The Moravian Church British Province

in things essential, unity... in non-essentials, liberty... in all things, charity

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Moravian Worship

Worship in the Moravian Church, like many other aspects of the Church’s life, allows a great deal of flexibility.

The reading and interpretation of the Gospel is central to Moravian worship but there is much more to that worship than preaching. Traditionally, the Church has been a liturgical church with a variety of liturgies for use on ordinary Sundays with special Orders for Christmas, Easter, Pentecost and Trinity. There are also Orders for the sacraments and Offices of the Church, including Holy Communion, Baptism, Confirmation, Marriages and Funerals. The sacrament of the Lord’s Supper has a central place in the Church’s worship but Moravians have always rejected any over speculative theology. The words of Jesus at the Last Supper, without the imposition of any one theological interpretation, remain central.

There has been constant revision of the liturgy over the years but there are clear links between contemporary worship and that of the Church in its earliest days. However, worship leaders and congregations are not required to use these liturgies and may decide to use a freer form of service with extempore prayers or prayers taken from a variety of sources.  “New expressions” of church and experimental forms of worship are also in use. The Christingle Service, with its roots in the 18th Century, has been a much used contribution to the wider Christian Church.

Hymn singing has played a great part in Moravian worship since the publication of a first hymn book in 1501. The Church’s hymn books draw on the great treasury of hymns coming from all branches of the Christian Church, in addition to hymns by Moravian writers, including Zinzendorf, James Montgomery and John Cennick. Today, along with the Church’s own hymn book, most congregations will use Mission Praise and hymns by contemporary writers.