Interview with Alison Millbank

We speak to Alison Milbank ahead of the Liturgy and Worship Conference on February 25th.

Ahead of the Liturgy and Worship Conference on February 25th, Alison Milbank took some time to speak to us about why she is looking forward to a lively debate in Liverpool.

What attracted you to Liverpool to speak at this conference?
I am really passionate about the value of liturgy for mission and would go anywhere to talk about the topic. But I love Liverpool: it is such a romantic city with spectacular pubs like the Philharmonic.

What are you hoping people will get from the day?
A renewed vision of worship as making us fully human and leading us into participation in God himself and delight in our own tradition and some understanding of how to energise it.

Given the changes in culture, is there still a place for Common Worship and Common prayer structures in today’s church?

A loaded question, as bad as the phrase, 'inherited church' which makes it sound as if we have been rescued from an attic. If we have no common worship we are not even a church at all. Try asking that question to other faiths - they all have 'common worship'. It is sad that some Anglican congregations are abandoning the use of the lectionary, which unites us to Christians from other denominations.

How can common liturgy, common prayer and common worship help us engage with today’s culture?
We should not 'follow' culture in some catch up game but discern its desires, needs and lacks and use our resources and treasures to address them. And the Church should add to its music, art and own culture what is the very best of contemporary cultural production. Much contemporary music is, however, highly commodified and non-participatory. Our emphasis should be on composition, making art and music, which is a much more liturgical approach. But people are crying out for liberation from isolation and individualism, which are the idols of today and common worship offers a model of being human which frees us into community.

How do feel about sharing a platform with Graham Cray whom you haven’t always seen eye to eye with?
I am delighted to meet Bishop Graham. We both share a devotion to evangelism and mission. The whole argument in For the Parish: A Critique of Fresh Expressions, which I wrote with Andrew Davison, was not against new mission initiatives but to see them as part of parish and deanery outreach, not ends in themselves but connected. So we are complementary here.

Liturgy and Worship Conference

Saturday 25th February, 2012 Liverpool Hope University Conference Centre and Chapel, Liverpool L16 9JD. 
A day conference for Clergy, Readers and anyone interested in liturgy and worship.

In the 350th Anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer, how does our Common Worship continue to shape our life together as members of the Church of England and the wider church? With the rise of ‘Fresh Expressions,’ is it still relevant and important to have common structures for worship? 

How can the resources that exist in the tradition be used creatively to enable worship that forms Christian people and communities today in their common endeavour to be the people of God?