American Methodist Worship (Religion in America) by Karen B. Westerfield Tucker

By Karen B. Westerfield Tucker

This publication deals a accomplished exam of Methodist perform, tracing its evolution from the earliest days as much as the current. utilizing liturgical texts in addition to written money owed in well known and personal resources, Karen Westerfield Tucker investigates some of the rites and seasons of worship in Methodism and examines them in terms of American society.

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The changing attitudes of Methodists toward written prayers are substantiated by the presence of twenty-one pages of official but optional “Aids to Individual and Congregational Devotion” in the 1939 Discipline of the newly formed Methodist Church. The impetus toward printed prayers continued, with most American Methodist bodies since the 1950s placing prayer texts among their official worship resources. , confession, intercession). The contents of the prayers reveal much about Methodist (or at least some Methodist) understandings on the pervasive theological and moral issues.

35 The published services also prepared the ground for the production in 1930 of trial orders of worship by the Methodist Episcopal Church’s Commission on Worship and Music, headed by Bishop Thirkield. Among the four services offered was an order for morning prayer (with rubrics indicating variations for evening) “adapted” from Wesley. 36 All four orders were framed in generally the same shape, and though they elaborated the previous “standard” form, they were now identified as following the psycho-spiritual-aesthetic sequence put forward by Congregationalists Von Ogden Vogt and Willard L.

With the exception of one of the conflated morning and evening services that reproduces Order II of 1939 (the old “common” order), the rest are restatements or nuancings of 1939 Order I (following the shape of the reconstructed Wesleyan ordo). A theological and psychological rationale for Order I—and all of worship—is expressed, which still hints at the categories suggested by Vogt: An order of worship should move with unity and meaning. There is a fourfold aspect to an order of worship. Four attitudes of the devout worshipper are presented in ascending movements—adoration, confession, affirmation, and dedication.

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