Christianity: Aesthetics: Spirituality: Life: Stuart and Moira Gray

Stuart E Gray, BA, LTCL
Stuart read Theology at Birmingham University, and studied organ with Thomas Scotson and Robert Munns, with occasional lessons from Stephen Cleobury.

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Both subjects have fascinated him since the age of 5 when he first heard Albert Schweitzer playing Bach and attended his first 3 hour Good Friday Service as a chorister aged 6. His experience as a teacher of both subjects has meant that the evolving expression of Christianity in theology and music is central to his philosophy of life. This was coupled with his formation of a specialist choir, The Clerkes of Westminster, to sing music from the Renaissance to the present day, and his 24 year incumbency as Organist & Master of the Choristers at Limerick Cathedral.

Current Occupations

Writer on the evolution of a coherent and practical Christian theology with emphasis on spiritual healing, the role of consciousness in human existence and theology, and ecology. Developer of the web site, Aesthetic Theology, with its new concept of communication and holistic inter-relation of humanity with all things. Composer, recording engineer and producer of Church and 'New Age' Music, currently engaged on mastering the latest CD of the St Mary's Cathedral Choir, Limerick, "Above all praise and all Majesty"

Former Astuart grayppointments & Occupations

The Church Commissioners for England, ending as a senior executive, 1962-1979
Founder & Director of The Clerkes of Westminster, 1970-1979
Organist and Master of the Choristers, Limerick Cathedral, 1979-2004
Founder & Chairman, The Companions of St. Mary's Cathedral Music, 2000-2004
Head of Religious Education & Drama, Villiers School, Limerick, 1986-2000
Co-Founder of the Limerick County Youth Orchestras & Director of the senior orchestra

The Clerkes of Westminster were a specialist early music group of 8 dedicated and accomplished singers who sang in churches, abbeys (including Westminster Abbey), country houses as well as in such festivals as the Camden Festival and for Archbishops of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace.

As Organist and Master of the Choristers at St. Mary's Cathedral, Limerick, he was an innovator in terms of both structure and liturgy. He redeveloped the Cathedral Choir on more traditional lines with a young treble/soprano line-up. He also expanded the repertoire and developed the use of themed services, notably Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent and Pentecost based on medieval to modern structures. As a consequence the Cathedral Choir came to be regarded as one of the best in Ireland, making a number of recordings for the Church of Ireland and regular broadcasts for RTE National Radio. He founded and directed The Limerick Festival Choir and Orchestra, the Limerick Choristers, and the St. Mary's Cathedral Consort, a specialist early music group.

He founded with his wife, Moira, the Companions of St. Mary's Cathedral Music as a vehicle for the development of the Cathedral Choir, introducing payments for lay clerks, Music Scholarships for the Choristers, a permanent exhibition of the Choir in the Cathedral, a Cathedral Choir Web Site, purchase of music, recordings of the Choir, enhanced publicity and refurbishment of their accommodation.

As a Composer Stuart has written in many styles, from polyphonic music used regularly in the Cathedral's liturgy to experimentation with 'New Age' sounds both in their own right and as backings to choral singing, used both in recordings and innovatively on the Web. He recorded and produced the Choir's last CD, 'Christmas Carols for the Millennium', and has recently completed a CD of the final 4 years as Master of Music, "Above all praise and all Majesty".

As a teacher Stuart has taught piano, organ and recorder. On 2 occasions, piano and recorder, his pupils in Ireland performed in "Best of Ireland" concerts for puplis gaining the highest marks in the Associated Board examinations.
He was for 15 years the
Head of Religious Education at a local independent Protestant school, developing his own curriculum and forms of meditation & visualisation to suit the questioning needs of his pupils. He also founded drama in the school, building stage sets and writing a number of plays and pantomimes for them. Together with his wife and other music teachers he founded the Limerick County Youth Orchestras.

As a theologian he has written over 30 articles and 2 books (all unpublished!) but used for the benefit of his pupils. His main ideas stem from the results of modern biblical, anthropological, psychological, scientific and cosmological studies, together with a modern Stuart and Moira with Walton Empeyholistic approach to life, both spiritual and physical. He introduced pupils to courses in meditation, practical ecumenism, holistic ecology and lifestyle preparation. He was the first Anglican lay person to preach in the Roman Catholic Cathedral in Limerick as a centrepiece of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity. He took Meditation and the thoughts of Teillard de Chardin as his theme to urge unity based on an evolving form of meditation. He has trained as a spiritual healer and values highly his membership of the Scientific and Medical Network, an International organisation dedicated to the development of our knowledge about consciousness and its value, both practical and theoretical, for human existence.
Stuart and Moira Gray with the then Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Rev Walton Empey, who, as Dean of Limerick Cathedral in 1979, appointed Stuart as Organist and Master of the Choristers.

Relaxation. Time is a set of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principles for Stuart. Work that one out!

The Future is unknown. It has taken a full 5 years to recover from the Irish Experience. Life is finite, the spirit is willing and new horizons are currently being sought. Where this will end remains an unknown quantity. Perhaps that is the essence of human existence. The Universe is not static. That was never the principle of its creator. There is a constant series of death and creation within the galaxies and planets, a constant upward movement in terms of complexity, of understanding, of consciousness, indeed almost of unknowing. We know not the ending, but the journey must begin and must continue, and this journey should be one for every human being. To be human is an enormous privilege. It is one I feel I must not deny nor abandon. The weight of this is enormous but it cannot be denied. Bring on Life, bring on adversity, bring on hope and despair, bring on controversy. Ultimately and hopefully bring on enlightenment!!