Music in worship, essential? or not? participatory or reflective background? organ or other musicians or unaccompanied?
Wherever you go with this I think you probably lose – unless you have a niche market church!
I have been asked to speak about the worship of the Iona community, this could be dominated by a discussion about music and not mentioning music would be to miss out one important element of worship in this 'style'. But I want to provoke the thought that it is not the style of the music as used when services are typically 'Iona community oriented', or as led by the 'Wild Goose worship group' neither is it the specific liturgies, or lack of, which are used. It is rather the meaning and thought that is behind these musical offerings and liturgical selections which gives the particular style with which people associate the Iona Community's worship.
Recent experiences suggest that music in worship is closer to the heart of the people than spoken liturgy. The words we sing, or the tunes we use to express our theology seem to mean more to people than the liturgical spoken word. If the music is badly produced for a given service, does that necessarily mean bad worship? If the Eucharistic prayer is spoken in a monotone with no expression or gesture to indicate that anything is going on, surely this too would suggest a lack of attention to what is going on, yet it is when the music goes wrong that the complaints start!!
Someone once remarked that Iona worship was 'flat pack liturgy' I'm not entirely sure what they meant by that, perhaps there was always something missing for them when they tried it, or perhaps it was designed to be used in every situation, the IkEA of the worship world. Unfortunately I seem to think the opposite, that if there is something missing then you have misplaced it and each and every time of worship in the 'style' of the Iona Community needs to be tailored to the worshiping people. It is far more a bespoke design than flat pack!! Hence the resources from the WGRG which are prayers, readings, snippets of liturgy to be assembled in a bespoke way by each group that uses them.
What think ye?