Posts Tagged ‘Southwell Minster’

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Language

December 21, 2011

I love it when Clergy swear; it makes them so much more, well, human.

I don’t think I’d heard a member of clergy swear twice in one sentence until yesterday; I was in Prison, delivering Christmas Cards (as you do) with one of the Chaplains. We also wound up doing a one-to-one (or two-to-one as I was shadowing the Chaplain). We’d spent near on 40 minutes with a very anxious man, who’d not seen his family for months, because they’re all 3 hours away and they can’t afford to visit and his gran is too sick to travel that far, either. He had requested, numerous times, to ask to be transferred to a prison nearer his family (which they do), but he’s not heard anything back, which I’m sure you understand is very distressing for him. So we went to the wing office to ask if they knew anything; and the officers who spoke were being really hard on him essentially calling him a cry baby and trying to play the system (which he said he isn’t, he didn’t want to be put on an ACCT – an obs programme for vulnerable prisoners) and ‘he should have thought about that before he broke the law…’ which is understandable, but at the same time, you’d be a bit down if you’d been in prison months and heard nothing back from all the applications etc. do the prison officers have no compassion? The Chaplain and I walked out the office, down the landing, and said ‘I’m going to swear…… miserable fucking bastards!’ which kinda made me laugh out loud!

Today I was in conversation with another priest, we were discussing a recent set back of mine, (the cause of which shall remain nameless) And in response to some hurtful prose whilst also discussing a difference in culture (and sex), he referred to them with some more colourful language. And, again, I think, I laughed.

On the whole I try not to use bad language; but sometimes I think it helps just to clear the air, to let off steam and feelings about something(or one). And both occasions to which I refer in this post, were, I add, in confidential spaces; they were no prisoners in hearing distance, and the Vestry isn’t exactly consecrated ground, anyway!

N.b. I do not endorse clergy swearing.

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Birthdays

October 23, 2010

Despite being pretty ill, my Birthday was a distinct improvement on last year, for which I thank God.

My parents, very generously bought me a new Digital SLR camera as a joint 25th Birthday and Christmas present.

As I was sick, I’d travelled home from London the day before my birthday, 18 hours earlier than planned, which meant I awoke on my birthday to one of the most beautifully crisp, Autumnal days I remember. Ever since I worked at Southwell Minster, Mum has always wanted to go up the tower. She was envious of Dad when I had the opportunity to take him round. I had wanted to try and visit the Minster while I was home, briefly, anyway, so adding all these things together, Mum changed her plans, and I took her up the Minster tower and was able to take some pretty exciting photos, too.

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I was also able to catch up with Andrew, my old boss, which was, as ever, lovely. Andrew asked me to put my new photos on Flickr, as he’s not on Facebook. I have just about found time to oblige, so you can now view more of my pictures here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/elizabethalbery/

As it happened, it was my old school’s Founders Day service that evening, and there were some rehearsals for the occasion going on while we were there. I also bumped into Mr Vickers, my RE teacher, who was well known for his lessons on Derby FC and ending the lesson with ‘I digress…’ It was genuinely wonderful to see him, although we both couldn’t believe how long it was since I left. Scary thing, time.

Mum and I got home and Victoria, for whom I was bridesmaid in June, came over for lunch, was was wonderful to catch up with her and see her Wedding photos! Malcolm, Mum’s Viola playing friend also came for lunch, too, which was fun! Later in the day Mum and I headed into Nottingham for the Girl Guiding Centenary Finale celebrations, which I will tell you about in my next post!

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Women and Ministry…

October 4, 2010

So, I’ve taken an interest in exploring the issue of women in ministry, the ordained type. To be entirely honest, I don’t know exactly what I think, which is why I am trying to spend time reading up various perspectives, to figure it out for myself, so please excuse my rambled thoughts and confusions.

My cousin, a vicar currently working with CPAS, recommended the book Growing Women Leaders, by Rosie Ward, which I have just begun reading this weekend.

