Evangelicals and public worship, 1965-2005


Bebbington DW (2007) Evangelicals and public worship, 1965-2005. Evangelical Quarterly, 79 (1), pp. 3-22.

First paragraph: Between 1965 and 2005 there was a drastic transformation of public worship among Evangelicals. The change was readily apparent in the Church of England. Down to 1965 the Book of Common Prayer, compiled in the sixteenth century and revised in the seventeenth, was its only approved liturgy. In that year, however, the Church of England gained the right for the first time to devise its own services without further recourse to parliament. Profiting from this momentous liberation, the church was soon experimenting with fresh services labelled 'Series II'. Other redrafts led to the Alternative Service Book of 1980 and eventually to Common Worship in 2000. That book encouraged congregations to draw up their own liturgies so long as certain elements were preserved. Evangelicals gladly embraced their freedom, devising orders of service that included, for example, open prayer. There was an end to uniformity of worship in the established church. It is not so widely appreciated that there was as sweeping a process of change amongst most other Evangelicals in Britain, whether the Nonconformists of England and Wales or the Presbyterians and others of Scotland. In 1965 they still adhered to the traditional forms such as 'Thee' and 'Thou' in prayer. By 2005 some were singing extraordinarily untraditional songs including such lines as 'Give me gas in my Ford/ Keep me trucking'. The experience of worship was revolutionised.

Evangelicals; worship; liturgy; prayer; preaching

Evangelical Quarterly: Volume 79, Issue 1

Publication date31/01/2007
Publisher URL