Archive for the ‘Billy Graham’ Tag

Feast of Erik Routley (October 8)   Leave a comment

Above:  The Flag of England

Image in the Public Domain

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

ERIK REGINALD ROUTLEY (OCTOBER 31, 1917-OCTOBER 8, 1982)

English Congregationalist Hymnodist

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

…”pop” is normally utterly uncritical of musical statements which are pretentious, unbalanced, and foolish.  It exaggerates, sometimes cretinously.  It permits, and encourages, fantasies of grandeur.  It associates only too easily with extravagance and infantilism.

–Erik Routley, Twentieth Century Church Music (London:  Herbert Jenkins, 1964), 206

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

That accurate statement gets to the point.

Erik Routley comes to this, my Ecumenical Calendar of Saints’ Days and Holy Days, via hymnody.

Routley, born in Sussex, England, on October 31, 1917, became a master hymnodist.  His parents were John Routley and Eleanor Routley.  Our saint graduated from Magdalen College, Oxford (B.A., 1940 M.A., 1943), with an emphasis in classics.  Routley, ordained a minister in the Congregational Union of England and Wales in 1943, married Margaret Scott the following year.  They had three children, born in 1947, 1949, and 1953.  Routley graduated from Oxford with his B.D. in 1946; his thesis became The Church and Music.  Six years later he earned his doctorate at Oxford; his dissertation became the basis of The Music of Christian Hymnody (1957).  Meanwhile, Routley was a parish minister in Wednesbury and Dantford (1943-1948) and at Edinburgh (1959-1974).  During the interim he served as Lecturer in Church History, Librarian, Chaplain, and Director of Music at Mansfield College, Oxford.  Our saint also edited The Bulletin of the Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland from 1948 to 1974.  If that were not enough, he founded the Guild of Congregational Organists in 1951 and served as President from 1951 to 1959 and from 1970 to 1972.  Our saint became a Fellow of the Royal School of Church Music in 1965, too.  Furthermore, Routley chaired the Doctrine and Worship Committee of the newly-merged United Reformed Church, starting in 1972.

Routley, who spoke at U.S. seminaries from 1962 to 1975, moved to the United States in 1975.  He became Professor of Church Music at Westminster Choir College, Princeton, New Jersey.  He also traveled across the country, lecturing, preaching, and leading workshops and hymn festivals.  Our saint, a master of hymnody, composed 34 hymns and wrote 37 books.  He understood the link between hymnody and theology, recognized changes to old harmonies, and knew the lyrics of hymns well.

Routley was not shy about expressing his opinions regarding hymnody.  In 1964, for example, he excoriated the music at Billy Graham crusades:

In secular life the natural pressure of the new “pop” drives out old “pop”.  The fittest survives–and what is the fittest of this week’s “pop” to survive into the next generation nobody can possibly tell by examination.  But a church has a disastrous squirrel-like propensity for hoarding.  Everything that has been put to sacred use must be preserved:  to throw it away seems to be sacrilege.  So music whose proper office is to be here today and gone tomorrow (and this is not to call it bad music) is hoarded and subjected to constant use for which its strength is simply unequal.

This is why “pop” there is a legitimate exaggeration, even caricature, of colour and emotion.  It is vulgar.  Of course it is vulgar!  It is as vulgar as the exaggerated colours of an advertisement for detergent.  It is designed to make an immediate impact and then go its way.  To repeat it, go on wallowing in it, is like putting up that advertisement for detergent in your drawing room and keeping it there thirty years.

Twentieth Century Church Music, 201

Routley, aged 66 years, died in Nashville, Tennessee, on October 8, 1982.  His great unfinished project was Rejoice in the Lord:  A Hymn Companion to the Scriptures (1985), the next official hymnal of the Reformed Church in America.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

OCTOBER 9, 2018 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT DENIS, BISHOP OF PARIS, AND HIS COMPANIONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT JOHN LEONARDI, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF THE MOTHER OF GOD OF LUCCA; AND SAINT JOSEPH CALASANCTIUS, FOUNDER OF THE CLERKS REGULAR OF RELIGIOUS SCHOOLS

THE FEAST OF ROBERT GROSSETESTE, ENGLISH ROMAN CATHOLIC SCHOLAR, PHILOSOPHER, AND BISHOP OF LINCOLN

THE FEAST OF WILFRED THOMASON GRENFELL, MEDICAL MISSIONARY TO NEWFOUNDLAND AND LABRADOR

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Erik Routley)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Advertisements