Tuesday, 23 May 2017

Prayers for Manchester

The Liturgical Commission has received a number of enquiries today in the wake of yesterday’s events in Manchester, asking for resources for vigil services. In addition to the prayers tweeted by the Church of England Communications team, by a number of dioceses and by other individuals, the links below to the Church of England website give a number of appropriate prayers for the world/society here https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/topical-prayers/prayers-for-the-world.aspx.

and for individuals here https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/topical-prayers/prayers-for-personal-situations.aspx.

For those needing a complete order of service, pp. 443-448 of New Patterns for Worship has an outline headed “Facing Pain: a Service of Lament” — also downloadable from here https://churchofengland.org/prayer-worship/worship/texts/newpatterns/sampleservicescontents/npw18.aspx

Some of the ‘Cross’ and ‘Lament’ (possibly also ‘Living in the world’ and ‘Relationships and healing’) resources from New Patterns for Worship might also be appropriate for inclusion in that service, or as stand-alone elements in your regular service.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 23 May 2017 at 3:31pm BST
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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Michael Perham

The Diocese of Gloucester has this morning announced that Michael Perham, Bishop of Gloucester between 2004 and 2014, died on the evening of Monday 17 April.

Michael Perham played a very significant role in the liturgical life of the Church of England, and was a member of the Liturgical Commission between 1986 and 2001. He was a contributor to the books that became Lent, Holy Week, Easter, The Promise of his Glory and Enriching the Christian Year, and then to Common Worship.

In the announcement, Bishop Michael’s successor as Bishop of Gloucester, Bishop Rachel Treweek writes:

It is with great sadness that I am writing to inform you that Bishop Michael died peacefully at home on Monday evening, April 17, following a special Easter weekend with all the family.

I last saw Bishop Michael on Tuesday 11 April during Holy Week. Not only was it good to share together in the Eucharist on that occasion but also to preside at the Chrism Eucharist on Maundy Thursday knowing that the Dean would then be taking Bishop Michael bread and wine from our service in Gloucester Cathedral with the love and prayers of the Diocese.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 18 April 2017 at 11:14am BST
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Friday, 10 February 2017

The Roman rite

This week’s edition of the Roman Catholic paper The Tablet contains a couple of interesting articles on the possibility of further revision to the English version of the Roman rite.

  • A shorter piece responds that there is little likelihood of full-scale revision of the English translation

O’Collins begins:

The new Mass translation introduced in 2010 has few admirers

and ends:

Pope Francis has just appointed a commission to revisit L.A. [Liturgiam Authenticam] This could be an opportunity for a return to the pastoral good sense of Comme le prévoit, opening the way to finally introducing the 1998 missal. It needs a few additions, such as the memorials of recently canonised saints, but it would be a blessing for the English-speaking churches, and it is ready and waiting in the wings.

Meanwhile Endean concludes:

Talk of a major revision or replacement of the 2010 missal is surely unrealistic and premature. But the frustrations that that missal is causing remain real, and a provision for other approaches would do much to relieve them. Moreover, we would be helping a new generation to conduct a healthier and less contentious revision process next time round.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Friday, 10 February 2017 at 2:41pm GMT
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Friday, 11 November 2016

Remembrance resources

Church House has released this picture and video to mark Remembrancetide.

remembrance%20prayer%202016_edited-2.jpg

The video can be viewed here on YouTube

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Friday, 11 November 2016 at 9:44am GMT
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Friday, 30 September 2016

2016-17 Common Worship almanac

cw2017.png Once again my annual Almanac, or calendar and lectionary, is published.

Each year since 2002 I have produced a downloadable calendar for the forthcoming liturgical year, according to the rules of the Church of England’s Common Worship Calendar and Lectionary, and the Book of Common Prayer.

The 2016-17 Almanac is now available for Outlook, Apple desktop and iOS Calendar, Google Calendar, Android devices and other formats, with your choice of Sunday, weekday, eucharistic, office, collects, Exciting Holiness lections, for Common Worship and BCP.

Download is free, donations are invited.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Friday, 30 September 2016 at 7:48am BST
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Friday, 6 May 2016

Further resources for the Queen's 90th birthday

Church House has published online a set of Liturgical Resources for the Celebration of HM The Queen’s Ninetieth Birthday containing: Notes of Guidance; an outline service; collects and graces; and suggested readings.

