been tough but they are getting easier. I now have more movement than before the surgery which is great! It is still very painful to move around but with the exercises, I’m making slow progress.

Since having the surgery, I was signed off work for 3 weeks to rest and recuperate after the operation. Most who know me know that the word ‘rest’ does not really exist in my vocabulary haha... I have had to have so much patience with it as I struggled to do the simplest tasks... dressing myself, opening things, and eating. The day after the op, I met up with CMM office to go out for a meal for Helen's birthday which was good. It was good to get out and the restaurant were brilliant as they cut my food up for me XD. It was brilliant to be out with everyone and have a good laugh. And then on the Friday I went up to the recording studio with Roger to go and see how things were being done for the recording of Torn Curtain, it was interesting to see all the equipment being used and hearing the soloists recording their bits.

In these 3 weeks off I was forced to rest as I picked-up gastroenteritis from somewhere and was very poorly the week after my op for two weeks. Also, during that time, I had to pack up and move to a new house which went a lot smoother than I thought it would have. Alison and Clive were brilliant helping me move as I’m still not allowed to lift anything with my right arm. As well as that Clive and myself went to meet my dad in Manchester to collect stuff for moving which was brill. Meeting in the middle meant my dad could get back quicker to get to bed after doing a night shift haha. I am now settled in, unpacked and getting used to the area.
Singing with the Bishop!

Due to moving I am now very far away from train stations, but Alison kindly donated her bike to me so I can get around a bit easier. So, for about a week I have been cycling everywhere!  It is making my shoulder slightly sore but it’s a lot easier and cheaper to get around now. On Sunday I cycled all the way the church which took about an hour, then back to the city to choir and then on to Birmingham Cathedral for a service ‘To Celebrate Reader Ministry on the 50th Anniversary of Women being Admitted as Readers’ with Roger and CMM which was a really good service! It was interesting to hear about it all and be a part of the choir that were singing for the service 😊.

I am in the process of sorting all my paperwork and maths skills test out for starting University PGCE in September. I had my interview in June and got offered a place at Birmingham City University to study for my PGCE with SEN (Special Educational Needs) as my specialism! I am so excited to start teaching! It’s going to be a tough year, but I have got an amazing crowd of friends and support system here in Birmingham. They’re all amazing people and I don’t know what I’d do without them!
This week has officially been my last week in work. It feels so surreal to have finished! This year has gone so quickly! I have absolutely loved being with the CMM office staff, they have helped me in more ways than I can say!

This year has helped me grow so much in confidence, mental strength, self-worth and I’m physically better as well. All the different events this year have been challenging but good for me as I have been able to test myself. I have done many things this year that I didn’t think I’d be able to do but everyone here has been so encouraging, helpful and given me so much strength and confidence to do anything I am challenged with.

Also, God Bless you all - you’ve had to put up with my essay long blogs all year! I’m sure I will see people around the country at various gigs throughout the years to come. It has been a great year and I am looking forward to what the future has to offer.

CMM has always and will continue to have a very special place in my heart.
They are my family <3 xxx

Tuesday, 18 June 2019

The Intern's Tale part 9 - May 2019

Hiya folks,

This month has been one of those months that has felt super long!

Singing at the YPray Conference in Swanwick
The first weekend of the month Helen and I went to the Y-Pray Women's conference in Swanwick, which was a great weekend, but very busy. We did lots of workshops including stone painting, prayer walking, journal writing and lots more. Even though it was only a weekend thing, it felt much longer than just 2 nights. It was certainly worth going to! I couldn’t play for that weekend as my shoulder had been playing up after a steroid injection, so I enjoyed the weekend as a delegate. Helen and myself did get to duet Roger’s ‘Engraved upon my palms’ though which was utterly brilliant, it is one of my favourite duets that Roger has written.
With Anthony at NODA

After Swanwick, I travelled through to Manchester where I went to the NODA awards with my brother and some friends, as Anthony had been nominated for Best Male Leading Role for his performance as Mark in Rent last year. He didn’t win, but he did win in his region. We had a great evening singing musical numbers until goodness knows what time in the morning. It was good to do that again, as I haven’t been in Amateur Dramatic shows since leaving Cumbria 4 years ago, I have missed all the sing along sessions.

Recording with TPO
Following that I had the great opportunity to be involved in the recording of an orchestral version of the Villa fans' chant Allez Allez Allez which Annie composed after Aston Villa approached The People’s Orchestra. I was up at the studio 8pm-10pm - it was a long evening, but it was tremendous fun. The recording was then mixed and played at Villa Park on the 11th May to around 40,000 people. As I’ve never done anything like it before, it was amazing to be involved!

