John L. Bell: Plymouth Congregational Church 2016 Visiting Scholar Series
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ANCIENT CELTIC GIFTS FOR MODERN TIMES
An Interactive Workshop in Word and Song
The Celtic Tradition has been undergoing its fourth or fifth re-incarnation in the past thirty years. For some people white doves, rainbows and harp music are the main features. However, the more we dig into the origins, the more we find refreshing truths to challenge and liberate our personal spirituality and public witness. John Bell will present three sessions combining lecture, workshop, and congregational singing.
Schedule of Events:
FRIDAY, October 28, 2016
6:00 PM REGISTRATION
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM SESSION 1: WONDERING AND WORSHIPPING WITH THE WORLD
The Celtic tradition goes back 5000 years and has always had a global dimension to it. The Celts did not begin in Scotland or Ireland, but early Christian missionaries from these countries had a universal vocation. Predominant in their spirituality was the belief that worship was not simply a human endeavor, but was something which creation was constantly doing. It is to the song of the earth as well as the angel-song of heaven that our voices are invited to join.
SATURDAY, October 29, 2016
8:00 AM REGISTRATION
9:00 – 11:00 AM SESSION 2: SINGING WITH AND TO THE INCARNATE JESUS
The evangelism of Ireland and Scotland happened without coercion or bloodshed. This is partly because the image of Christ presented to the ancient peoples was one of a befriender rather than a despot. For them, Jesus was of their flesh and blood, and therefore vulnerable and understanding. Too seldom has the singing of the church celebrated this bigger Jesus, sometimes preferring to steep Jesus in silence and gift-wrap.
11:00 AM – 1:00 PM LUNCH BREAK (on your own)
1:00 PM – 3:00 PM SESSION 3: THE BIBLE AS THE FAMILY ALBUM
Illiterate people, such as the ancient Celts, did not have pocket sized Bibles, but exhibited a dynamic and imaginative engagement with the scriptures. They did not regard the Bible as a book of religious conundrums which only the ordained can interpret. We will take up the challenge to investigate this living relationship with the text in conversation and song.
Books and CDs by John Bell may be purchased after each Session.
Child care for children ages 5 and under is available at all sessions, but advanced reservations are requested.
SUNDAY, October 30, 2016
SUNDAY MORNING 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, AND SUNDAY EVENING 6:00 PM - John Bell will preach at all three services as guest minister.
John L. Bell Biographical Information
JOHN L BELL…is a native of Kilmarnock (Scotland), living in Glasgow, where he works with his colleagues in the areas of music, worship and spirituality, as a Resource Worker for the Wild Goose Resource Group. He is a hymn writer, author and occasional broadcaster on national radio and television, but retains a primary passion for congregational song. He lectures, preaches and conducts seminars across the denominations in Europe, the Americas, Asia, and in Southern Africa. John Bell studied Arts and Theology. After spells of voluntary work in London and Amsterdam, and engagements in student politics, he was ordained by the Church of Scotland. For ten years he worked in youth ministry before transferring to concentrate on music and worship. He and the work he shares with his colleagues has been honored by the Royal School of Church Music, the Hymn Society in the US & Canada, and the University of Glasgow, the first and second of which bestowed on him the status of Fellowship, the third a Doctorate.
THE WILD GOOSE RESOURCE GROUP…is a semi-autonomous project of The Iona Community and an expression of its commitment to the renewal of music and worship, consisting of John Bell, Graham Maule and Jo Love (Resource Workers), and administrative staff, based in the Community’s Glasgow office. For over 25 years, the Group has been engaged at local, national and international levels, enabling lay and ordained leadership. In association with colleagues and friends, the Group has produced a large range of music books, CDs and resources for worship which are published throughout the English speaking world, with some materials available in several European and Asian languages. For further information, please see: www.wgrg.co.uk
THE IONA COMMUNITY…is an association of men and women, lay and ordained, fully ecumenical in membership, committed to the renewal of the Church and Society. The members, around 270 in number, keep a rule of faith which concerns their prayer life, time, money, engagement in promotion of social and international justice, and which requires them to meet regularly in regional or plenary gatherings throughout Britain. Begun in 1938 by (Lord) George MacLeod, a Presbyterian minister, the Community has had a catalyst effect within Britain in the areas of peacemaking, ecumenism, justice and liturgy. Only a few members live on Iona, as members of the Resident Group. Others, married and single, have their own secular jobs which range from retired miner to cathedral musician. The work of the Community is supported by over 2500 associates & friends who live worldwide. None of the members are monks or nuns, nor are any required to be aficionados of Gregorian Chant or experts in Celtic Spirituality.
THE ISLAND OF IONA…is a small island (3 x 1.5 miles) off the West Coast of Scotland. It was there that St. Columba landed in 563 to begin a mission which evangelized much of Scotland and initiated a much larger process of evangelization which had an effect throughout the British Isles and onto the continent of Europe. The Celtic witness in Iona diminished towards the end of the first millennium. The primitive Columban settlement was replaced by a Benedictine Abbey including a small Cathedral Church. The buildings were destroyed in the 16th Century by Presbyterian reformers and lay in ruins until, in the late 19th century, the landlord, the Duke of Argyll, substantially rebuilt the cathedral, designating it as a place of worship for all Christians. The rebuilding of the monastic ruins of the Abbey marked the inception of the Iona Community. For further information, please see www.iona.org.uk.