In the past 12 years the Church of England's liturgical life has been greatly enriched with the publication of prayers, services and rites which are authorised or commended as alternatives or supplements to the Book of Common Prayer. I refer, of course, to the resources known as Common Worship.
What we have now is an embarras de richesses, which can occupy 7 or 8 volumes on our bookshelves! For clergy and lay ministers there is is not generally time to extract all you might need from these volumes as you head out the door to respond to an emergency or urgent need, say a sudden illness, injury or death. And certainly one does not want to be carrying two or more heavy volumes as you go!
Church House Publishing has now addressed this situation with the compilation of a slim, light-weight volume, which contains the essentials that will be required in such pastoral circumstances. It is called Common Worship: A Pastoral Ministry Companion. It is durable enough (with two ribbon markers) and portable enough to be always with you as a vade mecum in the glove compartment of the car, in a bag, briefcase or coat-pocket.
Common Worship: A Pastoral Ministry Companion includes liturgies, prayers and readings for:
- emergency baptism
- Prayers for the sick, including Laying on of Hands and Anointing
- Holy Communion at home or in hospital, including distribution of Holy Communion from the Reserved Sacrament
- Confession and reconciliation
- Prayers with the dying and at the time of a death
- Prayers for use at home before and after a funeral
I highly recommend this book to our clergy (and to those of our Readers who find themselves engaged in emergency pastoral response). It is available from Church House Publishing at an introductory price of £16. It is also available as a Kindle eBook from Amazon.