REV RAY CHAPMAN: May the bonds of peace and goodwill unite us all in the power of music

Waterlooville Music Festival begins this weekend Picture by Habibur Rahman
Waterlooville Music Festival begins this weekend Picture by Habibur Rahman

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The honorary assistant priest, St George’s, Waterlooville on the church’s much-loved music extravaganza

This weekend, Waterlooville Music Festival starts its annual week-long festival.

The whole event is being hosted, as it has since it started in 2006, at St George’s Church in the town centre.

Once again, we are delighted and excited to welcome both those who will be performing as well as those attending the concerts.

It lasts from tomorrow until June 17, and the details are at stgeorgesnews.org/wmf.

When Waterlooville Music Festival first approached us 13 years ago, we at St George’s did not hesitate in agreeing to allow them to use our church.

Not only was it a logical venue in terms of our location, it chimes with the history of the use of town and village centre churches.

Music, whether it is church choirs, the traditional church pipe organ, or congregations singing carols at Christmas time, has always formed a very important part of church life. But it is not just the music that prompted us to host this festival.

Generations of people have been baptised, married or buried in church. Churches have also been the natural place for our ancestors to gather to talk, debate, mourn or celebrate.

The church clock would have told the time before we all had watches and mobiles. And the pulpit would have been the place where important news was announced, long in advance of rolling TV news and social media.

Indeed, until very recently, the church was not only an important building in the town, it was also the very heart of the community.

We are very happy to welcome the diversity of us all, united in the love and appreciation of music and with a great appreciation of the musical talents bound together in the festival.

May the bonds of peace and goodwill unite us all in the powerful medium of music in all its diversity and expression.

Part of the festival’s remit is to revitalise and build a stronger community through the celebration of music.

We see part of St George’s role in the heart of Waterlooville in similar terms. That is why we invite so many different groups to hire our church hall.

Whatever faith you may have, or indeed whether you have none, we very much look forward to seeing you at St George’s Church this week. We will make you feel very welcome.

St George’s Church is in St George’s Walk, Waterlooville.