Introduction to Worship & Sacraments

Course Outline [Last Taught 2012]

Course Outline as a PDF

Session I - The Basics of Worship - Tuesday, September 11, 5:30-9:00 p.m. (starting with dinner)

Confession of Our Preferences, Prejudices and Convictions
The What?/Why?/Who?/Where?/How?/When? of Worship
Six Determinants of Worship: Aesthetic, Biblical, Historical, Pastoral, Pedagogical, Theological
The Church Year/The Revised Common Lectionary
Worship as the Work of the People
Online Resources & Links (Interlinear Gk, The Text This Week, etc.)
A Critique of Reformed Worship: Strengths are also weaknesses.

Session II – The Craft of Worship - Tuesday, September 18, 5:30-9:00 p.m. (including a pot luck)

The Shape of Worship
The Bulletin
The Arts, the Senses, Power point
Hymnology 101
Composing Prayers

Session III – The Performance of Worship - Wednesday, September 26, 5:30 - 9:00 p.m. (starting with a simple dinner)

The Sacraments – The Word Enacted
Biblical Storytelling
Improving the Experience
Inclusive Language and Language about God
Sharing of Homework Bulletins/Liturgies
Final Exam

Required Reading

The participants will be asked to purchase a copy of The Book of Common Worship (BCW) as well as Worship: Reformed According to Scripture by Hughes Oliphant Old (John Knox Westminster Press, 2002). The “Preface” and introductory “Basic Movement of the Service for the Lord’s Day” in the BCW and Old’s book are required reading as is the “Directory for Worship” in the Book of Order.

In addition, participants will be asked to read one of the following:

Boomershine, Thomas. Story Journey: An Invitation to the Gospel as Storytelling. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1988.

This is a practical book that looks at the liturgical art and spiritual discipline of biblical storytelling on a story-by-story basis. A very practical help for those interested in learning more about the process “internalizing” the Word in order to tell the stories of scripture.

Kimball, Dan, David Crowder, & Sally Morgenthaler. Emerging Worship: Creating Worship Gatherings for New Generations. El Cajon, CA: emergentYS Books (Zondervan), 2004.

The future is here. There is a “second Reformation” afoot. We don’t know where it’s going, but some of the pioneers of the “emergent church” offer us some thoughtful suggestions. We know what Christian worship has been for the last 2000 years. What will worship look like in the future?

Ong, Walter J. Orality and Literacy. New York: Routledge, 2002 Thompson, Bard. Liturgies of the Western Church. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1980.

Ong’s classic provides historical background and insight appropriate for this “post-literate” world in which we minister. For most of our history, Christian worship was not literate. That changed with the Reformation. But the new changes in communication culture may entail rethinking our “high literate” approach to worship. This Jesuit scholar has written a clear, readable, fascinating exploration of the implications of “technologizing the word” in writing/print.

Wainwright, Geoffrey. Doxology: The Praise of God in Worship, Doctrine and Life. New York: Oxford University Press, 1980.

For those seriously interested in the theology of worship, this dense, scholarly tome rewards the patient reader with the most detailed and exhaustive exploration of the history, theology and practice of Christian worship that I have ever read. It’s not for the faint of heart. Reading this book is hard work, but well worth the effort!

Papers, Projects, Exams

Due Tuesday, September 11 6 (20% of grade):

A 3-5 page paper on “How I Understanding Worship.” This paper should describe the participant’s convictions about what worship should be and why. It should be written on the basis of the participant’s own experience and understanding without consulting sources. In other words, this is not to be a research paper, but an exercise to establish a start point, a baseline.

Due Tuesday, September 18 (30% of grade):

A 3-5 page paper summarizing four to five major “learnings” from either 1) Old’s book, Worship: Reformed According to Scripture or 2) The “Directory for Worship” in the Book of Order. The participant will identify the most significant new insights into worship gained from the read, explaining how those insights might shape the future practice of the participant’s planning/leading worship.

Due by Wednesday, September 26 (30% of grade):

A print ready order of worship/bulletin and liturgy for a service of worship for one of the following occasions: a. The First Sunday of Advent 2012; b. The Maundy Thursday, 2013; or, c. Trinity Sunday, 2013. The bulletin and order should include scriptures, hymns, unison prayers, responses, indications of what special elements will be included, a liturgy for one or both of the sacraments, any liturgical ideas to enhance the experience. The worship should be planned with a particular congregation of which the participant has experience in mind; that congregation should be described in a note at the end of the liturgy.

Test on Wednesday, September 26 (20% of grade):

A 50-question (T/F, matching, fill-in-the-blank) test based on the required readings and classwork will be given the last evening of the course. A grade of 60% will be considered as passing.

Other Suggested Reading

Costen, Melva. African American Christian Worship. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1993.

Dix, Dom Gregory. The Shape of the Liturgy. Westminster, Md.: Christian Classics, 1945, 1978.

Dewey, Dennis. “A Sea Change in Biblical Studies: Biblical Storytelling Scholarship” in The Journal of Biblical Storytelling, Vol. 14, #1. Dayton, Patented Press, 2005.

Egeria. Diary of a Pilgrimage. Ancient Christian Writers #38. New York: Newman Press/Paulist Press, 1970.

Farlee, Robert Buckley, gen. ed. Leading the Church’s Song. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress, 1998.

Fischer, Balthasar. Signs, Words and Gestures: Short Homilies on the Liturgy. Translated by Matthew J. O'Connell with block prints by Helen Siegl. New York: Pueblo Publishing, 1981. Original publication in German, 1979.

Gascoigne, Bamber. The Christians. With photographs by Christina Gascoigne. New York: William Morrow & Company, 1977.

Jensen, Richard. Thinking in Story: Preaching in a Post-Literate Age. Lima, Ohio: CSS, 1993.

Long, Thomas G. Beyond the Worship Wars: Building Vital and Faithful Worship. Washington: Alban Institute, 2001.

Miles, Margaret R. Image as Insight: Visual Understanding in Western Christianity and Secular Culture. Boston: Beacon Press, 1985.

Thielen, Martin. Ancient Modern Worship: A Practical Guide to Blending Worship Styles. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2000).

Webber, Robert E. Worship Old and New. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan Publishing House, 1982.

Wegman, Herman A.J. Worship in East and West: A Study Guide to Liturgical History. Translated by Gordon Lathrop. New York: Pueblo, 1985.

Ward, Richard. Speaking of the Holy: The Art of Communication in Preaching. St. Louis: Chalice Press, 2001.

White, James, comp. Documents of Christian Worship. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox, 1992.

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