IC Annual Lecture by June Boyce-Tillman: Answers to Questions in ‘Chat’

Below, June answers questions which she didn’t have time for on the evening of the annual lecture. If you want to watch the lecture again, click here.

Where can I get a music thing like the lantern shape music instrument? Sounds heavenly… looks gorgeous… loving the stories and song…

These are shanti windchimes originally made in France. They are now taken over and called Zaphir windchimes

Precision Tuned

Eight chords of different lengths, are welded with silver into a metal plate at the base of a resonance tube. Through precise tuning of the different tone ranges, the harmonic progression of tones starts switching into overtones, in a circling almost endless flow.

Zaphir chimes are well known for their crystal clear sound, beautiful colors and their quality. Handmade in France, near the Pyrenean mountains, each Zaphir chime is the result of meticulous craftmanship and 30 years of experience. Each one offers a unique sound of bliss an abundance.

In relation to Feng Shui, the 5 elements and seasons the Zaphir chimes are available in these wonderful tunings:

Crystalide (Spring), Sunray (Summer), Twilight (Autumn), Blue Moon (Winter), Sufi (Intermediary Season)

For the best sound and resonance the proportions of the resonance-tube, made of long fiber celluloid, coincides with the ‘Golden Ratio’ principles of Da Vinci.

Available at: https://www.windchimescorner.co.uk/ https://www.gaiachimes.co.uk/


You mentioned someone putting together a service with lots of different people from different places – as someone who has been live-streaming and putting together pre-recorded services, I know that takes a level of tech know how most in our churches don’t have, and takes more time than I have as a minister of two churches. Also, many in the church are not online and don’t want to be so are they not excluded?

There are low tech programmes for video editing including Open Shot Video Editor. I understand the time it takes and the lack of skill. I hope that ordination courses will include such training in their courses as it is essential in the modern world. I know that it has excluded people both ministers and congregation. I think this is an area that needs addressing seriously. I think at a national level not only should ALL school children have a laptop but so should all elders with people to help them In our church it has been a way of bringing generations together for mutual help. I think that churches could have a real part to pay in organising this perhaps in association with local schools when lockdown ends . Meanwhile we are in an in-between time as the world changes. Many churches are using live streaming as well as people present in the building and a combination of ways for pastoral care. But the use of technology and access to learning in the area is as essential for the elders as for the young.

But some people won’t use computers, not because of a lack of technical ability, but because of the damaging ‘waves’ (of some sort – sorry, I’m not a scientist!) that they put out. Or a fear / belief that computers and other technology are robbing humans of their own abilities. I think these are both serious concerns.

I do know that these ideas are about. I think the answer lies in a variety of approaches to meeting not exclusively one or the other. Computers can only take away live meetings if we stop having live meetings. On the other hand they have cut travel of every kind and relieved the loneliness of many people. To embrace the new we do not need to abandon the old but form a synthesis examining the strengths and weaknesses of the old ways of relating. I personally think that technology is a new manifestation of the Holy Spirit, linking people in new ways.

In the BLM context we don’t ‘look’ terribly diverse. I wonder what your view may be?

I think this is a very very real problem in many groups of this kind trying to see a new way forward. The solution is often to invite people from BAME communities in and not ask the fundamental question why these communities are not represented? I have no easy reasons except well-rehearsed ones:

· The struggles that many people still face on a number of fronts

· The way these meetings use things such as language and ways of expression

· The way other communities function in the form of meetings and discourse

· The power of history and experience

The great experience of churches in urban centres is that they have a huge ethnic mix in their congregations but it is not reflected in meetings such as this.

For many of the elders of the communities the church reflects a link with their own older traditions and there is a vested interest in not changing them too much. I have similar feelings; sometimes, at my age, when asked to celebrate a service using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, although I would object to much of the language and the theology, I am immediately back in my childhood church with my parents. The same would be true of hymns like Praise my soul the King of heaven which recalls weddings, funerals and baptisms in my family. The interface between theology, liturgy and reminiscence is something that needs examining. This is not much of an answer but just a few random thoughts.

At times in church history we have sought to destroy icons & images (iconoclastic) but what do we replace them with – as regards Inclusive images. BLM pulled down statues but then in

Bristol, designed their own statue to replace the Colston one. what can we do to visualise and incarnate Christ in many images or avatars ?

There is value in iconoclasm but what do we replace our images with? – a point raised by BLM replacing images on empty plinths – the Church needs icons.

The two options I put in front of people with the final hymn were either a huge variety of images or patterns (like the early church). If we need images of God then they have to be various or people will feel excluded:


1. A child once loved the story-

Which angel voices tell –

How once the King of Glory

Came down on earth to dwell.

2. Now, Father God, I miss you –

Your beard, your robes, your crown

But you have served us badly

And let us humans down.

3. So easy to disprove you

And doubt your truthfulness;

For you were just an idol

That kept Your power suppressed.

4. For You are deep within us –

Revealed within our deeds,

Incarnate in our living

And not within our creeds.

5. No image cannot hold you;

And, if to one we hold,

We keep some from your loving

And leave them in the cold.

6. Excluded groups are legion –

Disabled, female, gay –

Old Father of the heavens,

Your picture moves away.

7. Life’s processes reveal You –

In prison, death and war,

In people who are different,

In gatherings of the poor.

8. For Godding means encounter,

Gives dignity to all,

Has every shape and no shape –

In temple, tree and wall.

9. So we will go a-godding

And birth You in our world;

In sacrificial loving

We find Your strength unfurled.

