On using the Psalms as a regular part of Sunday worship

Our own private griefs are, often enough, quite paltry: but we are invited to join in the gigantic earth-shaking laments of the psalms. Our own criteria for happiness are selfish and small: but we are allowed to share in the magnificent heaven-rending joys of the psalmist. Our own love for God is so feeble that we might forget all about God for days at a time: but our hearts are torn wide open as we join our voices to the enormous lovesick longing of the psalmist’s praise. We are safe, affluent, protected, untroubled by enemies or oppression: but we learn to join our voices to the psalmist’s indignant cries for the catastrophic appearance of justice on the earth.

Read the rest here.

One of my favorite folk music albums

Doc Watson and Jean Ritchie live at Folk City.


In this wonderful album Doc and Jean play a superb collection of old American folk songs (you can see a list of the tracks here).I believe that it was the first time they had ever played a gig together. This concert took place in 1963.

Doc Watson is dead

Doc Watson is dead.

I’m not really a flatpicker, so I have the greatest of respect for good flatpickers. And Doc was not just a good flatpicker – he was the original flatpicker.

But good as his guitar playing was, Doc was more than a guitarist. He was a true folk musician, in the sense of one who handed on to the next generation the musical treasure that had been entrusted to him by his forebears.

The New York Times has an excellent article here.

Rest in peace, Doc, and thanks for handing on to us so many great songs.


Two thoughts from Oakham

I’m sitting in Costa in Oakham writing a few emails, and I wanted to share a couple of thoughts.

First, a relationship based on common prayer is a deeply satisfying relationship. I joined Vyv and Brian and the team at All Saints’ Oakham for Morning Prayer this morning. I have been attending daily prayer at this parish church on every visit I’ve made to Oakham since 2007, and it is a wonderful gift to be able to experience their fellowship in prayer.

Second, I had forgotten how enormous a medium Americano is at Costa. It’s like drinking from a dessert bowl!


An evening of folk music at St. Leonard’s, Southminster

Friday June 8th
7:30 p.m.
St. Leonard’s Church
Station Road
Southminster, Essex

I’m delighted to be playing a gig in my old home church; my last concert there was nearly five years ago, and my repertoire has changed quite a lot since then. I’ll be playing some traditional songs, some originals, and a couple of covers.

Admission is £6 at the door, and all the proceeds go to St. Leonard’s Church funds.

Heading back to the UK for three weeks

On Sunday night I’ll be flying over to the UK again for three weeks. This is partly a work trip; I’m going on behalf of the Diocese of Edmonton to network with some people in the Church of England who are running the parish evangelist program (see information on the Diocese of Chelmsford website here). I’ll be meeting with people in the dioceses of Chelmsford, Peterborough, and Rochester, and hope to glean all the information I can so that we can decide whether this would be a good initiative for us to try in the Diocese of Edmonton.

But I’ll also be spending a lot of time with my Mum and Dad in Oakham (see photo above), and other family members and friends. While I’m in the Diocese of Chelmsford I’ll take the opportunity to visit old friends in Southminster, and I’ll be doing a benefit gig for St. Leonard’s, Southminster at the church on Friday June 8th.

I understand that while I’m over there the people of the United Kingdom have a little party going on. I’ll try not to get in the way…