Conference in Canada to focus on liturgical responses to disaster

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The National Anglican and Lutheran Worship Conference in Canada, which will take place in July, is to center around the theme of responding to natural and manmade disasters. Organizers cite a lack of appropriate liturgical response and the rise in such disasters as the reasoning behind the theme. “There seems to be not a year that goes by that there isn’t some kind of devastating national disaster,” says the Very Rev. Ansley Tucker, Anglican co-chair of the conference and dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria, diocese of British Columbia. “We began to ask, ‘How does the church respond?’ We don’t have liturgical resources ready to hand to deal with these kinds of disasters, and it leaves clergy and worship leaders making it up as they go along.”

Tucker pointed to the liturgical movement of the 1960s that drew the church away from what was felt to be “dour and sombre.” She mentions that even a funeral is really called a “celebration of life.” “I’m not saying that we shouldn’t have done those things, but I am saying that in our liturgical resources, we lost access to means of lament.”

The conference was originally a conference of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, and they invited the Anglican Church of Canada in 2002. The conference is held every two years. It is open to “anybody who has an interest in how the church worships.” This year’s conference will feature a panel of first responders and workshops including on the use of art therapy and reaching across faith lines in times of disaster. More about the conference can be read here.

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Jim Johnson
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Jim Johnson

Finally something is at least being talked about for a liturgical Christian response to disaster. I would like to hear the results.

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Bruce Cornely
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Bruce Cornely

The church has the appropriate "liturgical response" to offer assistance to victims of disasters. It's called the Prayer Book, preferably 1928 USA. The problem is that clergy are not prepared to provide pastoral care and actual concern to their parishioners (overall, there are some!). I would point out to Tucker that the liturgical movement of the 60s might well be classified as an unnatural disaster which pushed many people away from the church. The reason liturgy/worship was considered "dour and sombre" was that clergy lacked feeling. I recall a lady saying after months with the "new" prayer book that what was needed was clergy revision and not prayer book revision. The revised liturgy was just as boring as the old one. Clergy refuse to take responsibility for worship problems that THEY cause. I must point out to Tucker that EVERY worship service (be it Eucharist, MP or EP, even the Litany!) is/should be a celebration, while also pointing out they need not be "fun."

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