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The Holy Ground Around You
Reflective Services for Taking the Church Outside
by Susan Sayers
Publisher:Kevin Mayhew Publishers
In this wonderful, if short, book of ‘apt liturgy’, Susan Sayers offers us 30 short services ‘for taking the church outside’. The services are divided into three categories: Times and Seasons, Weather and Places. The first two categories hold few surprises perhaps, but the third – Places – with suggested locations including the end of a pier and the grounds of a historic building, reveal one of Susan Sayers’ motives: the gentle opportunity to evangelise through observing others worship.
Each act of worship is prefaced with advice on how to ‘gather’ and includes responsorial liturgy (often rooted in scripture but sometimes marvellously original), song and reading suggestions, prayers and congregational activities. Sayers has carefully crafted each liturgy with the context uppermost in her mind and simply reading these liturgies through transported me to lakes, gardens, beaches and islands I know. I cannot recall however, worshipping outside in the depth of winter or in pouring rain and Sayers argument that we should is well made.
Earlier this year our church debated having a pet service and then we remembered our new church carpet. We considered an outside service but the lack of a readily available liturgy placed the idea on the back burner. Thanks to Sayers we now have a liturgy to hand. Similarly, although we are in the middle of a town, a beautiful lake is only a short walk away and with Sayers’ help an Easter dawn service by the lakeside is now a possibility.
This is a great new resource, and a reminder to the churches that our official liturgies are often sorely lacking. A CD containing PDFs of all the services would be appreciated.
Reviewer: David Ford (24/08/12)