Johnston R. McKay

The author attacks the generally-held view that the Presbyterian churches remained passive in the face of evils and injustices in the living and working conditions of the people of our cities in the mid-nineteenth century, arguing that the agendas of church courts were limited to questions of how the church administered itself. He shows how prominent ministers and congregations, such as Norman Macleod in the Barony of Glasgow, took initiatives in establishing schools, classes for adults, savings banks, leisure, seeing these as rightly not the responsibility of the institution but of the combined efforts of individuals in the congregation (whole salvation not soul salvation). Similarly in Edinburgh James Begg of Liberton campaigned for social improvement, while in Paisley Patrick Brewster reminded his fellow Christians of the intimate connection between the sacred and the secular. The author explores these and other concerns in the church at the time of the foundation of the Church Service Society (1865) such as the Westminster Confession, sabbatarianism, biblical interpretation, and the idea that the Kingdom and the Church may not be identical, naming such figures as Principal Tulloch of St Andrews and Robert Flint, minister and moral philosopher.

Reference: Volume 51 2016, p2

Lezley J Stewart

This paper was given to the Annual Meeting of the Society in 2016 and reported work that was later to be formed into a Doctor of Ministry dissertation. The actions taken by Dr Lee in Greyfriars round the time of the forming of the Society, and which had led to controversy, were outlined, such as the introduction of a printed prayer book, a more liturgical style of worship, the Lord’s Prayer, stained glass, and an organ. In particular, the paper looks at his use of the psalms as a way of deepening the prayer of the congregation, seeing them as a ‘grand magazine of devotion’. The author, an associate minister in Greyfriars, described a project to recover for the contemporary congregation the place given by Lee to the psalms as ‘soul songs’ which were rich in imagery, and in which there was already a dialogue set up between God and the worshipper. There follows a description of the project to devise a new prayer book in which the psalms, as read and sung but particularly in the context of the spoken and silent prayer of the congregation, formed the core material.

Reference: Volume 51 2016, p11

This is a description by the Revd Dr Donald MacEwan, Chaplain to the University of St Andrews, of a Chapel service during the 2015 Choral Summer School devised by him, drawing upon a service in the Thomaskirche in Leipzig when Cantata No. 78 by J S Bach was part of the service. The liturgy included parts of this cantata and other Lutheran music, such as a sung Creed and a chorale. Holy Communion was celebrated and a sermon in the style of the original was preached by the Chaplain, from which excerpts are given.

Reference: Volume 51 2016, p25

Martin Ritchie

This paper was given by doctoral student Martin Ritchie at the Society’s Study Day in 2015, the year of the Sesquicentenary of the Society, which featured the work of young scholars. It derived from ongoing doctoral studies at the University of Edinburgh, and asks why the Kalendar continued to be included in the Psalme Buik and Forme of Prayers following the Reformation and what relevance it had for the spiritual landscape and worship practice of the day. It appears publishers and printers responded to the desire of purchasers in forming each new edition, in spite of stipulations in the First Book of Discipline, and the practice was the result of public demand.  Many editions also included an Almanack which included lists of local fairs and markets as well as key church festival dates. In addition to the latter, the Kalendar added some fifty festivals and feast days over the different editions. The paper finds that the commercial dimension of the Kalendar is not the only motive but that matters of identity and piety were also important and it seems that popular piety and local cultural customs over-rode the more austere policies of the Reformers. It would seem that Scots attended worship with a spiritual landscape that still had a memory of the Kalendar of the pre-Reformation church. ‘What Scots “brought” to worship was surely as significant as what they heard while they were there’.


Reference: Volume 51 2016, p38

James Stewart

This article derives from reading Pews, benches and chairs, ed. Trevor Cooper and Sarah Brown (Ecclesiological Society 2011) and Sitting in chapel, ed. Chris Skidmore (The Chapels Society). The author remarks that Common Order contains material for the dedication of a wide range of church furniture but nothing for pews, despite their liturgical importance. The contents of the volumes, which are written against the background of the current trend towards removing pews from churches, are described in turn.

Reference: Volume 51 2016, p45

Metrical Psalmody in Print and Practice: English ‘singing psalms’ and Scottish ‘psalm buiks’ c.1547-1940, Timothy Duguid (Ashgate 2014) is reviewed by Martin Ritchie.

Shaping up: Reforming Reformed worship, Ernest Marvin (United Reformed Church, 2005) is reviewed by Alan Smith.