Coincidentally, a very good friend of mine, posted this on his blog today;

I’m glad I don’t go to his church!

Seriously?! Maybe I should get back to my knitting, cleaning, ironing, cooking etc. Because obviously as a female, I’m only allowed to say ‘Amen’ in church at appropriate times, with the whole congregation.

I find it weird, I don’t consider myself a feminist. I have always understood that men and women differ in numerous ways, and we have traditionally had different roles which reflect that. The creation narrative demonstrates the complementarity of gender differences.

But the views of the conservative evangelical church is somewhat frustrating to me. I had the opportunity today in conversation with a  minister at church, to ask his thoughts on the subject, after he had asked a male colleague whether or not he had considered ordination himself; he had not, yet. It didn’t surprise me that he complies pretty much wholeheartedly with the views of the church we work in. He affirmed the role of women within the church; endorsing the female minister on the senior leadership team, and the varying roles women play within the work and ministry of the church, leading services, prayers, small groups, teaching children and youth, women’s groups. But he doesn’t endorse women preaching on a Sunday, or a female incumbent.

Although the idea of me, personally, up front, leading a church and preaching scares the what-sits out of me, I’m left feeling; frustrated, confused, discriminated, lost…

Why am I reacting this way? Am I just being rebellious; bucking the system I am in? I need to get my head around this.

A wise lecturer of mine pointed out to me that I am “in a church where women are considered to be great for teaching other women, but men (poor dears) will be led astray the instant they hear a woman teach. 😉 … [a church which is] not typical of the C of E.”

I appreciate the viewpoint of the minister I spoke with today, that most churches ‘fudge’ somewhere along the spectrum; from raving liberals to those who hold very conservative views. There is no ‘clear cut’ decision within the Church of England, never mind the Church as a whole. That, wherever the line may be drawn, there will be some who don’t agree on both sides.

And yet, when I come to Scripture, I see why 1 Corinthians 34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:12 can be read with the view that women should not teach or preached to mixed gatherings, i.e. the main church worship. Others don’t believe women should have overall headship of a church.

I knew back home, at Southwell Minster, there was a member of the congregation who wouldn’t attend the Eucharist if it was the female Precentor leading the service. Ironic that this person was female, too. But she didn’t have a problem with her preaching?

I don’t want to be accused as someone with poor hermeneutics, but I (and others) read the above passages within the context in which they were written, to a specific group of churches, in a specific culture in a specific time; cultural. And I get that the problem appears when we don’t view the remainder of Paul’s writings as only cultural; we take most of Paul’s teaching and apply it today, so why not these also?

Speaking to a colleague this evening, he said that there are women at his ‘home church who still cover their heads, and don’t listen if a woman is praying from the front.’ To which I replied; ‘Wow.’

1 Corinthians 14:34-35

… women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to enquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church.

I understand that in the Corinthian culture, women were not allowed to question men in public. Some of the new Christians were misusing their new found freedom and confidence, to confront men during corporate worship. Obviously, this wasn’t healthy for the church as a whole. Especially as they were asking questions publicly which could have been discussed within the marital home, privately. Thus preventing division and unease within the gathering of the church.

1 Timothy 2:12

I do not permit a woman to teach or have authority over a man; she must remain silent

I’ve just learned that the Greek word Paul used, here translated as ‘silent’ more expresses an attitude of quiet composure, and another word was used to convey ‘complete silence.’ Aside from this, women in the Ephesian churches were again misusing their new freedom; they did not have the knowledge, experience or Christian maturity to teach those who already had extensive scriptural education. Cultural.

Paul did not forbid women from ever teaching. His co-worker, Priscilla, taught Apollos (Acts 18:24-26). And Paul frequently refers to other women who had positions of responsibility within the church. 1 Corinthians 11:5 – Women publicly prayed and prophesied…

As I said, I have in no way finished with exploring this debate within the church. I have yet to read chapter two of Growing Women Leaders, I’m sure other books will follow suit, and quiz other colleagues about their stance. I’m still trying to get my head around it myself.

