Camden Theological Library

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Worship that Cares : An Introduction to Pastoral Liturgy

Posted on 24 June 2013 Gavin Glenn

Worship that Cares is in introduction to the principles and skills of ‘pastoral liturgy'. It offers an overview of the ways that worship can be a means of pastoral care, such as ways that Sunday worship can extend care to those who attend, but is focused on those acts of worship which begin with a particular pastoral need. It goes on to consider how the principles which underlie these ‘standard’ rites can also be applied to what might be considered ‘new’ pastoral contexts or needs (such as rites to mark retirement etc.) and those situations which are not acknowledged in church circles (such as divorce etc.). A final chapter discusses ways that the church can move out into the community, offering ‘apt liturgy’ to help community groups to mark crises and joys with non-churchy rituals which nonetheless help people to connect with a world beyond themselves, with the divine and with the Christian story.

Mark Earey provides a toolkit of principles and skills which can be applied across different denominations and Christian traditions, in both formal and informal contexts, and to meet traditional and non-traditional pastoral needs


Worship that Cares reveals Mark Earey as a skilful and generous teacher. He has produced a splendid guide to the Church's pastoral rites, musing on how they enable people to experience God's love and the church's pastoral care. Drawing fromhis own considerable pastoral experience as well as his years of teaching people how to use the church's liturgy, he sets out a whole range of pastoral possibilities from Birth rituals though Marriage, Wholeness and Healing to Death, charting their theological and anthropological background as well as their sociological and implications. He explains in clear terms how the rites ‘work’, and then like the good teacher that he is, allows the reader to weigh up the possibilities and make informed choices about how they will balance the church's provision with their pastoral responsibilities and opportunities. It is a model of how to approach these questions in an increasingly demanding yet frequently ill-informed society, which longs to find meaning in life and the best for their nearest and dearest.”

David Stancliffe,
formerly Bishop of Salisbury and Chairman of
The Liturgical Commission of the Church of England


Worship that cares, presents a challenge to the church in being true to God's mission in the world to pay careful attention to the value of ‘pastoral liturgies’. Mark Earey sets out an easily accessible and well developed case, both from a thorough understand of other sources and his practical experience as a parish minister. We are reminded of the basics of liturgy in our Sunday worship: then offered a ‘toolkit’ to work with. Clearly an aid to all who wrestle to connect pastoral moments and mission.”

-Bill Anderson,
Chair of the Birmingham Methodist District


Mark Earey is Co-director of the Centre for Ministerial Formation and Tutor in Liturgy and Worship at the Queen's Foundation for Ecumenical Theological Education Birmingham.

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