This was on the Third Sunday in Lent, we didn't have service the next week, and I had spring break afterward, so I didn't write last week. Chapter 6 will hopefully be coming soon (by a guest author!), but I was on a plane for it, so I can't write it. Luckily, the guest author (if he'll write) was also leader for both 3 and 5 Lent. I might get him to write some reflections on his first leading experience.
From my perspective it was great. James is a GREAT leader with very clear signaling. He has a teacher's air about him and does a great job teaching pieces. For the first time we incorporated an Agnus Dei into the service. OH! What a great start we had! I'm getting ahead by jumping to the fraction. So, there were a lot of people there that night. I had a friend visiting and some spartners and a family that hadn't been there in awhile. I wasn't leading so I sat somewhere else and helped ring. I'd trained two ringers the day before at least one of whom was there. They're working to start leading sometimes.
This was the day that I really wished, from a music perspective we could have a regular presider, just so that the lay-planners and the clergy people could more easily and regularly plan on what's going on. This week the presider, who serves as a priest at an Anglo-Catholic parish, sang the Collect for the Day. We hadn't planned it necessarily, but he did...and I droned. While Colin and I are not of one mind about what should be sung (if you don't know, I say sing everything; let's make life a musical!) I think that working to having more things sung has a major benefit: everyone can join the prayer in an orderly fashion.
While I stand in the orans during prayers to indicate my being a part of the prayer the presider is praying on behalf of the gathered community, a sung prayer gives sonorous space for the people to join on a drone. I first experienced this during a sung eucharistic prayer at St. Gregory's and it excited me. Then I talked about it with Taylor Burton-Edwards who gave me the image of a soloist and a choir. All are singing, but one is leading the way...and everyone's voice is being heard. Everyone is embodying and actively taking part in the prayer.
All our music was the same for Lent, and Matt preached a great sermon. He sat in the same chair the presider has been sitting in, and it was great on so many levels. Seamless choreography between preacher and presider, and it just worked out really well. The music is being learned, and the parts are getting stronger, I think. James led again last Sunday, but I don't know how it went yet. I really wish my idea of a group of people leading and singing together had worked out. It would be really nice to work out physical placement in the chapel and other stuff in a group and to hear people who are doing it's perspectives.
This week we're doing different stuff for the Passion and we're looking at the rite. I'll let you know how it goes.
Also: check out this post about learning to pray through humming.