Innovative Worship at St Edward’s, Cambridge

The efforts by the Church of England to proclaim afresh the inherited faith are encouraging and innovative in many places. In some places they go under the name of Fresh Expressions or are related to Mission Shaped Church.

Inevitably this trial period will bring some initiatives which are short lived, and some which are of lasting value. I am particularly impressed by the Fresh Expressions initiative, which seeks to develop church, in addition to, and away from, the traditional places and times of church.

At first I was anxious that such initiatives would undervalue those treasures in our store which are old and honoured, and which are still valued today in many places. My fear was that the richness and challenge of the Anglican tradition would be watered down in favour of ‘Family Service’ type activities. I am discovering that I need not have been so worried.

I am greatly impressed by the work being done in this area by St Edward’s Church, Cambridge. This small and distinctive church in the centre of Cambridge has a special part in the history of the Church in Cambridge, not least because of its role in the Reformation.

Today interesting and gently pioneering work is being done to present liturgy, and faith, in ways which are engaging to people of all generations. At the same time traditional Book of Common Prayer worship is also held. Once a month Odyssey attempts to link Spirituality with contemporary challenge. Other style of worship includes Silence, Taize and other style music, light and incense combining to form a gentle Meditative Eucharist – one of which is sensibly held at the end of the working week at 5.30pm on a Friday. The Goth Eucharist is a splendid innovation.

If, like me, you have visited St Edward’s recently you will have found it to be an open friendly place, and this beautiful traditional building in the heart of Cambridge retains its peaceful, homely and spiritual atmosphere.

Congratulations St Edward’s! May your inspiring work continue. Not everything St Edward’s do would work outside city centre Cambridge, but the themes and ideas with which you experiment, and the spirituality and intellectual pursuit you encourage should stimulate ventures elsewhere.

The St Edward’s approach to Fresh Expressions gives that initiative substance and stature.

Audrey

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2 Responses to “Innovative Worship at St Edward’s, Cambridge”

  1. malcolm guite Says:

    Thank you for these encouraging words about our work at St. Edwards. We work with the conviction that the heart of the Gospel is eternally relevant, but perpetually in need of translation. God translated the eternal into the language of time when the word was made flesh and the translation of eternal truth into fresh language, from the days of wyclife and cramner, to our efforts with odyssey and the goth, is always a vital task for the church.

  2. Robert-Louis Abrahamson Says:

    What is especially impressive at the 5.00 Meditative Eucharist is the range of people attending – from undergraduates to people in their 80s – and all gathering as equals. There are students, Goths, university lecturers, therapists, retired professionals, musicians, poets. And just as the liturgy manages to integrate Taizé, Iona, Jung, silence, incense, Common Prayer Book, so the congregation also becomes integrated. Fraser and Malcolm are especially to be praised for helping this come about.

    But perhaps, as you say, Audrey, such integration might not always work outside city centre Cambridge. All things seem to be coming together here now.

    RLA

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