November 2010


Yes I know – it’s either very early to plan your stuff for next year, or far too late to do this year’s….but while it was in my mind, here’s a couple of resources you might not know about.

They Shall Grow Not Old compiles about every Remembrance liturgy and prayer you could ever need (and the music for the Last Post and Reveille).It’s by my old chum Brian Elliott, who has been an Army Chaplain for ages, and whose Labarum site is now hosted by Oremus. Loads of millitary stuff – invaluable in certain quarters.  TSGNO is a one stop shop for this time of year.

For wider resources for remembering and commemorating, look at Beyond Our Tears. It’s a Churches Together publication, with sample liturgies (eg the one after the Dunblane tragedy), and all sorts of prayers, poems and writing.

And one practical thing. Lots of places use the hymn O Valiant Hearts. Lots try not to, because it’s theology gets a bit difficult in saying that the death of those in war is a ‘little calvary’, but you can have quite a job dissuading your local British Legion from singing it. But…it’s not in many hymn books. Click here and scroll down the page and you’ll find it, with the music. Good luck.

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The trouble with Common Worship, says just about everyone I meet, is that the stuff you need is all over the place. One of my esteemed colleagues challenged me to produce a ‘what can I find where?’ guide to the Calendar…ie where to find the ‘proper’ material for saints days and the like. Here goes.

There are four categories of observance:

Principal Feasts and Principal Holy days. Easily spotted – in bold red in the calendar (and in the best lectionaries – ditch any inferior publication which does it in shades of black).

Examples: Epiphany (a fixed date, 6 Jan), or Ash Wednesday (a moveable feast, depends on the date of Easter)

Where’s the stuff?

The best source is Common Worship: Times and Seasons.
The seasonal provisions in the Common Worship main volume (black Sunday book) has basic stuff to get you through the Eucharist. T+S has loads more, worked out Intercessions etc.
Some stuff, organised differently, is in New Patterns for Worship, but you have to search harder.

Festivals. Again in red, but not bold. Major saints, like Peter, Luke etc. Generally these are all a specific date, though one or two, like Christ the King, are always a Sunday so can move around a little bit. Lectionary readings are set for them, and include HC, M and EP. (and EP on the eve)

Where’s the stuff?
Collects and post communions are in the Common Worship main volume.
The best source is Common Worship: Festivals. Lots of material, collect, post communion, Eucharistic prefaces, blessings, worked out intercessions, and the lectionary references as well.
Exciting Holiness (Canterbury Press) has a biographical introduction, collect and post communion, and the full text of the readings, but not the Eucharistic prefaces or blessing.

Lesser Festivals. Normal typeface, black, not bold.
Reasonably important saints and historic figures, but not apostles (so Catherine of Siena, the Wesleys etc).
On a fixed date. HC readings only, and you can choose them from a selection (in the ‘common’ material for martyrs, missionaries etc). They might have a unique collect, but a generic post communion.

Where’s the stuff?
Collects are in Common Worship: Festivals.
The ‘Common of the Saints’ is in Common Worship: Festivals, with Eucharistic material and worked out intercessions too.

Exciting Holiness has biographical material, the specific collect and post communion prayer. It also makes a choice from the available readings, and prints them out for you. But no worked out intercessions.

Commemorations. Italicised typeface. Figures who are more important locally than (inter)nationally.
No collect or readings provided anywhere official – but you can get generic stuff from the Common of the Saints and craft your own if the person is particularly important to you.

Exciting Holiness has biographical material only.

And:
Common Worship: Daily Prayer has collects for the first three but not Commemorations, and gives suggestions about the appropriate form of Morning and Evening Prayer for particular ones.
Saints on Earth (Church House Publishing) has extended biographical material for the Lesser Festivals and Commemorations. Recommended.

There. Easy.

Of course, you may have some other tricks. Let me know.

This is, I guess, not strictly liturgical. And yet…

There’s a special service we’ve been asked for. It is preceded by a parade, and it needs to happen in Feb or March. We can’t do it before 5 pm. I don’t want them to be parading in the dark. I had a general idea when the sun might be setting, but general is not good enough.

So I Googled, and got the answer here. Great site for knowing exactly when the sun will rise and set, wherever you are in the world. I liked the use of the map – others use postcodes.

Light and darkness, of course, do make a difference to worship, especially when you need it to be dark for some projected visuals. Nice to have a pleasing site where you can plan for it in detail.

I know. I will get out more.

PS: the ace picture at the top of the blog is a sunrise…