Church music should pace with the times

From: Ruth Pickles, Hutton Road, Hutton Cranswick, Driffield.

NOT for the first time I find myself disagreeing with Martyn Scargill (Yorkshire Post, October 21) regarding church music.

There has to be room in our churches for different genres of music if the church is to go along with the times and for some of our younger people to be introduced to it and perhaps through music coming to find faith.

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Yes, we have many old and wonderful hymns with uplifting tunes, such as those quoted by Mr Scargill. However when many of them were written they were the “trendy ditties” of their day, and were disliked intensely by a goodly percentage of the congregations at the time.

No-one would be so impertinent as to write “a new tune for Jerusalem”. But at the same time, scores of the old hymns contain very difficult words and phrases, and the accompanying tunes can only be described as dirges. I think of the hymn that begins ‘Christ is made the sure foundation’ which contains the immortal line ‘Consubstantial, co-eternal, while unending ages run’. What does this mean? I know it concerns the Trinity, but if I don’t understand it, as a life-long and now older church-goer, how can we expect our younger people to derive any meaning or comprehension from such words?

No, Mr Scargill, there is no obsession to “get rid of everything written before the year 2000”; at the same time we can choose and use the best of the old tunes alongside newer, updated modern music and words.

Within the last year, I have been introduced to a wonderful new tune written by Pete James to the old hymn What a Friend we have in Jesus – you can listen to and see it on YouTube. Could this man be the new John Bacchus Dykes, born in Hull in 1823 and who penned more than 300 hymn tunes?

There must be room in the church for all music, otherwise in another 20 or 30 years time our congregations will be non-existent, the older folks having passed on to ‘That land of pure delight’.

Litter-picking not ‘madcap’

From: M Brewster, Butt Lane, Snaith, Goole.

I COULD not believe the letter from Peter A Ellis (Yorkshire Post, October 22) regarding benefit claimants picking up litter as being slave labour and a bizarre plan and madcap.

Is he a bit over the top on this issue? Does he not think the unemployed should be made to do something for their benefits? It is a belief we have had for some time, along with clearing snow in winter.

My husband and myself can often be seen picking up litter locally – we are not on benefits, we do it because are ashamed of the mess and have pride in the place where we live, and do not feel like slaves.

It is a sad fact that littering is becoming worse, and need to educate people not to drop litter.

I would think that most benefit claimants would be only too willing to put some thing back into community if such a scheme were to be implemented, especially as the local councils do not have the resources to do the work any more due to cutbacks.

MP’s pressure yielded results

From: Margaret Crawshaw, Halifax Road, Ripponden, Sowerby Bridge.

HAVING just read MP Fitzgerald’s letter re BT (Yorkshire Post, October 22), perhaps I can offer a bit of advice. I wrote to you in September after experiencing similar problems as did GAW Heppell, who wrote before me.

In addition to my letter to you, I wrote to my MP principally to see if he could do anything about offshore call centres. Within two days of that communication, I received a telephone call from the chairman’s office of BT from a charming lady who told me they had been contacted by my MP and she proceeded to sort out my immediate problems.

Perhaps if other customers of BT also contacted their MP they might have their problems sorted out; at the very least MPs are going to be inundated with constituents dissatisfied with the customer service offered by BT and maybe some pressure will be brought to bear on the company.

By the way, I still have the telephone number of the chairman’s office but perhaps I shouldn’t disclose it here.

Supermarket exclusive

From: Mrs W. Abbott, Boulsworth Avenue, Kingston Upon Hull.

YOUR article on supermarket price matching schemes and the lengths these companies go to brought a sardonic smile to my face (Yorkshire Post, October 21).

We recently received an invitation from Tesco to take part in what they describe as an “exclusive Christmas offer”.

To qualify, we must spend £130 every week for the next four weeks and in return they will send us a £70 money-off bonus coupon, which can be redeemed if we spend a further £130 or more in a single transaction. This amounts to a total spend of £650.

Will customers see this as Scrooge in disguise? What do other readers think?

No sympathy

From: Mrs Ann Brennan, Bessacarr, Doncaster.

I USUALLY feel deep sadness for couples who have a child abducted or murdered.

However, in the case of the McCanns I find it difficult to sympathise with them. No sensible parents go out socialising, leaving three small children in an unlocked room.

Imagine how frightened little Madeleine felt being carried away by a stranger.

Plea for help

From: Peter F Meal, The Pines, Huby, Leeds.

THE copious bounty of this present season of mists and mellow fruitfulness may be all very well for some, but to me it has meant filling a dustbin with acorns, all of them gathered from my patio! Any thoughts as to what I might do with them?