Around Town: Rupert Lang, blood donors respond, Black churches, Covid appeal

Rupert Lang is director of music at Christ Church Cathedral.

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.

Go here for the full article and here for the JCCF statement on the matter.

Apr 2021

Reading the Bible Right Now with Dr. Mariam Kobalishyn – April 8, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Michael Mawson: Living in the Midst of Death: Theological Reflections on Aging and Technology – April 9, 2021 at 12:30 pm - 1:30 pm
Kairos Course (Sunday evenings) – April 11, 2021 at 2:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Al Massira Online Training Event (Wednesdays) – April 14, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Refugee Sponsorship: Building Friendships – April 14, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Addressing Grief + Loss in Community Programs – April 14, 2021 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Human Flourishing with Jaron Lanier – April 14, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Addressing Grief + Loss in Community Programs – April 15, 2021 at 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm
Communication(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
Bill C-7 (MAiD): What Will Happen Now? – April 16, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Mission Central: Church Leaders Roundtable – Refuge Reimagined with Mark and Luke Glanville – April 21, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Understanding Our Muslim Neighbors – April 22, 2021 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
George Grant and the Nature (and Loss) of a Moral Tradition – April 23, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 8:30 pm
Imprisoned for Christ – April 24, 2021 at 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Good Seed Sunday, Delivered by A Rocha – April 25, 2021 at All Day
John Stott, Pastor, Leader and Friend: Global Overview of Stott’s Influence – April 27, 2021 at 8:00 am - 9:00 am
Reading the Gospels While Black: A Conversation with Esau McCaulley & N.T. Wright – April 28, 2021 at 9:30 am - 12:00 pm
Who Will Determine the Course of Human Genome Editing? – April 28, 2021 at 1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Under the Sun: Types and Shadows in a Biblical and Brazilian Perspective – April 29, 2021 - May 3, 2021 at All Day
The Church in a Post-COVID World – April 30, 2021 at 6:00 am - 8:00 am
Himalaya: A Drive-in Film Festival (two shows) – April 30, 2021 at 8:30 pm - 11:50 pm

May 2021

When the Best is Corrupt: Strategies for Living in Integrity – May 1, 2021 at 7:00 am - 9:00 am
Perseverance Conference – May 1, 2021 at 9:00 am - 2:00 pm
Himalaya: A Drive-in Film Festival – May 1, 2021 at 8:30 pm - 10:00 pm
God is for the Birds: Celebrating a Creation Care Champion – May 3, 2021 at 5:30 pm - 7:00 pm
Our Whole Society: Free to Believe, Responsible to Act – May 4, 2021 at 10:00 am - 1:30 pm
Every Moment Holy, Vol. 2: Death, Grief & Hope – May 4, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission and Bill C-15 Online Learning Event – May 4, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Pray for India – May 5, 2021 at 8:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Canadian Sexual Exploitation Summit 2021 – May 6, 2021 - May 7, 2021 at All Day
Addressing Our Cultural Moment with Humility and Hope (including book launch) – May 6, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Flourishing Conference: Uprooting Poverty, Planting Hope – May 7, 2021 - May 8, 2021 at 8:30 am - 12:30 pm
SIM Banquet: Changing Times Unchanging God – May 8, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
New Roots Live – May 8, 2021 at 8:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Memorial Service: Remembering Teacher Hui – May 10, 2021 at 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Sarah Williams: The Integration of Heart & Mind – St. Bernard of Clairvaux for the Postmodern Academy – May 10, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Faith in Action: Refugee Advocacy Webinar – May 11, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Keeping an Open Heart in Troubled Times – May 12, 2021 at 10:00 am - 11:00 am
John Swinton: Moving Beyond the Empire of Illusion – What Do We Do About the Problem of Evil? – May 12, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
March for Life in Your Neighbourhood – May 13, 2021 at All Day
Identity: Film Screening & Conversation Around Faith, Race, Art & Mental Health – May 13, 2021 at 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Beyond the Conversation: A Gift of Presence – May 15, 2021 at 12:00 am - 11:55 pm
AC Literary Expedition: Discussing Critical Race Theory – May 16, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Elizabeth Sung: Rethinking the Kingdom of God, Christ's Ministry & Christians' Transformation – May 17, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
What Would Jesus Tweet? – May 18, 2021 at 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Virtual Book Club: Not Done Yet by Beth Seversen – May 18, 2021 at 4:00 pm - 5:30 pm
Carmen Joy Imes: The Mission of the Church to Bear God's Name – May 19, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Cardus Coffeehouse: Welcoming Refugees – May 20, 2021 at 10:00 am - 11:30 am
BAM Vancouver Transforming Business Series – May 20, 2021 at 12:00 pm - 1:00 pm
Woven Together: Partnerships in Community Programs – May 20, 2021 at 2:30 pm - 4:00 pm
Historymaker – May 21, 2021 at All Day
Mark Glanville: 'Where are Your Roots?!': Biblical Ethics & Jazz (a Jazz-Talk from the Piano and a Bar Stool) – May 24, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Religion & Thoughtful Activism Conference – May 25, 2021 at 12:00 am
The Common Good Collective: Words for Good – May 26, 2021 at 1:00 pm - 1:45 pm
Susan Phillips: Tethered by Prayer – the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius of Loyola – May 26, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Alpha Webinar: Reviving Evangelism in Gen Z – May 27, 2021 at 9:00 am - 10:00 am
Earthkeepers: Prayer Night for Bold Climate Action – May 27, 2021 at 5:00 pm - 6:00 pm
What's the Best Luxury Album? A panel discussion – May 27, 2021 at 6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
Day of Prayer for Camp – May 30, 2021 at All Day
John Behr: What is Life? – May 31, 2021 at 7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
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