Responsive rather than Emergent: Intentional Episcopal Liturgy for the 21st Century
AuthorPooley, Nina Ranadive
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With the rise of emerging churches greater attention has been paid to the liturgy of The Episcopal Church; rather than attempt to be emergent, The Episcopal Church is positioned to continue its long standing tradition of liturgical adaptation to be responsive to the needs of the 21st century. An understanding of the Anglican tradition of liturgical adaptation provides Anglican principles of liturgical change and a firm foundation for crafting responsive liturgy. The paper begins with an in-depth look at the emerging church phenomenon and what the issues raised by the emergence of these communities have to teach those in mainstream liturgical traditions about the changing needs of contemporary culture. Following this introduction to emerging churches is a discussion of liturgical inculturation inherent in the development of early Christian liturgy primarily through the expertise of Anscar Chupungco and the work of the liturgical movement leading up to Sacrosanctum Concilium of Vatican II. From this look at early liturgical development the paper then considers the development of Anglican liturgy, specifically the ways in which Anglican liturgy has been adapted throughout history to meet the changing needs of the world. The purpose of this exploration is to show that not only is liturgical adaptation inherently Anglican, but also to discover the foundational Anglican principles for liturgical change. With these principles established, the paper proposes a tool or outline for clergy who wish to offer liturgy that is responsive to the world and is still in-keeping with the liturgical principles of The Episcopal Church. This tool serves as a guide to evaluate new liturgies that are coming from other sources, such as Emerging Churches, as well as provides a guideline for those wanting to craft liturgy for their parishes in a manner that is both responsible to the tradition of the church and responsive to the needs of the 21st century. As the weekly Eucharist is the most frequent rite celebrated in the majority of parishes within The Episcopal Church at this moment in our history, this endeavor focuses on the eucharistic rite in particular. The paper concludes with an appendix that includes some practical ways in which these liturgical principles have been applied successfully.