JOHN BELL VISITING SOUTH AFRICA: 1-14 SEPTEMBER 2017
He is not a qualified musician. Yet he received an honourary fellowship from the Royal School of Church Music (1999) and an honourary doctorate from the University of Glasgow (2002) of which he had been the rector. He never started off as a hymn writer, but ended up as the convener of the committee for the revised Church Hymnary (2005).
John Bell made and is still making an immeasurable contribution to the music of faith: ‘While people often forget what they hear preached, they remember what they sing.’ (John Bell quote)
He met with believers from various cultures, wrote down their songs, as well as the story behind them. From Guatemala comes: The peace of the earth be with you, … the peace of the rivers be with you … God’s peace growing in you.
Many of his hymns reflect a more modern theology, and tend to the neglected plight of the marginalised. One hymn has a cantor sings God bless our bread with the people responding, and give bread to all those who are hungry…
With Graham Maule he wrote a hymn where the Holy Spirit is depicted as female: She sits like a bird, brooding on the waters. In vain would you look to traditional hymn books expressing grief over the death of a baby. John Bell sings We cannot care for you the way we wanted, or cradle you or listen for your cry …
Poverty and injustice is confronted: Jesus Christ is raging, raging in the streets, where injustice spirals and real hope retreats.
John Bells Visit to South Africa
His visit to South Africa is organised by Prof Hansie Wolmarans (UJ / Community in Christ) and supported by the Royal School of Church Music in South Africa. Come and listen to him:
- Saturday 2 Sept (14h00-18h00), Bedfordview Methodist Church, workshop on “The Purpose and Practice of Creative Worship” (inquiries firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Sunday 3 Sept (09h30-10h30), Bedfordview Methodist Church, preaching on “The anatomy of change in church life” (inquiries email@example.com).
- Sunday 3 September (17h30-18h30), Community in Christ (cnr 5th Ave, and 6th st, Melville), service of worship, song and music (inquiries firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Tuesday 5 September (13h30-15h00): Talk at University of Johannesburg (B-ring 712, Auckland Park Campus), “The Greening of God—The Bible and Ecology” (inquiries email@example.com).
- Wednesday 6th September (18h00-20h00), St George’s Anglican Church, Parktown, talk “A life in a comma. Looking at the distinctive features of Jesus’ earthly ministry” (Inquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Thursday 7th September (18h00-21h00), Workshop, University of Johannesburg (Auckland Park—Humanities Common Room C-Ring 319). “Developing participative styles of prayer and liturgy” (Inquiries email@example.com).
Please contact Prof Hansie Wolmarans, convener of the organizing committee, for more information: 082-887-5665 (cell) / firstname.lastname@example.org.