*** DEBUG END ***

Are worshippers too proud to kneel?

22 February 2019

Write, if you have any answers to the questions listed at the end of this section, or to add to the answers given below.


Why do we no longer kneel to say our prayers in church? Are we too proud?


Your answers: The question reminds me of the playground rhyme heard in Scotland (but perhaps not so often in these more ecumenical — or religiously indifferent — times):

Piskie, Piskie, bow and ben’,
On yer knees and up again.

To this the retort is:

Presbie, Presbie, too proud to bend,
Sit ye doon on man’s chief end.

But I suspect the answer is not that we are too proud, but too creaky.

Peter M. Potter



At a service when churchwardens are sworn in, you may see only one or two in a large congregation of regular churchgoers kneel. The cause is evidently not infirmity, but habit (unless, possibly, there are no hassocks or kneelers), encouraged by those leaders of worship who do not kneel, and who invite others to “sit to pray”. When the Book of Common Prayer was widely superseded by other forms of service, long-established customs concerning posture were disrupted. Liturgists’ views on the subject are readily available; windows into ordinary worshippers’ souls are not. Editor


Your question: Is there a modern equivalent of the Anglo-Catholic Haggerston Catechism?

A. M.


Address for answers and more questions: Out of the Question, Church Times, 3rd floor, Invicta House, 108-114 Golden Lane, London EC1Y 0TG.


We ask readers not to send us letters for forwarding, and those giving answers to provide full name, address, and, if possible, telephone number.

Forthcoming Events

20 October 2021
Does the parish need saving?
Warnings that the parish is under threat date back decades. But are claims that it is now being dismantled accurate? Join our panel for a lively online debate.

21 October 2021
Transgressing Theology
From SCM Press: authors Natalie Wigg-Stevenson and Thia Cooper in conversation.

More events

Welcome to the Church Times

​To explore the Church Times website fully, please sign in or subscribe.

Non-subscribers can read four articles for free each month. (You will need to register.)