CMM Supporters' Evening
The next evening we had the CMM supporters event at Catshill Baptist church, even though I was exhausted from the night before, the evening went really well and it was a great chance to chat to more of the CMM crowd that I don’t often get to see or have never met before. It was also a good opportunity for me to do more singing and playing the clarinet at this event, as I have had trouble with my shoulder, I have been giving the flute a rest. It has given me more confidence with playing clarinet which is good.

As it was Christian aid week, St Andrews did a Big Breakfast event on the Saturday, so I had volunteered to help out with that, it was such a great morning, we raised a lot of money that morning as we laid on breakfast, bookstalls, quizzes, garden stalls and more. It was great to be involved in this and it was really rewarding to know that what we were doing was helping so many people.

Apostle in Basingstoke
Annie and I then had a very busy weekend the week following as we had a gig in Basingstoke on the Saturday and a CMM choir gig on the Sunday. We did a musical in a day of Apostle which is one of my favourites of Roger's. It was an extremely busy day and very tiring as I was there playing Flute, Clarinet and Saxophone as well as a soloist. I absolutely loved this event, once we had finished the team went out for a meal together which was really nice, because of the nature of the gigs, the team don’t really get much opportunity to catch up with each other, so it was nice to be able to go out, relax and have a good catch up.

Due to going out for a meal, we were late home which made it all that much more difficult the next day to go and do another gig. Annie, Jonathan, Linda and I didn’t get back much before half midnight. Although we were tired, the choir concert was fantastic and with a lovely big audience. I enjoyed playing in the concert as I had done all the arranging and the playing of live instruments added to the performance!

Rydal Hall performance
Now we’ve got to half term, everyone said have a great week off and relax…but it was time to head up to Rydal Hall for our yearly Music week in Cumbria. It was a little strange this year though as Rydal was a new venue and it was only a Monday to Friday event. Even though it was crammed into a few days, the choir and orchestra were brilliant, and the concert was fab on the Thursday evening. My praise block on the Wednesday evening was great, it was a different set of music than I have done before, so I was a little more nervous, but I didn’t plan on anything to say. I left it to God as to whether I should say anything, I did, and it felt right. One of the songs I chose ‘Come now is the time to worship’, I felt it was right to slow it right down at the end to give space for people to sing and be with God. It went very well, and I left it to God as to what was right to do in the moment.

Leaving Rydal wasn’t the end of the working week, on the Saturday, we had a Spirit works event in my old church in Barrow. The people who came to the event, had never done anything like it before, which meant it was fresh for them and even though some were sceptical, they all joined in and gave it their all which was brilliant. I did another praise block for the Saturday; I was much more nervous for this as I was leading in front of people that I have known since I was 8. It was good to do it there I think, as it just shows to me how much I have changed over the year and how much confidence I have gained through working with CMM. It was nice to be back for the two days as I got to see people I haven’t seen in a couple of years, it was lovely to be able to catch up with them.

I have had much more go on in May, but you’ll be here forever reading if I wrote it all down…
I will update you next month, I’m getting close to the end of my time with CMM and I can’t thank them enough for everything they have done for me.

God bless you all and have a great month!
Gemma xx

More recording with the TPO
Playing at Rydal
Singing at Rydal
At the WWDP YPray Conference

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

The intern's tale part 8 - April 2019

Hiya folks,

Even though I have had a couple of weeks off for Easter, it has been as ever, a rather busy month. I have fitted a lot more into this month than I thought possible with work and with my personal life.

The first couple of weeks with work were busy with advertising and contacting churches to advertise for CMM Choir's upcoming concerts throughout May and June. I have had good responses from churches which has been amazing! We have just 7 more performances to go!  For these concerts I am playing the arrangement I have done for Flute and Clarinet, including parts from the violins, cellos, violas, trumpet and piano parts. It took a while, but it is all finished and ready for the concerts now.

