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Churches up against musical challenges

St Edmundsbury Cathedral Bury St Edmunds
St Edmundsbury Cathedral Bury St Edmunds

A report published by St Edmundsbury Cathedral has revealed that churches in England are struggling to improve and expand musically.

The 140-page report was carried out over two years and saw 444 of the 478 churches in the Diocese give feedback on the state of music for worship via an online questionnaire and phone calls.

It revealed that only four per cent of churches surveyed had an organist aged under 30, with many sharing their musicians with several other churches.

Furthermore, 28 per cent said they used recorded music to accompany congregational singing due to a lack of musicians and more than half of churches would like to introduce new styles of music but felt hindered from moving forward.

Richard Hubbard, music development director for St Edmundsbury and Ipswich who carried out the report, said: “The challenges facing music in churches is primarily because of the number of calls of people’s time on Sunday mornings, particularly with young people.

“It’s no longer an easy time to get people into church as it’s competing against sports activities and other things that children do at weekends.

“But with the InHarmony project, we are going to have a go at changing that. We are going to take every opportunity to help churches to move forward.”

Mr Hubbard also included a number of recommendations for the churches, including making use of those in the congregation who play an instrument and encouraging children and adults to develop their creative skills.

Churches were also urged to develop links with Church of England schools, to encourage a shared approach to worship that benefits both church and school.

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