Wednesday, March 19, 2008 3:00-4:00

The Dialectic of Worship in The United Church of Canada
by Prof. William S. Kervin, ThD. (Emmanuel College)

Only recently has the history of worship in The United Church of Canada received significant scholarly attention. The methodological challenges of such study are challenging because its Reformed Protestant and “Free Church” roots render many text-based liturgical methodologies of limited use. This presentation (based on a chapter in a forthcoming history of the United Church) conceives the liturgical history of the United Church as an on-going dialectic in which the interplay of text and context results in a uniquely complex liturgical tradition. From the union of 1925 to the emerging postmodernity of the turn of the millennium, United Church worship has been both a reflection of, and window on, each era. Its major worship resources, liturgical patterns and conciliar politics reveals its liturgical life to be a context-specific tradition perpetually in the process of selective recovery and renewal.