As we look into developments of celebrating worship, we see many changes. Worship was celebrated very differently in the congregation where I grew up and participated as a young adult from how it is celebrated today in that local church. In my present travels in the episcopal area of central and southern Europe, worship is celebrated in many diverse ways. Even within a single country, but more so in comparing the countries, there is a wide diversity. In many countries, there has been a rediscovery of Methodist liturgy. In others, Methodist liturgy has become a widely unknown and forgotten past.

We see many factors of influence: language, music styles, songs, instruments, majority churches surrounding smaller Methodist congregations, non-denominational movements, pastoral competence, cultural setting, uniformity or diversity of participants, … and the list could go on. We human beings who lead and participate in worship transform it. What about God? How do we experience the presence of God in worship? And through what means do we experience this presence: the kind of building? Listening to the word in Scripture and sermon? Music and singing? Prayer? Holy Communion?

Celebrating worship is a fascinating example of the synergy between God and human beings. Who is the transforming agent? By whom do we expect being touched and transformed? And where are we the agents who actively push for transformation in form or content of worship?

The International Worship Forum will give ample possibility for listening, sharing, conferencing – and hopefully being motivated and transformed ourselves for celebrating worship in our churches.

Bishop Dr Patrick Streiff