Worship that Cares reveals Mark Earey as a skilful and generous teacher. He has produced a splendid guide to the Church's pastoral rites, musing on how they enable people to experience God's love and the church's pastoral care. Drawing from his own considerable pastoral experience as well as his years of teaching people how to use the church's liturgy, he sets out a whole range of pastoral possibilities from Birth rituals though Marriage, Wholeness and Healing to Death, charting their theological and anthropological background as well as their sociological and implications. He explains in clear terms how the rites 'work', and then like the good teacher that he is, allows the reader to weigh up the possibilities and make informed choices about how they will balance the church's provision with their pastoral responsibilities and opportunities. It is a model of how to approach these questions in an increasingly demanding yet frequently ill-informed society, which longs to find meaning in life and the best for their nearest and dearest.
Formerly Bishop of Salisbury and
Chairman of The Liturgical Commission of the Church of England
'Worship that cares', presents a challenge to the church in being true to God's mission in the world to pay careful attention to the value of 'pastoral liturgies'. Mark Earey sets out an easily accessible and well developed case, both from a thorough understand of other sources and his practical experience as a parish minister. We are reminded of the basics of liturgy in our Sunday worship: then offered a 'toolkit' to work with. Clearly an aid to all who wrestle to connect pastoral moments and mission.'
Drawing upon pastoral experience and with an educator's eye for clarity and theoretical rigour, Earey's discussion of the pastoral dimensions of public worship is a tour de force in practical theology. Those concerned for the spiritual welfare of their church and neighbourhood will find in this book a map to organise their reflection on liturgical practice and a stimulating vision of the transformative wisdom of ritual.
If Earey's book were to be placed into the hands of authorised ministers who then read, marked, learned and inwardly digested it, there could be a mini revolution in the way in which pastoral care is offered in these islands. It is that good.
This is a fascinating, practical book, marinated in good sense and pastoral wisdom. It is very accessible, though that is in no way to imply that it is not well-researched and bursting with insights into what it is like to be a minister in the modem
world. If mission is increasingly about hospitality, particularly in a worshipping context, then this is a most timely contribution in helping us all to understand the context in which liturgy must set out its stall today.