Metrical Psalmody in Print and Practice: English ‘singing psalms’ and Scottish ‘psalm buiks’ c.1547-1940, Timothy Duguid (Ashgate 2014) is reviewed by Martin Ritchie.

Shaping up: Reforming Reformed worship, Ernest Marvin (United Reformed Church, 2005) is reviewed by Alan Smith.

Reference: Volume 51 2016, p48

Short notices are given for:

Alastair D. MacDonald, The Gude and Godlie Ballatis (Scottish Text Society, 2015)

David Grumett, Material Eucharist (OUP 2016)

Gisela Kreglinger The Spirituality of Wine (Eerdmans 2016)

Daniel McCarthy and James Leachman Come into the Light: Church interiors for the celebration of liturgy (Canterbury)

Martyn Payne Messy Togetherness: Being intergenerational in Messy Church (BRF)

Sally Harper, P S Barnwell, Magnus Williamson (eds) Late Medieval Liturgies Enacted (Ashgate, 2016)

Tim Lomax, Creating Missional Worship: Fusing context and tradition (Church House Publishing)


Reference: Volume 51 2016, p52

Douglas Galbraith

The Secretary reports on the Annual Meeting of 2016, on representation of the Scottish Episcopal Church on the Council of the Society, on the new President and other members of Council, the Study Day in New College later in the year, the appointment of an associate editor for the Record, the move of the Society’s library to the University of St Andrews, and the re-enactment in St Mary’s Haddington of a Reformation Sunday service using material from the Wode Partbooks which had been reassembled from various locations by a research project in the University of Edinburgh.

Reference: Volume 51 2016, p56

Adrian Burdon

Based on a presentation given on the Study Day in October 2012 in Gorbals Parish Church, Glasgow, by the Revd Dr Adrian Burdon, Convener of the Liturgical Subcommittee of the Faith and Order Committee of the Methodist Church in Britain.

Defining his terms, the author quotes Bevan and Shroeder saying that mission is not an innocent word but is ultimately witness to the hope of a new heaven and a new earth. He suggests that neither is worship innocent, but a seditious, life-changing and perception-challenging expression of the life of God in the world. ‘Worship is everything’ and finds expression in many ways, but where mission is prohibited worship nevertheless sustains thc church. Much of the article is a discussion of a 2012 Methodist report on Fresh Expressions and one from the Church of Scotland in 2011. The relationship of this innovative form of mission with the existing patterns of the church is explored. One thing such projects bring is challenge to mainstream Christian communities. What God is doing is bigger than the church. God is a ‘verb, a flow, an embrace, a movement, a dance’, i.e. a relationship. Authentic liturgy heals our eyes and we are enabled to see the world as held in the holiness of God. Schmemann writes of the eucharist that ‘here we see the world in Christ as it truly is’.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p2
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Frances M Henderson

A paper given at the Study Day at Rhu (where John McLeod Campbell had been minister) in 2013 by the Revd Dr Frances M Henderson, minister of Hoddom, Kirtle-Eaglesfield, and Middlebie in the Presbytery of Annandale and Eskdale.

How real was the Prodigal Son’s repentance? This question Campbell also asked about his congregation and we may do so about ours today.  Campbell saw two approaches: the ‘hollow and hypocritical’ nature of his people’s repentance, and with this their worship was self-seeking, to ensure eternal life; and the overscrupulous approach that is full of anxiety. He saw lacking a core Calvinist doctrine, the assurance of faith, which led to a lack of joy. For Calvin, faith led to repentance. The writer goes on to discuss what should be our liturgical response to repentance, but notes that the Reformers never quite settled on how to convey this in public worship. A petition for pardon was the common response, but in the Order of Excommunication (1569), the minister said ‘I absolve thee’. She finds three types of absolution in the Book of Common Order: declaratory, precatory, and the petition for pardon, but never in its pure form. The author suggests that Adoration, Confession, and Absolution are not three separate prayers but in some sense simultaneous; but is our liturgical ordering adequate? What if we were to begin with a resounding declaration of forgiveness.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p17
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Kirkpatrick and Rachel Dobie

