Volume 10 Spring 1985

Some Thoughts on the Paraphrases

Sir Ronald Johnson

Sir Ronald Johnson takes as starting point the volume on the Paraphrases by Douglas Maclagan and reflects on how they came about, who were some of the writers, and what music they were sung to. The author, a leading church organist, discusses how some tunes are wrong for the words and skew the interpretation. Particular mention is made of writers Thomas Blacklock and Michael Bruce, and ends with a discussion of his Paraphrase 58 and how it resonates with an ecumenical view of the Eucharist.

Dance and Worship

Ron Farrell

Ron Farrell, a candidate for ministry in the Church of England, tackles the belief that dancing is inappropriate in worship. Reasons given may be that it is associated with paganism or heresy, or arises from the platonic distinction between body and soul. It re-emerged in the Shakers and some formal Catholic rituals may be seen as suggesting formal dance. The author sees dance as expressing our embodiment in worship and a corrective to views that denigrate matter. Further, it is creative, it is communal, it has an element of sacramentality – body and spirit making joyful sacrifice of praise. But dance must be properly integrated in the liturgy. (The paper includes the interesting information that Sydney Carter’s song – used in the title here – finds its origin in a gnostic account of the Last Supper in which Christ leads his disciples in dance.)

Facing the People in the Patristic Period: The Myth and the Reality

Rev Dr J C Thomas, The University of Nigeria

Paper presented to the 9th International Conference on Patristic Studies in 1983 by the Revd Dr J C Thomas, University of Nigeria. The writer argues that it is a myth that in this period the presiding minister faced the people, found even in learned sources. From early in the life of the church, people faced east. In the Roman tradition sometimes the priest did face the people, for example when the altar was built over a reliquary. Another instance was when the façade of basilicas was to the east (and in which was the door) so that for prayer people turned to face that direction. He concludes with the proposal that in that period the president faced the east, usually facing the same direction as the congregation and not towards them.