Liturgical renewal for transformative worship


‘Worship the Lord in holy splendour.’ (1 Chron 16:29b)

‘They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.’ (Acts 2:42)

‘… the Church’s worship of God in prayer and sacrament is a priority in every circumstance… The steadfast love of the Lord endures for ever, and his children have no alternative, in good times and in bad, but to sing his praises, to take his word to heart, to acknowledge his rule, to repent, to intercede both for the Church and for the world, and to offer themselves in the daily rhythm of the Church’s worship as well as in their witness and service in society. This worship should, moreover, express itself in a language and form which meets the needs of contemporary people. … Liturgy is the public worship of the Church of God, a living tradition, a treasure which is both old and new. … Liturgy becomes true worship when the people of God, clergy and laity, clothe it with the devotion of heart and mind. Then it becomes a flame, kindled and re-kindled by the Holy Spirit, for our benefit and for God’s glory. What is more, worship releases into the world, with its need and its pain, its sorrow and its hope, an influence for healing and wholeness which we shall never fully comprehend.’ (An Anglican Prayer Book, pp.9-11)


The task team recognises that two groups are involved in liturgical renewal: the task team itself (currently reporting to the Archbishop’s continuing facilitation group), and the Provincial Liturgical Committee (currently reporting to the Synod of Bishops). The task team examines the roles of both bodies, and, noting considerable overlap between them, comments: “Duplication would be a poor use of ACSA resources.”

The Task Team on Liturgical Renewal for Transformative Worship

This team would begin its work by researching and producing a statement of the audited needs of the Province for liturgy and transformative worship, and report this to the continuing facilitation group, the Synod of Bishops, and the Provincial Liturgical Committee. The interim team judge that this would take about eighteen months to do.

In particular, it would aim to identify individuals, churches and groups who are already engaged in liturgical awareness to do the following:

  • assess the needs of parishes, and dioceses to enable and implement transformative worship at all levels of the ACSA
  • assess the particular needs of young people, people living with AIDS and the marginalised
  • consider ways of using liturgy and music in the building of bridges between Anglicans of different ages, colours, ecclesial traditions and ethnographic cultures

To assist in resourcing these needs by:

  • the sourcing and gathering of existing liturgical and music material in a  form that will be accessible to as many people in the Province as possible, including the translation or paraphrase into English and the transcribing of ‘oral tradition’ music into both staff notation and tonic sol-fa.
  • an awareness of the breadth of liturgical material already available in our sister Provinces in the Anglican Communion and discernment of that most readily applicable to our context and seeking appropriate permissions for dissemination, or translation or adaptation
  • an exploration of uniquely African forms of worship and the interplay between received Anglican practice and the nuances of traditional practices
  • the training of clergy, both at ministerial formation stage and further into ministry, to be competent in liturgical skills and awareness

The Provincial Liturgical Committee

The current remit of the Provincial Liturgical Committee includes:

  • to provide liturgical resources as requested by the Synod of Bishops
  • to develop a training arm to support the resources so provided
  • to encourage the identification and training of liturgists to ensure continuity in training for clergy in formation and continuing ministerial development.
  • to encourage the identification and training of liturgists who will develop liturgies in the languages and contexts of the congregations within ACSA.

Yet in recent years, the Provincial Liturgical Committee has been hugely restricted in its ability to fulfil this mandate in both human and financial resources.  The Synod of Bishops would need to be approached to appoint extra members and to provide the funds to cover the committee’s current workload; to allow for the training and development of additional members to do the extra work that the task team will identify; and to develop a team of trainers who will be able to present the additional resources to the Province, dioceses, and parishes.

Ongoing liturgical work

After the task team’s initial report (point 1 above), clarity would need to be sought from the Synod of Bishops on how the ongoing liturgical work of the Province can best be served, as required by the Canons, by an adequately resourced Liturgical Committee.

Provincial Liturgical Consultation

Following the regional conferences of 2009, and the conferences planned for 2011, a Provincial Liturgical Consultation is proposed for the middle of 2012, to bring together episcopal, clerical, and lay persons from around the ACSA in order to follow up on the regional conferences and plan the way forward.