(Boyce-Tillman 2014 pp. 180–1)

I would not want the image of Father God lost for, as I said above, it is one with which I am familiar. But it is overused and what about Mother God, Midwife God, Creator God, Counsellor God and so on. The debates on inclusive language are well-rehearsed in many places. There is much less debate on image. The dominance of the old father God in the Sistine chapel has led, I think, to Richard Dawkins’s The God Delusion. As with many atheists I would say: “I do not believe in the God they don’t believe in”. Where is the fat God , the female God, the black God, the wheelchair God and so on and so on? To go more radically the divinity in a tree or an animal? When visual artists do present new images they are often ridiculed or castigated; but if no image can contain God then either we need to generate a much greater variety or stick with patterns like the Jews and Muslims. I am not a total iconoclast but see the church as idolatrous in the limited images used for God and the exclusion that this has generated.

Another question about the chaos you mentioned – more than one sound at once is very hard for the hard of hearing, and some people with autism or other mental health issues or learning difficulties. By trying to include some people/tastes more, do we not end up excluding others?

Into carnival needs to come more silence (I do not mean silence filled with music). There is very little of that in many traditions (except The Society of Friends). But in making liturgical change there does need to be consultation with a wider group of people such as the Disability Planning group at St Martin in the Fields. We need to devise different styles of worship for different times and places. In her church in Lymington the Rev Rachel Noel has devised many new ways of helping some handle worship that may be difficult for them, such as offering the chance to knit or crochet.

I think liturgy cannot please everyone all the time but at the moment in many contexts but it needs to be something more than “A little f what you fancy does you good”. At present it does seem to limit possibilities.

If everyone is expected to do the same things together all the time then some may be disadvantaged but if people are allowed to do different things, silently sitting in a side chapel may be possible or pedalling in a corner on an exercise bike?!!! A quiet space for people to go to – such as the tents that are being put up in some classrooms for people with ADHD – is a real possibility in some of our churches. The ability to opt out as well as in would be a step forward and leave people free to use the space as they wish.

All this wonderful diversity is milk and honey to those of us on the margins. What can we do for those members of the body of Christ for whom the uncertainty of carnival is frightening, the prospect of change unthinkable, especially those who hold power?

This is a profound question for the Church on the nature of leadership. In a very hierarchal organisation everything has to go up to the top and down or even only start from the top and people easily get discouraged and disillusioned because either their voices are silenced or unheard, or by the time the idea has gone up and come down the enthusiasm for it has dissipated, as explored by Charles Handy in Handy, Charles (1995) , The Age of Unreason – New Thinking for a New World, London: Arrow; Handy, Charles, (1999). Understanding Organizations. 4th ed. London: Penguin Books.

Hierarchies usually have an intense desire to control and are very fearful of innovators and innovation. This does not seem to me in tune with Jesus’ ‘the kin-dom of heaven is within’ .

There is a huge developing field in varieties of leadership developing including spirituality in leadership such as


Judi Neal -FOUNDER AND CHAIRMAN Author of Edgewalkers: People and Organizations that Take Risks, Build Bridges and Break New Ground, The Spirit of Project Management, The Handbook of Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace, and Creating Enlightened Organizations.

Dr. Judi Neal is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Edgewalkers International. She was the founding director of the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at the Sam M. Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas. Judi is recognized as an expert on spirituality in the workplace and speaks and consults internationally. She received her Ph.D. from Yale in Organizational Behavior. In 1988 Judi began teaching management at the University of New Haven. She focused her research on business leaders who have a strong commitment to their faith and spirituality, and began studying how they bridged the spiritual world and the material world of business. That led to her research on people she calls “Edgewalkers.” Judi was a co-founder of the Management, Spirituality and Religion Interest Group at the Academy of Management, as well as co-founder of the Journal of Management, Spirituality and Religion, and the International Association of Management, Spirituality and Religion. She has published widely in the field, and is a popular and inspiring international speaker.

“I am passionate about organizations and teams understanding the value that Edgewalkers bring to the workplace. Usually people who have Edgewalker qualities are seen as strange and they are often marginalized. But Edgewalkers are the ones that see what others cannot see, and they have a commitment to making the world a better place. We need our Edgewalkers more than ever in this uncertain and unpredictable world. The old ways of doing business no longer work, and Edgewalker leaders, and Edgewalker organizations can show us a new and better way.”

Each of us must speak out more… even with the cost of that…

This links with the previous question about how management listens, hears or responds. The leadership of the church has been often limited in ethnicity, gender, ability whereas inclusive organisations include a diverse group of people leading. It is easy to dismiss ideas as unworkable, ridiculous or impossible when diverse people are not represented at the top. It does require courage because the risk is of exclusion. But change was never easy and always requires risk-takers. Having lived through and in the movement to ordain women in the Anglican church , it was a great risk when we started.

This lecture has been an attempt to speak out more and in its use of a variety of ways – story, lecture, poem and song – it has also questioned the way in which we present ideas in things such sermons and lectures. This may make them more accessible to a greater variety of people , although some will long for a straightforward lecture behind a lectern. I just feel moved to try new ways, as I would in a sermon in a church.

The Rev. Professor June Boyce-Tillman MBE is an international performer and lecturer, especially on the work of Hildegard of Bingen. She is an Extra-ordinary Professor at North West University, South Africa. She lectures internationally and is concerned primarily with radical musical inclusion. She is also a hymn writer whose work is used internationally.