06 July 2012
A new book from Church House Publishing aims to re-establish
some of Christianity's oldest words of worship in the heart of the
nation. Words for Worship - compiled by members of the
Liturgical Commission - explains the origin of some of the most
popular prayers and liturgy used in Common Worship (2000) and the Book of Common Prayer (1662), some
stemming from the Bible, others pre-dating the Church of England to
medieval and early Christian times.
Contributing a preface, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan
Williams, says "it is crucial not to cut ourselves off from the
heritage of words and forms that have held the love and aspiration
of so many Christians of earlier ages".
Being launched at General Synod in York on 8th July,
Words for Worship is ideal for those who already worship
regularly and would like to know more about the origin of the words
they say; for those who are new to Anglican worship and want a
'tour' of the most popular prayers; and for those who would like a
selection of prayers to learn by heart.
As well as unpacking some of the nation's most well-known
prayers (such as the Lord's Prayer, Apostles' Creed, the Grace, and
Glory to the Father…), Words for Worship includes
chapters devoted to the responses and prayers used during Holy
Communion (such as Kyrie Eleison, Sursum Corda and the Sanctus).
There are, in addition, explanations of the origins of the
Nicene Creed, Gospel Canticles, modern collects, and prayers from
the Book of Common Prayer.
The Bishop of Wakefield, the Rt Revd Stephen Platten, Chairman
of the Liturgical Commission, says in his Afterword: "One of the
tried and tested ways of learning, even from our earliest years, is
to get to know something 'by heart'. Some parts of our experience
become so well known to us that we need no book, no reminder of the
text - we just know it by heart. This is true of so many parts of
our lives. Our prayers and thanksgivings are no exception."
The Archbishop adds in his preface: "Acknowledging that many who
are coming to our churches - especially to 'fresh expressions' of
church life - have little or no background in the old forms of
worship doesn't mean that we have to patronize them or deny them
the wealth that is there, out of a well-meaning but mistaken wish
not to make things difficult."
Words for Worship: Prayers from the heart of the Church of
England, compiled by members of the Liturgical Commission of
the Church of England, is available now from Church House
Publishing (ISBN 978 0 7151 2190 0, price £7.99). It is available
now via booksellers or direct from www.chpublishing.co.uk,
where a sample chapter can be downloaded.