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Creating Uncommon Worship Paperback – 1 Sep 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Paperback, 1 Sep 2004
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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Canterbury Press Norwich (1 Sept. 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853115908
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853115905
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 2.2 x 24.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 460,572 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


"The term 'groundbreaking' can be applied to this latest book by Richard Giles without any fear of exaggeration. (...)the author's vivid insights into the needs of worship in the post-modern context have much to say about the use and nature of new liturgical spaces." (The Universe)

"This handsomely produced book will appeal to those who read and profited from Richard Gile's previous volume 'Re-pitching the tent'.(...) an easy read and filled with good ideas." (Geoffrey Kirk New Directions 2004-11-01)

"Either there will have been a renaissance broadly along the lines that Giles suggests, or else there will be little liturgical worship left, because so much ground will have been ceded to those who have absolutely no understanding of what a wonderful gift it is: of the freedom that it gives, the grace that it conveys." (The Revd Edward Dowlerm Church Times)

"The bibliograhpy is interesting. (...) The two chapters 'Principles' and 'Practice' make it particularly valuable as a tool for those engaging in the renewal of parish worship and the liturgical reordering of their church building." (Austin Winkley Renew 2005-03-01)

"Creating Incommon Worship is the opposite of a counsel of despair. Richard Giles believes that good liturgy can change the world, and that the task of Christians today is to 'out-imagine' the negative forces of terror and the fear of terror that beset Western society." (Briony Martin Church Times 2004-11-01)

"I found this one of the most stimulating and challenging books I have read for ages. If you read one book about liturgy this year, make it this one.(...) I is clear, well produced, with striking colour illustrations, well indexed, with fifteen appendices of suggestions for each part of the service. You could give this to any member of your congregation and they would be stimulated and intrigued, but they might want to change much of what happens in church! (...) Giles has a sense of humour as well as a sense of authority. This is a book to test our prejudices as well as our practice, to return to again and again. Easy to read and very accessible, Giles is passionate that our worship needs to reflect God's passionate concern for us." (Julian Reindorp Ministry Today)

"Here is a book about liturgy and liturgical space, which always expresses the relationship with God. (...)This beautiful and innovative book forces onte to think in new ways about developing worship (...)." (Philip Tyers Praxis News on Worship)

"Giles's book is well written. He clearly explains each part of the liturgy and gives helpful advice not only about liurgical reform but also in relation to why certain acts are performed during the Eucharistic liturgy, whether they are words or actions. The book is helpful not only to those seeking liturgical reform but also to those wishing to know more about the liturgy of the Eucharist form a Roman, Anglican or Lutheran perspective. It is a good reference book that can be used in many different ways; although not easy to read from cover to cover, it is a useful resource that can be dipped into." (Susan Jones Rural theology)

"It is an uplifting and engaging 'how to' on the structure, shape, flow and movement of liturgy. With the use of many photographs, both in colour and black-and-white, and a writing style which encompasses both the theory as well as the practicalities of reshaping such a space, it is a book which should be included in every liturgist's bookshelf. Giles's introductory material is very helpful, and includes examples of excellence in liturgy from many different places. Giles's sense of honour and his sense of reality come shining through: This book involves itself not at all in the 'this-is-the-way-it-must-be-done' school but rather in a style which says "This is how we knew we needed to worship; this is how we managed it; here is how you can try it yourself." (...) I think this is a good book, one which deserves to be read, discussed, and enjoyed." (The Very Reverend Peter Wall Liturgy Canada)

"I loved this book! It is gloriously rebellious and I sense that Giles, writing from the dual perspective of West Yorkshire and Philadelphia, might well have been the child in the crowd who proclaimed the emperor to have no clothes on! It is also wonderfully creative - offering, as it does, models for a fresh expression of liturgical tradition and text. (...) I commend this book to all who are responsible for ordering and leading our worship." (Adrian Burdon Epworth Review 2006-04-01)

About the Author

Richard Giles is author of the best-selling 'Re-pitching the Tent', the dedinitive guide to reordering church buildings.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book can be used as a guide if you want to do the same things that the author did. However if you just want to be inspired to think about how your worship "functions" then this is where the books is really great, because it makes you think by explaining the thoughts behind the ideas. You may decide you like things just the way they are in your church but you will have examined why you think that by the time you have finished this book.
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Format: Paperback
I am really pleased that I have purchased this book, full of interesting ideas to liven up the Church! But it is not a guide book,which is soert of what I had expected but Creating Uncommon Worship by Richard Giles gives the reader the tools to think for themselves.
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Format: Paperback
I loved this book. It brings worship into the gathering of the people, that the people gathered together actively DO the worship rather than the many sitting in pews almost as an audience while the priest, possibly with the assistance of choir and servers, does the act of worship.

