The Archbishop of Canterbury announced the annual Lambeth Awards April 7 – and a Vancouver church musician was on the list:
Rupert Lang, BMus, MA (Cantab) – The Thomas Cranmer Award for Worship. For more than 40 years as an outstanding organist and choir director, Rupert Lang’s innovative and beautiful compositions have enhanced the liturgy and mission of the Church and extended the reach of Canadian liturgical music to secular audiences around the world.
Archbishop Justin Welby said the awards, which recognize outstanding contributions to the church and wider society, were given to 30 people, including scientists, musicians, academics, activists, peacemakers, doctors and clergy.
The full citation went on to say:
The son of an Anglican priest, Rupert Lang has elevated music at Christ Church Cathedral, Vancouver to become one of its core spiritual practices and offerings to the city. His integration of liturgy and music raises prayer to a level beyond words, assembling textures of text, phrasing and organ registration so that music conveys theological meaning to singers and listeners alike.
Rupert’s music choice is always pastorally sensitive, and his own compositions both bring people to prayer and enable the entire congregation to grow in their own musicianship – his work The Kontakion is a prime example.
Rupert is especially sensitive to children in crisis and to issues facing Indigenous peoples; his compositions Spirit of the Child and Children of the Earth (with text from Buffy Sainte-Marie) elevate these concerns in deeply moving musical settings. His concern for the experience of children during the COVID-19 pandemic is reflected in a work based on thoughts and feelings expressed by the young singers in his Vancouver Children’s Choir.
Rupert has led Christ Church Cathedral’s choir to win the Church Choir category of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation’s Choral Competition four times: in 1998, 2000, 2002 and 2006. In 2021 he was the Vancouver School of Theology’s choice to receive an honorary Doctorate of Divinity. There is not a more highly regarded musician working in the Anglican Church of Canada today, nor one who has done more to bring sacred music into the secular awareness.
Rupert Lang founded the Vancouver Children’s Choir, and has had commissions from many local groups, including Surrey Children’s Choir, Vancouver Cantata Singers, Chor Leoni Men’s Choir, Elektra Women’s Choir, Vancouver Chamber Choir and Vancouver Men’s Chorus.
Response to anti-Asian hate
A Simon Fraser student and his church friends have garnered media attention in their attempt to challenge anti-Asian hate crimes.
Following is a portion of a recent News 1130 story:
During a pandemic year where Asian people have been increasingly victimized by violence and racism, one student at SFU has organized a blood drive to encourage a sense of community.
Steven Gan is a business student, and also a member of the California Zion Church and he brought people from these communities together Saturday to give blood in Vancouver.
“This pandemic, it’s been hard for all of us, especially with the recent anti-Asian hate crimes that have been happening so I think we should do something, we should work together and be united instead of being divided,” he says.
“I believe that blood symbolizes life and it’s something that we share in common together. Anti-Asian hate crimes, they shed blood, we’re out here giving blood to other people to show that we’re taking the first step. We want to help and we want to make sure that everyone can see this love and can reflect it. At the end of the day, we want the discrimination to end.”
Participants have pledged to become regular, life-long donors.
Go here for the full story.
Black churches thrive
Vancouver Sun writer Douglas Todd wrote an insightful piece about Black churches in Metro Vancouver. Here is a portion of the article, posted Easter Friday:
“Oh, man, we do a lot of dancing, most of the time. After all, the Bible says, ‘Make a joyful noise unto the Lord,’” says Pastor Bayo Adediran.
The lead minister at New Westminster’s Grace Church said members of his predominantly Black congregation are deeply disappointed that B.C. health officials are not permitting them to sing, dance and pray together during the second year in a row of lockdown.
“We like to express ourselves, man, before the Lord,” said Adediran, describing the often rocklike gospel music played at his Pentecostal church. “We also play our music loud. It’s the way we pray, too.”
But Adediran knows the about 300 people who usually attend his services, the majority of whom have roots in Africa, will have to struggle a little longer with being separated from each other during worship because of COVID-19 restrictions. He wants everyone to be safe.
“We have to be very creative in how we celebrate now.”
Much the same spiritual and physical restraint is being practised this week at 1,200-member Calvary Worship Centre in Surrey. Pastor Sam Owusu, who was born in Ghana, also says there is usually “a lot of dancing in front of the podium” by his members, more than one-third of whom are Black, with almost another third being Asian and smaller groups of whites and Latin Americans.
The two energetic Metro Vancouver congregations, which have moved their services online, are part of a collection of up to two dozen Christian churches that serve as spiritual home to many of B.C.’s roughly 44,000 Black people, whom Pastor Owusu says are much more likely than others to be Christians.
Go here for the full article.
Covid appeal planned
The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) will appeal a court decision which upheld Provincial Health Orders prohibiting in-person worship services.
Here is part of an April 1 CBC News report:
An appeal has been filed in a British Columbia Supreme Court decision that upheld public health orders banning indoor religious services in response to the outbreak of COVID-19 in the province.
A statement from the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms, which represents a group including three Fraser Valley churches, announced Thursday that it is asking for a higher court to review the decision.
Paul Jaffe, a lawyer with the advocacy group, argued during hearings last month that the orders by Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry unjustifiably infringed on his clients’ right to freedom of religion.
Chief Justice Christopher Hinkson found the orders were justified and the question before the court wasn’t whether Henry struck the right balance on the infringement, but whether she acted reasonably given the information available to her.
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April 9, 2021Michael Mawson: Living in the Midst of Death: Theological Reflections on Aging and Technology – April 9, 2021 at 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
April 11, 2021Kairos Course (Sunday evenings) – April 11, 2021 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
April 14, 2021Al Massira Online Training Event (Wednesdays) – April 14, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
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April 16, 2021Communication(s) and Mission: Virtual Conference – April 16, 2021 at 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Brent Waters: Remaining Focused: Human Flourishing in the Emergent Techno-Culture – April 16, 2021 at 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
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May 7, 2021Flourishing Conference: Uprooting Poverty, Planting Hope – May 7, 2021 - May 8, 2021 at 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
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