There is an urgent need today to deepen and enrich the pastoral dimension of Sunday worship. This book attempts to meet that need. The practical guidance that is offered has its foundation in rigorous and comprehensive theological reflection. This reflection draws not only on the riches of the Christian heritage, but also on some wonderfully illuminating psychological research.
The conversation between the two disciplines yields some very interesting and important new ideas on worship as pastoral care. Each chapter consists of a theoretical base and a number of practical suggestions and resources. Most of the prayers, litanies, and rituals are original; there are also references to other useful worship resources. This book will revolutionize the way you think about worship as pastoral care.
Neil Pembroke is Senior Lecturer in Pastoral Studies, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. His books include The Art of Listening (2002), Renewing Pastoral Practice (2006), and Moving Toward Spiritual Maturity (2007)
There are other books on the place and role of pastoral concerns in worship, but none come even close to what author Pembroke achieves here. By identifying four central themes of pastoral concern in weekly congregational worship, reconciliation, lament, hope, and communion, and bringing psychological insights to bear on each, he shows how theological and biblical understandings of these themes may touch the struggles and longings that we bring with us to the worship hour. The book demonstrates how worship affords many opportunities for us to open ourselves to God and thereby enable God to become accessible to us. Each chapter concludes with liturgical illustrations that encourage an encounter between our selves and God that is open, honest, and true. Many books address the problem of how to revitalize the worship service itself. This book, however, addresses our hope that worshiping together will revitalize us by emancipating our hearts and minds from shame, anger, disappointment, distress and the need for moral pretence. Pastoral Care in Worship is a thoughtful and enlightening testimony to the fact that worship has the power to open our hearts, to liberate our minds, and to heal our souls.
- Donald Capps, Department of Practical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary, Princeton, NJ, USA
The most direct and widespread form of pastoral care is worship, but the interaction between the two is not addressed that often. Some ministers may even feel a tension between the two as if pastoral care focuses on human stories and liturgy on the story of God. Dr. Neil Pembroke is a great guide in rediscovering the connections. He does not reduce worship to pastoral therapy, but shows how sin, suffering, hope, and communion are essential features of worship that cares for souls. Packed with psychological insights, this book offers a profound practical theology of the worshipping faith community in its caring capacity.
- R. Ruard Ganzevoort, Faculty of Theology, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands.