Journals

Doug Gay

This is the address given to the Annual Meeting of the Church Service Society in May 2019 by the Revd Dr Doug Gay, Principal of Trinity College, University of Glasgow.

Gay is addressing one of the four great challenges he had identified in a Chalmers Lecture as facing the current Kirk: liturgical renewal. After a resumé of worship since the Reformation, he finds three broad streams that have characterised worship since 1940: Church Service Society, Evangelical, middle-of-the-road. He identifies a number of challenges to the way we worship developing from the 1960s, and adds three modes of technological development. The remainder of his paper roundly challenges several aspects of the practice and the practioners of worship today: a deficit in understanding, an inability to praise convincingly, the absence of genuine feeling, the poverty of preaching, the lack of physical/spoken participation, the inhibitory nature of pews, the lack of appetite for Communion, a need to place baptism more at the centre, the need for better songs especially in the area of praise and worship song, the need to rediscover silence, the need for more genuine intercessory prayer, and the development of worship that is strong enough to change/convert those to whom church going is unfamiliar. He calls finally for better education and training, both for ministerial leadership and congregations.

Reference: Volume 54 2019, p1

Marjory MacLean

The Revd Dr Marjory MacLean, one of four speakers at the Study Day in 2019 to respond to a recent report to the General Assembly exploring the possibility of a new form of ministry of Word and Sacrament to support fresh expressions of being the church or where the scarcity of ordained ministers in scattered parishes reduced opportunities for Communion, spoke from the perspective of ministry in a parish with four worship centres and against a background of the law and the constitution of the Church of Scotland. The paper identified deeper questions including the nature of some forms of contemporary worship as well as the existence currently of the ministry of Reader (and others) authorised to preach the Word but not celebrate the Sacrament. Eschewing the use of ‘church’ without the definite article, and saying why, the paper sees ‘the church’ as geographically-definable and implying a continuity of relationship between a minister and the people, a ‘unique form of intimacy’, a mystical chain that connects the communicant to the divine through their local minister in the substance of their pastoral relationship; it also has to do with structures in that the task of providing the Sacrament – like the task of blessing the people – is that of the pastoral minister not of someone brought in to conduct the service that day. The paper also addresses the matter of wider pastoral care in fresh expressions and pioneer contexts (the ‘wider parish’ of those directly targeted by a special ministry) and situations where there is a sufficiency of accredited help in leading worship but no ordained minister. The paper concludes by tabling a series of questions which might guide future discussion.

Reference: Volume 54 2019, p18

Ian Paton

The Rt Revd Ian Paton, Bishop of St Andrews, Dunkeld and Dunblane, one of four speakers at the Study Day of 2019 to respond to a recent report to the General Assembly exploring the possibility of a new form of ministry of Word and Sacrament to support fresh expressions of being the church or where the scarcity of ordained ministers in scattered parishes reduced opportunities for Communion,  approached the matter from the perspective of the Canons of the Scottish Episcopal Church, where the local church is the diocese and all Eucharists are presided over by the bishop or, in his absence, by presbyters. The Eucharist forms the church but it also is a sign of the Kingdom and justice for the poor and the oppressed. It is the norm for worship and has come to be celebrated every Sunday. However, his Church too suffers from a lack of presbyters. The paper discusses three possible solutions being posited in different parts of the Anglican Communion: 1. extended Communion where the consecrated elements are taken to a place to be distributed by an authorised lay person – which is reception of Communion rather than the celebration of the Eucharist; 2. lay presidency, arising from a belief in the ‘priesthood of all believers’; 3. more ordinands, including Local Collaborative Ministries; 4. seeing the Eucharist as an action of the whole church, with the people of God as celebrants, with a priest but also others with roles in the leadership. The paper discusses these and concludes with some observations about modes of mutual acceptance between the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Episcopal Church.

Reference: Volume 54 2019, p27

David D Scott

The Revd David D Scott, lately minister at Traprain, one of four speakers at the Study Day of 2019 to respond to a recent report to the General Assembly exploring the possibility of a new form of ministry of Word and Sacrament to support fresh expressions of being the church or where the scarcity of ordained ministers in scattered parishes reduced opportunities for Communion, took as his starting point a poem by William Soutar (d.1943) where the poet defines community as constituted by giving and receiving of gifts by its members. (Later the poet John Donne is quoted.) The paper approaches the issue by examining the earliest Reformed ‘ordination’ liturgies and The Form of Presbyterial Church Government, particularly the involvement of the whole membership and the rituals by which this was expressed, a system which depended on election affirmed by the ‘taking of the hand’. This emphasises the corporate nature of ministry dependent on the gifts of the Spirit rather than a ministry drawn out of the community to undertake particular tasks. The minister is part of a community in which are ‘things which cannot be touched’, a steward of God’s mysteries (St Paul), of holiness. The present discussion was towards a task-based ministry which could destroy something which is largely unrecognised, something that has nothing to do with the one who holds the office.

