This article was written for the October 2022 issue of our parish magazine. Here it is for you again:
The parishes of St Margaret’s Prestwich and St George’s Simister are blessed. We have been selected to host an hour of Great Sacred Music at 1.00pm on Saturday 22 October 2022. More than a concert, but not quite a service, this will be an hour of exquisite music performed by HeartEdge – an ensemble of talented choral scholars drawn from across the diocese, many of them being current students at the Royal Northern College of Music.
HeartEdge is the brainchild of Andrew Earis, Director of Music at St Martin-in-the-Fields, and he also chose the repertoire for our Great Sacred Music event. HeartEdge was established at St Martin-in-the-Fields in 2017 as a movement for renewal, fuelled by people and churches sharing their assets, experience, resources and need. HeartEdge Manchester followed shortly afterwards, and is coordinated by Rev Andy Salmon at Sacred Trinity, Salford.
How did this come to pass? I saw an advert and applied! Tom and I had been to HeartEdge events at Sacred Trinity earlier in the year, and Rev Andy came to visit Tom and I at St Margaret’s at the end of August. We discussed ‘Great Sacred Music’ at length. It is a free event, open to the whole community. The HeartEdge ensemble will perform a number of songs that fit our chosen theme, and the audience (not a congregation – it’s not a service!) will have the opportunity to sing a hymn too, but will remain seated. The idea is to welcome curious friends and neighbours, who perhaps would not feel comfortable attending a full service. We have the opportunity to invite anyone and everyone to come to our church building and experience community and hospitality with us.
Tom and I were left to choose a theme for the event. This has been a tough year for our parish, which followed hot on the heels of a tough couple of years globally. We decided on ‘Hope’. Andrew Earis took this theme and put together a programme of ‘hopeful’ music, based around the hymn “Lord of all Hopefulness” – a favourite of many of our congregation:
1.Lord of all hopefulness, Lord of all joy,
Whose trust, ever childlike, no cares could destroy,
Be there at our waking, and give us, we pray,
Your bliss in our hearts, Lord,
At the break of the day.
2.Lord of all eagerness, Lord of all faith,
Whose strong hands were skilled at the plane and the lathe,
Be there at our labours and give us, we pray,
Your strength in our hearts, Lord,
At the noon of the day.
3.Lord of all kindliness, Lord of all grace,
Your hands swift to welcome, Your arms to embrace.
Be there at our homing, and give us, we pray,
Your love in our hearts, Lord, At the eve of the day.
4.Lord of all gentleness, Lord of all calm,
Whose voice is contentment, whose presence is balm,
Be there at our sleeping, and give us, we pray,
Your peace in our hearts, Lord, At the end of the day.
The rest of the programme will include:
- O radiant dawn (MacMillan)
- Almighty and everlasting God (Gibbons)
- Upon your heart (Eleanor Daley)
- Peace I leave with you (Beach)
- Goodnight, sweetheart (Carter and Hudson, arr. Kirby Shaw)
Please put it in your diary. Bring friends, neighbours and family. It’ll be amazing!