Music Unites

Music unites: an interdenominational choir concert in Ebern sings “crucifixion”


Erika Stockbridge kindly sent her translation of the article in a local newspaper reporting the performance of Crucifixion; this is an edited version

They all sat, side by side – Christians from the Roman Catholic and the Lutheran parishes, from the Anglican Church and people from the Islamic faith. Together – no questions asked.

As an interdenominational joint venture this was a first in Ebern – and it was a great success. “That was good! We should do that more often!” commented a member of the congregation at the end of the concert.

It was The Revd Alan Stockbridge, who, with his enthusiasm for English church music, was the driving force behind this joint project. During his many years in England he had become acquainted with the composer John Stainer (1840-1901) and, especially, his oratorio “Crucifixion”. Alan suggested an ecumenical performance of “Crucifixion” to the leaders of the Ebern church choirs: “Lauentius” and “Cantabile” – of the Roman Catholic and Protestant churches respectively.

This cooperative musical effort has strengthened the link between the Protestant and Roman Catholic parishes, that will surely remain into the future. It was not for nothing that the clergy of the different denominations came to the concert in their liturgical vestments. The Revd Kenneth Dimmick, Anglican Area Dean in Stuttgart, ceremonially handed a cross of nails from Coventry to the Ebern clergy, Pastor Bernd Grosss and Fr Rudolf Theiler. This cross (originally forged from nails of the roof timbers of the Cathedral in Coventry almost totally destroyed in the Second World War) serves as a token of reconciliation between nations, cultures and religions.

“It is one cross for both parishes; it is to be shared,” so said the Anglican to his brothers in Christ. Together with the Easter candle, this cross will move back and forth, year by year, on Easter Sunday, between the parishes.

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