Common Worship: From Revolution to Revelation

Re-blogged from the Presbyterian Hymnal Project Blog.

As a Presbyterian liturgical nerd and long-time fan of the Book of Common Worship, I find this exciting:

A guest post by David Gambrell from the Office of Theology and Worship:

Fifty years ago, something revolutionary happened in the world of Presbyterian worship.

In 1961, the UPCUSA (the former northern church) adopted a new Directory for Worship. For more than 300 years before that, the church had been relying on the Westminster Directory for Worship, written in 1645, making minor revisions here and there. The new Directory for Worship, written by Robert McAfee Brown, opened the door for radical, ecumenical liturgical reform and renewal in the Presbyterian Church—focusing on the centrality of the Word, a deeper understanding of Baptism, and more frequent celebration of the Lord’s Supper. One church historian has suggested that this work might have had an influence on the groundbreaking Roman Catholic reforms of Vatican II, which took place a couple of years later.[1]

The PCUS (the former southern church) took a similar action in 1963, adopting their own new Directory for Worship. And then, as we know, twenty years later, in 1983, the northern and southern churches merged to form the current Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). One of the often-forgotten products of that new blended family was our current Directory for Worship, formed from the combination of the previous two… (Click here to continue reading)




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