Reference: Volume 51 2016, p48

Short notices are given for:

Alastair D. MacDonald, The Gude and Godlie Ballatis (Scottish Text Society, 2015)

David Grumett, Material Eucharist (OUP 2016)

Gisela Kreglinger The Spirituality of Wine (Eerdmans 2016)

Daniel McCarthy and James Leachman Come into the Light: Church interiors for the celebration of liturgy (Canterbury)

Martyn Payne Messy Togetherness: Being intergenerational in Messy Church (BRF)

Sally Harper, P S Barnwell, Magnus Williamson (eds) Late Medieval Liturgies Enacted (Ashgate, 2016)

Tim Lomax, Creating Missional Worship: Fusing context and tradition (Church House Publishing)


Reference: Volume 51 2016, p52

Douglas Galbraith

The Secretary reports on the Annual Meeting of 2016, on representation of the Scottish Episcopal Church on the Council of the Society, on the new President and other members of Council, the Study Day in New College later in the year, the appointment of an associate editor for the Record, the move of the Society’s library to the University of St Andrews, and the re-enactment in St Mary’s Haddington of a Reformation Sunday service using material from the Wode Partbooks which had been reassembled from various locations by a research project in the University of Edinburgh.

Reference: Volume 51 2016, p56

Adrian Burdon

Based on a presentation given on the Study Day in October 2012 in Gorbals Parish Church, Glasgow, by the Revd Dr Adrian Burdon, Convener of the Liturgical Subcommittee of the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church in Britain.

Defining his terms, the author quotes Bevan and Shroeder saying that mission is not an innocent word but is ultimately witness to the hope of a new heaven and a new earth. He suggests that neither is worship innocent, but a seditious, life-changing and perception-challenging expression of the life of God in the world. ‘Worship is everything’ and finds expression in many ways, but where mission is prohibited worship nevertheless sustains thc church. Much of the article is a discussion of a 2012 Methodist report on Fresh Expressions and one from the Church of Scotland in 2011. The relationship of this innovative form of mission with the existing patterns of the church is explored. One thing such projects bring is challenge to mainstream Christian communities. What God is doing is bigger than the church. God is a ‘verb, a flow, an embrace, a movement, a dance’, i.e. a relationship. Authentic liturgy heals our eyes and we are enabled to see the world as held in the holiness of God. Schmemann writes of the eucharist that ‘here we see the world in Christ as it truly is’.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p2
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Frances M Henderson

A paper given at the Study Day at Rhu (where John McLeod Campbell had been minister) in 2013 by the Revd Dr Frances M Henderson, minister of Hoddom, Kirtle-Eaglesfield, and Middlebie in the Presbytery of Annandale and Eskdale.

How real was the Prodigal Son’s repentance? This question Campbell also asked about his congregation and we may do so about ours today.  Campbell saw two approaches: the ‘hollow and hypocritical’ nature of his people’s repentance, and with this their worship was self-seeking, to ensure eternal life; and the overscrupulous approach that is full of anxiety. He saw lacking a core Calvinist doctrine, the assurance of faith, which led to a lack of joy. For Calvin, faith led to repentance. The writer goes on to discuss what should be our liturgical response to repentance, but notes that the Reformers never quite settled on how to convey this in public worship. A petition for pardon was the common response, but in the Order of Excommunication (1569), the minister said ‘I absolve thee’. She finds three types of absolution in the Book of Common Order: declaratory, precatory, and the petition for pardon, but never in its pure form. The author suggests that Adoration, Confession, and Absolution are not three separate prayers but in some sense simultaneous; but is our liturgical ordering adequate? What if we were to begin with a resounding declaration of forgiveness.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p17
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Kirkpatrick and Rachel Dobie

This article reports on a scheme to record the church plate held in Church of Scotland parishes following a resolution by the General Assembly of 2001. Kirkpatrick Dobie is Consultant on Sacramental Vessels to the Committee on Church Art and Architecture (CARTA) and the Revd Rachel Dobie, who helps administer the project, is a former President of the Church Service Society. The project had the support of the Scottish Goldsmiths’ Trust and the National Museum of Scotland. Mr Dobie, being himself an expert in Scottish silver, gives a detailed account of the various styles discovered, and there are several illustrations.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p26

Douglas Galbraith

This address was given at the annual service in commemoration of Michael Bruce of Kinnesswood, a student for the ministry who died at the early age of 21 and who is thought to have provided the final versions of some of the Scottish Paraphrases. The address, by the Revd Dr Douglas Galbraith, Secretary of the Church Service Society, is based round Exodus chapter 35.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p35

James Stewart

The editor, the Revd James Stewart, in the first of a series, gives an account of the first 50 years of the life of the Church Service Society as it approaches its sesquicentenary, including the Society’s origins, some of its scholars, and the publication of succeeding editions of Euchologion, the book of services with an ancestry in the Reformation books for worship and an outcome in the modern editions of the Book of Common Order.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p41

Douglas Galbraith

The Secretary of the Society, Douglas Galbraith, gives an account of the project based in the University of Edinburgh to bring together the part books of the Reformation Wode Psalter, which were scattered over several libraries, to make a full score. So that these would be available for choirs and congregations, individual psalms and other material were put on the Society’s website, where a psalm could be listened to and a score printed for use. They could also be played on instruments.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p49

An account of the study day in 2013, when members of the Scottish Church Society also participated. The theme was the controversy over the understanding of the Atonement associated with the name of John McLeod Campbell, minister at Rhu 1825-31, and led to an examination of the place and practice of confession and absolution in worship.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p52