Monday, May 11, 2009


I have long felt that being in the Anglican communion would be worth it if only for the titles. Why be the choir director, when I might be the choir master? Why be Pastor King or even Rev. King, when I might be The Right Reverend, or optimally the Most Right Reverend? How cool would that be? And just to be able to aspire to the post of Canon ...

But on a serious note, I have appreciated one particular Anglican title. I see that the term is applied and used in other ecclesiastical circles - currently or historically - but I only know it through the Anglican Church. That is the Precentor. (And the awesome Canon Precentor, which woudl be very cool.)

The Precentor's role is primarily to order, and sometimes to lead, public worship. Rarely if ever would it include the role of organist or choir master. I sometimes try to describe my role here as Precentor Choir Master. Which sounds fun enough even though it is unlikely. But in fact it is a fairly accurate, if somewhat nerdy, description. If there is any place for a "liturgist" in this free church tradition, I guess that's what I do. It's just that if I were Anglican, I'd have a cool title to go along with it.

Reflecting on this now because we are working through some changes in our morning services this year. With a new senior pastor, we have introduced a complementary scripture reading - a radical innovation in an independent evangelical conregation! We are also trying to incorporate into our services the Bible verses learned in a church-wide scripture memory program. Rather than simply have the "Bible verse moment" I have tried to place these verses apporpriately for the unfolding of the service, ideally so people can see how Scripture informs our gatherings. It has not been smooth. How much simpler the "Bible verse moment" would be!

Along with these changes, we are also re-learning and re-assigning the various service roles for the ministry staff. So the senior pastor is not doing all that our former senior did, and the others are preparing and doing more than before. Lots of change to manage! It all takes time.

If only it came with a cool title ...

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