Poetry, Praise and Prayer

The Revd Dr Alison M Jack

This, the Presidential Address of 2021, discusses the way poetry can enhance people’s experience of worship and argues that it needs space and time to have its effect, as opposed simply appearing as a quotation during a sermon. Although hymns and poems are not the same, the latter can become a hymn, but only if it has certain qualities. Some examples are examined. Hymns can also become poems, read in the right context. Poetry may always open up our prayers, either on their own or as woven into a longer prayer – indeed it helps us understand the nature of prayer.

Volume 56 2021, p3
PDF icon Volume 56 2021, p383.96 KB

Alison Jack is immediate past president of the Church Service Society and a minister of the Church of Scotland. Alison is Senior Lecturer in Bible and Literature in the University of Edinburgh, and Assistant Principal of New College, Edinburgh. She is also the founder and director of the newly formed Scottish Network for Religion and Literature.