The resources are available as a PDF here

The notes say:

It is hoped that many churches and communities will be able to celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Her Majesty the Queen. This leaflet contains, by kind permission of the Dean and Chapter, the Outline of the Service of Celebration and Thanksgiving which will be held at St Paul’s Cathedral on Friday 10 June 2016. Churches are invited to use elements of this outline in their own preparations, especially the bidding prayer, intercessions, and act of thanksgiving in the appendices. In addition to the resources below, St Paul’s has commissioned the Master of the Queen’s Music, Judith Weir, to compose a choral anthem, I love all beauteous things, which can be used in the context of a celebration service and is now available.

Also included here are the Collects which The Queen has been pleased to approve for use in services celebrating her birthday, and Graces for use at church and community gatherings. Finally, the Liturgical Commission suggests a number of appropriate readings suited to a celebratory service.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Friday, 6 May 2016 at 2:27pm BST
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Wednesday, 24 February 2016

New Liturgical Commission

The Liturgical Commission of the Church of England has a five year term, and the term of the present Commission ends on 31 March 2016. The membership of the new Commission has now been published on the Church of England website here.

Chair
The Bishop of Exeter

Vice-Chair
The Bishop of Sodor and Man

Members
Ms Shayne Ardron
The Revd Canon Dr Andrew Atherstone
The Revd Philip Barnes
The Revd Mark Earey
Ms Kashmir Garton
The Revd Canon Dr Christopher Irvine
The Revd Canon Dr Simon Jones
Mr Simon Kershaw
The Revd George Lane
Mrs Lucy Moore
Dr Bridget Nichols
The Revd Canon Dr Jo Spreadbury
The Revd Canon Dr Samuel Wells

The Commission is a permanent Commission of the General Synod of the Church of England. It has a four-fold purpose:

  • to prepare forms of service at the request of the House of Bishops
  • to advise on the experimental use of forms of service and the development of liturgy
  • to exchange information and advice on liturgical matters with other Churches both in the Anglican Communion and elsewhere
  • to promote the development and understanding of liturgy and its use in the Church.

I understand that the main focus for the next five years will be to encourage better standards in the preparation and conduct of worship. I hope to be able to provide regular updates on the work of the new Commission.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 at 11:08pm GMT
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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Thanksgiving for the Queen's ninetieth birthday

The Liturgical Commission has prepared two collects (one in traditional language and the other in modern language) for use at services celebrating the ninetieth birthday of HM the Queen, which falls on 21 April this year. These have been approved by the Queen, and the Commission has asked that they be circulated as widely as possible. The Commission has also provided two graces for use at church and community gatherings such as street parties.

Collects:
Heavenly Father, who hast brought our gracious sovereign Queen Elizabeth to the completion of her ninetieth year, and dost gather her people in celebration of the same: grant that we, rejoicing before thee with thankful hearts, may ever be united in love and service to one another, and her kingdom flourish in prosperity and peace, through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Heavenly Father,
as we celebrate the ninetieth birthday of Her Majesty the Queen,
receive our heartfelt thanks
for all that you have given her in these ninety years
and for all that she has given to her people.
Continue, we pray, your loving purposes in her,
and as you gather us together in celebration,
unite us also in love and service to one another;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

Graces:
Bountiful God, giver of all good gifts,
we give thanks for the many years and long reign of our Queen;
Bless our food, our neighbourhood,
and our enjoyment of each other’s company.
Help us to learn from Queen Elizabeth’s commitment to her people,
so that our community may be strengthened
and all may flourish.
We ask this in the name of Jesus, the King of love.

Gracious God, give our Queen continued wisdom and strength
to carry out the promises she has made;
and bless (this food, and) those who are gathered here,
that, sustained by service for others,
we may faithfully serve you, all the days of our life.
[With words from The Queen’s First Christmas Broadcast, 1952]

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Wednesday, 3 February 2016 at 6:14pm GMT
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Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Consultation on Vesture

A resolution was passed at the July 2014 meeting of the General Synod asking that the Canons be amended so that clergy vesture be optional rather than mandatory.

The House of Bishops has now put out a short (6-page) consultation paper on this topic which can be read here.

The paper asks Synod members whether they support the amendment of Canon B8 to accomplish this, and if so whether it should follow the approach they present:

  • In relation to the Holy Communion and Morning and Evening Prayer on Sundays, the minister would be able to depart on a general basis from the normal requirements as to vesture, provided that he or she had first ascertained, after consultation with the Parochial Church Council, that doing so would benefit the mission of the Church in the parish.
  • In relation to the Occasional Offices, the minister would be able to depart from the normal requirement as to vesture, provided that he or she had the agreement of the persons concerned to do so. It has been suggested that the requirement for the agreement of those concerned might extend to weddings and funerals but not baptisms on the grounds that the latter generally take place in a main Sunday service and should therefore be within the minister’s discretion. Since, however, the prescribed forms of vesture would remain the norm for all three occasional offices it would seem more straightforward if the rights of those concerned were the same in each case.
  • Where the minister departed from the normal requirements as to vesture, the dress adopted by the minister should be seemly and not such as to be indicative of any departure from the doctrine of the Church of England.

