Servers and Services: Instructions for Serving Anglican Liturgies
A.J. Pell is editor of the Canadian Evangelical Review and an instructor
of Liturgy, Anglican Studies Program, Regent College, Vancouver.
With the appearance of the Book of Alternative Services in 1985, Canadian Anglicans have shown an increased interest in the “how to” of worship as they have explored the similarities and differences between this new service book and the traditional Book of Common Prayer. One response to this interest and inquiry has been the publication of this manual for servers (acolytes). The author, Greig Dunn, a high school teacher of English, has been a server in Anglican churches for over twenty-five years.
The book, written in a clear, straightforward style, begins with “What is a Server?” and ends with a chapter on “The Servers’ Guild.” In between, Dunn provides basic information about church architecture, liturgical vestments, and detailed instructions for servers at services, both simple and elaborate, using both authorized service books. There are even instructions for Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Eve Vigil liturgies. Nothing has been overlooked. Throughout the volume, Saskia Walther’s simple line drawings are a welcome amplification of the text.
If this manual has a fault, itis that itprovides far more information than would be needed in the vast majority of parishes. Since most servers are adolescents, many could become overwhelmed, if not by the excess of detail, then by Dunn’s annoying habit of referring the reader to other parts of the book rather than repeating any detail twice. Ultimately this is not a manual for servers, but a resource for parish clergy to assist them in planning the training of their servers.