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I doubt that I need to underscore the ferment surrounding the matters that are the theme of this year's Institute: worship and mission. The practice of worship in our congregations has become fragmented by multiple and competing proposals for what should happen when we gather. As a teacher of worship, the questions and discussions I encounter day by day reveal a general distrust of conventional liturgical practice and a genuine hunger for something-anything-that will engage and enliven people at worship in our time and place. There is no simple and direct approach to matters of worship-this is what we do, this is where it comes from, this is what is means, this is how to do it-with people lining up to receive authoritative pronouncements. There is real engagement with fundamental questions and a willingness to consider the value of our historic liturgical inheritance, but there is less and less common practice or shared experience of worship to draw on and little consensus about which direction to head.

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