New liturgies and other features reflect a changing church
By Kimberly Bracken Long | Presbyterians Today
Five years, 200 people, a bajillion emails and a whole lot of prayer. That’s what it takes to make a new Book of Common Worship (BCW). You might ask: Why do we need a new BCW? A changing church needs a worship book that reflects contemporary concerns and offers new liturgies, fresh language and a good deal of flexibility. The revised BCW will do just that, making room for new ways of being church while staying grounded in the best of Reformed and ecumenical practices.
Worship for a changing church
Everyone knows that the church is changing. Just how it is changing — and what we will become — is yet to be seen. While the revised BCW has strong continuity with the 1993 edition, it also offers an approach to worship that reflects how the church is continuing to grow and adapt to 21st century life. Language is more inclusive, less formal, more poetic and less didactic. Prayers are leaner, guidance is clearer and opportunities for shared worship leadership are made apparent.
More and more of our worshiping communities include people who speak multiple languages. The revised BCW offers several services that will allow pastors and other leaders to conduct worship in both English and Spanish. Bilingual liturgies include those for baptisms, the reception of new members, ordinations, weddings and funerals. In addition, the book provides a collection of commonly used phrases in English, Spanish and Korean, accompanied by drawings of corresponding gestures to encourage more embodied forms of worship.
A revised marriage service features inclusive language and a flexible format, making the service useful for all sorts of couples and family configurations. Those who want to renew their vows will find a service that is adaptable for a variety of people and places. Also included is a brief service of prayer for those who seek a way to ritually mark the end of a marriage.
Churches are often called to respond quickly to public events and crises. Pastors and other worship leaders will now have services for use after a natural disaster or an act of violence in the community or the world, along with guidance on gathering for interreligious events. Other new services include a Blessing of the Animals, a service of prayer for the earth and prayers for justice and peace in the neighborhood, nation or world. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE…