Worship in Times of Darkness

by Gerry Lynch last modified 05 Nov, 2016 11:00 AM

Diocesan event looks at worship for those in painful situations

An event organised by the Diocese is seeking to help clergy and others who lead worship do so in ways that support people at difficult times in their lives. 

Worship in Times of Darkness and Sorrow, which will take place at St Francis’ Church in Salisbury on Tuesday 15 November, recognises that this can be difficult at times of the year like Christmas, ‘when it seems as though everyone else is celebrating’. 

The event is jointly led by Helen Bent and Canon Tom Clammer. Helen is Head of Ministerial Training for the Royal School of Church Music and an experienced trainer of worship leaders. Tom is Canon Precentor of Salisbury Cathedral, who has spoken movingly about the challenges and emotions he has dealt with since being diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

“Christians, no less than anyone else, sometimes find themselves in times of darkness and sorrow”, says the course introduction, “Bereavement, illness or injury, changes in life circumstance, pressures from without or within, world events or far more local tragedies bring us back before God in worship. This can be particularly challenging at those times of year when it seems as though everyone else is celebrating.

“What words do we use? How do we begin to find our way in? What are the resources for worshipping alone or corporately amidst the darkness? In this day event we will explore those questions, and try to find some answers together”

Canon Tom said, “All of us experience times when what's going on in our own lives and hearts seems to jar with the tone and mood of the Christian community.

“There are flashpoints like Christmas or indeed Mothering Sunday, but just as often it is those times when what's happening to us personally needs to find an honest and credible expression in the liturgy. I have to think rather harder now than I used to about phrases like ‘the flame leaping for joy’, given that I can't walk. It doesn't mean I don't believe the promises of Scripture, but they have to be thought about a bit harder.

This day will give us the opportunity to think about how we do that, and how we remain true to the promise of the gospel and also to the reality of our broken human lives.”

Places on the course can be booked via the Diocesan website’s online booking system.

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