Robert F Brown

The shape of the building expresses a belief about the nature of the church: cathedral, hall church, the Corrymeela Chapel shaped like an ear, the glass wall at Carberry looking at the cross outside the church. Queen's Cross was a Free Church preaching station. At its centenary the pulpit was removed and a stage created, with movable furnishings. Now the pews are removed, to enable flexible shaping of seating and to enable the building to be used by the community. Starting point was that pews had no theological or ecclesiastical significance. Allowed more comfort but also showed congregation not stuck in the past, and could match the numbers so that the church would look full.

Reference: Volume 37 Spring 2001, p1
PDF icon Queens Cross Church, Aberdeen2.12 MB

A Stewart Todd

The place of flowers and foliage is to enhance not obscure; especially at weddings the ecclesiastical and liturgical geography must be discernible. Regarding the lectern, why should the reading of the Word be two or three feet lower than the preaching of it. The prayer desk allows for the minister to be identified spacially for opening prayers; thus Approach, Word and Response each have their focal point). There is much to recommend the placing of the font at the west door, or it may have its own dedicated space. The table is not one where elders sit but should be left as a table (for all to gather round); no longer need for a larger 'presidential chair' (once the place for preaching). The difficulty of showing the relationship of pulpit and table is discussed.

Reference: Volume 37 Spring 2001, p6
PDF icon Church Furnishings2.92 MB

Douglas Galbraith

Open air and indoor music is discussed, with church music among the latter. The building itself is an instrument; the size and shape of the space and the materials from which it is made and filled are all relevant. How sound works. Carpets can inhibit singing. The location of the music-makers matters, not just for sound but how the relationship with each other is best to be expressed. The congregation are one such musical group; they need to feel safe to sing. A skilled choir adds to and completes the offering of the congregation; it does not perform to them (and should therefore not be announced and thanked as if an 'act'. A choir also interacts with and enables the congregation's own music. Movement and vestment may add to the experience of worship. The placing of the choir is discussed. The placing and the manner of playing of instruments is discussed, including the siting of an organ – including electronic/digital organs and their speakers. Use as a concert hall may lead to modifications of the building but there are dangers to be avoided. It is to remembered that music is not only to do with the space in which it is made but the inner space in which it is heard.

Reference: Volume 37 Spring 2001, p14
PDF icon A Space for Music3.29 MB

Various authors

New Art for Church Buildings, Church House Publishing, reviewed by Douglas Galbraith

An Outline of Christian Worship, Gordon Wakefield, T & T Clark 1998, reviewed by Colin G McAlister

Reference: Volume 37 Spring 2001, p21
PDF icon Book Reviews2.17 MB

The Editor

Reference: Volume 36 Winter 2000, p1

James C Stewart

Preaching is not the only way in which Scripture is interpreted in the course of worship. Both Cranmer and Knox sought a high place for the Bible but, the former distillation, the latter amplified quotation. The Alternative Service Book has been said to be not so much biblical as Biblicist, too many snippets torn from their contexts. The metaphors of salt and pepper (one dissolved, the other dispersing) are applied to Common Order (1994). Much of the peppering of Scripture does not make sense used out of context, other uses are pertinent. The author gives a detailed critical assessment of the first morning service and the first order for Holy Communion, the latter noting the absence of any 'fencing' component, the use of the warrant, and the merits or demerits of the three eucharistic prayers offered. The paper ends with the question as to what kind of 'rule' the Word of God is intended to be.

Reference: Volume 36 Winter 2000, p1

Andres R C McLellan

Opening with an extended passage from Gregory Dix which celebrates the range of times and circumstances where Communion is celebrated, he explores the tension between continuity and difference in worship. The writer approaches the question How far may worship be 'local'? within the context of the history (e.g. place in New Town, Disruption, ordination of women, friendship with German-speaking congregation), geography (e.g. centred in working community of central Edinburgh), architecture (classical design of building, removal of pews in central area), and theology/personality (racial justice, inclusive language).

Reference: Volume 36 Winter 2000, p12
PDF icon Is there a George Street in Heaven?2.88 MB

Various authors

To Glorify God: Essays on Modern Reformed Liturgyed Bryan D Spinks and Iain R Torrance, reviewed by Douglas M Murray

The Christian Year: Calendar, Lectionary and CollectsChurch House Publishing, 1997

The Lectionary: Scripture Readings for Sunday Worship throughout the Yearreprinted fromCommon Order 1994, St Andrew Press 1997; both books reviewed by Jolyon Mitchell
Reference: Volume 36 Winter 2000, p19
PDF icon Book Reviews1.6 MB

James C Stewart

Reference: Volume 35 Spring 1999, p1

Jolyon Mitchell

It is frequently argued that television has reduced congregations' capacity to listen; this can be too simplistic but it is true that our audio-visual ly saturated environment cultivates particular habits of listening. That is, it has not undermined but changed how people listen. It has influenced expectations about length, expects a more colloquial and spontaneous style, and has transformed the style in which we expect to be addressed (the rhetoric not of battle but reconciliation). People do not come with their minds a clean slate but have a whole range of images already engaging their attention. Also, the preacher is not the only educated voice in town. The paper argues that this changed context offers new opportunities for preachers. It first develops the analogy of the multi-camera approach, then explores that idea that the sermon is a conversation between congregation and biblical text (from the more conversational style of discourse of the media). Then is discussed the response to an image-saturated culture (paraphrase of Barth – need Bible in one hand, newspaper in the other, and the television on in the background)  when the preacher needs to try to experience imaginatively the world of the biblical text. This may lead to more pictorial and multi-sensorial language.

Reference: Volume 35 Spring 1999, p2
PDF icon Preaching in an Audio-Visual Culture5.62 MB

Origin of seal unknown but first appeared in Euchologion. The motto is from a issued by the  Archbishop of Canterbury in favour of a Scottish minister.

Reference: Volume 35, Spring 1999, p15

John Karkalas

This is a description of the (Greek Orthodox) Procession of the Holy Epitaph with some historical facts and commentary.

Reference: Volume 35 Spring 1999, p16
PDF icon Good Friday in Alexandria1.92 MB

Stephen Hayes

Many changes have been seen recently: move away from black vestments, crosses and candles on Table, use of lectionary and observance of church year. Other developments include the use of silence, greater variety in music, and a new subordinate standard in the document Living Faith.  The Book of Common Worship 1991 incorporates the double epiclesis in sacramental services, ‘confirmation’ has been replaced with ‘affirmation of baptism’. It is loose leaf, and too large in the view of to the writer, and contains too much from other sources. The new Book of Praise omits its predecessor’s spoken and responsive psalms section. The writer questions some of the additions and wonders if they justified a new book. Living Faith joins the Westminster Confession and a post war statement on church and nation.

Reference: Volume 35 Spring 1999, p20
PDF icon The Presbyterian Church in Canada2.18 MB

Henry R Sefton

The proposal of a ‘choral square’ was not found convincing (Zwingli!). The focus in the C of S was not the Table; many are bi-cameral rather than uni-cameral. Why did Prof Reymond not consider Barth’s idea of a single focal point?

Reference: Volume 35 Spring 1999, p24

Professor Bernard Reymond, University of Lausanne

The author examines examples of Reformed church architecture in Switzerland and elsewhere, and finds that they conform in general to a 'choral square', proposing that the reformed worshipping congregation is firstly a choral congregation and only secondly a hearing congregation. This model not only enables communion but allows communication, eye contact, better singing. The reasons for the later length-wise organisation are examined. The characteristics of recent Reformed buildings are then appraised.

Reference: Volume 34 Pentecost 1998, p1