"Simply let your 'Yes' be 'Yes', and your 'No,' 'No'; anything beyond this comes from the evil one", Matthew 5:37.

The buzz word in Anglican circles today is "accessing". It's all about making the worship service relevant to the wider local community so that unchurched people will be attracted to the service and so come under the sound of the gospel. For the purpose of accessing, Anglican form gets quite a hammering. In the end it's off with the robes and away with the Prayer Book. The hymn books are locked away and out comes the overhead projector.

The notion that evangelism is best performed in a Chrisitian worship service rather than in the "highways and byways", the local pub, the TV set in a person's lounge room, etc. is a proposition that is open to question. Designing the worship of the church community as an evangelistic mechanism is a touch deceitful to say the least. Yet leaving that issue aside, is it really necessary to destroy Anglican form as though it is foreign, even repulsive, to anyone other than an anglophile?

The African church is an interesting example of the contextualizing of Anglican form. The 1662 Prayer Book is still often used, the minister is robed, there is a choir.... all the trimmings are there. Yet enter the service and immediately the feeling is African rather than English. The music is often led by the choir and drums. The feet are stamping, the bodies moving. The feel is culturally relevant, yet wholly Anglican. Anglican liturgy and practice does not hinder cultural relevance.

The present-day destruction of Anglican form in Low Church congregations is totally unnecessary. All that has happened is that a large number of Anglican churches have abandoned a greatly loved liturgical style of worship and adopted a style already used in non-conformist churches. All this for no real gain.

[Pumpkin Cottage]