In today’s Guardian newspaper (16 June 2020) a letter has been published from a number of distinguished conductors of choirs in Britain. They call upon the government “to show how we can restart singing together on an equal footing with opening theme parks, shopping and kicking a football around.” They also call upon church leaders to “have the courage to speak out so that we can make singing together in churches work within certain guidelines. “

They make the point that singing in choirs does wonderful things for the mental and economic health of the country, let alone for the delights of our culture.

This is well known to us in Chingford, and only yesterday I joined in a campaign organised by the cathedral precentor’s (clergy responsible for the music and liturgy in our cathedrals) to ask the Department of Culture, Media and Sport to research how soon and how safely music might begin again in our churches. The letter I wrote to the Secretary of State is HERE.

In the letter I explain about our situation and our tradition:

Chingford Parish is one of the bodies affected by this suspension. As well as a very popular community choir at All Saints’, Chingford, the Parish Church hosts several large choirs who maintain a cathedral-style repertoire and regularly tour in the UK and overseas. We are proud to say that our choirs are among the largest and best of any parish in England. A large part of the music-making and ministry comes in careful, consistent, and professional working with young people. None of this work can be undertaken during the current situation and with current regulations.

We do not know when the government and church regulations will change to allow public worship in churches, and we don’t know if choral singing and music making will be part of that renewal. But we are working hard to make sure those in authority remember how important music is for the worship and glory of God, and for the health and prosperity of His people.

Yours, as ever,

Justin