This article reports on a scheme to record the church plate held in Church of Scotland parishes following a resolution by the General Assembly of 2001. Kirkpatrick Dobie is Consultant on Sacramental Vessels to the Committee on Church Art and Architecture (CARTA) and the Revd Rachel Dobie, who helps administer the project, is a former President of the Church Service Society. The project had the support of the Scottish Goldsmiths’ Trust and the National Museum of Scotland. Mr Dobie, being himself an expert in Scottish silver, gives a detailed account of the various styles discovered, and there are several illustrations.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p26

Douglas Galbraith

This address was given at the annual service in commemoration of Michael Bruce of Kinnesswood, a student for the ministry who died at the early age of 21 and who is thought to have provided the final versions of some of the Scottish Paraphrases. The address, by the Revd Dr Douglas Galbraith, Secretary of the Church Service Society, is based round Exodus chapter 35.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p35

James Stewart

The editor, the Revd James Stewart, in the first of a series, gives an account of the first 50 years of the life of the Church Service Society as it approaches its sesquicentenary, including the Society’s origins, some of its scholars, and the publication of succeeding editions of Euchologion, the book of services with an ancestry in the Reformation books for worship and an outcome in the modern editions of the Book of Common Order.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p41

Douglas Galbraith

The Secretary of the Society, Douglas Galbraith, gives an account of the project based in the University of Edinburgh to bring together the part books of the Reformation Wode Psalter, which were scattered over several libraries, to make a full score. So that these would be available for choirs and congregations, individual psalms and other material were put on the Society’s website, where a psalm could be listened to and a score printed for use. They could also be played on instruments.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p49

An account of the study day in 2013, when members of the Scottish Church Society also participated. The theme was the controversy over the understanding of the Atonement associated with the name of John McLeod Campbell, minister at Rhu 1825-31, and led to an examination of the place and practice of confession and absolution in worship.

Reference: Volume 48 2013, p52


The editor underlines a theme that emerges in the issue, the need for a clear awareness of where we have come from if we are to know where we are going. David Beckett is quoted, on 'Presbyterian leaders who know all too well how to improvise but have never learned to play the tune'.

Reference: Volume 47 2011/12, p1
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Rachel J.W. Dobie

The Church of Scotland has an ambivalent attitude to children. The writer's experience in the Board of Parish Education and as Sunday School Adviser. An account of the place of children in the church in the immediate and the more distant past. Westerhoff's four stages of faith. An assessment of today's practice, where imaginative initiatives are found but where also difficulties are experienced in carrying this into Sunday worship. The Sunday School in its traditional form may have had its day. The paper urges further work.

Reference: Volume 47 2011/12, p2

Iain B. Galbraith

The paper outlines some of the trends, styles and influences at work in stained glass in Scotland from its revival around 1820 to the present time. The ancient history of glass. Its expansion in conjunction with Gothic architecture. Glass as mirror of the world and bible of the poor. Scotland and glass: the Reformation (an editorial note questions the assumption of destruction); the Age of Enlightenment as not producing suitable buildings for glass; its re-emergence with the Gothic Revival (but which went beyond the medieval style); pioneers in Scotland. Many examples are given and their styles analysed (Pre-Raphaelitism, the Aesthetic Movement, the Arts and Crafts Movement, Art Nouveau etc. The effect of war on the subject matter of stained glass. Some contemporary artists are named.

Reference: Volume 47 2011/12, p14

Alison M. Robertson

This paper was given at the Study Day in Kippen in 2011 by the founder of the bodies described. Referring to the spread of themes found in stained glass windows, the paper gives the functions of the Symposium and Trust as 1. conservation (or originals, of artistic integrity, of concept), 2. knowledge-sharing (research and filing, inventories, signatures on windows), 3. recording (film, NADFAS, Scottish War Memorials Project).

Reference: Volume 47 2011/12, p25

The Very Rev Dr Finlay A.J. Macdonald (Additional material, Douglas Galbraith)

This is an descriptive outline of an event in St Giles' Cathedral on 30th october 2012, attended by members of civic and faith communities and with the aim of expressing solidarity with the people of Syria. It was attended by some 200 people. An initiative of the Church of Scotland, greetings from Syrian church leaders were transmitted through Dr Macdonald Dr Andrew McLellan, and contributions to the event were made by a lecturer in Contemporary Islam and by a Middle Eastern music ensemble; there were readings from the Bible and the Qu'ran.

Reference: Volume 47 2011/12, p33