Action Zones 

From the Rectory March 2022

SIMON WARD 12-2018It’s Lent but I am not going to talk about giving things up or encouraging holy thoughts and practices. Instead I want to encourage us all to join and celebrate the wonderful life God has given to us
A few weeks ago, it was announced that the BBC Concert Orchestra is to take up at three-year residence in Great Yarmouth. This will include a lot of work with schools and other community groups and the intention of the whole scheme is to encourage participation, enjoyment, and wellbeing through engagement with music. There will be lots of fresh ideas around how to engage with people who otherwise don’t easily access cultural activities. For example, there is talk of pop-up orchestral performances where an impromptu performance is given in an unexpected public space such as a market place or seafront area
While some will have noted this cultural coup as a huge bonus for Great Yarmouth there will be others who haven’t really noted it. Still others will dismiss an orchestra as not for them and unlikely to make a positive impact for the wider community. Personally, I am optimistic about the opportunities presented here although I have to admit, I’m no orchestra aficionado. Cultural assets enrich our lives and build community
Our parish has a wide range of cultural activities, mostly but not exclusively centred around the Minster. There are frequent exhibitions and recitals all of which celebrate the God given talent for creativity which exists in all people and is more strikingly expressed by some. Our Music Outreach Programme which has run over the last five years aimed to increase engagement with music, particularly the young. It has been pleasing to see young people coming to sing in the Minster as well as other ages engaged in music and part of our task will be to reimagine how this work can continue to grow, broaden and diversify. Music is good for people of all ages!
There is far more to culture than music and Great Yarmouth has a wealth of it at present. It augurs well for a vibrant and creative future for our town: this is welcome and positive news. It’s well worth having a listen to “Front Row” on Radio 4 which was aired on 9th February where there is a fantastic piece explaining these cultural assets such as Out There Arts, the Banksy murals, Yare Gallery, and more
A question is about how does the church view these cultural activities? I’d like to think that Christians can embrace the whole of life as a gift from God. Therefore, when we see creativity happening it should be seen as being part of God’s gift. When we see an amazing act; hear a stunning performance; listen to a beautiful melody then in each of these instances we are a part of the wonder and glory of the God’s marvellous world. I hope our hearts can always join in whenever and wherever we witness something beautiful 
Fr Simon
Rev Canon Simon Ward
Team Rector, Great Yarmouth Parish


this article also appeared in Parish Life


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