The whole church

Celebrating the Eucharist by Patrick Malloy begins with a number of “Principles for Making Liturgical Decisions”. I will be reflecting on these in a series. His first is “The entire assembly celebrates the liturgy”.

I involuntarily wince whenever I see the word “celebrant” as a term referring to the one leading a service. A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa consistently speaks of “presiding priest”, “presiding minister”, “presiding bishop”,…

If the priest is understood to be the celebrant, then others in the assembly may perceive themselves to be observers, or, at best, assistants to the one who is ‘up front.’… A key to inviting the entire assembly into assuming its active role in the church’s life is to allow it to assume its active role in the liturgy. For this to happen, the presider must conceive of herself or himself as a member of the assembly who is presiding over the actions of the whole, not an isolated actor celebrating in view of or in place of the assembly, whose only task is to observe, assist, and passively receive. (page 19)

This is very much the approach in my book Celebrating Eucharist, and a good example is in the chapter on presiding.

To pick up a recent discussion here, this affects church architecture, (see, for example, the community at worship).

Do you agree with these ideas?
What effect do they have on the way we do things?
What effect might they have on our architecture?
Any other ideas…

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