It has been said that liturgy, music and the words we use in worship shape us, or influence us more than sermons. If this is true then liturgical activity calls from us great care, great preparation and great sensitivity. The context, the people, and the shape of the liturgy require great prayer, thought and spiritual discernment.
“Celebrating Eucharist” provides a careful, thoughtful, and well researched resource for those who know the need for indepth preparation when shaping a Eucharist. Distilled in this resource is the experience and wisdom of many centuries of liturgical thinkers, as well as a very aware appreciation of the contemporary scene. There is probably nowhere else where this combination of insights is available, particularly as they apply to the Anglican Eucharist in Aotearoa New Zealand.
Bosco is a liturgical scholar, and a parish priest. This is an important synthesis of heritage and practice. I know those who read these papers will be informed, stimulated and challenged. Readers will bring their own experience and interpretation of the tradition to what Bosco shares. Out of that engagement I know there will be new enrichment and creativity in the celebration of the Eucharist.
Bishop of Waikato
The Eucharist lies at the heart of the church. Over a period of twenty-five years a lot of energy was expended in producing the eucharistic texts in A New Zealand Prayer Book – He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa. Alongside this textual revision there has been, and for an even longer period, renewal of the way we celebrate the Eucharist. Such renewal needs to be built on a particular community’s style but relate to wider understandings and clear theology. This book is one attempt to help this ongoing process.
This book has evolved over a number of years. Four years ago I was invited to produce monthly “Worship Notes” for the clergy of the Christchurch Diocese. These included suggestions and rationales for services as well as supplementary material I had been collecting and producing. There was a lot of demand to collect the Notes together in a more permanent form. There were also helpful suggestions and critiques and after much revision the present book was produced. It is offered to complement the perceptions of worshippers and worship leaders in their understanding and celebration of the Eucharist.
This book is based on contemporary scholarship. I am indebted to the authors of many books. A list of the books I found most helpful is included at the back of this book. I acknowledge with thankfulness that some supplementary material in this book took as a starting point The Book of Common Prayer and The Book of Occasional Services of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. If anything has been reproduced from any other sources without acknowledgment this will be remedied in future printings.
The material provided in this book may be reproduced provided that reproduction is not for commercial purposes. In any reproduction it would be appreciated if the following was added: “Reproduced from Celebrating Eucharist, DEFT, © Bosco Peters 1995.”
In general, however, supplementary material has been designed to be used without the need for the congregation to have full texts, and responses are usually the well known ones from the Prayer Book.
Numerous people and worshipping communities have contributed in a variety of ways to the production of this book. I would particularly like to thank Bishop David Moxon and the Reverend Peter Williams for their advice and encouragement, Mrs. Caroline Hawkins for her line drawings, Miss Nadine Walker for her help with word processing, and the Reverend Paul Dyer for producing discussion questions for each chapter and for seeing the manuscript through to publication.
Above all I thank Helen, my spouse, for her enthusiastic support, and Catherine and Jonathan for being tolerant when this book has taken up family time. It is to them that I dedicate it.
May this book be another step in the renewal of worship.
Bosco Peters Maundy Thursday, 1995