The People's Orchestra at West
Bromwich Town Hall
As part of being at Lickey Parish Church, we went for a weekend away with other churches in the area to be together and have a look into the book of Ruth, which was good, discussing it together was great for everyone. I helped with the worship leading on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday which was really rewarding, people who attended said that it added a certain something to the worship blocks to have the flute. As many people will know, when you're part of a church, it can be difficult to get to know the members of the congregation due to being busy before the service, and then being busy at the end of the service, so I personally don't get all that much time to actually socialise with church members as much as I would like to. So, I felt that the weekend was important as it gave us a chance to get to know each other properly and socialise in the afternoons and evenings which was brilliant.
I attended prayers both Saturday and Sunday, and I felt that I could just sit and be with God, which with my lifestyle, I don't always get chance to sit and just be with God.

Singing with The People's Choir
After a busy weekend away with church I went straight to West Bromwich Town Hall for a full-dress rehearsal for The People's Orchestra Concert on the Sunday night. As well as the Orchestra, the choir were singing in this concert, and even though they only had a few weeks rehearsal, it was fabulous! It was a very busy afternoon and evening. The concert overall went very well, the set that we did was phenomenal! I was left with a buzz of adrenaline - that's when you know it has been a good evening. It meant a lot to me as well, because I lost a friend a couple of months ago who absolutely loved his video games, so it was good to be able to play it for him in his honour. It was nice as well, as I had my family attend from Cumbria and a couple of friends from Manchester. For my brothers, it was probably the first orchestra concert they have seen me perform in, it was nice knowing they enjoyed it. We got lots of great comments on the concert and have been asked to do it again in September, which is fantastic!

Once that had all finished, and I got home there was no resting time; I had to pack ready to go on holiday again.  I went with my family down to Kent to Port Lympne Hotel and Resort/Safari Park, but sadly as Cumbria and the Isle of Wight have different Easter Holidays to Birmingham schools, I was still in term time, so I had to leave a day early to be back at school before they broke up for Easter. The resort was brilliant, we were in a lodge that had the most spectacular view, welcomed with a glass of prosecco! The resort was huge, for some of it we had to go and see the animals via a tour truck as there are big chunks of the park that you're not allowed to walk around due to the animals being out in the open. It was good to be able to spend some time with family that I don't see very often. Especially my eldest brother as he doesn't usually come on the holidays with us and I don't often get time to go back up to Cumbria, so I only see him a handful of times throughout the year so it was great to spend more than just a couple of hours with him and actually get to chat. We also got to go out to a novel restaurant where we got to choose the components for our meal and then actually cook it ourselves, it was very strange, but my cousins absolutely loved doing it and it was really fun. As holidays go, it was fun to be able to do have lots to do, have new experiences and play some games in the evening too. It was nice to go and enjoy myself and have a little break :).

Before going on the Church Weekend away, school did a production of Noah and the floating Zoo which was amazing! It was a whole school production from Nursery right through to year 6. They had such a fabulous time doing it and even the week later when they could relax a bit before Easter, they were still singing it around school. We got to have a relaxed afternoon on the Friday as we sat and watched the whole production as a lot of the time the children were backstage when they weren't performing so they did have chance to sit and watch it, so they all enjoyed watching themselves on stage, and were all having a great time singing along. It was a very nice and relaxed way to end the term for two weeks.
I am preparing myself to go back this week! Only a short time before the next week off.

You'll be glad to know that before I went back up to Cumbria that I finished my PGCE application! I am now just waiting on one reference to come in and then the application can be sent off, I now just must start panicking about the maths skills test and the interviews.
All fingers and toes are crossed....

Following all of that, we did a Worship Works gig up in Windermere in Cumbria, we had a brilliant team for this. The church members that we had there were very open to new ideas of how to lead worship, what songs to put in a worship block and how to just be with God. I really enjoyed the day, and even though I have worked on many of these days, they are all different and amazing to be on team for.

After the day had finished, I made the most of being in Cumbria.  I went for a meal with my family before going to see a couple of friends in the production of Ruddigore, which was fantastic. It was great to go and see it to support friends and it was the first Gilbert and Sullivan Production I performed in years ago.  As I was then on my Easter holidays I decided to stay up in Cumbria and do a bit of work at Lambert Manor (formerly Abbot Hall). I worked in Housekeeping, Restaurant, and a little bit in Reception. I had a good time, and it was lovely to catch up with people from work. After saying I was only down for a few shifts, I ended working 80 hours in just over a week! I got to see a few people throughout the week, but with the hours, I didn't have as much spare time to relax as I'd have liked. So, when I got back to Birmingham on the Monday evening, I had travelled down in First Class, relaxed on the train and looked forward to going back.