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Weddings

October 3, 2010

Yesterday I worked my first All Souls Wedding.

Amongst us girls, that is, Hannah, Maw and I, we have had girly wedding conversations already (!).

One fairly big dilemma for me currently is where I would get married. I have always said that I want to get married in the Quire at Southwell Minster. But, if I met someone from All Souls, would we end up getting married there? It would mean easier travel arrangements for most people.

Surprisingly, yesterdays’ Wedding at All Souls didn’t persuade me. I still want to get married at Southwell. It’s beautiful. It’s the country. It’s the memories. It’s home.

Obviously, this is all very dependent on finding a man to go with the marriage package, and what his thoughts and feelings are on the subject. But, y’know, I’m just sayin’.

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My favourite shift so far…

August 15, 2010

Today Maw, John and I were on the early Sunday shift, we had to be at the church for 7.15am. I’ll be honest, I wasn’t looking forward to it. Despite when I worked at Southwell Minster having to be at work for 7, on any given day of the week, and that was 12 miles away. Our flat is less than 10 minutes walk away, but still, I wasn’t looking forward to the early start!

My alarm went off at 06.30, I got up, showered, washed my hair, made Bacon Sandwiches and a cup of tea, arrived at church in my Sunday Best, in time to start the days work. On the ‘phone to Mum this afternoon, she thought she was speaking to someone other than her daughter, teehee.

I really enjoyed the shift. We unlocked various areas of the church, tidied the front steps and prepared for the three morning services. 8am Communion was well attended compared to last week, 8, or Morning Communions at Southwell which would range in numbers between 0 – 15! There was 18 of us there this morning, I enjoyed it. I think I prefer the Sunday morning shift to the afternoon shift because although we’re busy; there’s always something to be doing, it’s not too busy. The time doesn’t seem to drag, and it doesn’t feel like work, it feels like church. I like it.

I also like that we finish at 2.15pm, so have time to cook a proper dinner, spend time with friends etc.

Maw and I went to our local Waitrose after our plan of going to the local farmers market failed; they closed at 2pm! Whilst in the shop, we saw Diane-Louise Jordan, of Blue Peter and Songs of Praise fame. We found the prospect of her living in our neighbourhood quite exciting.

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Perspective

July 11, 2010

Canals change your perspective on the world.

Everything passes you by slowly. You can appreciate the beautiful surroundings. You can stop where you like for the night (within reason). I loved that we stop in the middle of nowhere most of the time.

I spent the week following Graduation aboard my parents narrowboat, Coriander. I wasn’t sure how it would go, spending a long time with my Mum and Dad on a boat, but we had a good time! At the weekend, Matthew was around too, so he was at my graduation day. We all headed into London early on Sunday morning, as I was playing at All Souls for the Orchestral morning services. Which was followed by lunch at Pizza Express with Daniel and others, to celebrate his new job!

I went home on Friday in order to be around for Amelia’s wedding, which was beautiful! The service was perfect. Incredible. It was truly lovely to catch up with Sophie and the Teague’s – it’s been far too long!

The Teague family

(the girls have grown into models…!)

Sophie and I

The following week, Dave and I spent on Coriander. We had a really lovely time… and we didn’t break it… until we were 1mile away from our rendezvous point with Dad!! Dave let me play with his camera, and I now love photography! Here’s some pictures we both took:

Going through the first tunnel

Coming out the other side; we hadn’t lost a fender after all!

Feeding the ducks

Where we moored for the night; so peaceful 🙂

Watch out, its me piloting!

Me steering us into the dark, again!

