Transforming Worship

Friend of Craig Mitchell sends a contribution: 

Here are images from the “Transforming Worship” Conference, held in Adelaide last year, at which Ruth Duck (USA), Mark Pierson (Aotearoa New Zealand) and Stephen Burns (Australia) spoke. 


Advance Notice: Feminist Liturgy, Feminist Leadership



Save the date: Friday October 26, 2018--please note change of date from earlier advertisement--when the Australian Collaborators in Feminist Theologies are gathering in Melbourne to reflect on feminist liturgy and feminist leadership. 

Sharon Hollis, moderator of the Vic-Tas Synod of the Uniting Church in Australia is presiding over the day. Bryan Cones and myself are speaking. A panel will be part of the day, and please see the call for papers below.

Venue: Pilgrim Theological College, Centre for Theology and Ministry, 29 College Crescent, Parkville, Melbourne. 

Friday, October 26, 2018, 10.00am-4.00pm

Call for papers:

Twenty minute presentations on aspects of feminist leadership and feminist liturgy are welcome. They may engage with any Christian ecclesial tradition, can intersect with other theologies of advocacy, and should show some engagement with one or more of this indicative list of feminist liturgical/theological scholars: Teresa Berger, Janet Morley, Marjorie Procter-Smith, Gail Ramshaw, Letty Russell, Nicola Slee, Miriam Therese Winter. Abstracts of 400 words to Stephen Burns at by August 29. 





Burns, Presiding Like a Woman: and


Cones, On Not “Playing Jesus”:


Photos below: Sharon Hollis, Crosslight magazine of the Vic-Tas Synod of the UCA:

Bryan Cones: Facebook page of St. Augustine’s Episcopal Church, Chicago. In the first photo, Bryan is presiding in communion among children and others, in the latter he is holding a child while a colleague presides:

(Frank Senn discusses the latter scene in his latest book, Eucharistic Body (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2017): )


Gabe Huck / A Guide for the Assembly

I am very pleased to be part of a collection, A Guide for the Assembly, in honour of Gabe Huck, to be published by Liturgy Training Publications next year.

This collection of essays, A Guide for the Assembly: Praise of God with Style and Grace, builds upon and extends the work of author and publisher Gabe Huck, who through his work at the Liturgical Conference, Liturgy Training Publications, the North American Academy of Liturgy, and in other writings the provided a visionary, evocative, and poetic foundation for the "full, conscious, and active participation" of assemblies engaged in liturgical renewal across the denominational spectrum. Inspired by his work, these colleagues, scholars, and pastoral liturgists explore new proposals for worship that is both catholic and ecumenical in contemporary assemblies, gathering the collected wisdom of the many cultures and contexts that mark the liturgy of the church in the United States. Parish clergy and liturgists, musicians and students of liturgy will find here guide for renewed celebrations in the twenty-first century.

The collection will be arranged in three broad sections, with titles drawn from Gabe Huck’s landmark (and still in print) text, Liturgy with Style and Grace. Each section aims toward the continuing renewal of a dimension of the liturgical practice of actively participating assemblies, concluding with specific proposals for further developments in pastoral liturgy.  

Who does the liturgy?

The first section, “Who Does the Liturgy? The Assembly and Its Ministry,” comprises essays by Stephen Burns (Anglican), Bryan Cones and David Lysik (Episcopal), Timothy Matovina (Roman Catholic), Kimberly Bracken Long (Presbyterian) and Paul Turner (Roman Catholic), and focuses attention on the assembly itself, along with its leaders, as the primary subject and symbol of the liturgy, which points to Christ and reveals the varied modes of Christ’s presence. Essays in this section will explore the active participation of the assembly, the role and service of special ministers within it, and the many ways the assembly manifests Christ’s presence through its practice of liturgy.

The sound of our prayer

The second section, “The Sound of Our Prayer: Word and Song,” comprises essays by Tony Alonso (Roman Catholic), Eileen Crowley (Roman Catholic), Kim Harris (Roman Catholic), Michael Joncas (Roman Catholic), and Gail Ramshaw (Lutheran), and explores the way the assembly addresses God in both language and music, as well as beyond text, and how these sounds, images, and melodies evoke the triune God, Jesus Christ the Word, and the assembly that gathers in Christ’s name. Essays in this section will address the intersections of language, gender, and culture in liturgical word and song and how the assembly makes use of its many and diverse treasures in this regard.

Knowing what it feels like

The third section, “Knowing What It Feels Like: The Body at Prayer,” comprises essays by Loraine Brugh (Lutheran), Mark Francis (Roman Catholic), Don Saliers (Methodist), Frank Senn (Lutheran), Juan Sosa (Roman Catholic) and Ben Stewart (Lutheran), and expands attention into the wider dimensions of liturgical celebration: sights and sounds, postures and gestures, architecture and environment. Essays in this section will explore ways in which the Body of Christ in all its members and through all their senses is drawn into common prayer. Sections will be connected by brief essays that highlight Huck's unique contributions in these areas.


A Guide for the Assembly, edited by Bryan Cones and Stephen Burns (Chicago, IL: Liturgy Training Publications, forthcoming 2019.