This collection of resources aims to provide a liturgy which is biblical in content, intelligible in language and appropriate to our time and culture.
Christians meet with the risen Christ. Jesus died in our place, was raised from death and ascended to heaven where he is worshipped by the redeemed people of God and the whole creation. Here on earth, Christians join in the praises of the heavenly assembly.
God's people have always assembled with him. In the Old Testament period, their identity was shaped by the experience at Mount Sinai. The law called them to meet with God through the mediation of priests and Levites. The ritual of temple and priesthood was superseded by the work of Jesus on the cross. In the New Testament period, meeting together with God was no less important (Hebrews 10.25). Through Christ, in one Spirit, we draw near to the Father, to worship him, to learn from him, to be edified and to encourage one another to love and good deeds, as we serve God in the world.
No pattern for the meeting of Christians is set down by the New Testament. In the book of Acts and the Epistles, however, there are indications of what they did when they met. They sang, heard the Scriptures read and explained, remembered and proclaimed the death of Jesus, and offered prayers not only for themselves but for all people.
In time, Christians developed forms and patterns for meeting together, which we call liturgy. The regular use of an agreed liturgy plays an educative and pastoral role, for it can uphold doctrinal orthodoxy and build a framework for devotion to God. It also helps maintain fellowship between congregations.
As Anglicans, we stand in the Reformation tradition of Archbishop Cranmer who compiled what became The Book of Common Prayer (1662). Cranmer's aim was to give Scripture and its teaching central place in liturgy. He sought also to be clear, simple and intelligible so that the people of his day could readily understand what was said and done in church.
For Australian Anglicans, The Book of Common Prayer was the only authorised liturgy until 1978. With the publication in that year of An Australian Prayer Book, there were more resources, a modernising of Cranmer's services and an attempt to do in a fresh way for Australians what Cranmer had done in the sixteenth century for England. Since 1978, other liturgies have been produced in Australia and around the world, often because the earlier revisions dated quickly. An Australian Prayer Book is well used and liked in many places; for others it is too bookish and stilted.
This current edition of Sunday Services is an attempt to present services which will glorify the God we serve and build up and encourage his people when we gather in his name.
Margaret Collison, Glenn Davies, Trevor Edwards (Secretary), Robert Forsyth,
Raymond Heslehurst, Lesley Hicks, Boak Jobbins (Chair), David Lakos, John
Mason, Paul Perini, Lindsay Stoddart, Lawrence Bartlett (Consultant).