Volume 51 2016

Church and Society in the Second Half of the Nineteenth Century

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.

Making the Connections – Dr Robert Lee and Re-Imagining Liturgy in Today’s Context

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.

Leipzig, 1724 – St Andrews, 2015

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.

Framing the Year: The Enigmatic Presence of the Kalendar in the Psalme Buik of the Kirk, 1564-1644

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’.


Take a pew: a review article

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.

Book reviews

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.

Recent Liturgical Literature

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)


Secretarial notes

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.