Details of two papers and a workshop which were delivered.
Volume 28 Lent 1995
The first of four papers given at the Workshop on Daily Worship at St Margaret’s, Barnhill, Dundee on St Andrew’s Day 1994 was given by the Revd Charles Robertson. Both ‘Common Order’ and the First Book of Discipline commended daily worship in sixteenth century Scotland. By the time of the Directory of Public Worship, it would seem this practice had fallen into disuse and the emphasis was on family prayers at home. Also there was for a time the weekly ‘Exercise’. In the nineteenth century, orders were published, for example by the Society and by individual compilers of books of prayer. The new Common Order contains generous provision.
The second of three papers given at the Workshop on Daily Worship at St Margaret’s, Barnhill, Dundee on St Andrew’s Day 1994 was given by the Revd Canon Michael Paternoster. He first discusses the migration of the sevenfold daily office to the twice a day pattern in the early Anglican books. The place of the psalms is discussed, and the advantages and disadvantages of a daily lectionary. There are now too many divergent forms and this detracts from the feeling of sharing with others.
The third of three papers given at the Workshop on Daily Worship at St Margaret’s, Barnhill, Dundee on St Andrew’s Day 1994 was given by Dr John Shaw Dunn. Dr Dunn outlines the difficulties for someone in work to participate daily in worship, which may not just be timing or opportunity but involve matters of content, especially when based on the monastic office. Dr Dunn nevertheless commends the practice and discusses the understandings which lie behind it. He quotes: ‘How are we to recognise the Lord in daily life if we have not first sought him … in the direct encounter of prayer’. He asks, with Donald Soper, whether daily prayer might not become the paradigm of a new kind of church life as Sunday attendance continues to decline.
The fourth of the papers given at the Workshop on Daily Worship at St Margaret’s, Barnhill, Dundee on St Andrew’s Day 1994 was given by the Revd John Bell. He reminds us that weekly and daily worship are different sides of the same coin: in one we encounter God as Source of all life, Lord of creation, Bridegroom of the Church, but in the other we acknowledge the God who meets us in the person of Jesus, in kitchens, market-places etc. He discusses the overloading of weekly worship at this time. He welcomes the new Common Order services but asks the ‘Castlemilk question’ – i.e. will it work in Castlemilk (or other similar place)? He develops this under the categories of time, scripture, psalms, patterned prayer, and the traditions behind the practice.
Douglas Murray of the University of Glasgow reminds us that prior to the Disruption there were two ‘parties’ in the church, Moderates and Evangelicals, and the latter came to the fore through a ‘ten year conflict’. The break only came when the state refused to allow leeway in the appointment of a minister; a second, similar, issue was the Chapel Act, again overturned by the state. A moderate party put a compromise proposal which failed to win the Assembly. The exit of the Evangelicals opened the way to liturgical renewal, and was the reason that this came first within the Auld Kirk. Article IV discussed, which enabled a church both national and free.
The Presidential Address 1993 by the Revd Dr Henry Sefton. At the Reformation, tables were erected at Communion at which communicants sat. The Scottish delegates compiling the Westminster Directory disagreed with the English Independents that the elements be brought to people as they sat and a compromise clause used the words ‘about it or at’ the Table. In the nineteenth century, the size of Chalmers’s Glasgow congregations made it difficult to accommodate the prevailing practice of sitting at the table. There was controversy over his use of a smaller table at which to preside, with the elements carried to the people but the Assembly, while affirming the status quo, enabled a dispensation when local circumstances dictated an arrangement such as Chalmers had instituted. Chalmers had appealed to the Westminster Directory in support.
The Revd Charles Robertson responds to a review of the 1994 Common Order, particularly in its not offering a single authoritative order for Holy Communion as had the 1979 edition and in failing to place the narrative of institution within the great prayer, by pointing out that the compilers were following the balance of opinion expressed by commissioners at the General Assembly in offering a variety of provision as in the 1940 book and retaining the narrative as a Warrant independent of the prayer.
Alexander Spring Archibald MA
John Johnston MBE MA BD JP
James P Shepherd Esq
Henry Thompson TD FRSA