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Pastoral Care in Worship: Liturgy and Psychology in Dialogue

Neil Pembroke 
T & T Clark, 2010
RRP $47.95

Reviewed by Karyl Davison.

In the notes I took in Introduction to Worship some years ago, I wrote down “pastoral care” as one of the purposes of worship.

When I came back to the note, I didn’t really understand what we had been told, or what it really meant.

Pastoral Care in Worship is a fabulous explanation of that little note.

While not the primary purpose of worship, Pembroke shows the ways in which the worshipping community at its best, can operate as an expression of pastoral care when it gathers for the service of worship.

Pembroke argues that while “the sacrifice of praise is the central act in worship; pastoral care is the support act”.

It is in the context where people come together faithfully and lovingly to worship God, they create a unique ‘space’ for the operation of divine grace and mercy.

Pembroke’s intent is not to survey pastoral service such as weddings and funerals, nor is it about the pastoral content of preaching.

Pastoral Care in Worship is about the pastoral dimension of weekly congregational worship through the themes of lament, reconciliation, hope and communion – those things that Pembroke views as the heart of worship as pastoral care.

He brings psychological insights and theology together the reader is encouraged to touch the struggles and longings that we each bring to our corporate worship.

Pastoral Care in Worship is very approachable, insightful and practical.

It would be useful for anyone involved in preparing and leading Christian worship, and includes tools for creating worship that provides a place for healing and wholeness.

Highly recommended.