Resources for all-age worshipThe Family Worshipsite offers a range of resources, including songs, articles, books, albums and a free e-mail newsletter.
CPAS, the Church Pastoral Aid Society is a strong advocate for all-age worship. In its 'Body Beautiful' project it offers a range of resources.
Salisbury Diocese has a range of material available on all-age worship. They also offer links to further sites (though only as a Word file).
Mission Resourcing SA is an Australian site with some articles and resources.Decade Ministries offers a range of visual material for use in all-age worship.
Books and other publicationsCreating Inclusive Worship Communities: Accommodating All Peoples at God's Table, a Parish Handbook by Elizabeth Browne, Liguori Publications (Feb 2004).
Body Beautiful? Recapturing a Vision for All-age Church by Philip Mountstephen & Kelly Martin, Grove Pastoral Series P99, Cambridge: Grove Books (2004).Grove Books have a number of booklets on worship.
Innovative worshipAs society changes, worship forms change and develop to ensure that people can approach God in ways which are authentic to the Christian faith and to their own cultural experience. On this page we offer some links and resources for a number of different worship approaches.
We've grouped these new forms of worship into a number of categories. Richard Seel has written Worship on the Edge, as a brief introduction to them.Scripture-based Liturgy
Scripture-based liturgy is not in itself very radical but it forms the basis of a lot of modern worship forms. The aim of a scripture-based liturgy is to match the liturgical structure to the narrative structure of the Bible text. So if a Bible passage has two people meeting, then interacting, then parting the corresponding liturgical structure could be greeting, teaching/prayer/sacrament, dismissal.
The term ‘café church' is used in two separate but related senses. Firstly, there are those Christian communities who are experimenting with meeting in cafés or simply running cafés as an act of service and discipleship. The second meaning relates to a style of worship. People sit around small tables in an informal and relaxed atmosphere, serving coffee and tea before worship starts, and perhaps during it as well.
There are a few things to remember, such as the fact that there isn't really a ‘front' if people are sitting around tables. Someone will always have their back to any given point in the room. Of course they can turn round but this isn't necessarily ideal.
So think carefully about service sheets and song books versus PowerPoint. Service sheets may clutter up the tables, video projection requires everyone to face the same way-although a few carefully-placed flat-screen monitors could offer the best solution.
If a sermon is to be preached it might be better if it's delivered from the table where the preacher is sitting. Using a hand-held radio microphone and offering an ‘open mike' time when anyone can contribute may well fit better with the café ethos. Put a time limit on contributions. There is always the possibility that non-Christians may say something you'd rather they didn't but this is a risk which has to be taken.
Café-style offers the possibility of having a mix in the service of table-based prayer, discussion and well as worship which engages the whole room.
The Fresh Expressions website offers a brief introduction to café church and a couple of case studies of different approaches to café church.
A brief note on some of the practicalities of café church can be found on the alternative worship website:
Alternative worship, often known as alt.worship after the fashion of internet newsgroups usually traces its roots to the Nine O'Clock Service (NOS), which started at St Thomas, Crookes in Sheffield in the mid-eighties (for more, see the account by Roland Howard). Although the Sheffield experiment ended in 1995 in distress and controversy, many other alt.worship groups flourished. Most use video and contemporary music, rely heavily on ritual and symbolism, and adopt an experiential approach to liturgy. Worshippers are not seen as passive consumers of pre-packaged predictability but rather as co-creative participants in an ongoing drama.
Indeed, one characteristic of most alt.worship groups is that liturgy is collaboratively constructed. This is because liturgy is seen as an expression of community and of that community's response to the love of God. Typically, members will get together to plan the next act of worship. The theme or topic will be decided or announced (there is no reason why alt.worship should not follow the lectionary). People will then volunteer to develop worship for that session, probably because the theme speaks to them (or the Spirit speaks to them through the theme). This collaborative aspect of worship is one of the most significant different between alt.worship and traditional worship, though a strong emphasis on creativity and an eclectic spirit, drawing resources from many traditions, are also prominent.
Jonny Baker & Doug Gay's book on Alternative Worship is a brief but good introduction to the alt.worship scene. It also contains a number of worship resources based around the church year. There is some excellent material and a CD-ROM is provided with words, images, movies and songs.
Paul Roberts, in his Grove Booklet Alternative Worship in the Church of England suggests that alternative worship has the following characteristics: multi-media environment resulting from intense creativity; use of visuals; use of sound; collaborative leadership; breadth of liturgical resources. He traces the history of the movement from its roots in NOS and then considers the underlying philosophy, seeing the inevitable parallels with postmodernist approaches to text and the importance of shared interpretations of the Bible. He ends with a consideration of the role of alt.worship within the more formal and regulated structures of the C of E.Liquid Worship
Most worship is linear: it starts at the beginning, follows a clearly defined liturgical path, and ends at the end. Liquid worship is different. In a service of liquid worship there will be a number of stations (or ‘zones') and people can visit them in any order they choose. Some will go to one or two at the most, others will ‘flit' from station to station. In liquid worship there is nothing to stop you visiting the same station two or three times. In East Harling they are experimenting with Liquid Worship at their monthly 'Soul Cafe' service. Here is a typical introduction:
After our worship time with the music group, worship takes place at a series of zones around the church. You have to decide which zones you would most like to visit. You may decide to spend all your time in one place or try to visit several. Today our worship is based on Creation-thanksgiving for all God has done and saying sorry for the way we waste or spoil the things he has made.
- Café- join us for tea and a drink.
- Prayer zone in front of the altar-think of places around the world that have been spoilt or where people are suffering. Place a shell or a prayer on parts of the world that you would like to pray for.
- Meditation zone-in St Anne's chapel. This is a place for silent prayer. Prayer ministers are available if you would like someone to pray with you.
- Creative zone in the entrance. Think of a really beautiful place and paint or draw it! Also explore prayer painting. You don't have to be able to paint to do this!
- Play zone by the font. Make a clay animal or plant. Read a story. Write or draw a prayer.
- Talk zone in the Lady Chapel. Join in a discussion about our response to creation. How do we look after it? Does it matter if it's spoilt?
We will gather together at 6:45 for a short act of worship.
The term Liquid Worship was coined by Pete Ward in his book Liquid Church.There is a Grove Booklet by Tim Lomax and Michael Moynaugh, called Liquid Worship.
Other sites of interest
Other alternative worship groups
- moot (which meets in London)
- vaux (which stopped meeting for a while but is meeting again in 2007)
- ambient wonder (which is part of St Augustine's, Norwich)