at last night's labyrinth at grace chris read dreamed up the idea of music out of the ground - at various points headphones were there to stop and listen. ipods (in plastic bags) were buried in the ground with a track set to loop. in fact all the ipods were playing variations on the same track - cello, guitar, vocal, spoken word. they were from a forthcoming ep that chris and harry baker are putting together of contemplative poetry/soulful music combinations - watch out for it on proost later this summer. anyway it's about time for a worship trick - so this is no 52 series 4. steve has a photo set here
the design of the labyrinth is the one at ealing common by mark wallinger
proost now has a us site at proost.us!
for years we have had this cool little thing in the uk called proost which is home to wonderful inspiring resources that have been produced from artists and communities doing creative things. this includes movies, books of authentic liturgies, music, experiences such as the labyrinth and so on. but to access the resources you no longer have to come to the uk site and negotiate foreign currency of pounds - it's all in dollars.
the big deal (and you guys love both big and deal) is that you can subscribe for a hundred dollars for a year and that enables you to log in to the back end of the site and download anything you like.
we have some friends in the usa but not enough! so if you know about us do spread the word - in many ways this is still a hidden gem. but thought you'd like to know...
if you are planning ahead for easter have a look at proost's resources for easter. there's some classics there and a few new things.
on the subject of new it's wonderful to have a new artist or two on proost - steve leach (who is also training on the cms pioneer course) has an ep gardens with three electronic tracks responding to the three gardens of eden, gethsemane and paradise.
restless: evening prayer for restless hearts also looks and sounds really beautiful - from tim snyder and aaron strumpel - both also new on proost! the sample track on this page is quite amazing...
following oin from my first post about lent resources on proost, we have published another! and it's a first on proost for andy freeman - francis: stories and reflections
This new devotional book comes from Andy's love of St. Francis and includes creative rewritings of the stories of Francis mixed with practical activities, prayers and reflections. There are forty daily devotions in all so it is perfect to accompany Lent but also can be used at any time throughout the year. The book is also accompanied by five original drawings from Andy's daughter Jess.
i always like to have something on the go daily in lent and if you too like that then this fits the bill.
these are ideal to share round the meal table with a family or household or to share in a community or church. they look great on a laptop or ipad. the cost works out at 50p a movie which can't be bad. enjoy!
you can access all of this content when you like for a year if you subscribe for the ridiculously low price of £60.
- Faith/doubt Becoming
- The world is beautiful
- The world is broken
- Laughing out loud
- The far horizon
- Learning to love
occasionally something comes along that is a wonderful surprise. this happened to me recently when a book arrived in the post called and we will become a happy ending. it's a collection of stories and sayings, ponderings and pictures that describe a church called theStory in canada - it fuses meditation, liturgy, prayer, art, theology. it's laid out beautifully like a coffe table book. it really is amazing. you can preview the book here
when things like this come along i find myself filled with hope. it's a real labour of love. it's available on proost i am delighted to say - proost exists for precisely this sort of creative publishing that comes from the bottom up. it's available as a downloadable pdf. of course if you are a subscriber it's available as part of your subscription! i actually have 10 physical copies that i have bought - they cost me around £15.50 each by the time postage is added. i am very happy to pass them on at cost price so if you know me or bump into me just ask. or you can order it through amazon.
proost has lots of resources for easter. you can search in the seasons section of the site under good friday or easter. or there are a bundle of links in the latest news update. if you wanted something to follow through holy week crucify this jesus has liturgies for each day beginning today...
i have linked to and blogged about lots of things on the blog over the last ten years. feel free to scroll through anything i have tagged easter.
i thought this letter from brian walsh was a rather delightful invitation to come home in holy week...
yes that's probably a true statement but it's also the latest album from the reverend jon birch! i don't know if you caught it earlier this year but jon released an album which took old southern usa gospel samples which are over 90 years old and so out of copyright and created tracks around them. well he enjoyed it so much he has now made two more albums. there is something about gospel music that has such a wide appeal and is joyful and uplifting. the characters he has found include the likes of blind lemon jefferson - what a great name! anyway all that is by way of saying that this world's in a hell of a fix and witness are both available on proost this month. if you are a subscriber you can download them as part of your subscription... enjoy!
i absolutely love the music made by dubh. we're really excited this month on proost to have added dubh's latest somnia along with two from the last year or two that we hadn't caught up with gentle sabotage and the insurrection EP. i listen to a lot of instrumental and quite chilled electonic music anyway and jonny's (jonny mecewen that is a.k.a. dubh) is right up there for me. i've been listening to it non stop since i got it. it's emotional and for me has a warmth and a longing in it. I can't quite find the words to describe it - aching, beautiful, haunting. perhaps the title of his firet album fractured broken and beautiful is as good a summary as i can think of. i also think this music makes a great atmosphere for worship/art installation type events. i asked jonny a bundle of questions which you can read here. one was how he thought this music connected with worship to which he replied
Music helps create a mood, gives hints of what is to come. It fills the gaps, creates a coherence, fills awkward silences, or insures that any silences are intentional.I started creating music in the context of ikon, because I had a hunch that, like Lebowski’s rug, it would tie the whole thing together.
we've had a really good year on proost so far - it's always a little unpredictable who is going to come up with what each month but we are definitely on a roll. if you subscribe which is only £60 for a year you get access to the whole back catalogue and new content each month. we'll be reviewing the price later this year and putting it up a bit as it's been that since we relaunched a few years back. but for the time being the price remains the same and if you subscribe you will be able to access all of dubh's music as part of that (and as ever it's available as individual items).
