Revd James C Stewart

The Editor, the Revd James C Stewart, discusses the Church of Scotland’s recent search for a ‘worship development officer’.

Reference: Volume 49 2014, p1

Dr Iain B Galbraith

Presidential Address to the Church Service Society, May 2014 by Dr Iain B Galbraith

The title came from a poem by the 11th century musical theoretician, Guido d’Arrezzo, who foreshadowed by 8 centuries the pioneering work of the 19th century developers of tonic-solfa notation. In the address, the author charts his journey as a church musician, recalling his childhood in Bonhill Old Church where his forebears had been precentors, his education in the Vale of Leven and the Royal Scottish Academy of Music, but where his ‘warranty’ also included a developing interest in theology. An organist from the age of 14, continued in Renton, Knightsbridge, Rhu, and Kelvinside Hillhead in Glasgow. A major influence was the person and the music of J S Bach, whose warranty also combined music and theology. He concludes with a reflection on contemporary music in the church, which he sees as derived from ‘culture for the mass rather than for the people’ (Bernard Levin) and lacks two indissoluble components: offering and mystery. (To this address, the Editor has appended a hymn tune he discovered in an old collection of tunes by W R Broomfield named ‘Shandon’ which is in the parish of Rhu.)

Reference: Volume 49 2014

Hugh Gilbert OSB

Address given to the Aberdeenshire Theological Club by Hugh Gilbert OSB, RC Bishop of Aberdeen, 20th January 2014

The feast is the earliest outside the Easter cycle, and predates the Nativitiy, prob originating in Egypt. It has come to have a heightened significance in the Roman Liturgy. The interpretations of the meaning of the Baptism are explored: what it was not – admission of sin, ‘making’ Jesus the Son, a call to lay hold of his destiny; and what it is – climax of John’s ministry, the beginning of Jesus’ public ministry, his anointing as Messiah, it anticipates his Paschal Mystery, it is an Epiphany/Theophany, the source and pattern of our Baptism

Reference: Volume 49 2014,

Revd Scott Rennie

This is a description, by the Revd Scott Rennie of Queen’s Cross Church, Aberdeen, of an evening hosted by the Wild Goose Resource Group of the Iona Community in that church, which took this theme. The medium was song. It led, the next day, a Saturday, to a day of workshops on worship: on introducing new songs, a congregation’s musical structure, using the building, working with children.

Reference: Volume 49 2014,

Revd James C Stewart

The Editor, the Revd James C Stewart, gives an account of the second half century of the Church Service Society’s 150 years, to be marked next year. It included the launch of the Society’s journal (still in print), a proposal that the Society be now wound up at the establishment of the Committee on Aids to Devotion, the union with the Church Worship Association of the United Free Church (and its forebears in the United Presbyterian Devotional Service Association and the Free Church’s Public Worship Association). Some of the scholars of the joint Society are mentioned: W D Maxwell, William Macmillan, John Lamb, Stuart Louden, the latter calling the Society to renew its contribution and tackle fresh tasks.

Reference: Volume 49 2014,

Revd James C Stewart

The Editor celebrates the ministry of the Revd Edward M H Lewis and his generous benefaction to the Society.

Reference: Volume 49 2014

Revd Marion Dodd

The Revd Marion Dodd reviews A useable past? belief, worship and song in Reformation context ed. James C Stewart, published by the Church Service Society. This contained the three Chalmers Lectures of 2010, given by Prof Ian Hazlett, the Revd Dr Doug Gay, and the Revd Dr Douglas Galbraith.

Reference: Volume 49 2014,

Revd Dr Henry Sefton

The Revd Dr Henry Sefton reviews Race shall thy works praise unto race: the development of metrical psalmody in Scotland, Graham Deans (The Hymn Society of Great Britain and Ireland).

Reference: Volume 49 2014,

Revd Dr Douglas Galbraith

Douglas Galbraith, Secretary to the Society, notes these recent publications:

Celebrating Holy Communion (Saint Andrew Press) from a working party set up by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, edited by Peter Donald;

Echoing the Word: the Bible in the Eucharist, Paula Gooder and Michael Perham (SPCK);

The Serious Business of Worship: Essays in honour of Bryan D Spinks, eds. Melanie Ross and Simon Jones (T&T Clark);

The Book of Common Prayer: A biography, Alan Jacobs (Princeton University Press);

Resonant Witness: Conversations between music and theology, eds. Jeremy S Begbie and Steven R Guthrie (Eerdmans); Liturgy and Interpretation, Kenneth Stevenson (SCM Press);

The People’s Work: A social history of the liturgy, Frank Senn (Fortress Press);

Great is the Mystery of Faith: Exploring faith through the words of worship, Paul Ferguson (Canterbury Press);

Worship and the Parish Church in Early Modern Britain, Natalie Mears and Alex Ryrie eds. (Ashgate);

The Gospel Church Secure: The official history of the Methodist Sacramental Fellowship, Norman Wallwork (Church in the Market Place);

The Sacred Community: Art, sacrament, and the people of God, David Jasper (Baylor University Press);

Worship 4 Today: A course for worship leaders and musicians, Helen Bent and Liz Tipple (Church House Publishing);

Scots Worship: Advent, Christmas and Epiphany, David D Ogston, ed. Johns McKay (St Andrew Press);

Table Manners: Liturgical leadership for the mission of the Church, Simon Reynolds (SCM Press);

Do This in Remembrance of Me: The Eucharist from the early Church to the present day, Bryan D Spinks (SCM Press).

Reference: Volume 49 2014,

Revd Dr Douglas Galbraith

The Secretary apologises for confusing the Earls of Moray in the previous issue, reports on plans for the Sesquicentenary of the Society, gives an account of the Study Day which explored the context into which the Society was founded, pays tribute to Donald McIhagga, Alastair Heron, and Graeme Longmuir – members of the Society who had recently died, explains the purpose of the new e-letter Versicle, reported on the Annual Meeting of 2014, and noted the appointment of member Matthew Ross as General Secretary of Action of Churches Together in Scotland.

Reference: Volume 49 2014, p2

Iain Torrance

The outlines the writer’s reasons for saying at the outset that he is not persuaded that partaking in an act of communion mediated by the internet is intrinsically different from partaking in one while out of sight in a corner of a cathedral and following the liturgy through a loudspeaker. A 17th century debate is revisited which related to the legitimacy of baptism administered privately. The argument turns on the elasticity of delivery.


Reference: Volume 55 2020, p1-4
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Donald MacEwan

This is a statement, with elaboration from the Theological Forum of the General Assembly, which tends towards seeing online Communion as valid. It explores the area of physical versus virtual gathering, time and distance lag, the streaming of a live event as opposed to a recording, and includes suggestions to help towards fuller involvement.

Reference: Volume 55 2020, p5-10
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Reference: Volume 55 2020, p11-12
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Alan D Falconer

This describes several initiatives in St Machar’s Cathedral Aberdeen when the author was minister, especially in evening services, in which various dimensions of the arts were found to enhance worship. Detail is given, to help those who might continue the exploration in other contexts, and there is analysis using one of Dag Hammarskjöld’s Markings (‘Thou takest the pen / flute / brush …’) of the relationships between the arts and worship that make this possible.

Reference: Volume 55 2020, p13-27
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Edward Luscombe, edited Douglas Galbraith

This narrative of the way liturgy developed in the Scottish Episcopal Church is culled from Bishop Luscombe’s several books on local history and personalities in the SEC over the centuries.

Reference: Volume 55 2020, p28-41
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