The consultation is aimed at members of the General Synod who are asked to send in their comments by 15 April, so if you have views on this matter you should send them to your diocesan representatives. Copying them to the Clerk to the Synod Jacqui Philips jacqui.philips@churchofengland.org may also help.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 2 February 2016 at 7:59am GMT
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Friday, 2 October 2015

new National Liturgy and Worship Adviser

The Bishop of Exeter, Robert Atwell, the Chair of the Liturgical Commission has announced that Matthew Salisbury has been appointed to what is now a part-time position as National Liturgy and Worship Adviser of the Church of England:

Dr Matthew Salisbury has been appointed as the new National Liturgy and Worship Adviser of the Church of England. Dr Salisbury lectures in music at University College, Oxford and has considerable experience of writing and speaking about liturgy and worship. He also serves as the Chapel Warden at Worcester College, Oxford, where he regularly leads worship.

The Chair of the Liturgical Commission, the Bishop of Exeter, commented ‘…I am delighted that Matthew has decided to put his considerable talents to the service of the national Church. He combines enthusiasm for communicating liturgy to non-specialists with an interest in developing and promoting worship resources through new media. I am confident that he will be a great asset to the Church of England.’

Dr Salisbury will take up his new part-time role in Church House, Westminster (combined with his other existing responsibilities in Oxford) from early November, working alongside Sue Moore who has now taken on responsibility for day-to-day operations as Administrative Secretary to the Commission.’

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Friday, 2 October 2015 at 9:08pm BST
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Monday, 31 August 2015

2015-16 Almanac

almanac-2016.png Each year since 2002 I have produced a downloadable calendar for the forthcoming liturgical year, according to the rules of the Church of England’s Common Worship Calendar and Lectionary.

The 2015-16 Almanac is now available for Outlook, Apple desktop and iOS Calendar, Google Calendar, Android devices and other formats, with your choice of Sunday, weekday, eucharistic, office, collects, Exciting Holiness lections, for Common Worship and BCP.

Download is free, donations are invited.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Monday, 31 August 2015 at 5:12pm BST
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Saturday, 1 August 2015

Thanksgiving for the longest reign

The Liturgical Commission has drafted two prayers for use to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II becoming the longest-reigning monarch in British history, on 9 September this year. These have been approved by Buckingham Palace, and the Commission has asked that they be circulated as widely as possible.

Prayers for use when HM The Queen becomes the longest reigning monarch in British history (9 September 2015)

A Collect for use after the Collect of the Day at BCP services
Almighty God, who hast set our gracious sovereign Queen Elizabeth upon the throne of this realm, and given her to surpass all others in the years of her reign: Receive our heartfelt thanks for her service to her people, confirm and encourage her in the continuance of the same, and keep her in thy heavenly wisdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who took the form of a servant for our sake, and reigneth now in glory with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

A modern-language prayer drawing on Philippians 2
Almighty God,
whose Son Jesus Christ exchanged the glory of a heavenly throne for the form of a servant,
we thank you that you have given Elizabeth our Queen a heart to serve her people,
and have kept her devoted in this service beyond all who were before her:
encourage us by her example to serve one another, and to seek the common good,
until you call us all to reign with Christ in your eternal kingdom. Amen.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Saturday, 1 August 2015 at 9:11am BST
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Thursday, 30 July 2015

A community of forgiveness and reconciliation

gathering-03.jpg

Reading the gospel accounts it is clear that Jesus spent a fair amount of his ministry eating. Whether he’s having private meals with his disciples, picnicking on a hillside with a few thousand listeners, inviting himself or getting himself invited to dinner, or barbecuing fish on a beach, the gospels record a substantial number of mealtime occasions. Clearly there must have been many, many more meals which are not specifically recorded, but which are part of the same pattern.

For Jesus some of these meals were teaching opportunities, occasions to share with his fellow diners a story or parable or some other teaching. But they were more than just this. Quite a few of the meals are in the houses of outcasts — tax collectors, collaborators, the ritually unclean, adulterers, and other sinners. Jesus preached the good news of joy, peace, social justice, freedom from our slaveries; that in God’s kingdom our sins can be forgiven, are forgiven.

