Tuesday 26 January 2010

Old Liturgies - Another One

I am starting a project to produce a set of liturgies that anyone can use at a moment's notice in the Hull Unitarian Church. As a background to this, I am looking at existing constructions (again; I have done this many times) and therefore have uploaded one to my website.

The 1932 Orders of Worship was the last, full scale, denomination-wide liturgical book to be produced, but it strikes me now as impossible to use neat. Yet I remember Mansfield using it in the late 1980s (a place where my preached theology received the cold shoulder). Most churches simply moved to the hymn sandwich and now variation is experimentation, more New Age than old liturgy.

Still, the Seventh Service is of historical interest because it stretches back to two services in 1879, and at that time the use of "through Jesus Christ" was removed. That phrase was still compatible with Unitarianism, because in those days the Trinity had a strict meaning, but by the nineteenth century broader Free Christian Unitarians had learnt from German biblical critics that Jesus pointed away from himself to God's action and the Kingdom of God and thus a revision was necessary. Martineau's liturgy was more conserving than his theology, because it was meant through its poetical and symbolic nature to generate a spiritual atmosphere.

I thought I would add this one in particular to those derived from 1917.


NUFer said...

You will be making an important contribution to not only Hull Church, but aiding the many lay persons who are called up to lead worship in Unitarian chapels each week - this is really something that the GA should be doing or at least sponsoring but as we have seen from the recent website 'revamp'(largely the work of just two people, I understand ), the way to get anything done in the GAUFC is simply to go ahead and do it!!

Pluralist (Adrian Worsfold) said...

As I expected it is proving tricky but I'd guess it is easier to produce a traditional service than a moderate one, though the traditional service has to be so in feel not theology - it is no good if such a service is unusable. But there are ways and means to give an olde worlde feel and yet sayable.