Home grown liturgy
11 Years of Trial and error
Angela and Dion Blundell
Papakura, New Zealand
Here is the liturgy that Angela and Dion have written over the years
This is distributed under: Creative Commons : Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 New Zealand (CC BY-SA 3.0)
You’ll find all the liturgy in the MENU at the top of the website.
A small warning as we begin. None of this liturgy is “approved” by anyone for any purpose. People argue within the church over what is suitable liturgy, and what is not (regardless of our denomination affiliation). Some will see this as a useful resource, others will see it as stepping over lines which ought not to be crossed. The reality is that liturgy never comes out of a vacuum. In other words, the institutional church (only ever) approves in retrospect, liturgy that has been used somewhere else. Someone has to lead the way. It’s my assertion that there’s nothing controversial here. If there is, pass this on to someone who is in a different context to yourself and can make use of it.
My context is I am an Anglican Deacon and Priest within the province of Aotearoa New Zealand. I minister amongst the people of South Auckland, in a suburb/town/city called Papakura. I am 41, I am married to Angela who has written a lot of the liturgy you will find in this booklet. We have 4 wonderful kids, Daniel 10, Caitlin 8, Annalia 6, Isaac 4. Life is crazy, wonderful and full on. It is a happy and noisy house. To reset, I run. In my context I also use A New Zealand Prayer Book : He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa, which I reference as ANZPB through out this text. The two services we use most regularly, are Thanksgiving for Creation and Redemption, on page 456 onwards, and Thanksgiving and Praise, on page 476 onwards. You would do well to have a copy of ANZPB with you as you read this. It is also available online at: https://anglicanprayerbook.nz and at https://www.liturgy.co.nz/resources/newzealandprayerbook.html
Blown up on my study wall at church is a Calvin and Hobbes cartoon. Calvin is looking in the mirror saying: “Made in God’s own image, yes sir!: To which Hobbes replies: “God must have a goofy sense of humour.” I’ve seen God’s sense of humour at work in my life. God placed me in the Anglican church for one. That has been a stretch for me, and a stretch for the Anglican church. We aren’t always the best fit, but we are the closest fit.
Growing up I never appreciated liturgy, I couldn’t wait “for it to be over.” I didn’t hate it, but I had no real appreciation for what liturgy was, how it can transform you and how it would end up (slowly) transforming my life for the better. I went through discernment to train as an Anglican minister, and training with something of a reluctant acceptance of liturgy; it was what it was and I was stuck with it. I never really experienced everyday creativity in liturgy until I went to Whangarei Parish in 2004. Up until that point, liturgy was some words you were “obliged to use” out of a prayer book. Anglicans tend to be big rule followers and that has never worked for me. I need to at least know why we do something, and ideally be allowed to tinker with and adjust it. I would call this re-working contextualising. But, our leadership doesn’t like change, we’re Anglican, we have the New Zealand Prayer Book; what more could you want? And the well meaning people around me at St John’s College, and within the Diocesan structures didn’t have either the creativity or zest for life that asked: “I wonder what else might be possible? Let’s give it a go!”
Whangarei and Revd Joyce Marcon changed this. I discovered bookshelves of liturgy books and lots of other resources that could be used. I was reluctant though to use anything for two simple reasons. Firstly, I though liturgy was dull, dry and boring. And secondly, I might get it wrong. Joyce helped me see that there were other options and I just needed to give it a go. I did. I have no idea how my attempts went, probably not very well. But I kept at it, and when I left Whangarei for Papakura, I brought my learnings and practices with me. Here in Papakura over the last 10 years I’ve “written” lots of liturgy. Mostly this has been based on Seasons of the Spirit. Sometimes Seasons could be used as is, most of the times it could be tweaked to be useful, and sometimes it was (in my view) terrible, so I would use the framework of the idea from the Seasons material. If things got difficult and I couldn’t find a theme or idea I liked, then I would go back to the NZ Prayerbook, but mostly at our main service, the liturgy was customised each week.
One Lent I really struggled to draw together a Good Friday service. I had some ideas in mind, and like a good magpie I went around collecting ideas, liturgy, scriptures and pictures. I then tried, and tried and tried to put it together. But it wouldn’t work. I could not pull together something coherent. Now you can’t stand up in front and say: “Sorry, bad day, couldn’t figure out what to do, so we’ll all go home now!” Instead, I threw everything away, and started with the scriptures. I read scripture and I wrote my ideas down as they came. One might calI it meditating on scripture. I wrote some prayers. And that was my service offering. Not perfect, but acceptable. Not perfect, but coherent. Not perfect, but good enough. Little moments like these have been turning points in my life where I realise I have something myself to offer. As I said, liturgy is not my thing. But I’m actually okay at it. So this is my offering to you. Not perfect, but good enough for you to tweak, to re-work, or re-do using the skeleton of the idea.
Not all of this work is mine, my wife Angela has written a lot as you will see. This is our collective offering. I’ve tried to note at the beginning of a section who wrote it, where it originated from, and when it was first used.
Have you used this? How about letting us know, it’s always a kick to find out your resource has been used. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
And finally thanks. Thanks to the Parish for their support. Thanks to Revd Louise Anderson for her proof reading. And thanks to Angela, for her creative input and support.
One small thing about Copyright, this is not Copyrighted as such. Rather it is distributed under CREATIVE COMMONS, this means you are free to use it in anyway you want. But, you can’t pass it off as your own work. And you must allow anyone else to use your version/derivative of this work as well. The idea is it took hard work to get it to this stage, let’s let as many people as possible use this. See the copyright on page 132 for more information.
Dion Blundell, August 2017