This book takes the principles found in Constance Cherry's successful The Worship Architect--in which she provided dynamic blueprints for designing worship services--and applies them to special services in the life of the church. Cherry, a worship professor and practitioner, offers theological reflection, practical guidance, and suggested resources to help worship leaders and ministry students in training to create meaningful special services related to the sacraments, life passages, and other occasions.
Cherry sets forth a process concerning worship design for special services and demonstrates how this process is conducive to virtually any style of worship practiced today in a myriad of Christian communities. She includes a model order for each service type, including weddings, funerals, baptisms, child dedications, Holy Communion, and more. The book not only explains what leaders do in order to preside at special services and how to do it, but also why they make certain choices. Each chapter includes discussion questions, practical exercises, and a basic glossary.
Constance M. Cherry (DMin, Northern Baptist Theological Seminary) is professor of worship and Christian ministries at Indiana Wesleyan University in Marion, Indiana, and is on the faculty of the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies, where she has taught since its inception. She is the author of The Worship Architect, speaks and teaches internationally, and is a regular adjunct professor at several seminaries. Cherry has also served local churches as a minister of music/worship and as a United Methodist pastor.
This book is much like Constance Cherry herself: a wonderful combination of a theologian's wisdom, a pastor's sensitivity, and an artist's creativity. All worship planners--musical or pastoral--will benefit from it.
Research Professor of Christian Worship, Duke Divinity School
Some of the most profound pastoral and prophetic moments in church life happen during occasions of significant transition and change. This book provides a vision for thinking about these and other occasions that draws deeply on a biblically shaped imagination, wisdom from historic practices, and concern to respond in contextually appropriate ways to specific circumstances. Pastors and worship leaders who read this book may well learn to think of these occasional services as events not on the periphery of their ministries but rather at the center of them.
-John D. Witvliet,
director, Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary
Constance Cherry combines real-life concerns and experiences related to worship with biblical and historical substance in a manner that invites the reader into the integrity of worship. In this, her second volume on Christian worship employing the metaphor and method of the architect, Cherry celebrates the doxological power inherent in life passages. Her common touch provides a point of entry into some of the most profound practices of the worshiping community. I hope all those called to lead the Christian community in worship find a place for this volume not on their shelf but on their desk.
academic dean and professor of historical theology and Wesleyan studies, Ashland Theological Seminary
The Special Service Worship Architect will enhance both the ministerial practice and the congregational experience of weddings, baptisms, funerals, and communion. Constance Cherry provides both theological and historical perspective and concrete, practical guidance for the practice of these key expressions of Christian life and worship. I heartily recommend this book to pastors, seminarians, and all those who are concerned for the enrichment and renewal of worship in our churches.
-John Jefferson Davis,
professor of systematic theology and Christian ethics and chair, Division of Christian Thought, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary; author of Worship and the Reality of God
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