Jesus taught his disciples to pray: ‘forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us’ (Matthew 6.12, Luke 11.4); and he also taught them: ‘if you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven’ (John 20.23). Forgiveness and reconciliation happen when people forgive each other. When other people forgive us for the wrongs we have done to them then we are forgiven; and when we forgive others for the wrongs they have done us, they are forgiven. Jesus, in his life and death, in his teaching and in his actions, lived a life of forgiveness and reconciliation, even at the last, and inspires us to try and emulate that life: living in the kingdom, forgiving and being forgiven. In this way we are reconciled to one another and are at one with God. In God’s kingdom such forgiveness is freely available: all citizens of the kingdom will willingly and freely forgive the people who have wronged them, and no one will bear grudges or hurts. And everyone will be forgiven. (Of course, in God’s kingdom everyone will strive not to do wrong or cause hurt, but that’s another part of the story.)

So when Jesus sat down and ate with outcasts he showed — to everyone who was prepared to see it — how near God’s kingdom was, how it was already here among us. He showed how it was possible to live in God’s kingdom of social justice and reconciliation. Forgiveness was actualized. In the social aspect of sharing a meal together and being prepared to accept one another, to give and to receive forgiveness, to be reconciled to one another: in doing these things we can glimpse the kingdom, and indeed not just glimpse it but enjoy a foretaste — the kingdom in action, right here and now.

And that brings us back to the liturgy. Jesus’s disciples continued to share their meals as an enactment of the justice and peace of the kingdom of God, and in doing so they recognized the continuing presence of Jesus as they broke bread together. This meal continues to this day, whenever Christians gather together and share bread and wine in remembrance of Christ: Christ is present, forgiveness and reconciliation are given and received, the kingdom is brought into existence.

This then is our vision of the Eucharist. It is a vision that the Church sometimes seems to understand only very dimly, perhaps because the Eucharist — and Christianity in general — has become overlayed with so many ideas and practices that add ‘religious’, ‘ceremonial’ and ‘ideological’ complexity. Some of those layers can be helpful, and others may be less so. Here we are concerned primarily with liturgy, and how the kingdom of God is proclaimed and lived through the liturgy. How does the Eucharist exemplify the kingdom? What kinds of practice are useful? What do we need to recover, in our language and our ceremonial? What do we need to preserve, or enhance, what do we need to lessen or jettison? How has the liturgical revision of the last hundred years helped or hindered? Quite likely we shall conclude that there is no single answer, but different emphases in different contexts, with some limits, and suggestions for a range of ‘normal’ usage.

But this is our starting point: the proclamation of the good news and the recognition of the presence of Christ in the shared meal where all are welcome, where the hungry are fed, and where sins are forgiven.

‘Your kingdom come on earth, as in heaven: give us this day our daily bread and forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us.’

illustration by Leigh Hurlock, from Gathering for Worship, Canterbury Press, 2005, 2007; used with permission.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Thursday, 30 July 2015 at 8:30am BST
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Wednesday, 29 July 2015

An apology

It’s been a while since I posted here. That’s because life is busy, and time to write detailed articles is limited. Rather than wait any longer I’m going to sketch out another piece, and at some future point I will add more detail.

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Wednesday, 29 July 2015 at 9:22pm BST
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Tuesday, 28 July 2015

call for transgender recognition rite

Under the provocative headline “Should church introduce transgender baptism?” the BBC reports that the Revd Chris Newlands, vicar of Lancaster, has

asked the Church of England to debate introducing a ceremony akin to a baptism to mark the new identities of Christians who undergo gender transition.

The idea came after a young transgender person approached him, seeking to be “re-baptised” in his new identity. Similar ceremonies are already happening in some other Anglican churches.

This weekend, Nick Benn and his friends gathered at his church for a service to mark one of the most significant events in his life so far: the transition from his previous identity as a young woman, to a new life as a man.

At Lancaster Priory, Chris Newlands is keen for the Church to have an official liturgy to guide the clergy on such occasions. He wants the Church to be able to demonstrate its acceptance and love, and to help mark a milestone for someone transitioning from one gender to another.

Susie Leafe, director of Reform, is quoted, commenting on the question of ‘baptism’.

“The Bible gives us the notion that there is one baptism, so the idea of ‘re-baptising’ people is certainly something that would go against a lot of the deep theology of the Church and would be confusing.”

Posted by Simon Kershaw on Tuesday, 28 July 2015 at 11:18pm BST
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