Volume 38 1968

The Reality of Worship

The Lecture given at the Annual Meeting of the Society, 1967, by Professor J G Davies, MA, DD, Edward Cadbury Professor and Director of the Institute for the Study of Worship and Religious Architecture, University of Birmingham

The reality of worship relates to its intelligibility and relevance to human existence. Church vocabulary seems outdated to modern people. Most acts of worship are church centred and not outward looking and this gives it an air of unreality. Forms of Communion are also removed from every day eating and drinking. The problem is to rediscover the unity of the sacred and the secular. Christ is a man for others and worship not for others is unChristian. The church needs to listen to, amongst others, sociologists, dramatists, and journalists to help it to understand society. Parallels are drawn between modern ‘special’ meals e.g. a birthday meal, a rotary club lunch and how these forms could translate into a eucharist, bearing in mind some degree of stylisation is essential. Perhaps regular small group worship with occasional celebrations in large cathedral type buildings is a way forward. Social change and increased mobility means a parish structure is less suited to relating to modern lifestyles. Flexibility will be required to aid worshippers to encounter God in their person to person communion. If Christ is to be known in the breaking of bread then it must be done in accord with the pattern of today’s human behaviour. Transcendence is known in and through the immanent.

Liturgy and Mission

The Address delivered at the Regional Conference of the Society at the Kirk of the Greyfriars, October, 1967, by the Rev Canon Roland C Walls, BD, MA, Lecturer in Christian Dogmatics, New College, University of Edinburgh

The author is a pupil and disciple of Fr Gabriel Hebert S.S.M. who wrote ‘Liturgy and Society’. The author notes three problems which emerged in the last thirty years. 1) The danger of the divorce between the reformer of worship and the missionary and evangelist. 2) An increasing number looking for a ‘‘relevant liturgy’’(P17). 3)The emergence of a pattern of liturgical practice alongside of, and even outside of, the inherited congregational-parish pattern. We must return to first principles and he looks to the 14th century theology of Nicholas Cabasilas and his ‘Commentary on the Divine Liturgy’ for guidance. He finds 1) the liturgy is primarily an objective presentation to us of Christ to whom we need to return. 2) The liturgy is addressed primarily to people of faith aware they are living ‘between the times’-the time for the conversion of nations. The church needs to receive again the mission of the Christ before faithfully reaching out to the world in mission. Some fear liturgy is a substitute for mission. Small groups like the author’s community in Roslin help break down barriers between liturgy and mission. Perhaps a map could be used to show a congregation how they leave worship and spill into a broader world where they serve Christ. Churches would benefit from addressing the link between liturgy and mission perhaps by taking time to learn and reflect on what has emerged from the liturgy. The Livingston experiment where the liturgy takes place between two reflective and social gatherings is given as an example. Another contribution is the setting up of lay panels whose reflections feed back into the intercessions and praise of the whole congregation. However nothing takes the place of steady proclaiming of the meaning and forms of the rites we inherit.

Stobo Kirk

The Rev James Bulloch, MA, BD, Ph D, Minister of the Parish

A history of the area and the church building including architectural features, and a brief explanation of the composition of the worshipping community is outlined.

A Course of Reading on Christian Worship

The Rev John A Lamb, Ph D, DD, Edinburgh, Hon President

A revision of an article contributed to the Annual of 1942/43 by Dr W.D. Maxwell. Some may not know about the article and many useful books have appeared in the interval and should be known to liturgical students. The books fall into the following divisions The Theory of Worship, The History of Worship; Scottish Worship; Anglican Worship; Church Architecture; Church Music and Liturgical Texts.


No Author Specified

A New and Living Way, The Church of Scotland Committee on Public Worship and Aids to Devotion


Illustrations in this volume

(All between pages 26 and 27)

Stobo Kirk: Exterior
Stobo Kirk: Doorway
St Columba’s Church, Glenrothes: Exterior
St Columba’s Church, Glenrothes: Interior