Monday, January 25, 2010

Standard liturgy

In theory one ought to be able to go to an Anglican parish in these islands for a service advertised as 'formal liturgy' or 'traditional communion' or 'communion (NZPB)' and expect to be able to follow the service without surprises because it will be one of the three main services provided in NZPB. In practice the service could be advertised as "NZPB" and be informal in various ways, because the flexible option on Page 511 is being exercised. But even when one of the three main services is followed, all sorts of variations are possible. One can go into a new church, pick up a locally produced communion booklet and find that this prayer is different to that set down in NZPB and that set of versicles and responses is taken from ... well, one might not be sure without looking up on Google!

Here are some questions which may stir up some thinking in our minds:

How often does our congregation follow an NZPB service by the book, i.e. have (what I call) a 'standard liturgy'?

Is it uniformly, mostly, sometimes, or rarely?

Why? That is,

(1) is the pattern in our parish driven (ultimately) by the vicar, liturgy committee, perceived expectations of the congregation?

(2) is the pattern followed a matter of informed choice or laziness/lack of time and energy or (even) ignorance? 'Ignorance' here being about our understanding of the requirements of 'authorized worship', the canonically permissible diversity of worship, and the need to 'connect' well with people through the way we worship.

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