Thanksgiving, already

Thanksgiving Day is next week. From whence did that come? I feel as though we just finished our All Saints' Day and Remembrance Sunday celebrations. And now it's Thanksgiving. In my profession, some colleagues have called this upcoming church music season the "All Saints' to Christmas Uphill Mad Dash to the Manger."  As Thanksgiving Day in the United States always is the fourth Thursday of November, the holiday this year is the earliest that I can ever... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Glory, honor and valor

In 2008, we began what has become a beloved Holy Communion parish tradition, singing a setting of a Requiem with orchestra on a Sunday morning once a year. We sing this Requiem in memory of the faithful departed who have been buried from this parish since last All Saints’ Day. For a number of years, we sang the Requiem on the Sunday after All Saints’ Day. When, in 2012 we combined our former 9 a.m. and 11:15 Sunday services into one 10:30 liturgy, we moved the ... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Tuesday, November 6, 2018

All the saints adore Thee

All Saints’ Day (November 1) is today, the day when we remember all those who have gone before us. In the Episcopal Church, we have quite a list of major saints and “minor saints” in our liturgical tradition. Those “minor saints” are listed in our supplemental liturgical book A Great Cloud of Witnesses, formerly known as Holy Women, Holy Men and Lesser Feasts and Fasts. The Book of Common Prayer (1979) lists the “red letter” feast... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Wednesday, October 31, 2018

All praises for Stewardship

Stewardship season in the church. That dreaded time when we “ask for money.” Truth be told, stewardship at Church of the Holy Communion is very good and in every way. We give to the parish budget in measure and return of how God has blessed us. The parish staff guards and carefully uses these funds to carry out our numerous programs for children, youth and adults. We also use these funds to support any number of social ministries in our diocese and in our city, from... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Join rector's lead in the choir loft

The rector sang in the Parish Choir yesterday morning. A first for me. Throughout the years, a number of associate rectors and deacons have sung in my various choirs. Two in recent memory love to sing so much that they look for personal opportunities outside church to sing regularly, which I think is quite healthy and wonderful. I have also known a number of bishops who love to sing. During my cathedral days, our bishop would roll his eyes at me if (when) I tootled a fanfare on the... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Monday, October 15, 2018

The disciples and their BFF

I have always been intrigued by Jesus’ relationship with his disciples. Even as a child, when my grandmother would read me Bible stories from those big Bible story books she kept at the house at the lake (there was also one big book at the in-town house for nights I spent there), I remember being interested in Jesus and his interactions with the disciples. For example, Jesus’ relationship with Peter: Jesus expected Peter to be the grown-up, the eldest, the one to whom the... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Tuesday, October 9, 2018

God moves in a mysterious way

Last Monday I had not one idea about what to explore in this blog this week. After Tuesday afternoon service leaflet editing, and after Wednesday evening choir rehearsals, I now know exactly what is on my mind this week. Last Sunday morning's 10:30 service music was our normal fare of the grand Anglican via media mixture of music: a Hispanic carol, a contemporary American psalm, Bach and Buxtehude at the organ, Rutter’s arrangement of “Lord of the Dance,” five... Read More
Posted by Dr. David Ouzts at Thursday, September 27, 2018

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

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

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

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

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

Firsts

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

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

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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