Franklin pastor receives award

Published 10:46 am Thursday, December 9, 2010

FRANKLIN—In October, the Rev. Ed Pickup of Emmanuel Episcopal Church received a “wonderful early Christmas present.”

It was an e-mail notifying him that he was selected for the honorary award of Associate of the Royal School of Church Music for his service as a chaplain to several of the organization’s courses for 21 years.

“It is an award for achievement in church music or liturgy of national significance, or for important musical or liturgical work within the RSCM,” Lindsay Gray, the director of the Royal School of Church Music, wrote in a letter to Pickup.

“It came as a complete surprise,” he said. Despite the “posh” name, he said, the Royal School of Church Music, headquartered in England, is essentially a charity with about 8,500 member churches in English-speaking countries.

“It’s really a charitable, educational organization that exists to help promote church music throughout the English-speaking world,” Pickup said. “It’s about essentially praising God through music.”

He will travel to England in May for a service called Celebration Day at Peterborough Cathedral north of London. At Celebration Day, six people will be honored with fellowships, three will be honored with associateships — including Pickup and three will receive honorary memberships.

“The thing that’s kind of remarkable to me about this is that it’s not going to some priest in some great big monumental church in the United States, it’s coming to basically a country pastor in a small church,” Pickup said. “That’s unusual.”

The pastor at Emmanuel Episcopal for nearly 20 years, he wasn’t allowed to tell anyone about the award until December, when the Royal School of Church Music made the announcement publicly. Church members, he said, “are very happy.”

“It’s a very kind recognition,” Pickup said. “It’s more generous than I deserve, but I’m thrilled to have it.”