From the Revd Simon Reynolds
Sir, - Many of us recognise the Revd Mark Earey's description of
the emerging liturgical terrain (Comment, 4 October).
While applauding the Revd Dr Edward Dowler's response (Letters, 11
October), I am left wondering why two experienced theological
educators seem not to have named the elephant in the room: the
culture of antipathy and embarrassment towards liturgical formation
in many of our training institutions.
The challenge lies not with Common Worship, but in the
dearth of competent liturgical presidents who can combine
theological rigour with a depth of pastoral and artistic insight to
enable the Church's richest provision for worship since the
Reformation to be a consistently transformative experience.
What has been lacking is a fully synoptic approach to liturgical
formation before ordination, which equips and sensitises clergy to
emerge from training with the confidence to use the provision with
discernment and imagination.
For more than half of those preparing for ordained ministry, the
leading (and devising) of worship requires the persistent
re-invention of the wheel, under pressure to be thematically
"creative" and satisfy a craving for novelty. We should not be
surprised that clergy feel ill at ease with Common
Worship, and convey this insecurity to those they lead in
worship, when they are formed in isolation from the daily pulse of
the language and contours of the authorised provision.
At present, there are just 38 words that address liturgical
formation in the Learning Outcome Statement for those reaching the
point of ordination. As I was pre- paring a forthcoming book
(Table Manners: Liturgical leadership for the mission of the
Church, SCM Press), I repeatedly requested information on the
liturgical syllabus for the new Com- mon Awards, and (where I got a
response) met repeated vagueness.
The weakness lies not in our authorised liturgical provision,
but in the culture of training, which is content to leave one of
the most public and mission-orientated tasks undertaken by the
ordained until after ordination, the inherited liturgical culture
where they serve, and the vagaries of IME 4-7.
The Rectory, Upper Church Lane
Farnham, Surrey GU9 7PW
From the Bishop of Antsiranana
Sir, - The Revd Mark Earey's article has clearly engaged some
Reading comments about Common Worship in the recent
Church House Publishing collection Moving on in Ministry,
edited by Tim Ling, led me to wonder whether the Church of
England's Liturgical Commission has reflected on the use of
Common Worship over the years.
So I asked a member of the Commission, who said, speaking
personally, of course, that this was not a significant part of the
current agenda - partly because the House of Bishops and/or the
General Synod had not asked them to do it.
Whatever we might think about Mr Earey's call for a more
strategic view, it is a bit surprising, it seems to me, that the
body charged with the oversight of liturgy that has surely made a
significant impact on the life of the Church in England, and
elsewhere in the Anglican Communion, is not itself a reflective
Might the House of Bishops, or someone on the General Synod,
encourage the Liturgical Commission to be so?
The Revd Dru Brooke-Taylor's fears of a Trotskyite permanent
revolution (Letters, 11 October) are, of course, pure
Evêché Anglican, BP 278