accordions, community, music & marvellous memories

Michael Hawn

Michael Hawn

I’m sitting in railway station,
Got a ticket for my destination …

Well … sort of; exception that it’s an airport lounge in Canberra. Dale and I have been down here for almost three days at Wesley Music Centre’s & Wesley Uniting’s Celebrating our Faith seminar on word and music in worship. 200 folk from around Australia, and three superb international speakers: Michael Hawn (USA), John Bell (UK/Scotland/Iona Community) and Colin Gibson (New Zealand). One of the best music/worship conferences I’ve been to in a long while!

I particularly appreciated the great teaching, humour, encouragement, challenge and music from Hawn and Bell. They are a great gift to the world church.  Often people are so attracted to the music that John Bell writes, sources and leads (usually in congregational 4-part harmony) that one forgets how excellent a teacher, preacher and storyteller he is.

I had read a  bit of Hawn’s writing over the years – he offers much to the wider church in the area of world.multicultural music and worship.  Did a lot of wonderful justice songs too – a real encouragement and challenge for me. Also a wonderful comedian – as last night’s concert extravaganza proved – Michael doing this wonderful standup comedy act with a piano accordion – all about (very much tongue-in-cheek) accordion evangelism.  He had us all in stitches.  John Bell was behind me- he was cacking himself.

John Bell

John Bell

It was great having several Queenslanders there – including Cliff, Wendy and Eric from my home church.  They all gained much from the weekend. Dale and I were invited (almost 3 years ago) by Gregor Henderson (ex-UCA President) and local UCA minister there, to lead an elective next time around. As already blogged, this was on Contemporary Australian Worship Songs. We were happy with the way our two elective sessions went.  In a church known for its high quality classical and choral music – to kick off an elective session with Reuben Morgan’s “For all you’ve done” was a bit risky. But hey!  If you’re talking Oz worship music, you’ve got to mention Hillsong — a shame you’ve got to filter the wheat from the cahff, though.  We were able to use five of my songs over the weekend:

  • Holy Spirit come
  • Deeper into you
  • Celebrate Emmanuel
  • Sing with joy to God
  • Jesus- healing man

We also played tourist – Friday morning at the National Gallery; this afternoon at old Parliament House.  Yes, I stood on the very place where Gough Whitlam uttered those memorable words at his dismissal back in 1975.

Now we board in about 45 minutes.  Can’t wait to get home. More special music around the corner: next Sunday’s Reformation Sunday services with a special Bach tribute amid our 10 am service; with more than a nod to Calvin too.

Soon … homeward bound.  Cheers


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