There is a growing (if not urgent) need for those being trained for ordained (and lay) ministry to be provided with a more solid grounding in liturgical principles, and Simon Reynolds seeks to address this by demonstrating how good liturgical leadership can be the foundation from which all other theological, historical, pastoral and missiological issues arise.
Table Manners attempts to avoid being a 'party' book and will consciously avoid issues of churchmanship (except in pointing to what is positive in the various Christian traditions).
Rather, it is written from the conviction that (i) a proper understanding of the Eucharist, and a theologically-informed approach to celebrating it (even if this manifests itself in many different styles), should mean that worshippers can go to churches of an unfamiliar tradition and yet still be caught up in the action, because what is essential and enlarging about good liturgical celebration would be recognisable; and (ii) that the success of presidency also demands the liturgical education of the whole people of God, because until they know what to ask for, their expectations will remain constrained.
Table Manners offers a unique contribution to liturgical theory of practice. Simon begins with historical origins and tradition and then moves us on to the present day. He shows how words, symbols and actions, combined with a poetic understanding of the liturgy, can lead us and all with whom we work and pray into the heart of God. His subtle understanding of gestures and the use of silence, and his perceptive comments on the use of liturgical space, make this book indispensable for all who preside at the eucharist. -- Stephen Platten
As a persistent asker of questions, Simon Reynolds prompts us into the recognition of ordinary human experience as the vehicle of revelation. Here are questions that should should regularly be on the agenda of every institution training people for ordained and lay ministry, every PCC and diocesan Synod. -- Martin Warner
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