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Thu, Jan 29th - 10:51AM




The Place of Art in Worship Royal Church of Monreale, Sicily

I am personally convinced that God's house should be like a house of God, a place of great beauty and some mystery. I believe the music is to aid private reflection and corporate worship and never merely to entertain. I believe the adornment of God's house is proper provided that no elements are used which might encourage idolatry. I believe there is much to be said for liturgical forms of worship. I am, in short, an Anglican! But oh, how I long to see its service purified, its message restored, its false doctrines expunged from some of the ordinances in the Prayer Book, and its ministers indwelt by the Holy Spirit and alive unto God.

from The Place of Art in Worship by Arthur C. Custance

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Thu, Jan 15th - 10:38AM

Temperance / Sunday School


A clergyman was telling his congregation of the effects of imtemperance, and said:

"I hope the time will soon come when all liquor will be poured into the river. Now let us sing hymn No.94."

Some members of the congregation smiled when they opened the hymn books and read the title,

"Shall We Gather at the River?" The Sunday school class was reviewing the wonderful lesson of Jacob when he used a stone for a pillow and had the dream of the angles ascending and descending on the ladder above him. The young lady teacher asked if there were any questions.

"If the lovely angels had wings," asked a twelve-year-old, "whaddey have to climb up and down the old ladder for?"

"Ah-hem!" said the teacher, "are there any more questions?"

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Thu, Jan 1st - 10:33AM

Hallelujah Highway by Paul Turner
Hallelujah Highway by Paul Turner

The Hallelujah Highway: A History of the Catechumenate by Paul Turner describes the development, loss and restoration of the Catechumenate over the centuries in the Christian Church. This book is more than just a time-line of events, however. It gives brief synopses of how local customs in various places gave impetus for what we know as the Catechumenate to develop. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Christ's Church was flexible enough to meet the various needs of people in various circumstances who wished to become followers of Christ, while keeping to some fundamental principles.

Without benefit of network meetings, conference calls or email, in almost all the cases outlined in the book, at almost all times, the Church held fast to the belief that those wishing baptism were expected to demonstrate a change in their lives (it can be argued that these expectations were not expressed in a formal liturgical way in the middle ages when it was mostly Christian parents bringing their infants to baptism). It was interesting that while the ritual actions changed (for instance, Ambrose washed the feet of the newly baptised!), while the time of preparation fluctuated, and the dates of baptism were not uniform, what was essential for all the newly baptised is they were expected to live their lives differently from those of their neighbours as a result of their baptism. Catechumens found that not just their background was investigated but also their recent behaviour. Were catechumens known to be people who lived piously? Did they honour widows, visit the sick, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and perform other good deeds?

Eventually, with the development of manuals and ritual texts and their dissemination, ritual actions during the Catechumenate began to become uniform, as did the Easter Vigil for the principle time of baptism. Such practices as the anointing of Catechumens before (and after) baptism, the handing over of the Creed and the Lord’s Prayer and their recitation before baptism eventually became normative. Still, various local traditions developed, right up to recent times.

At the conclusion of each chapter, Turner gives a brief synopsis of the content under such headings as "First Interest" (usually some spiritual experience prompted people to inquire about the Christian faith), "Preparation for Baptism" (outlining what processes were expected by various Christian ministers), "Baptism" (describing how and when this was done), and "Life After Baptism" (what was expected of the newly baptised).

The book looks at various people whose influence greatly shaped the development of the catechumenate. Among those are Peter and Paul, Justin Martyr, Origen, Ambrose and John Chrysostom, showing that whether ones ministry was primarily pastoral, or preaching or teaching, together, they worked to build up the Body of Christ.

206 pages, Published in 2000, Archdiocese of Chicago: Liturgy Training Publications, Chicago Ill., ISBN: 1-56854-320-4



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