Saturday, November 19, 2011

The RPCNA Psalter: A Review

When I was in my early teens, my family discovered the Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland (via the magazine).  After a few visits to the congregation in Chesley, Ontario, we began singing from the 1650 Scottish Psalter in family worship.

When I went off to college, and for a few years after graduating, I attended a large nominally-Reformed church with a contemporary worship style.  At first I liked it, but it got old fast.  Many of the praise choruses they sang were loosely derived from the psalms, but singing (or listening to the praise band sing) the line "Better is one day in your courts than thousands elsewhere" a dozen times in a row (or more) is hardly the same thing as singing Psalm 84 (one of my favorites!) in its entirety!

When I found myself single again, and free to choose a new church, I began attending a congregation of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America (RPCNA), where they sang the psalms from The Book of Psalms for Singing--and sang them a cappella, and with enthusiasm.  After years of contemporary worship music, I found it immensely refreshing!

However, once I moved to Texas and started singing from the 1650 Scottish Psalter again, I really fell in love with it, and felt as though I'd come full circle back to the best Psalter.  I appreciate the much-closer correlation between the psalms we sing, and the prose psalms.  Also, I really prefer singing from a split-leaf, where you can choose the tune to use with a given psalm, as opposed to being "stuck" with a tune that might happen to be one that you don't know, don't like, or can't sing.

I am very thankful for the RPCNA church and glad that they sing and appreciate the psalms.  And I would far rather sing from the RPCNA psalter than go back to praise choruses!  But I'm also glad that the church I belong to now uses the Scottish Metrical Psalter rather than The Book of Psalms for Singing, or the newer version, The Book of Psalms for Worship.

Some time ago, I came across a good review of the RPCNA's newest psalter, The Book of Psalms for Worship.  Now I'm guessing that few of my readers are connected to the RPCNA in any way, so this review may not be specifically relevant to most of you.  However, you may find it interesting anyway, because it does address a few objections commonly made to the Scottish Psalter, like the use of "outdated" language including the thee's and thou's. 

Book review: The Book of Psalms for Worship

This review was written by Mr. Andrew Meyers, an elder in an independent Reformed church in Virginia.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Wedding Bells

Wow, I had a big surge of blog hits on Saturday and Monday!  I know why you're here--you want to hear about the wedding, don't you?

Dave and Sarah were married on Friday.  The wedding was lovely (happy, but a little sad at the same time), and the reception quite enjoyable.  I took lots of pictures and I'll post a few in a minute, but first I have to give you an update.

When I wrote about Sarah's wedding shower, I said it was too bad that Sarah's sisters Leah and Rachel wouldn't be here for the wedding.  Well, as it turns out, they were here after all!  You see, Leah had to come back to the US a little earlier than expected.  And it would have been very difficult to fly back alone, while pregnant, with two small children, so her sister Rachel came along (with two of her own children) too.  While it will no doubt be hard for Leah and Caleb to be separated till March, the silver lining to the cloud is that Leah and Rachel were both able to attend their sister's wedding!  How nice to have all seven siblings together for the momentous occasion. :)

I'm sure you are all eager to see pictures, so here goes:

The groomsmen were all Canadian cousins of Dave's: Jonathan, Ben, and Randy.  The bridesmaids were Sarah's sisters Anna and Leah, and her cousin Shelby.  Ushers were Sarah's brother Josh, and Dave's brother Casey.  Here is the receiving line, after the wedding.  Left to right: Sarah; Dave, giving his mother a hug; Jonathan; Anna; Margaret greeting Ben Kuiper; Leah; Randy; Mr. Kuiper walking past Shelby; Josh; and Casey.

The wedding was performed by Rev. John MacLeod of London.  Here is Rev. MacLeod outside of church, talking to Donald from--you guessed it--Scotland.  As you can see, it was a beautiful day, warm and sunny.

The head table at the reception.  Left to right: Randy, Ben, Jonathan, Sarah, Dave, Anna, and Leah.  I managed to cut Shelby out of the picture somehow.  Oops!

But I did get a nice picture of Shelby later on (she's on the right), with Anna, and a Canadian fellow who decided to jump into the picture. :)

Mr. and Mrs. Kuiper were very happy to have gained a daughter-in-law.  Look at their smiles!

Here is Sarah with her stepmum Anna.  Anna had the most beautiful purple hat.  Sadly, I did not get a photo of the hat.  

Leah is supposed to be staying off her feet and taking it easy, but she was a trooper and managed to stand through most of the wedding, only sitting down for a few minutes at the end.  I tried to help her take it easy by taking Brooklyn off her hands at every opportunity.  Of course, I was competing for Brooklyn with Leah's siblings, who are also happy to hold Brooklyn every chance they get!
Here are Leah and Shona looking pretty.

Shona was happy to reunite with her cousin Olivia.  These two get along beautifully.  They have long conversations that the rest of us can't really understand.  Shona is concentrating on her candy here, but of course just after I took the photo, she gave me a beautiful smile. :)

Our accessor elder from Scotland, Mr. MacPherson. 

My sister Mercy and her mother-in-law, also the bride's aunt, Terry.

Jenny and Martha from Canada.  

A good-looking Dutch couple. In the background are Dave and Sarah with Rachel Winkels.  

Another good-looking Dutch couple--well, half Dutch--Mr. and Mrs. Weprin. :)

Dave and Sarah with John, who is looking forward to a wedding of his own in about two months.

Stephanie and Carl.

My boys.  Easily the most handsome young men at the reception!

James and Hayley with their two boys.  Hayley made the wedding cakes--cheesecakes that is.  The chocolate caramel pecan cheesecake was fantastic!

Last but not least, Nat and Gerrit, photographer and assistant photographer, respectively.

(Is that enough photos for you?!  Sorry I don't have a better shot of the bride and groom!  Though if you're on Facebook, you've probably seen photos there, and I'm sure there will be more forthcoming on Facebook and on a blog or two.)

Now, sadly, we must say farewell to Dave and Sarah, who are off to Canada to start a new home together.  We wish them the best in their married life.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

More Psalms on Soundcloud

A few days ago, I was happy to discover a new set of psalm recordings on Soundcloud. These have been posted by a young man in Glasgow who has recorded himself singing soprano, tenor, and bass. (This same young man also posted another set of recordings made at a Bible study in Glasgow; I wrote about those back in February.)  Niall has a fine voice and these are a pleasure to listen to, though I do miss hearing the alto part!

My favorite of these recordings, so far, is a recording of Psalm 50 to a short-meter tune previously unfamiliar to me, Golden Hill.  Golden Hill is an old American tune, and can be found in the Sing Psalms split-leaf published by the Free Church.  Sing Psalms also contains another of my favorite tunes, Land of Rest.  I'm not impressed with Sing Psalms as a psalter, but I may have to get a copy some day just for the tunes.

I would love to post a player of the recording of Golden Hill, but sadly Soundcloud will not allow me to do so.  You will have to visit Soundcloud to listen to it there (and download it if you wish).  Also listen to Niall's other recordings.  He is posting new recordings every few days, so check back often!

Psalm 50 v 1-6 to Golden Hill

More Psalm Recordings by Niall

I will add these to this index of online psalm recordings shortly.  I've gotten behind on adding new recordings to the list, but will try to catch up soon. :)