Dance, then, wherever you may be

For the first time this choir season, the CHC Choristers will join the Parish Choir to sing for the 10:30 a.m. service this Sunday, September 23. The choirs will sing a John Rutter setting of “Lord of the Dance,” the tune for which many worshipers will recognize as the “Shaker Hymn” or “Shaker melody.” It is usually associated with the text “'Tis the gift to be simple.” The tune was written in the early 19 th  Century by... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Tuesday, September 18, 2018
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Picnic Church

This Sunday (September 16) is “Picnic Church,” Church of the Holy Communion’s annual outdoor Sunday morning 10:30 service, followed by “Dinner on the Grounds,” as we used to say in Southern country churches. I began calling this Sunday “Picnic Church” some years ago, and the title appears to have stuck with some parishioners and staff members, bless our hearts. The 8 a.m. service remains unchanged in Quilling Memorial Chapel because,... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, September 10, 2018
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The Faithful Church

In this Sunday’s gospel, Jesus is healing again. He does that quite often, you know. After our six Sundays of lectionary readings in which Jesus tells us that he “is the Bread of the world,” this Sunday’s wonderful stories of the little girl being delivered from a demon and the healing of a deaf and mute man are exciting moments of scripture. “ Ephphatha! ” That is, “Be opened!” What a great word, yes? In both our 10:30 and 5:30... Read More
Posted by Jane Roberts at Thursday, September 6, 2018
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It's a season of newness

We are doing new things these days. If you need a little evidence, take a peek out of one of the windows in Rooms 307, 309 or 311 to see that big hole in the dirt where the gym used to be. I have been an Episcopalian long enough now (a former Methodist with a little moderate/liberal Baptist on the side) to know that we do not often like change. You know the old Episcopal joke: “Change that lightbulb?! My grandfather served on the Vestry, and my grandmother donated that... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Tuesday, August 28, 2018
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These servant leaders wear cassocks

As they say, I am constantly preaching to the choir. I try not to, but I tend to get excited about what I do and what we’re doing. One of my beloved mentors always said, “Remember that they come to choir rehearsal to sing and to not hear you talk.” Bless my heart. When you sing in a church choir, you take on the mantle of a servant leader. The choir serves as one corporate servant leader in the service, leading the hymns and service music, Psalm for the day and... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Many firsts this week. This past Sunday (August 12) was the Parish Choir’s first Sunday back after its well-earned summer hiatus. We hit the liturgy running with a cracker-jack brass quartet joining us for the Vaughan Williams “The Old 100 th Psalm Tune” and some festive season hymn settings for Rally Day. Organist Dr. Gamble completed the “Old Hundredth” theme by playing the John Knowles Paine “Variations on Old Hundred” for the closing... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Thursday, August 16, 2018
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But we never sing "Amazing grace"

I am a pastoral musician. At least that is what I tell the choristers in my charge when I am choosing and rehearsing anthems and what I tell myself when I am selecting hymns for the congregation to sing. Truth be told, I do try to choose “the old favorites” during the summer months when we do not have the choir in place for a few weeks. While attempting to remain faithful to our rich worship heritage of liturgy and lectionary readings, I do dive for the familiar hymns. The... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Tuesday, July 3, 2018
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One to the Power of 3

Trinity Sunday. What does one say? The sermon on Trinity Sunday, you know, is always the one that the rector makes either the deacon or seminarian preach because you wind up talking in circles anyway. Wondering what I said in this blog about Trinity Sunday last year, I reached back into our electronic files only to discover and remember that Trinity Sunday was much later into June 2017. Hence, I did not write a Trinity Sunday blog last year. We all know the images. Father, Son and... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, May 21, 2018
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And now, from a cubicle

Welcome to the Music Department. Yes, this is it. Our parish offices are now relocated in temporary space loaned to us by the lower school of St. Mary’s Episcopal School, diagonally across the street from our Walnut Grove Road church campus. The center of the lower school campus is Moss Hall, the majestic old brick mansion with white columns. The foyer is resplendent with a circular staircase, center chandelier and an Oriental carpet on the stairs. A former private... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, May 14, 2018
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Grace, all sufficient

In March every year, the Holy Communion Ringers, our parish handbell choir, attends a local handbell festival. The festival, River City Ring , is sponsored by the West Tennessee Handbell Association, an affiliate of the Handbell Musicians of America. Church of the Holy Communion maintains memberships in both the local and national organizations. While our local handbell festival usually includes 10-15 choirs from around the region, some handbell festivals feature upwards of 75 choirs... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Friday, May 4, 2018
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Out with the old, in with the new

As most everyone knows, our parish is making immediate preparations for a $7 million building construction and renovations project. Storage pods (nicknamed Paul, Silas and Timothy) now stand on the east lawn waiting to be filled, and every picture and plaque has been removed from the walls of Blaisdell and Greenwood.  This is the assigned week for the music ministry to pack up and vacate. Last Sunday our choirs vested in the vesting rooms and retrieved their music folders... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, April 23, 2018
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Traditional, accented with practicality

Christian worship in denominations that follow liturgical practices is rich with symbolism and tradition. Growing up as a Methodist, with moderate (not conservative) Baptist on the side, I was familiar with solid liturgical traditions, thanks to John Wesley, who “was an Anglican priest all of his life,” as my grandmother continually said. When I arrived in graduate school and auditioned for five part-time church positions (two Congregational, two Lutheran, one Episcopal), I took... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, April 16, 2018
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Friendship, community, hospitality and grace

We have all heard the jokes, as inspired by Matthew 18:20: “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there I will be in the midst of them.” Likewise: Where two or more Baptists are gathered, a chicken must die and be fried. Where two or more Methodists are gathered, there will be a covered-dish supper. Where two or more Presbyterians are gathered, a vote will be taken.  Where two or more Episcopalians are gathered, there will always be a fifth. Have we noticed... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Wednesday, April 11, 2018
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April 4 now embedded in every fiber

In 1968, I was attending kindergarten at the Presbyterian church in my small hometown in South Carolina. The next school year, my first-grade class was the first integrated grade in our school district. I knew there were differences with black people and white people, but other than going to different churches at the time, I do not remember any other real differences. My preschool best friend and I used to walk together up Main Street to the county library branch for Tuesday morning... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Wednesday, April 4, 2018
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Behind the Easter anthem

By now the world should know that I like text-driven music for the liturgy. Of course, I have my favorites. We all do. I love the Mozart Ave verum corpus, which technically would work for Communion all the time. And since we celebrate the Eucharist every Sunday, we could “liturgically, legally” sing it every Sunday morning. It is also no secret that I would program the Victoria O magnum mysterium every Christmas Eve if given my druthers. For me, that marriage of text and... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, March 26, 2018
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