An online resource, Praise Partners Worship, from hymn writer Brian Wren and his partner, Susan Heafield – launching with prayers and resources designed for Advent.
All the resources have been written to accompany the lectionary readings for Year B and include a wide range of prayers and responses for each Sunday of Advent, together with Advent Candle liturgies and a complete Candlelight Service. These have been taken mostly from Brian Wren’s Advent, Christmas and Epiphany: Liturgies and Prayers for Public Worship.
The materials are always accessible; always fresh; always rich in Biblical allusion; and always probing – as in this extract from a Call to Worship for the second Sunday in Advent:
Come and listen, come and sing, come and tell
how the Name beyond all names,
carpenter of all creation,
prepared to visit earth
be sending prophets and forerunners
and choosing a people, a place, a time and a date
to risk being born.
A couple of tiny caveats. The PDF downloads are a little tricky to navigate if scrolling down your computer screen (for example, finding where one Sunday’s material ends and the next begins). Also, suggested hymns have been chosen from those included in mainly American hymn books. That said, the hymns are all well-known in the UK and can easily by found in Singing the Faith (using Singing the Faith Plus’s search engine!).
Moreover, the American experience offers creative ideas that will be new to some, such as Brian’s complete liturgy for an all-age “Hanging of the greens” service, which “places symbolic pieces of evergreen vegetation [including a Christmas tree] prominently in the worship space to celebrate God’s incarnate love, touched and seen in Jesus of Nazareth”.
These resources can all be downloaded from Praise Partners Worship, launched to make Brian and Susan’s songs, hymn and liturgies more widely available.
As well as information about the authors, the site’s “Golden Apple” facility is a subscription service (less than $10/year) posting new and original prayers, liturgies, dramas and other worship materials, mostly by Brian Wren – familiar as a leading hymn writer and well-represented in Singing the Faith. Among other extras on the site is the text of Brian’s 2007 lecture at Hinde Street Methodist Church, London: “Sing Lustily And With Good Courage! – a hymn-poet’s affirmation of congregational song and appreciation of Charles Wesley’s hymns.”
Signing up is easy – and these Advent materials are just a taste of good things to come.