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‘Singing Angels’ singing group remastered by Curate Claire Cox

Published: 3rd April 2024

People of different ages gather round Claire and a screen with words on to singCurate Claire Cox launched a new multigenerational singing group last month at Old Swinford Church in Stourbridge. This is the third time Claire has found success with her ‘Singing Angels’ format as a way to praise God and build community, after she also helped start a group at St Marys in Kingswinford. Claire is hopeful the format will continue to be replicated elsewhere and is happy to help launch new groups across the Diocese.

The format of the singing groups developed by Claire focus very much on having fun, and they cover a range of songs from well-known hymns and pop songs that have a Christian meaning, through to musicals and Disney songs too. They also have a break for refreshments and to talk about Jesus and read a prayer. 

The first ‘Singing Angels’ group Claire started was at St Andrew’s Church on the Straits in Lower Gornal and was just for children. Back then Claire says she was just an ‘ordinary mum’ who started the group as a way of thanking the church community.

Claire said:

“Singing Angels is so close to my heart and we’ve bought everyone with us on the journey. We weren’t really churchgoers, but we got my son Albert baptised in early 2012 at St Andrew’s Church on the Straits as our local church. He was born critically ill in 2011 and was still so terrifically poorly at that time. It’s a lovely local congregation and they literally picked us up, took us into their arms and just carried us, and have done ever since.”

Claire says the church later sent out a feedback form asking for suggestions of what they could do differently to attract more of the local population to church, and it was this that prompted Claire to think about how she could use her talents to help them with this aim. Claire has a background in amateur dramatics. She enjoys singing and knows how to download backing tracks from iTunes which she has found is all that is needed to start a singing group.

Claire says:

“The week I launched the first Singing Angels group at St Andrews on the Straits, we only had about four children and I felt quite deflated, but word got around and in no time at all we had a good-sized group, and a few months later we had to introduce a waiting list!”

“All the time I was running it, I was just thinking it was so much fun and I didn’t consciously realise for a while how my family and I were on our own journey and growing as Christians ourselves. I spent ages researching and reading bible stories so I could talk about Jesus and answer any questions. I found myself wanting to learn more until it just became this hunger and thirst that I just couldn't quench and that’s what led me to start my journey to ordination”. 

“Sadly, with the pandemic and me moving for curacy, that Singing Angels group doesn’t run anymore but we had children come along to it whose families weren’t accessing anything else church related. At least five or six of the families who came, who never would’ve come into church otherwise, crossed over and joined other groups and services at the church.”  

Last autumn Claire supported Children and Families’ worker Sian Morgan in setting up another ‘Singing Angels’ group for children at St Mary’s in Kingswinford. Claire has now launched a further group at St Mary’s, Old Swinford, which has the same ethos, format and purpose but is multi-generational. They had a fantastic turn-out at their first session on Mothering Sunday with 35 people and look forward to seeing how the group grows and develops going forward. They’ll be meeting on the second Sunday of each month. The next two dates will be 14 April and 12 May.

Claire said:

“Each week I’ll download some backing tracks from iTunes and maybe put some actions to the music and play about with it, but it’s just about being together in that space. It’s nothing formal like working towards a show or anything. There are some amazing singing groups in the local area that you can feel like you have to be super talented to join, such as knowing how to harmonise and read music, whereas here it’s about connecting with God and each other through the lyrics and the simple joy of singing, and fellowship.”

If you are interested in starting a similar singing group in your church, please email Claire for advice and support. Email: mailto:clairecoxcofe@gmail.com.

Page last updated: Wednesday 3rd April 2024 1:59 PM

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