There is a theological distinction which affects the way we do worship: does a particular congregation believe firmly in priesthood belonging only to those ordained as priests by a bishop, or is it a quality of all believers? Within the Anglican church, the former is always possible since it is an Episcopalian church but there is certainly a warm acceptance of the concept of the ministry of all believers. Giles, however, takes this point a step further, and shows how to create (Anglican) services which demonstrate the 'priesthood of the gathered assembly' of believers. This makes the priest a liturgical leader, certainly, but as first among equals in a flattened hierarchy rather than as one who stands well above the congregation.

For those who are interested in revitalising the church, whether they call what they are doing 'Fresh Expressions' or not - this book makes fascinating reading. I just wish all our congregation would read it too!

Elspeth Parris
Lay Reader of the Church in Wales
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 3.6 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars 25 Jun. 2016
By Kelly Steele - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
He's pretty obsessed with himself and his church he's set up, but, otherwise, he's very informative.
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worship for 21st century 9 April 2005
By Joseph Neiman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Giles has helped us move beyong the staid and unimaginative worship services which characterize our churches. I am a priest and I have been bored with Sunday services, so I can imagine others are as well. In our new church building, we are incorporating many of these ideas, and the result is exciting, at least for me and for many who do not come from a long history of traditional worship. Giles helps us put the holy back into worship centered on God.

Fr. Joseph Neiman
4 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Open up the doors and let in the Holy Spirit 9 Feb. 2005
By P. Carey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Dean Giles has offered the Church some challenging ideas and important thoughts on the Eucharist in our present context. Not everyone will agree with all of his conclusions, but his questions are many of the ones that need to be asked today in order for the mainline church to recapture the life and vitality that God has given us. This book should be on every worship planner's shelf, read it, debate it, discuss it, agree or disagree with it. I welcome it and thank Dean Giles for a asking questions rooted in tradition and relevant to a church living in the Spirit of God.
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Never a Dull Moment 19 Feb. 2007
By Mel Schlachter - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Richard Giles brings his rich experience and studied point of view to suggest ways to bring the Eucharist back to itself. Of course the "self" of the Eucharist is from Giles passion for liturgy, so the reader will find many of his suggestions controversial. But even when you cry out "Not in our congregation!" you will find him stimulating you to your own renewed practices. I incorporated a couple of his ideas within a week of reading about them! A book well worth having.
19 of 30 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Kicking out the Tent-poles 4 Dec. 2004
By Fr. Robert F. Lyons - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
About three years ago, I purchased a copy of Richard Giles' masterful work, "Re-Pitching the Tent", quite possibly one of the best works on re-ordering church builidings I have seen in the last decade. I frequently refer to it in my ministry, and have used that book many times for inspirations and ideas in liturgical quandries. "Re-Pitching" was dignifed and respectful, and remains a wonderful read.

"Creating Uncommon Worship", however, would have been better suited to the title, "Kicking Out the Tent-Poles", because what was a wonderful beginning has now went sour.

First, let me highlight the strong points. The photography is wonderful, and will fill the reader with food for thought. The re-arrangment of the Philadelphia Cathedral depicted in the book is an excellent model for those seeking a return to basilican-style celebrations of the Eucharist. The fonts were very readable, and the book has a wonderful layout. Did I mention that the photographs were nice?

Now, for the remainder of my comments. Rev. Giles' attitide towards those who love older forms of the liturgy is inexcusable. At one point, Giles blasts away at a church in New England where the pastor celebrated the Eucharist ad orientem (facing 'east'). He makes many comments that suggest blatantly ignoring the rubrics of the liturgy, and even challenges (at points) the authority of the bishop. Such an attitude on the part of a priest is inexcusable, and publishing it in such a manner as to encourage such behavior in other places is horrifying.

What Giles is commending to modern usage is the abandonment of, in essence, all tradition that he does not see befitting of the 'modern' Church.

Sadly, in his strive to be relavant, Giles misses out on the entire point of the Liturgy... to teach the truth. His regular rampages about 'blurring the lines' between cleric and laity seem to indicate a raging anti-clericalisim, which is strange given the fact that he is an ordained priest of the Church of England and is functioning in the United States as the dean of a cathedral.

Please, don't get me wrong, there are plenty of gems in this book for consideration - though most of the theology is, in my opinion, at best contrived - yet generally rubbish. Giles' main intent in writing this book seems to be his desire to further irritate those who are loyal to their ordination oaths and the rubrics of their liturgies.

In reading the book, I became so disgusted with Giles' attitude that I was tempted to go to the Church and shove the Altar back up against the wall and celebrate with my back to the people.

I sincerely hope that, in any further books, Giles would refrain from such an attitude display. He has some good food for thought (his section on the Eucharistic Prayer, while still filled with jibes and barbs, is quite insightful), plowing through the weeds and brambles is too much work for me.

"Creating Uncommon Worship" will take up a not-so-honored place on my shelf for the time being, until I finally can justify selling it to someone else.
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