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This page last updated 6 October 2014  

Letters to AO

EVERY WEEK WE PUBLISH a selection of letters we receive in response to something you've read at Anglicans Online. Stop by and have a look at what other AO readers are thinking.

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Letters from the week of 22 to 28 September 2014

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Worship as Worship
These letters are in response to the 21 September 2014 front page letter

I totally agree. We had a service of Compline and a Service of Light in Alice Springs and a reflective a beautiful time on Gospel. It was a beautiful way to end the day

The Rev Barry Fernley
St Oswalds, Glen Iris
Croydon, Victoria, AUSTRALIA
22 September 2014

Really, it's not 'worship' vs 'performance,' but 'worship' vs 'concert.' While a service where a group of singers do all the heavy lifting, and the congregation has little or no active participation, may feel like a performance.

I think it goes to the intent. If the intent is to provide a place for the people of God to experience the 'Holy,' then it is worship. If the point is just for people to see how good the choir is, then it's concert. But even then, some will experience that 'Holy' irregardless of intent.

Over the years, I have come to feel that it is possible for 'performance' to be worship. I have often experienced the Holy in concerts of sacred music, even when not in a worship space. A good example would be a performance of the JSB 'St John Passion' by the American Bach Soloists which I experienced last year. I bought a ticket, and applauded at the end. But it was still a deeply moving experience.

David Link
Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Sacramento
Sacramento, California, USA
23 September 2014

Service as worship or perfromance...well, frankly, to say that Solemn High Mass, or a well rehearsed choral Evensong is NOT performance would be incorrect; to say that it is not worship would be equally incorrect.

We need only to engage all of our senses and allow the rich chant, incense and ritual to help center us, and point us to that divine Majesty which is the object of our worship!

Thanks be to God for the richness and variety of our worship forms!

Lyle Clark
Church of St Luke the Beloved Physician
Tupper Lake, New York, USA
26 September 2014

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Earlier letters

We launched our 'Letters to AO' section on 11 May 2003. All published letters are in our archives.


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