Inventive churches turn to Bob Dylan

Mainstream Christian churches in England are not allowed to have community sung worship at the moment, because of the necessary rules imposed by the government during the pandemic.

The churches in England are still allowed to open and of course, the singing of hymns has been a staple of the major denominations for centuries.

Some of the churches that are still open are being inventive. Because solo musicians and singers and small groups are still allowed, here’s one that in previous weeks has incorporated jazz and classical music into his menu of musical items and this week adapted some Bob Dylan songs into the heart of its service.

Here are some of the service highlights:

Seasonal music – another good reason for the season

If you’d have said to me when I was a young adult that I’d be enjoying Christmas music later in my life, I would probably have laughed at you.

But here I am, it’s 2019 and I have many Christmas albums and it feels untrue how we develop and change. Now, it has to be said that any fascination for Christmas I had when I was younger had been turned right around by the time I hit my teens and in the intervening years some remarkable transitions have taken place in my life. These have caused me to re-evaluate why Christmas should be celebrated – and celebrated in a totally different way. But, back then I had exactly one Christmas-flavoured record. It revolved at 45rpm and had one song on each side. Now, I have more than thirty albums of seasonal music – mostly songs of faith and about the birth of Jesus but some that are just about the festival and carry their own joy.

This list may come too late for you to listen to them but at least it gives you some time to add to your own collection before next year. It is the nearer the day when the true love brought five gold rings than the day when we celebrate the birth of the Messiah – so perhaps you’ll find some jewels here for 2020:-

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A Byrd in Flight – Eight Miles High

Who: Roger McGuinn (An Evening with Roger McGuinn – solo , mostly acoustic)

Where: Cadogan Hall, London (Just off Sloane Square)

When: 26th September 2014

I last saw Roger McGuinn in concert in 1987. He was third on the bill behind Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers and headliner Bob Dylan on “The Temples in Flames” tour as it stopped off in Birmingham at the NEC. Dylan was having an off night and McGuinn’s set was, for me, the highlight of a concert I wouldn’t choose to revisit.

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