Liturgical theology : children and the city
Liturgical Theology: Children and the City engages academic liturgical theology, contextual sensitivity and key challenges faced by the church in contemporary Britain. From its initial focus on the emphasis on congregational participation in the twentieth-century Liturgical Movement, and on the Church of England prayer-book Patterns for Worship (1989, 1993) as an example of a late twentieth-century liturgical resource that stresses participation, the thesis deepens perspectives on a number of related issues. As Patterns for Worship was intended especially to encourage participation in specific contexts - worship in 'urban priority areas', and in congregations seeking to include children - the thesis explores the themes of children and the city in order to suggest a range of challenges which need to be engaged by a contemporary contextually-sensitive liturgical theology. Then, as the discipline is largely neglected in Britain, it explores some North American expressions of liturgical theology and identifies a number of themes and features by which the arguments of Patterns for Worship might be strengthened, or questioned and recast on better foundations. Appreciation of the work of Gordon W Lathrop, Don E Saliers and James F White provides the basis for the thesis' contention that engagement with articulate theological perspectives on liturgy is necessary in order for Patterns for Worship to fulfil its potential. Conversely, however, the thesis also identifies issues with which the discipline of liturgical theology has by no means fully engaged, and so invites a more inclusive vision in liturgical theology. Towards the end of the thesis, the work attempts to initiate the kind of approach to liturgy that it claims is needed in order to fulfil the potential of Patterns for Worship. Using resources gleaned from North American liturgical theology it develops theological and practical ideas about how congregations in urban priority areas and seeking to include children can relate their celebration of liturgy to a sense of divine hospitality.