Tag Archives: Finchampstead

Tower Open Day 2005

Tower Open Day 2

After heavy rain all morning, this afternoon we were very lucky with the weather for the annual opening of the tower.

The rain stopped by about two o’clock, and by the time I arrived at the church at 3 o’clock the sun was starting to break through. The photographer from the local paper made it to the top of the tower this year, and took a picture of Maurice Driver and his two grandsons, so hopefully that will appear in next weeks paper.

When I got back, I also discovered that some Geocachers had logged the tower for one of my caches, which I was slightly annoyed to have missed!

Anyway, I’ve uploaded some more pictures from today, plus a few other shots of the church to a picture gallery.

A Different Sort of Music

Voces Cantabiles by Candlelight

So after our youth service last night we were back at St James for music of a different kind, a concert by Voces Cantabiles, a well regarded choir that was formed in 2003, drawn from a variety of musical institutions around the country.

If you take a look at their list of concerts on their website, you’ll see that St James is in amongst some fairly illustrious company, indeed from St James the choir are going to compete in the International Choral Grand Prix in Italy. So how come such an acclaimed choir were performing in a small Berkshire church on a Monday night?

The link is through Barney and Paul Smith, who lead the choir. Although they have sung in many cathedrals, their parents live in the village and come to St James. Both Barney and Paul helped out the St James choir when we were without a Director of Music, and on special occasions, indeed every so often when Barney or Paul are around on a Sunday, the harmony lines of the Church Choir are augmented by the two of them.

Anyway, as a result, they have been using the Church to practice, and in return they gave us a concert to raise money for the restoration. Sadly as it was on a Monday a number of people couldn’t make it. Plus since the power had failed in part of the village, the concert was by candlight too. However it was an excellent occasion, and as with their previous concert for us we feel honoured to have them sing at St James.

Rocking the Church

View Down the Church

Tonight we held our second youth service at St James since Rev Richard arrived. This time we had a different band, a third of which was actually home grown talent, plus we actually described it as a Rockmass.

We used the same layout with the band in the chancel, and celebrating on a small table in front. We also used our soon to be patented projector mount of a MDF board and two C-clamps to provide a shelf for the projector in the arch into the north aisle, projecting across onto the screen in the pulpit. The laptop that drives the projector is then positioned up in the chancel so that the person working the screen is close to the people leading.

Matt Doing a Sound Check

We were up at the church from about 3:30pm, and got all of our gear set up first before the inevitable chaos when the band arrives. In this case we had got together with the local Baptist Church, and the band consisted of Matt Valler, the youth worker at the Baptist church, his brother, and Richard from our Church as drummer. Matt knows our church pretty well having attended the youth group when he was a teenager.

As with anything involving a live band there is a good deal of fiddling around to make sure sound is good, and ensure that everything works. However we were all ready to go in good time.

Matt Doing Some Practice

As an aside just before the service I had a slightly strange encounter. Whilst I was walking back to the Church from the Parish Centre, a white van with all sorts of strange things on the roof drove into the car park, and parked – pretty badly, and the two guys in the front got out and went into the back. It looked to me like a TV detector van, so I walked over to ask them to park a bit better as we were expecting cars in the car park for the service. Anyway, I put my head round the door, and one of the people in the van was John Redwood. They asked if they could stay and I said not to worry, just that we needed space to get round the car park. Having said that Rev Richard went and had a chat when he arrived and suggested that if they wanted quiet (it was actually a radio van) they might be better going elsewhere before all the young people arrived.

The service went well, and we even had Ian, the Diocesan Youth Adviser for part of the service, who seemed to have met almost everybody involved having led a youth camp that Matt and Richard had attended! Matt did the talk, and Beth did the prayers, using a ‘prayer basket’ idea where a symbol is brought up for each prayer, for example a mobile phone was brought up when we prayed for friends. The band were great, and we even had some of our Youth Group sing a song during communion to give the band a break.

Clearing Up

To some extent it was a learning experience for all as our Youth Group aren’t used to having a band, and also the Baptist Youth Group aren’t used to our comparitively formal litugical structure for the service. Having said that we got good feedback from both groups after the service, and certainly we are looking at trying to do something similar again in the autumn. As we said afterwards, each of the three Finchampstead Churches can’t put something like this together on their own, but by pooling resources we can pull it off. Certainly it has given us a good place to start.

Anyway, after all the young people had gone, one thing left, clearing up – the downside with having a band!

Away Day

From Friday night to Saturday afternoon I was off on a PCC away day at Douai Abbey, which is between Reading and Newbury.

In some ways it is a slightly ironic location when you see the abbey itself. By virtue of not being listed, when they built phase 2 of the building in 1993, you can see that it was built in the style of the time. However with our building, which is listed, we are heavily restricted in what we can actually do – even whether we could expand the building at all.

The away day was really an ideas session, as often our regular meetings are focused on day to day issues, rather than big ideas. As expected the question of how we accomodate increasing numbers. In one of those strange occurences when you feel that you’re being prodded or reminded, we had one of our largest attendances at the service this morning, of 173 people. Although we had a baptism in the service, the additional people for that were all together in one row, there were an awful lot of new faces, which is a good thing, but a difficult problem at the same time!

One of the other oft mentioned topics that came up in discussions was the getting a youth worker idea. Initially it came from the direction that as part of our parish centre has flats we have an ideal location for one, and that we should be using the flats for more than just generating income. However others are starting to consider what a youth worker would, or could do. Although it is still more at the “wouldn’t it be nice if we had a youth worker stage”, rather than a clear definition of what a youth worker would do, I suspect that we may go a little further this time as there was some enthusiasm for moving forward with coming up with some sort of definition as to why we would want a youth worker. For example one of the other worries expressed was that we were loosing young people as the services didn’t really connect with them, I think partly benefiting from the visit from Ian the Diocesan Youth Officer earlier in the year and what he said to us. Whether at the end of the day a youth worker is the right solution, or whether there is something else I don’t know, but what with that and the numbers I think we certainly have a lot that we need to think about!