by Revd Lee Francis-Dehqani, Team Rector
I have just returned from a half-term break with my family near Aldeburgh, my first trip to this most English of places, synonymous with the life and work of Benjamin Britten. I was particularly interested to see the striking sculpture on the beach The Scallop, dedicated to Britten and created by Maggi Hambling. Fifteen feet high, it consists of two interlocking broken scallop shells. When unveiled, in 2003, it provoked some local opposition, but I thought it extraordinary.
Most striking for me were the words, from Britten’s opera Peter Grimes, pierced into the upright shell. I hear those voices that will not be drowned. Some consider them inappropriate as they recall the haunting memories of the chief character over the death at sea of his apprentice. I found them deeply challenging.
There are voices we need to hear in society that are currently in danger of being drowned out; those of the poor and marginalised, the old or weak, the outsider and voices different from ourselves. I am proud when the church stands up for and listens to these easily drowned out voices and I am troubled when the church becomes itself a booming deafening voice that silences others.
Maybe your voice is not heard politically, socially, religiously or even within your relationship. We are very bad at listening to the voices of others. I have placed a postcard of The Scallop on my desk to challenge myself to attend carefully to these voices, for they will be our teachers.