Reflection had its origins back in the mid-sixties, among Christian students at Cambridge University, in a group attached to the University Church of Great St Mary's called the "Cambridge Twentieth Century Church Light Music Group" - quite a mouthful!
Initially this was simply a group of singers supporting special services which used the published hymns and songs of the "Twentieth Century Church Light Music Group" written in a twenties style by Geoffrey Beaumont, Patrick Appleford and others) with the accompaniment of a university traditional jazz band. Gradually, however, it attracted other musicians and writers, who began to create their own material and explore more deeply the nature of Christian worship.
Two of the members, Michael Lehr and Richard Spence, were determined to continue these activities after leaving Cambridge and gathered a group of like-minded individuals together. Their first venture was an EP recording of Michael's "A Mass of Saints and Sinners" (a beat setting of the BCP communion service that had been published by Josef Weinberger Ltd).
A half-yearly newsletter "On Reflection" was started (which later graduated to an international quarterly magazine "Living Worship"), worship conferences were organised, and the rapidly-expanding Reflection team soon found its services in considerable demand throughout the UK.
Although the organisation (as it was becoming, although always voluntary) branched out into the fields of drama, dance and film, music always remained a central activity, and over the years Reflection's musicians and singers created or produced and distributed a varied range of albums and cassettes on the Reflection label. Full details can be found on the separate Reflection Records page.
Reflection's activities expanded widely, and there were two major presentations with a worship theme in the 70s, "Hosanna - A Portrait Of Jesus" and "Sonburst - A Search For Christmas", both of them in central London at the Central Hall, Westminster.
Live excerpts of the former were issued on Reflection LP RL307 with the same name.
We were also asked to assist with other recordings, starting with the Christian musical, "Lonesome Stone", RL306, and progressing to recordings for the Church Pastoral Aid Society for their "Youth Praise" and "Psalm Praise" songbooks. There was also a "Sounds Of Salvation" package for the Methodist Missionary Society.
Eventually members of Reflection spread out across the UK and other parts of the world, and it became difficult to keep in contact, let alone engage together in practical activity with churches. Distance and family commitments inevitably took their toll.
Nevertheless, a group of members around London formed the Splinter Theatre Company, and their work together culminated in a successful and imaginative production at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe - "Three Of Hearts".
Although aware of the growing practical pressures, we felt called to a final project, linked to the Church of England's "Faith In The City" report. For whatever reason it was not to be, and we had to recognise that we had done what was right in our time, and had to leave developments to the new generation.
For quite a few years, "Reflection" was dormant, although former members remained in contact and continued their work in their own churches whilst exchanging ideas. The expansion of the Internet opened up new possibilities, and Michael Lehr took up the challenge on the musical side.
Initially, the objective was just to highlight and make available again some of the music that had proved valuable in the 60s and 70s, but had been overshadowed by more recent developments. However, the development of the world-wide Christian Songwriters Group mailing list in the late 90s also led to a fresh flowering of creativity, and many of the songs that resulted from collaborations in that arena are now also available on this site.
Of course, many others are now doing much the same thing, and it's a cause for great praise. However now that Reflection Christian Music has established a presence, it will do all that it can to continue the work that the original Reflection was called to!