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Said responses and the ‘Worship 2013’ conference

09 August 2013


From the Revd Geoffrey Squire

Sir, - Your report "Liturgy 'needs poetry and formality'" ( News, 26 July) refers to congregational spoken responses' being described as "really weird". I am not sure if "weird" is the right word; but I agree that said responses can be very odd and very poor.

When attending an ecumenical do in another part of the country, I was provided with B&B at the local Roman Catholic presbytery. When I arrived, the elderly Irish priest came to the door to greet me. His young assistant priest was behind him, and got into uncontrollable laughter. They later explained what it was all about.

In the week beforehand, they had attended the enthronement of the new Anglican Bishop, and noted that the Dean greeted him at the west door with the words "In the name of the Lord we greet you," before having to drag the said response in the same words from the people. These two priests said that Anglican liturgy was usually good, but that this was appalling.

Then, the previous night, they had heard the same thing again at the induction of a C of E priest.

The young priest asked his senior colleague whether, because I was an Anglican, he should greet me with those words, which they kept repeating, as they seemed so weird.

In France, I heard the Divine Praises sung together to a simple little chant. How much better than the priest's solemnly saying something and then the people's repeating it in copycat fashion.

And how much more united the people were when it was the tradition to chant or sing the creeds rather than say them. Advertisers know that if you wish people to remember something, you set it to a simple tune.

It needs the International Consultation on English Texts (ICET) to explore matters like this ecumenically.

Little Cross, Goodleigh
Devon EX32 7NR

From the Revd Paul Hutchinson

Sir, - Your report on the "Worship 2013" conference lists "bishops, archdeacons, cathedral canons, and parish priests" as attending the conference. But there were laity present, too. Lay liturgists, musicians (from the RSCM and elsewhere), diocesan officials, publishers, and Readers.

Fr Edward Foley OFM Cap may be correct in asserting that leitourgia is an act of service for the public, but the work of the liturgy is by no means restricted to the clergy.

The Rectory, Leven Close
N. Yorks TS9 5AP

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