Playing at Hinckley
Coming back into the office on the Tuesday felt very good, as I wasn't running around like a headless chicken in a hotel... got some more done of the promo video for Pharisee I'm working on. I now just need to put it together and make sure it is all in time and runs how I want it to. At the weekend we were in Hinckley, doing Rogers 'From Pharaoh to Freedom' musical in a day. It was a great day; we had a brilliant choir and the team that went to it was fantastic. We had a good little set up for the orchestra in which Rachel (previous intern) was also there on team playing oboe. The day went very well, and we had a few of those light bulb moments where something in the musical spoke to choir members and audience which is amazing. The day also gave me chance to go through my arrangement for Flute and Clarinet ready for the CMM Choir productions which was great. We must have run it through at least 3 times before the performance, so lots of practise time. Although by the end of the day we were all exhausted and my lip had gone because of switching between instruments so much.

The last thing that I would like to mention is that when I ran church Sunday school, we did lots of great activities, but the one I found all the children liked the best was making Prayer Plaits. The three strands represent Peace, Hope and Confidence. They made them with partners and said a prayer for their partner whilst they were making the Plaits, it was amazing to see, and they took such pride in wearing them afterwards. I think this would be something anyone could do, I wear mine with pride everyday and never forget its significance.

I said it was a busy month... Apologies for the length, but I’m sure you’re used to me doing lots of writing!

God Bless you all,
Gemma x

Friday, 12 April 2019

A job opportunity at CMM

In the summer Roger's PA Nicky is going to be taking early retirement.  We will miss her!

Here is a little advertisement to find a replacement.  Do share it with anyone you know who might be interested.  Further details and an application form available from roger@cmm.org.uk


Friday, 5 April 2019

The Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship

Yesterday morning Roger, Mary and Tim travelled to London for a very special event.  Roger has become the recipient of the Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship as part of the 2019 Lambeth Awards presented by Archbishop Justin Welby.

We are utterly thrilled and delighted for Roger.

The Cranmer Award for Worship was first awarded by Archbishop Justin Welby in March 2016. It is named after Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury from 1533 to 1555, who wrote the Book of Common Prayer. It recognises outstanding contributions to all aspects of worship in the Church, including both words and music.  The 2019 Awards were presented by Archbishop Justin Welby on Thursday 4th April at Lambeth Palace.  Previous award winners include Matt Redman, Stuart Townend and Tim Hughes.  Roger’s award citation reads:

The Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship for his unique contribution to Christian music. 
Roger Jones, the Birmingham-based Director of Christian Music Ministries, has composed more than 23 musicals performed throughout the UK and in many countries overseas, including Jerusalem Joy, Mary Magdalene, Saints Alive, Barnabas and Greater than Gold, the story of the little Welsh girl Mary Jones and her Bible. That musical earned him the Bible Society’s Mary Jones prize in 2018. 

Roger has followed a distinctive path within the charismatic evangelical stream of worship. His focus has always been on writing music which is accessible by the local church and does not require complicated forces or hi-tech equipment to perform. He has always been missional - motivated by a desire to share his own, strong, personal faith in Christ, and for others to catch that vision. Roger is a faithful Anglican – a licensed Reader in his Diocese – and one who has always respected the old alongside the new – the fact that so many of his musicals use traditional hymns bears witness to this. He is also alive to the possibilities for the interplay of renewal music with Anglican liturgy – for example, at the Eucharist, interweaving hymns, songs and instrumental improvisation within a traditional liturgical framework. He has the rare gift of enabling others to discover their God-given identity in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit and has used his musical gifts unstintingly towards this end. 

In 2017 he was well described at Spring Harvest as one of the Church’s game-changers. For 35 years, Roger’s gentle but powerful music ministry has made a distinctive impact in building up churches and individuals.

Roger says, “I was utterly speechless when I was told of the award.  It is an incredible honour.  Over the years it has been a joy to write music for the ordinary folk in the pew – music they can use to share the wonderful story of Jesus with their friends and neighbours.  I also feel it is important to say that this award is also for the team around me; family, friends and colleagues who have been tireless in their support and love.  It was a delight to be able to take my wife Mary and my son Tim, now a partner in the ministry, to London to receive the award.”

All of the award winners
The excited trio ready to leave

If you can't go first class on a day like this, when can you?
On the train (with Tim in the window!)
Mary and Tim

Lambeth Palace
Tim and Mary with Lambeth Palace in the background
Receiving the medal from Justin Welby
Roger and +Justin
Enjoying the reception

With the medal!
Roger and Mary
A close-up with the Archbishop