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Services Of Reconciliation
For Communal use During Advent and Lent
by Nuala Gannon
Within my tradition (the Church of England), the Sacrament of Reconciliation (Confession) rarely features in the life of most congregations outside the Anglo-catholic community. This collection of communal services from the Roman Catholic tradition is precisely what is needed within Protestantism to help us reassert the importance of individual and corporate acts of penance.
The book consists of 14 outline orders of service—7 for Advent and 7 for Lent—each exploring a different aspect of penance.
All utilise the practice of lectio divina—in the author’s words , “the services are rooted in the word of God, where we find the assurance of God’s steadfast love, compassion, mercy and loving kindness…here we shall discern our true selves and the immensity of God’s love…”
Each service is similarly structured with suggested hymns, music, prayers and the use of symbols to take our engagement beyond words. After opening prayers and scripture reading there is an Examination of Conscience followed by the celebration of the sacrament itself. Sharing the peace features prominently towards the end of each service.
The Roman Catholic origins of the services come through clearly in the choice of prayers and hymns but not in a way that constrains their use in other traditions.
This is a super collection that many will find useful. A CD of the text enclosed at the rear of the book would be an added blessing.
Reviewer: David Ford (01/05/14)