Modern History of Worship

The work of the Modern History of Worship Seminar focuses on analyzing the history, theology, and practice of worship from the 16th century to the present with an emphasis on interdisciplinary approaches and methods and practical application for the church today.

Convener

Katharine E. Harmon
kharmon@marian.edu

Seminar Report 2020

Convener

Katharine E. Harmon, PhD, Assistant Professor of Theology at Mari- an University, Indianapolis, IN; Rev. Kent J. Burreson, PhD (2020 Convener pro tem), Louis A. Fincke and Anna B. Shine Professor of Systematic Theology and Dean of the Chapel at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO

Members in Attendance

Sarah Blair, Rychie Breidenstein, Kent Burreson, Tim Gabrielli, Bill Johnston, Tim O’Malley, Kevin Moroney, Sarah Mount Elewononi, Jonathan Riches, Kyle Schiefelbein-Guerrero, Todd Stepp, Shawn Strout, Karen Westerfield Tucker

Visitors in Attendance

Laura Steiner

Description of Work

The seminar’s work began with a paper from Kevin Moroney entitled, “Liturgy for Mission: An Interpretation of Resolution A068 of the Episcopal Church’s General Convention 2018,” providing a map for how prayer book revision in the Episcopal Church might proceed. Following the MLK Academy Field Trip, the Seminar met jointly with the Liturgy and Culture Seminar. This resulted from seminar discussions in 2019, indicating the desire to explore  a topic jointly with another seminar, and a topic which had surfaced in previous meetings was the relationship between liturgy and culture.

In the first half of this joint-seminar meeting, Dr. Catherine Meeks, the Executive Director of the Absalom Jones Center for Racial Healing in Atlanta, presented on the work of the Center under the general topic of Living into God’s Dream for Racial Healing and Harmony. The latter portion of the joint session saw the presentation of two papers that resulted from grant-funded congregational studies: Kent Burreson’s and Rhoda Schuler’s paper on “Lessons from Contemporary Lutheran Catechumenates” from research into current catechumenates in Lutheran congregations in the United States, and Ruth Meyers’ paper resulting from research into “Worship in Racially Diverse Congregations in the Episcopal Church.”

Following the joint  session on Friday, the Saturday session brought a presentation from Todd Stepp entitled “Authentic Christian Worship: Discovering Wesley’s Criteria,” prepared for the work of the Worship and Liturgy Committee of the Word Methodist Council. Sarah Mount Elewononi followed with a paper exploring the Wesleyan Way of Salvation as a map, coupled with biblical poetic imagery and paradigms, to guide congregational life and identity. Timothy Gabrielli then presented a work in progress entitled “Help My Unbelief: Faith, Doubt, and the Body in Liturgy and Catechesis,” examining the unembodied assumptions and practices of liturgical catechesis. Our presentations concluded with Timothy O’Malley’s paper exploring liturgical epistemology entitled “Lex Orandi as Habit: John Henry Newman and a Liturgical Epistemology.” The last part of Saturday focused on best practices for the seminar, including the distribution of papers prior to the meeting, and plans for 2021.

Other Work and Plans for the Future

Since many of the papers in Atlanta coalesced unintentionally around the question of how liturgy forms identity, at the 2021 meeting in Seattle, the Seminar plans to explore the issue of the formation of identity through liturgy. A paper will provide literature review relative to this topic. The intention is to explore the possibility of joint publication of essays coming from the seminar on this topic following Seattle and subsequent meetings. Eight members indicated a potential willingness to bring papers/presentations to next year’s meeting, although the slate of papers will be finalized throughout 2020.

Seminar Report 2019

Convener

Katharine E. Harmon, Assistant Professor of Theology at Marian University (IN). She specializes in liturgical renewal and American Catholicism.

Members in Attendance

Sarah Blair, Rychie Breidenstein, Kent Burreson, Martin Connell, Katharine Harmon, Clare Johnson, Kate Mahon, Kevin Moroney, Sarah Mount Elewononi, Kyle Schiefelbein-Guerrero, Karen Westerfield Tucker

Visitors in Attendance

Tim Gabrielli, Todd Stepp, Shawn Strout

Description of Work

We began our meeting by extended introductions from each attendee, describing current work. On Friday morning, Martin Connell’s presentation connected liturgy and literature, “Sacraments in the Work of Emily Dickinson,” and Kyle Schiefelbein-Guerrero reported on experiences in digital media, “Musings on Digital Pastoral Liturgy.” In the afternoon, Kent Burreson was joined by colleague Rhoda Schuler for their presentation on their current grant project, “Making Christians: Exploring the Formative Impact of the Adult Catechumenal Process,” and Shawn Strout presented the conclusion to his dissertation, “A Liturgical Theology of the Offertory as Practiced by the Churches of the Anglican Communion.” Sarah Blair concluded our day with her presentation, “50 Years: Uniting Conference of the EUB and Methodist Merger in 1968.” On Saturday, Clare B. Johnson provided detailed insight into liturgical reform, past and present, in Australian contexts with her presentation, “Receiving the Council: historical and contemporary perspectives-an update,” and Katharine E. Harmon presented on her current research work, “Women Religious and the 20th-century Roman Catholic Liturgical Movement.” Rychie Breidenstein concluded our seminar presentations with her paper titled, “The Four Questions: A Traditional Reformed, Yet Living Service of Holy Communion,” and we ended our meeting with an evaluation of the seminar and the development of plans for NAAL 2020.

Other Work and Plans for the Future

In the coming year, in addition to papers given by individual members, we plan to center a discussion on liturgy and culture by reading a shared text. We hope to partner with another seminar to invite more dialogue partners into our discussion.