St Michael le Belfrey - The Vinyl Years

On Saturday I received a CD of a compilation of the music that came out of St Michael le Belfrey back in the eighties. This church, literally in the shadow of York Minster, experienced considerable growth under David Watson's ministry, and continues to be a significant church in the city.

St Michael's was one of those Anglican churches that was at the vanguard of Charismatic Renewal, though always in a way that was respectful of its tradition. And that's expressed in the music, which was influenced by folk music - The Fisherfolk were regular visitors and a great encouragement in the use of all of the arts - but remained within the English Church music stream.

Listening today, the songs retain their beauty, simplicity, creativity, biblical and theological content, and that elusive 'something else' which for me made them highly significant. In a very real way it provided something of a musical bridge when I was finding faith again - I certainly didn't expect to hear a worship song, 'Jesus, my Saviour' in 5/4 time! Maybe it was the lovely oboe playing of Andrew Maries, the musical director and driving force, which provided a link with my world at that time. Or maybe it was the creativity and musical excellence of Chris Norton, now a good friend, and with whom we enjoyed a splendid day in London on Saturday, talking among many things about 'The Vinyl Years'.

I guess that I still listen out for hymns/songs that have 'beauty, simplicity, creativity, biblical and theological content, and that elusive "something else"'. I don't expect every hymn/song to have all of these qualities, but when there is a good mix the result can sometimes be something special. The grumpy old man in me, especially in a nostalgic mood, wants to say, 'But it doesn't happen that often!' Am I asking too much?


Richard Avery said…
I recently sang "Thanks be to God" from this album at a St Mary's Church Sundays at Seven when my wife and I were interviewed about the experience of having a terrible cycle accident. Thanks be to God would have been sung at my funeral hymn if I had not miraculously survived and recovered.
Cary said…
I just found your blog via a google search. I love the music that St. Michael le Belfrey put out in the 80's, especially "Thanks Be to God", "Thou Dost Keep Him In Perfect Peace," and "Broken for You". If you see this comment, will you tell me how you found the CD you refer to? Many thanks!

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