Subject Code THL115 (Also available as postgraduate subject THL490)

Subject Name Liturgical Theology

Duration One semester

Availability Semester 1 every year

Level Introductory

Subject Units 8

Core/Elective Core

Delivery Mode Face to face at St Francis College – the Brisbane Campus for CSU School of Theology; or External – a student can log in to listen and participate; or View the lecture later via video.

Student Workload Contact hours 3-4 hours per week Reading, study and preparation 3-4 hours per week Assignment preparation 3-4 hours per week

TOTAL: 160 hours in the semester

Prerequisites Nil

Incompatible Subjects Not available to students who have completed subject THL490.


This subject explores the history and practice of worship across a variety of Christian traditions. It surveys traditional, contemporary and blended worship. The subject looks at the use and purpose of music, words, symbols, rituals, gestures and space in enhancing worship. It examines the role worship plays in effecting pastoral care, in stimulating evangelism and mission and in forming a Christian identity. The subject assists students in appreciating their own worship tradition and that of others.

Prescribed Texts James F. White, Introduction to Christian Worship, 3rd ed. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 2000.


This subject covers the following topics:

• The nature, origins and practice of Christian worship

• Rites and forms in worship

• Eucharist I: Word

• Eucharist II: Sacrament

• Worship and time

• Worship spaces and architecture

• Worship and music

• Worship and the body

• Worship and pastoral care

• Worship, identity and mission

• The principles of good worship

• Prayer books and worship resources

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should be able to:

• discuss the nature of Christian worship in the context of wider human ritual activity;

• demonstrate an understanding of the origins of Christian worship;

• demonstrate a critical understanding of particular forms in worship across the Christian tradition;

• demonstrate an understanding of the effect of words, music, space, and body on the experience of worship;

• discuss the relationship between worship, mission, identity and pastoral care, including the relationship of worship to questions of power and abuse; and

• be able to demonstrate self-guided learning, including basic research, writing and communication skills.

Assessment Tasks

There are three assessment tasks.

• Compare three rituals as found in worship outlined by Justin Martyr (165CE); a contemporary church worship service; and a secular ritual (like Anzac Day). 750 words. 20%

• Summarise and critique an article from a list supplied by your lecturer. 1,000 words. 30%

• Assess an act of worship using the criteria for a ‘good liturgy’. 1,500 words. 50%

Unit Summary

This subject introduces the student to the most fundamental activity of every church: the praise and worship of God. It explores how Christians have offered ‘humble prayer and fervent praise’ to God down the ages and what are the dynamics of contemporary worship. It assists a deeper and richer experience of worship in one’s own church tradition.