This significant book asks whether the widespread falling away of the appeal of religious worship is connected with the simplification of liturgical practice over recent decades. Has a well-meant policy of making the language and style of worship more accessible resulted in a loss of the sense of mystery - and has this accelerated the decline?
The author, who was involved with the development of Common Worship, explores the wider Catholic and Orthodox traditions where nothing like the reforms that have happened within Anglicanism have taken place. Five centuries of change in the Anglican tradition are surveyed, the altered rhythm of the liturgical year, the decline in singing, the rise of the modern worship song - and much more in an attempt to define what renewal of the liturgy for today's church might look like and how re-enchantment would work in practice.
ANDREW BURNHAM is the Bishop of Ebbsfleet He was formerly Vice-Principal of St Stephen's House, Oxford, and served on the Liturgical Commission of the Church of England. He is the compiler of A Manual of Anglo-Catholic Devotion.
'There is much of what Burnham says in this work about liturgy that requires an Amen ... Burnham has some useful comments to make on the calendar, noting that in English Anglicanism, and increasingly among many Roman Catholics, feast and fat seem to play little part in the lives of believers. These essays ... call for recognising that worship is a serious undertaking, and is the event when heaven and earth, time and eternity, briefly elide in the presence of the triune God's majesty. [He] also suggests some concrete ways whereby the liturgy may be re-enchanted.'