Monday 29 February 2016

February 2016 update

February really has been a busy month for us with every weekend full of different events whether from CMM, or the CMM Choir.

Saturday 6th February: Worship Works Moseley

It was great to begin a run of Worship Works events with a nice local venue.  St Mary's Moseley is the home church for the RSCM in Birmingham, and their main leader Mick Perrier.  Mick has long been a friend of CMM, and it was great to work with him in Moseley almost a year after he came and contributed to our choral day in the spring last year.

The church was a little on the cold side, but that didn't dampen the atmosphere of worship.  We had a super team from CMM including Roger, Annie, Helen, Katie, Paul and Christine.  It was also great to have our chair of trustees, Geoff, with us - although it did feel a little bit like an ofsted...

Roger began the day by introducing the concept of God as the worship seeker - the one who is constantly reaching out to us to develop a worship-relationship.  It is good to look through all of the different ways God reached out to characters in scripture, and then ultimately came himself in Jesus.  The climax of that session came when Katie was able to sing over the group gathered some words of love from Jesus:
Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down
Here I am to say that you're my child
You're altogether lovely, altogether worthy,
Altogether wonderful to me

Helen led the second session, thinking practically about how we use music in worship, and the purpose of different types of music, whether psalms, hymns or songs.

Then after lunch (in a lovely warm room) we divided into two workshops - Annie led a workshop on planning and leading praise, and Roger and Helen led a workshop on singing new material - whether that is the latest song in the songbook or something new and improvised for the moment.

The final session was really quite special.  We looked together at the progression of praise that comes through the theology of the Tabernacle/Temple - entering his gates with thanksgiving, coming into the courts with praise, and then entering into the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus.  It is often a very holy moment when we focus on the cross and sing When I survey together.

God is so good - on a cold, stormy day in February he comes and meets with each one of us.

Saturday 21st February: Worship Works Pontesbury

Keith on the drums
Early in the morning Roger, Helen and Amy travelled together to Pontesbury just south of Shrewsbury.  They were joined there by Keith (drums) and Chris (many instruments, mostly guitars this time!).

We were warmly welcomed by Brian Fisher and 'Christians Worshipping Together in Pontesbury' for the day at the Congregational Church in the village.  It was great to see them trying to put up Worship Works bunting in the strong wind!  The church was full for what turned out to be a very special day.  It isn't often when Roger tries to do his 'I hope you haven't brought your harp to the party and no-one asked you to play' joke, that there are two harpists in the group!  Sadly, neither of them had brought their harps.

God is so good to us - when we were praying on Thursday night before the weekend, God gave one of our prayer group the word that there would be someone there with an ear infection in both ears.  He just so happened to be the very first person to arrive after the organisers.  It is so good when God speaks so clearly and people are blessed.

The day ran very much like the Moseley day, except Helen led the planning and leading praise workshop in the hall after lunch, while Roger took a creative worship session.  Helen had Chris to help her, and a wonderful, Spirit-filled moment happened at the end when Helen shared about God singing over us, then sang 'The Father's Song' and (ably accompanied by Chris) was able to sing prophetically over the group.  Roger's workshop facilitated much the same thing, where Amy sang over people and also played her clarinet over them.

We are so thankful for our wonderfully creative Father who is able to use jars of clay to share his love with his people.

Saturday 27th February: Worship Works Wotton-under-Edge

The final weekend in February was a busy one for CMM.  Roger and a large team including Jonathan, Jane, Keith, Jackie, Sam, Lorna, Paul, Wendy, Marilyn and Kaye led yet another Worship Works day - this time in Wotton-under-Edge, Gloucestershire.

There were a fabulous number of folk there from the local churches, and the team were able to share deeply with them.  Roger was absolutely thrilled with his band - Lorna hasn't played violin with CMM for a number of years so it was great to have her back.  It was also brilliant to have Jonathan on guitar, Paul on horn, Jackie on sax and her son, Sam, on drums.  It was a blessing to have Sam as he was involved in a concert back home that evening.  He had a drum solo to play in the evening which Roger made him demonstrate during the day!

During the afternoon workshop slot, Marilyn led the group in learning some new material, before Roger took over and shared about creative and prophetic worship.  One of the highlights of that session was while people were open and waiting on the Holy Spirit, Jane shared a message in tongues with the group which was interpreted by another lady.  While we would love this to be the norm in many churches, it so often isn't - so this was a real highlight for all present.

Saturday 27th February: The Big Sing 3

While Roger was in Wotton, Annie and Jenny travelled down to London for a special day organised by the Jubilate Group - the Big Sing 3.  The aim of the day was to gather a group of singers together in order to record a dozen or so tracks for the Jubilate website.  In return for a little publicity, Annie and Jenny were given a 'marketplace stall' where they were able to showcase the musicals and particularly the choral collection.  So Annie and Jenny joined in with the choir for the recording session, and then met with people on the stall during the breaks and lunch.

The day itself was led by Noel Tredinnick and Geraldine Luce (formerly Latty).  Annie said they were both brilliant choral conductors - so encouraging both musically and spiritually.  It was also great to see a number of CMM regulars at the day.  Susan travelled down from Birmingham, David and Ruth were there from Norwich, and Paul from Oxfordshire.  Another highlight of the day came following a conversation at the stall - Annie was invited to lead a musical in a day in Derbyshire!  So a very worthwhile journey to London.

The CMM Choir

Alongside all of the Worship Works events and the Big Sing, the CMM Choir have also been in action, holding three of their four performances of Barnabas.  They have so far performed at St Bernard's in Hamstead, Ward End Elim Church and St Thomas' Church Aldridge.  All three performances have been in front of packed out venues, and the choir have really demonstrated what it means to be a worshipping, Spirit-filled choir.

The soloists have done a great job on each occasion:
Barnabas: David Hall / Alan Walker (Alan is taking one performance of each - amazing!)
Saul: Jonathan Chappell / Alan Walker
John Mark: David Newell / Alan Walker
Rhoda: Becky Kennard / Pat Woolridge
Miriam: Alison Rushton / Elaine Brittle
Semi-chorus: female soloists plus Sue Walker, Carrie Newell, Linda Chappell and Jules Burley (Linda and Jules doing a great job holding the alto part against all of those sopranos!)

Annie has been delighted with the way the choir have performed, so if any of you are able to go and see them on Saturday at St Leonard's Marston Green, you will not regret it!

Huge thanks also need to go to Sylvia who has so ably trained the West Birmingham half of the choir as Annie works with the East.

Annie in action with the CMM Choir just before Christmas

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