Church House theologian travels "down under" to discuss liturgy

Between August 1 and 18 Dr. Eileen Scully, General Synod’s coordinator for ministry and worship, will travel to New Zealand and Australia for two international liturgical consultations. She will attend the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC) in Auckland from August 1 to 7, and the English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC) in Sydney from August 15 to 18.

Both meetings bring together liturgists, clergy and lay, to discuss the public rites used in church services. They will describe their churches’ current contexts and discuss areas where they can work cooperatively.

This biennial meeting of the IALC will gather representatives from around the Anglican Communion to discuss marriage liturgies. Although liturgies are based on the Book of Common Prayer throughout the communion’s 44 provinces and member churches, each church has its own context, and many have adapted rites to reflect the local context. At this meeting the IALC will discuss topics including the relation of the priest to the state, the order of the liturgy, cultural adaptation, and use of symbols.

The IALC usually focuses on a particular issue, and has in the past discussed children and communion, Anglican identity, and initiation. At their last meeting in Palermo, Italy, the group discussed funeral rites. Each meeting produces a consensus document, which is often used by teachers of liturgy or provinces of the Anglican Communion as they consider liturgical revisions.

The ELLC also meets biennially to discuss liturgy, but it gathers ecumenical liturgists from the English-speaking world, specifically from Ireland, Australia, Canada, the United States, Great Britain and New Zealand. Many branches of Christianity are represented, including Roman Catholic, Presbyterian and Anglican.

A main priority of the ELLC is to prepare common liturgical texts in English and to share a common lectionary wherever possible. Its 1988 publication Praying Together was a culmination of this work, much of which was started by the its predecessor, the International Consultation on English Texts (ICET), first convened in 1969.

Ms. Scully, who serves on the IALC steering committee, has a doctorate in systematic theology from the University of Toronto and is a member of the Anglican Communion’s Covenant Design Group, which is working on a document that will define relationships between provinces of the Anglican Communion.

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