The Lastingham Group of Churches

Lastingham, Hutton-le-Hole, Appleton-le-Moors, Rosedale & Cropton


      York  35 miles   ·   London  242 miles

Lindisfarne 126   ·   Canterbury 310   ·    Rome ~1140   ·   Constantinople ~1570   ·   Jerusalem ~2290    

Whitby  28   ·  Scarborough 23   ·   Pickering 7   ·   Kirkbymoorside 5


Home  |  Church Services  Music  |  Church Guides  |  What's on  |  Find Us  Volunteer  |  Contacts


Church Services



Baptisms, Marriages...

Church Guides




History & Archaeology

Liturgical section


Find Your Ancestors

Articles Sermons Discussion



What's on 

Find Us

Contact Us


Site map

Admin page






What is a church service?

A common opinion is that the priest ‘gives’ a service as a musician gives a concert or a lecturer gives a lecture. This means people identify church with the priest. The congregation then become an ‘audience’.

This is a convenient mistake, because it enables people to keep a distance. They can be mere spectators, listeners, critics.

This is far from how it should be. The word ‘liturgy’ comes from a Greek word, leitourgos, meaning the performance of public duties. In ancient Athens it meant the worship of ‘the gods’.  And this ‘public duty’ included both celebration and lament. It was one’s duty to honour what was – objectively – good and beautiful, and to lament what was ugly and evil. 

Notice that ‘the liturgy’ was performed by the public as opposed to for the benefit of  the public. In this consumerist age, an interesting distinction.

When everyone plays their various parts, lamenting (not the same as grumbling!) and celebrating, the liturgy generally ‘works’.

The fact that the priest is not ‘giving’ the service for an ‘audience’ is symbolised by the way he doesn’t (or used not to) face the people, except when giving a blessing or declaring God’s forgiveness; but rather, at the Eucharist, faces forwards to the east (as at Appleton and Hutton), and at Morning and Evening Prayer faces across the long axis of the church.   

   © ASF 2006

For a mini-dictionary of theological terms, particularly those used in Radical Orthodoxy, click here.




Home  |  Church Services  Music  |  Church Guides  |  What's on  |  Find Us  Volunteer  |  Contacts

Except where otherwise stated or implied the material on this page is copyright © Lastingham Parochial Church Council 2006.  All rights reserved.