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Caring Liturgies: The Pastoral Power of Christian Ritual

Author: 
Susan Marie Smith (Author)
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Description

Caregiving practices in churches often center around listening and giving counsel, making referrals, and creating support groups for specific needs. In Caring Liturgies, Susan Marie Smith proposes that Christian ritual is both a method and a means for helping people through liminal times of transition and uncertainty, even vulnerability and fear. It teaches readers to recognize the ritual needs of fellow Christians and thus create post-baptismal rites of passage and healing that might strengthen and support them in the fulfillment of their ministries.

The book extends the usefulness of denominational "occasional services" books and other resources by suggesting ways to build a rite around a central symbolic action, pointing out issues of ritual honesty and ethics, and identifying skills and attributes necessary to preparing and leading a rite. Numerous narrative examples help to flesh out the principles and illustrate the key argument: that rituals are necessary means to enable human growth and maturity, both through times of suffering and times of transition, and that ritual-making leaders are central to the ongoing health of the church.
 

ISBN: 
9780800697365
Price: 
$18.00
ISBN: 
9781451424454
Price: 
$18.00
Release date: 
August 1, 2012
Pages: 
160

Endorsements

"Susan Smith's creative thinking and academic rigor are balanced by her practical pastoral applications to real life challenges of change and transition. Caring Liturgies deals with life's ambiguities and paradoxes well, offering astute pastoral wisdom and clear theological insight in a practical manner. Presenting the idea of ritual as a powerful symbolic expression of liberation and healing, Smith patiently leads the reader through the necessary stages of curiosity and questioning of this methodology to acceptance of this traditional wisdom. I wholeheartedly recommend this book to anyone who yearns for a creative, liberating expression of one's faith in times of turmoil."
—Jim Clarke
St John’s Seminary, Camarillo, California


"Susan Smith skillfully weaves together her pastoral experiences and scholarly knowledge to provide students, pastors, and lay leaders an excellent resource for their work as care givers and creators and leaders of caring liturgies. With Caring Liturgies, Susan Smith has provided communities and their leaders with useful strategies for creating rites that cultivate spiritual growth in times of transition. Her book brings to light through their rituals, caring communities birth hope in the midst of despair and life in the midst of death."
Jill Crainshaw
Wake Forest University