The Diocesan Liturgical Committee (DLC) has been asked by the bishop’s senior staff to resource churches in worship. One area of resourcing that has been identified by the DLC is where worship may not be possible every week due to a lack of trained licensed ministers, or where there are large groupings of churches where a rota for services has been developed.
The committee is aware that in some parts of the diocese there are churches that are not able to offer regular patterns of weekly worship because of these factors and for a variety of other reasons. The committee is also aware that it can be difficult for people to travel and it can sometimes be difficult to encourage people to worship in different churches within the same parish or benefice for joint services, and therefore people might only attend a church service once a month or less. This pilot project might be helpful for churches where there are people within a community who would value meeting together more regularly for worship.
The DLC is offering the opportunity for all churches across the diocese to be part of a pilot project using homily resources produced by members of the DLC, which are to be used between Lent and Pentecost. The committee has also identified specific groups of churches to participate, and this paper explains the pilot project.
The DLC will provide a Service of the Word order of service that can be led by a member of the laity, possibly a churchwarden or authorised lay minister (ALM). (They do not necessarily need to be licensed but some support or training may need to be provided. If you would appreciate help with this please contact Simon Dean.) The liturgies are taken from Common Worship and New Patterns for Worship and include words of welcome, confession, a gospel reading and homily (provided on separate sheets), a declaration of faith, and an outline of prayers where opportunity can be given for open prayer time or for prayers to be led by the person leading the service. This simple guide can be downloaded to help those leading the service.
For each week a two-sided homily resource will be provided in line with the lectionary for that week.
Homily – from the Church latin homilia ‘a homily, sermon’; from Greek homilia ‘conversation, discourse’, used in New Testament Greek for ‘sermon’.
The homily resources will provide a short reflection and opportunity for conversation, helping us to learn from one another.
Using the gospel reading for that week as the main reading, the sheet will include the date and:
• the gospel reading in full (NRSV)
• a list of the other lectionary readings for the day
• key themes from the gospel reading
• a homily – a short (two-minute) homily to help offer some context and application to the reading, which can be read by the leader of the service
• conversation questions for the group to consider
• a prayer and the Collect for the day.
What will be available during the pilot
• A generic service that can be used at any time (please see here)
Weekly homily sheets
There should be enough copies of both resources to allow every person to see a copy. The homily resources should be taken home by people for further reflection and personal use. If people need printed copies, please contact Simon Dean via email or by calling 01522 50 40 50.
When could they be used?
The resources could be used:
• on a Sunday when a service is not being offered in that church. “For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them”.
• as a small group resource to further explore the gospel reading for that week, following the sermon on the previous Sunday, in any church using the lectionary. The group could take into account the sermon and also the homily, which may be different.
• by individuals for further reflection during the week
• by ministry teams as they prepare for the services
• at any other time that you feel is appropriate.
We will ask each participating group to complete an evaluation form about the pilot project and to offer comment, reflection and suggestions as to how the resource could be further developed.
If you wish to be part of the pilot project, please contact Simon Dean by email or by calling 01522 50 40 50.