it's been quite a remarkable few months on proost. wonderful content has just made its way to us as if by magic! we've had seasons before where we've had to do much more searching it out. this month on proost we have two new artists which we always love...
tim dendy is a london based freelance video maker, vj and photographer who is in moot. years back we did a series of worship images in a video tape as it was then between the ground breaking collective one small barking dog and grace. anyway he has created 7 movie loops using time lapse photography that are really gorgeous - VJ Loops 4. tim's loops seem to blend both the beauty and fast paced nature of life in the city. if you look on the VJ loops 4 page you can watch one of the loops there. in keeping with the ever shifting realm of technology we have made these loops hd size - i.e. great quality and size.
then we have an album dark matter from a feckless boy. they hail from scotland and their music is soulful, aching and spiritual. there's something in the scottish soil that seems to cultivate this sort of soulful artistry in wonderful measure. have a listen to the preview track beza's song on the album page.
chris yaw contacted me a month or so back and asked if he could interview me for churchnext.tv via skype. we explored imagination, creativity and mission. the interview has just been posted. i've not met chris but he is buidling up quite a collection of interviews around mission, church, culture and so on on churchnext
jon birch has been having fun. he got hold of some southern gospel songs over 90 years old so out of copyright and has recorded an album out on proost this month called the devil don't stand a chance. it will uplift your spirits and bring a smile to your face. here's what the 'reverend jon birch' has to say...
I do not claim these songs as my own, just the production of the tracks. These songs do not represent my theology, but i love their spirit, their humanity, their heart and the amazing spontaneity and emotion in these amazing performances. It won't be long before the original recordings on which these tracks are based are 100 years old. The idea that no one except historians and people with a special interest will hear these songs again is just too sad to contemplate. I hope you enjoy listening to these tracks as much as I enjoyed making them.
you can have a listen to one of the tracks on the album page...
we think it would be fun to do a remix album of these tunes. if you would be interested in remixing a track let me know.
i'm very excited because we have a brand new proost web site which has gone live today! proost is a site full of creative content - movies, books of liturgies, music, and worship experiences.
we re-invented and re-launched proost in August 2007. having initially been a label to release our own music, we wanted to shift to being a platform for other creative artists who fuel faith in imaginative ways. many of those artists are part of alternative worship communities or emerging churches who seem to produce beautiful art for worship that often only gets seen or heard by a few lucky people in that community. so we hoped to unearth that treasure for a wider audience. we wanted to diversify content beyond music to include liturgies and movies and anything else that caught our imagination. and we also re-launched to get with the [download] times making all our content or as much as possible downloadable.
but 4 years on and it's amazing how things change - time for a refresh. so we hope you like the new look and feel of the site. have a browse around, try it out, let us know what you like or if you think anything needs a rethink. if you find anything that doesn't work or look right let us know that too as there will doubtless be a few teething issues...
this time the site is in house designed by blueprint - the company of aad, one of the proost partners, which we're excited about. big thanks to tony especially!
lent begins tomorrow - a season i love where traditionally the church prepares for easter by focusing on what it means to be a disciple of christ. we have vastly improved the categories of content so for example you can now search through content for seasons of the year such as lent to find gems such as last year's cave movie or the seemingly timeless 40 by si smith (yes you can now also view an artist's page to see all of their content).
we have two new books this month that are both ideal for lent.
polaroids is a beautiful mix of poetry and photography. the minute we saw it we loved it. the poems are grouped under four themes - humour, crying, asking and waiting. peter christensen is new to proost - a kiwi living in thailand where he offers retreats and spiritual direction to christian workers throughout asia. poetry offers him a way of exploring faith and life without restrictive conventions. i am definitely adding this to my material to reflect on through lent.
if you want something more immediate beat tweets by tim watson is a collection full of 140 character (or less) prayers, petitions, liturgies, dreams, hopes, fears and statements originally tweeted by @BeatLiturgist.
if you are a subscriber or registered you'll get an e-mail today inviting you to make the switch across to the new site. subscribing still represents great value on proost as you can access all the content -which has currently grown to over 60 movies, around 40 albums and 25 books, and 3 interactive worship experiences. the user experience is much neater all round. we hope you like it. do let us know how you get on and we'd love any feedback. enjoy!
this months release on proost is explorations by ned lunn. it's a poem/prayer in the pocket size book format. ned is part of the rough edge collective in durham who did the beat eucharist if you came across that on proost or at greenbelt. so this is very much in the same genre of the beat poets. as ever it's available as a pdf or physical book. if you are outsude the uk you can order it from lulu. In the contemplative tradition there are two schools of though about prayer or two paths of spirituality. one - the via negativa - is that in the presence of god what can be said - words cannot begin to express so best say nothing or very little. the via positiva is equally in awe in god's presence but responds with an abundance, an overflow of speech. so the stream of consciousness is very much in that latter tradition. ned says why it suits him
In any sentence I want to reference or expand on individual aspects of one concept or idea and everything soon becomes interconnected. The stream of consciousness style of writing helps me to journey along the many trains of thought, to detour and find my way around the network of my inner life. It makes the act of writing a process of discovery and, in reading it, you’re invited to journey with me and, as much as we can in the static product, we discover together.
The overuse of vocabulary captures, I hope, the beautiful tension between reverent silence and the drive to speak constantly about the wonder and amazement aware at all times of the limitation of our own language.
it's devotional, and quite unique.
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where i come across creative ideas, liturgies, movies, music tracks, service outlines or anything that strikes me, i add them as worship tricks. i started these in april 2002 when i first began blogging and they have built up over the years so that i am now on the third series. this has proved a pretty popular feature of the blog.