I’m just starting to work with a few people to hold Christian worship at the Occupy DC encampment, so I’m reviewing the newest resources for worship from the ecumenical church. While I’m picking up a free church bent in the working group, I’ve noticed how Anglican services are helpful resources, especially that set of modern liturgies — often called Service of the Word — which seem designed to be led by laypersons, as distinguished from historic services of morning or evening prayer. Methinks a sign of clergy shortages, and also useful in non-Anglican settings. (Think of the frame of services prepended to the 1937 Unitarian and Universalist hymnal Hymns of the Spirit.)
Well, lo and behold, the Scottish Episcopal Church — a relatively small (54,000) Anglican national church — has just this month authorized such a Service of the Word on an experimental basis for two years. Download the zipped file yourself. It contains the service and notes, both as PDF and DOC.
I like it. Room to re-introduce well-loved parts, and enough freedom to make it welcoming. The gender inclusive parts show maturity of thought. Many options are biblical, allowing for transposition to other translations. The notes give the service’s rationale and its direction should offer relative novices comfort and strength.