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Christ Church Frederica, St. Simons Island, GA
  • Christ Church at Frederica
  • Christ Church at Frederica
  • Christ Church at Frederica
  • Christ Church at Frederica
  • Christ Church at Frederica

Rector's Ramblings May 3, 2017

RAM1 5 3 2017Music is a powerful medium. Some of my earliest memories are songs. We sang songs quite a bit in my childhood, particularly on car trips. Those were the days when entertaining kids in the backseat was a bit harder than it is today with “screens”. Many a chorus of Puff the Magic Dragon was sung in our cars. I also learned songs at church camp and in Sunday School that stick with me, like “Rise and Shine!” Such songs are engrained in my head and my soul, and I have enjoyed sharing them with my children. 

And then there are the songs that I learned as an adolescent and young adult, those songs that shaped who I was becoming, spoke to me on deep levels (deep levels, man); the anthems of my maturation, songs like Beck’s, “Loser”. And because I was a church nerd (and still am) there are the hymns and anthems I sang and continue to sing from the depth of my soul. There are the old favorites and new favorites alike, like “Surely it is God who saves me,” the Daw setting of the First Song of Isaiah.  Sometimes, when the choir is singing an anthem, I remember that I sang it twenty years ago, still remembering phrases, both text and music. Once music gets in, it really doesn’t leave. 

As an Episcopalian I can say the same thing about the spoken parts of our liturgy.  All Episcopalians have certain phrases that float in their subconscious, sometimes coming forth with a slight trigger, like one of my favorite prayers from the prayer book that asks God, “so draw our hearts to thee, so guide our minds, so fill our imaginations, so control our wills, that we may be wholly thine…”  Such things don’t exit the mind easily either. In fact, I’ve seen severe Alzheimer’s patients who seemingly can’t remember anything, but can recite the Lord’s Prayer when receiving communion.

In the world of liturgical theology we teach that the way we pray shapes what we believe. “Praying shapes believing,” is a phrase coined by liturgical scholar Lee Mitchell some decades ago. What we believe then shapes what we do and how we behave. Music is a form of prayer, often a form of praise, although it can contain all the elements of prayer depending on the piece. And just like we learned some things as kids through music, things we will never forget (A, B, C, D, EFG…), some of our theology and beliefs make their way into us through song in ways that we may not even be aware. People still love to sing, “Jesus loves me,” for a reason, and most of us have known it since we were toddlers.  Hopefully we never forget its lesson either.  Music often shapes what we believe and how we act too.

RAM2 5 3 2017This weekend we welcome musician and composer Marty Haugen to Christ Church for a workshop and a guest appearance in a couple of our liturgies. Marty writes songs and hymns and more, and has countless pieces published in hymnals that serve many churches including our own. He has also been leading retreats and workshops for many years. I found that we were using a fair number of Haugen’s pieces in my previous congregation, and then when we began X Church three years ago, I realized that Kathleen was also, on her own, choosing a number of Haugen’s pieces. Because we have gravitated towards so many of his works, Kathleen thought it would be good to bring him here, and so we are!

We open on Friday evening with an X Church service at 7pm during which we’ll sing a number of Haugen’s pieces (and a couple of Kathleen’s). Then on Saturday he will guide us through a couple of sessions to help us all understand how music and liturgy SHOULD connect, not only with what we believe, but with what we do in our lives. If our liturgy and worship don’t connect the dots between our faith and our lives in the “real (outside) world,” then we’ve missed one of the chief aspects of common worship in the first place. As our bishop said, reflecting on the news about our workshop, “If we pay attention, we can learn almost all we need to know about living a moral life as disciples of Jesus from worship.” I agree wholeheartedly, to the extent that I have previously given advice to some families who can’t seem to devote two hours to church and Sunday School each week, that if they have to choose between the two, to always choose worship.

So, if you like music or liturgy at all, or want to explore the connection between what happens in worship and what happens when we leave, consider joining us for X Church Friday at 7 and for our workshops with Marty on Saturday. Saturday’s sessions are at 9 am and 1 pm (two different sessions) with lunch in between.  There is no cost apart from lunch, and if you plan to join us, PLEASE call the office to let us know you’re coming. It will be an interesting conversation and who knows, we might just leave with a new song stuck in our heads.


We sing God’s truth to human powers,

We sing God’s justice for the poor;

We sing God’s hope in desperate hours,

God’s steadfast love that opens mercy’s door.


Give us a voice that rings with honesty,

And words of challenge that break down walls.

As Jesus showed us your face, move us to embrace

Your presence at work in us all.


We sing God’s truth to human powers,

We sing God’s justice for the poor;

We sing God’s hope in desperate hours,

God’s steadfast love that opens mercy’s door.

~ Marty Haugen*


*1st verse of one of Haugen’s anthems that we will sing on Friday night.

Christ Church Frederica

 Service Times


12:00 pm - Christ Church (Frederica Rd.) - Holy Eucharist with Prayers for Healing

6:30 pm - X Church 

Saturday  5:30 pm - St. Ignatius Chapel (Demere Rd.) - Rite II

8:00 am – Christ Church (Frederica Rd.) - 1928 BCP


9:15 am – Christ Church (Frederica Rd.) - This is generally a Rite II service, however Rite I is used on special occasions and Holy Days.

9:15 am - Christ Church Parish House (Frederica Rd.) - Worship in the bright and spacious Great Hall of the Parish House.

9:15 am - Kidurgy at Christ Church (Frederica Rd.) - Our Liturgy of the Word for young children.


10:15 am – Coffee Hour and Sunday School in the Parish House (Frederica Rd.)

  11:15 am – Christ Church (Frederica Rd.) Rite I. The first Sunday of each month is a Choral Morning Prayer.
Christ Church Frederica

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Christ Church, Frederica
6329 Frederica Rd.
St. Simons Island, GA 31522

(912) 638-8683