Reference: Volume 54 2019, p38

John McPake

The Revd Dr John McPake gave the fourth paper at the Study Day of 2019 which took place as contributory to the discussion which followed a report to the General Assembly of 2019 exploring the possibility of a new form of ministry of Word and Sacrament to support fresh expressions of being the church or where the scarcity of ordained ministers in scattered parishes reduced opportunities for Communion. The paper he gave was derived from this report, of which he was the principal author, and, being already in the public domain, was not printed in the Record with the other three. However, it may be found in the Report Book of that Assembly, at page 17 and a summary is given here. The report arose from discussion between the Panel on Review and Reform, the Theological Forum, the Committee on Ecumenical Relations. and the Legal Questions Committee. The report addresses the needs of new worshipping communities, arguing that Baptism and Holy Communion are no less necessary for their growth but that current patterns of the formation of ministers are not always appropriate for leading those communities. The report defined the place and importance of the Sacraments in the New Testament, the Early Church, at the Reformation, as well as in the present day, when they possessed a missional, pastoral and spiritual value; through them the grace of God is signified and the Word of God revealed. The report then restates the place of the ordained ministry, emphasising that it takes place within the ministry of the people of God and is not a possession of those ordained. This church is called into being by the Word in order that it might share in the new creation made possible by the Spirit. The relationship of Word and Sacrament is explored as is the nature of ordination, i.e. consisting of lawful election, fasting, prayer, and the imposition of hands by the ‘elderschippe’. The five marks of mission as outlined in the Church of England’s Mission-Shaped Church (2004) are summarised, commenting that it may be unreasonable to expect leaders of new worshipping communities to commit to the intensive training required of parish ministers. A possible new form of ministry of Word and Sacrament, shaped by the context of the emerging church, should be explored, faithful to the historic theology of the church in relation to the inseparability of Word and Sacrament.

Reference: Volume 54 2019

Douglas Galbraith

The Church Service Society Study Day for 2018 was held in Dunblane Cathedral in November, of which this is a report. The intention was to consider worship from the perspective of drama. Special guest was the Icelandic theatre director Kolbrún Björt Sigfúsdóttir, currently working in Scotland, who adopted a theatre workshop approach to answer the question: What are the theatre director’s hopes and intentions when preparing a play for performance. Discussion after lunch, which was taken in the restaurant of the former Scottish Churches House, was led by a panel consisting of Gilleasbuig Macmillan, Elspeth McKay and David Todd.

Reference: Volume 54 2019, p48

This is the complete text of the closing worship at the 2018 Study Day. It was devised by Douglas Galbraith. Based round some of the artefacts in the building, and moving from station to station, it took the theme ‘makars’ (makers, poets), both creative artists and the Creator God.

Reference: Volume 54 2019, p54

This is the text of the booklet which participants studied before the worship at the close of the 2018 Study Day in Dunblane Cathedral. It provided short notes on some of the artefacts in the cathedral and on their creators.

Reference: Volume 54 2019, p54

Books reviewed are The Providence of God: A polyphonic approach by David Fergusson, Travels with a Stick: A pilgrim’s journey to Santiago de Compostela by Richard Frazer, The Fife Pilgrim Way: In the footsteps of monks, miners and martyrs by Ian Bradley, The Scottish Episcopal Church of Saint Ternan, Muchalls and A Bishop in Exile: The life and times of James Drummond, Bishop of Brechin 1684-1695, both by Edward Luscombe and Stuart Donald.

Reference: Volume 54 2019, p67

The Editor interviews the Revd Dr Douglas Galbraith who was elected Secretary in 2010 and retired in 2019.

Reference: Volume 54 2019, p73

Douglas Galbraith

Following a profile of the new Secretary to the Society, the Revd Dr Martin Ritchie, the topics covered are the Study Day of 2018, the Annual Meeting of 2019 including the names of those elected to the Council, a tribute to the Revd James Stewart on retiring as editor of the Record, a note of members who have died, the proposal to remove the role of Vice President from the Constitution, and conversations about greater co-operation with the Scottish Church Society.

 

Reference: Volume 54 2019, p77

James Stewart

A brief review of the periodical publications of the Church Service Society, out of which “The Record” was born, and a summary of the contents of the present volume, which marks the events of the Society’s 150th anniversary.

Reference: Volume 50 2015, p1

Bryan D. Spinks

This article is based on Professor Spinks’ Sesquicentennial Lecture to the Society delivered on 17th October 2015 in New College, Edinburgh. In it, he offers a new perspective on the dramatic changes brought about in patterns of worship in Scottish Presbyterian Church life in the nineteenth-century. ‘Devolution’ and ‘evolution’ are the key terms here. After describing the pattern of traditional worship, Spinks notes some early attempts to ‘devolve’ good practice to ministers and argues these attempts are good examples of the organic development of liturgical ideas. The rather more revolutionary innovations of Robert Lee and others are charted, leading indirectly to the founding of the Church Service Society in 1865. The wide liturgical ‘gene pool’ promoted by the Society is noted, the Euchologion offering a new species of liturgy which was adapted, in a process of devolution, in many parishes throughout the Church of Scotland. The founding of the high church party’s Scottish Church Society in 1892 and the influence of the ‘Scoto-Catholicism’ of James Cooper are described, as is the influence of liturgical renewal on other Scottish Presbyterian churches. The changes in practice in praise in song, while not universally accepted, are detailed. Using modern evolutionary theory, Spinks suggests that these liturgical revivals might be compared to Hox genes which switch on to adapt and evolve to conditions that are changing. As in nature, these new liturgical forms co-existed and were inter-bred with the older forms, creating hybrid forms. The immense cultural and social changes brought about by the Victorian age were the trigger for this evolutionary shift. Spinks closes by suggesting that the CSS has a role to play in the liturgical evolution currently underway, triggered by the profound changes witnessed in our own time also.

Reference: Volume 50 2015, p2

Full details are given of the proceedings which marked the 150th anniversary of the Society.

Reference: Volume 50 2015, p23

John Chalmers

Full details are given of the proceedings which marked the 150th anniversary of the Society.

Reference: Volume 50 2015, p31

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