Chris McClarney in the UK!
This year sees the first foray into the UK for Nashville-based worship pastor Chris McClarney. Combining one of our large summer festivals (week-long New Wine), with our leading winter worship retreat (Mission Worship), Chris also stopped by the small town of Braintree, Essex (around 40 miles North East of London) on Saturday night to play an intimate worship set at Christ Church Braintree.
In my review of Chris’ album last month, I described my enjoyment of the simplicity of the production - it came across as a sound that would sound good if replicated in a live environment. My thoughts on this proved accurate, with a set-up that you’d expect to find in most churches - leader (Chris with lead vocals & acoustic guitar), electric guitar, keys (provided by Claire Hamilton, who also did backing vocals and led a couple of songs) bass, and drums.
The worship set was powerful, yet with a subtlety of arrangement and mix that meant that everyone could be heard, with no element of the band being too overpowering. A rhythm unit of Tim Cooke’s drums (Soul Survivor & Worship Central) and Matt Weeks’ bass (Vineyard UK) gave Chris & Claire a solid platform from which to express themselves, and express themselves they did.
Chris used several of his own songs, including “Your Love Never Fails”, “Defender”, “Your Love is Everything”, and his heartfelt version of “Blessed Assurance”. Interspersed with these came a variety of other well-known worship songs - his versions of “Came to My Rescue” and “Heart of Worship” particularly resonated with me.
Chris has a very open style to worship leading - he was very receptive to what the Holy Spirit had in store for us, and devoted a good amount of time in many of the songs to prophetic singing, revelation and response. Also included in the set were 2 songs led (and written by) Claire - a great praise chorus in “Come Satisfy Us” and the evocative “Lend Me Your Heart” - a superb song asking to further know (and indeed, be lent) Jesus’s heart for compassion, justice, mercy and grace.
Chris gave us some great time to get to know him after the service, myself and my wife were able to spend a good 20 minutes talking to him, and it was nice to get to know him better. I’m pleased to say that Chris will be joining us twice more this year, for the New Wine summer festival, and also for the Mission Worship retreat in November - I am attending both events and am now looking forward to it more than ever!
-written by Ed Rotheram
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