Liturgists to meet in Toronto

  • November 30, 2006

TORONTO - If good liturgy doesn't happen by accident, it must surely have something to do with the work of the North American Academy of Liturgy. The first week of January, the academy will bring about 250 scholars to Toronto in its continuing crusade to make sure accidents don't happen.

The annual meeting of the network of scholars will run Jan 4-7, starting off with an opening liturgy — a "rite of remembrance and thanksgiving" — 7 p.m. Jan. 4 at Holy Trinity Anglican Church next door to the Eaton Centre.

"Liturgical scholars have always been very much at the forefront of ecumenical dialogue," said Rev. Dr. Bill Kervin, Emmanuel College professor of public worship, one of the conference's organizers. "It starts with something as simple as recognizing each others' baptism."

Liturgy and the meanings behind the symbols churches use in baptism, Eucharist, confirmation and ordination are often where the rubber hits the road in ecumenical dialogue, Kervin said.

The ecumenical dimension of the academy will be on display at the convention as its presidency passes from Catholic Fr. Paul Turner, pastor of St. Munchin Church in Cameron, Missouri, to Dr. Ruth Duck of the Garrett Evangelical Theological Seminary in Evanston, Illinois.

At the 2007 meeting, in the context of North America's most multicultural city, the ecumenical impulse will be amped up as the scholars tackle how liturgy engages the mixed salad of contemporary culture, Kervin said.

"Because we're meeting in Toronto, a very multicultural context, it might be an occasion to have conversations about the multicultural and intercultural dimensions of liturgical celebration," he said.

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