Down the locks…

Building a new marina…

Silhouette at dusk on our last night aboard

Silhoette at dusk
As I was saying about perspective, there is a section of the Grand Union canal which runs parallel to both the M1 and the Railway in a valley. But it is only from the canal that you can really appreciate this. Driving along the M1, you would probably have no idea about the canal or railway. From the train, you can, if you’re looking attentively see the canal in fleeting moments. But only along the canal do you really notice this.

I also went to an LST reunion with my original LST year. It was a trek to drive from Nottinghamshire to Maidenhead, and I wasn’t sure if I would really be valued. But, because I promised Dave a lift, I got there. I’m so glad I went! I felt so loved and appreciated by people I didn’t think cared about me. I must make more of an effort to stay in touch with folks…

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Personal Statement for RHUL MMus application…

May 7, 2010
‘Without music, life would be a mistake’
Bill Bailey

Obviously this statement is right in what it affirms and wrong in what it denies, but I concur wholeheartedly with its sentiment. I cannot comprehend my life without the tremendous influence of music and the passion it invokes.

Following an audition, I was granted a place at The Minster School, Southwell, where I was involved with many groups and ensembles at school, including Main orchestra, Choir and ’Cello Group. I was also involved in county-wide programmes including Nottingham Youth Orchestra and Nottinghamshire Education Symphony Orchestra. In 2001 I joined the National Scout and Guide Symphony Orchestra, becoming principle ’cellist in 2003. Prior to my studies at London School of Theology (LST), I was a member of Nottingham Symphony Orchestra and was also asked to play with the Ensemble of Southwell. I have been involved with the All Souls Orchestra since embarking studies at LST in October 2006, with whom I have had the opportunity to play in venues including Birmingham Symphony Hall, The Sage Gateshead and The Royal Albert Hall.
My experience as the principle ’cellist of various orchestras has taught me the need of comprehending the music, as well as being a good player, in order to communicate this understanding to others. Music is not only about expression, but the mechanics of the art. The notes; the chords; the instruments; the history; the context; the genre: music is not about selfish creation, it is about selfless appreciation.

When I was in sixth form, whilst working through some difficult personal situations, I felt able to play more than just the notes on the page. I had my first experience as a soloist with a local orchestra, performing Elergy by Faure. I discovered a passion for the music I was interpreting in my performances. I had become a ’cellist.
As a member of the Queen’s Scout Working Party, for the Centenary year of Scouting, I was chosen to be a member of the Chapel team for the annual Scout Service for the St. George’s day parade at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor. I was asked to perform Prayer from Bloch’s ‘from Jewish Life’ as a reflection during the service. Not only did I perform to a congregation of Queen’s Scouts, but also to Her Majesty, The Queen.
I achieved ABRSM Grade VIII with distinction prior to commencing reading Theology, Music and Worship at LST. During the course I have grappled with Theology of Worship and the debate of Performance in Worship within the church. In the Arts and Worship module, I have been delving into a philosophy of the arts, specifically the relationship between creativity and suffering, which is continuing to aid my understanding of the artist. I have grown as a person, as a musician and as a performer. At level two, I elected to take Individual Performance as well as my end of year recital, which enabled me to spend the time practicing and understanding Haydn ’Cello Concerto in C, my first concerto. In final year, my dissertation, entitled; ‘Beethoven’s Faith; Discerning a Trajectory’ incorporated a recital containing movements from his Piano and ’Cello Sonatas spanning the length of Beethoven’s compositional life, as well as a written discussion paper as to how the development of Beethoven’s faith may be evident within his music.

Areas of study I wish to pursue include the philosophy of performance, maybe with the possibility of taking an elective in a related area.

I feel the next step for me is to pursue my gift of playing the ’cello at a more advanced level, in order to further develop and refine my technique and ability. This will enable me to understand and perform at my best, in the hope that I might be able to pass on my enthusiasm for the ’cello to generations to come.

It was during a recent recital that I realised how much performance means to me;

It was the most natural feeling in the world.