A key passage in the article is this:
"Here is a law of worship participation which, with a very few exceptions, I propose holds true throughout our church today: the closer a service adheres to our liturgical history, the older and the smaller will be the congregation; the converse being the younger and larger the congregation in an Anglican parish, the further will be the service from that liturgical history.
Our risk is that pressing for greater adherence to liturgical history as central to our identity could lead to the demise of our church. But there is a risk which runs in an opposite direction: if less and less holds new generations of Anglicans together liturgically in the 21st century, what will form the real content of the word Anglican? I do not deem it sufficient in the long run that by Anglican we mean that the bishop turns up once a year to wave the Anglican flag and once a year a few clerical and lay reps leave the parish to attend a mysterious gathering known as ‘synod’!"
Last night in a conversation about the bones of the discussion at Liturgy - why is my rule about liturgical life here true, what could be different so that my rule turned out not to be true in the future - I mused aloud about the following possibility:
What would our prayer book liturgies look like if we asked young people to prepare and to perform them with just one stipulation: the words of the service chosen must be followed as printed in the prayer book. That is, everything else about the service would be worked out by a generation that knew not the BCP, Hymns Ancient and Modern, and some (in my view) unhelpful settings of the sung Lord's Prayer. Setting out of the church, use of paper or not, projectors or not, music to be used, stylistic features (including whether any one wears robes or not): all that kind of thing would be handed down a generation. What would our liturgies be experienced as? I sense that we would have liturgies which were attracting to a different generation from the generation which is mostly gathering in most of our parishes for prayer book services.
Of course, heading in this way might have the effect of driving older folk away - I am sure drums would be involved in this new worship paradigm and they are not to the taste of all older folk. So a balanced approach to transforming our parishes to places of inter-generational congregations would be the way to go!
A further point that comes to my mind as I reflect on these matters concerns whether the issue in our church is a lack of training and formation in liturgy, or a poor training in liturgical formation. Perhaps it is - there is a danger that to defend the point over vigorously would be a defence of myself (now in the eleventh year of being a contributor to education and training in our church). But I wonder if instead or as well, the issue is also one of vision.
I can imagine a way of doing liturgy in our church which is better suited to inter-generational worship because I have seen it done ... it is just that mostly I have seen it done in Roman Catholic parishes here. Are many Anglican priests in these islands locked into a way of doing things in part because we have not seen another way? I say 'in part' because I think we are also locked into certain ways of doing things because of our English Anglican heritage which has bequeathed to us the glories of the choral tradition with their integrated formality in style so that, even in parishes which have long since lost the resources to maintain the choral tradition, the formality remains. Conversely, in parishes which (perhaps rebelling against the formality?) have moved away from prayer book liturgies, a different form of 'locking in' to a (more recent) tradition may have occurred. Heading back towards the liturgy is not envisioned because another way has not been experienced ...
Or, I could be quite wrong ... what do you think is going on here in ACANZP ... if you are overseas, what is happening in your patch re liturgy being embraced by all generations?