Minutes of Sacred Harp Singings

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United Kingdom Sacred Harp Convention

Cancelled Due to Covid-19 Pandemic

September 19-20, 2020

Sadly, due to the pandemic, we were unable to meet and sing together. However, a memorial lesson was observed on Sunday, September 20, a transcript of which is here submitted.

In these uncertain times, it seems particularly poignant to be conducting a memorial lesson when we cannot be together to comfort one another in singing for our loved ones.

In the UK we refer to the Sick and Housebound rather than sick and shut-ins, but for many of us, sick or not, the “shut-in” aspect seemed particularly appropriate this year as we were all confined to our homes in lockdown. It certainly made me reflect more about what it means to be shut-in.

As many of us will have done, Ted and I were able to get out for walks everyday and were able to see our family either from the end of the driveway or in distanced meetings in the garden. But I was desperate for the usual closeness and hugs from our children and grandchildren.

During that time when it was really just Ted and me for days at a time, we had one another to talk to, to moan at, to share our fears and worries. But this just made me ponder all the more on how lucky we were and what it must have been like for someone living alone, to have no-one in the same house; not to have that close personal contact; what it means to be truly shut-in.

We always consider those of our singing family who are sick and resolve to contact them and let them know that we’re thinking of them. We also need to consider more fully the fact that it is not only those who are sick, but those who are alone and lonely too.

The saddest part of this pandemic has been, not only in the deaths it has caused, but that those who were ill and dying were unable to have their families around them at a time when love and comfort was needed most—not to be able to say goodbye when the time came and for the families not to be able to mourn together and comfort one another. I cannot imagine how that must feel.

But our loved ones live on in our hearts and in our cherished memories of them. We should always keep talking about them and remembering them.

Right now, we all have the hope and expectation that one day, hopefully soon, we will be able to meet and sing together again. It is that same hope and expectation that will lead us to meet our loved ones again on Canaan’s happy shore.

Sick and Housebound: Ozella Blackmon, Cath Saunt, John Hopkinson, Curtis Owen, Melanie Hauff, Pauline Hoyland, Barry Rollins, Jesse Vear, Neil Rossi, Vonnie Chantler, Jack Stringer, Don Walker and Charlotte Walker.

Deceased: Jewell Wootten, Bill Windom, Velton Chafin, Margaret Spurlock, Ottis Sides, William Napier, Hobert Harris, Vila Mary Parris Tyree, and David Hollaway—Alabama, USA; Charlene Wallace, Bentley McGuire, Richard DeLong, and Russell Robbins—Georgia, USA; Aubrey Barfield—Florida, USA; Stephen O’Leary—California, USA; Bill Beverly—Michigan, USA; Sonny Erwin and Myrl Jones—Texas, USA; B—Washington, USA; Roy Davis—Mississippi, USA; Paul Foster—Ohio, USA; Jean Ayotte—Massachusetts, USA; Paul Luther Wilson—Minnesota, USA; Tierre Quantrell Williams, Barbara Jean Grossman, and Helene Rice Perkins—Kentucky, USA; Janis Thibault Davis—Canada; Tara Sanfey—Ireland; Angelika Stamm and Wolfgang Neugebauer—Germany; Roberto Cavallar, Irene Antolini, and Riccardo Zamboni—Italy; Thelma West, Jack Nathan, Tony Kane, Terry Bamford, Pete Gillard, Dorothy Singleton, Tony Pantling, John Stonnell, Sean Jennings, Sally Lucy, Ron Williams, Janet Sale, Des Childs, John Williams, John Brindley, Patrick Malham, Stephen Brearley, Christopher Bullough, David Pitts, Helen Thomas, and John Kappes—United Kingdom.

Prayer to close lessons: Father God, we ask you to be with all those who are sick in mind and body, especially those named here today; help them to overcome their infirmity; give strength and patience to those who care for them, even if we cannot visit them at present, give us the words to help them from afar and the will to send messages of support to them.

We thank you for the lives of those who are no longer with us, especially those who helped us to sing and to be a part of the Sacred Harp community; be with those who mourn the loss of a loved one and strengthen them in their sorrow; help us to be beside them with words and actions to give support, comfort and encouragement. And finally, we ask for your care and compassion on us all in these difficult times; in Jesus’ name we pray, Amen.

Respectfully submitted,

Secretaries—Helen Brown and Ted Brown