Day by day, Christians gather together for public worship as they have done since the apostles met to pray, read the scriptures and break bread.

 The study of Christian Liturgy within theology seeks to learn how Christians have worshipped in the past, and to understand better the evolving worship patterns in today’s churches. The influence of social, cultural and even political matters lie behind many of these developments just as much as theological and historical ones and so the study of Christian liturgy has developed to draw insights from many different disciplines outside those traditionally found in theology.

Contemporary Application

The primary concern of the study of Christian liturgy is what happens in worshipping communities and our studies necessarily look for application to the contemporary church. Studying liturgy at Sarum will not tell you how the eucharist should be celebrated, rather it will enable you to understand the many different factors which lie behind the celebration: the history of the text, the function of ritual, the theological interpretations, the pastoral issues.

The MA in Christian Liturgy allows students to study the most significant aspects of Christian worship – the eucharist, baptism, prayer, the calendar, music, art and architecture, mission and culture as well as the opportunity to pursue personal interests in a guided reading module and of course in the dissertation.

The programme is designed to equip students to competently interpret contemporary worship as well as the historical sources and this emphasis runs through all the modules


Here you will find information for all Liturgy Students and email forums you can use to contact each other

Students will be introduced to the sources and methods used by liturgical scholars in the evaluation of liturgical history and contemporary worship events. It will equip students with skills in the critical evaluation of various sources and raise awareness of the presuppositions which lie behind much liturgical scholarship. As further preparation for the degree, students will be introduced to the research and writing skills for work at Master's level.

The major Western Churches have significantly revised their baptismal liturgies in the last fifty years in response to the changing place of the church in society, the fruits of liturgical scholarship in assessing patterns of the early church and ecumenical exchange. This module will examine key historical periods which provide a context for contemporary rites and the theologies which lie behind them.

This module explores the development of eucharistic worship from the New Testament to the contemporary church through an analysis of the most significant primary and secondary sources. Students will gain an understanding of the theological, historical and social influences upon the eucharist and be equipped for independent study of the topic.

This module will investigate the relationship between liturgy and its changing cultural contexts. This is a topic that has become increasingly important for churches as they reassess their relationship to society and for liturgical studies as churches and scholars recognise the significance of cultural context for liturgical development. The module will introduce students to different ways of understanding the relationship between culture and liturgy, and the implications and theological assumptions of each approach. Reflection on these issues will be in relation to liturgical examples and policy documents of the church and their critics. Students will be encouraged to reflect critically on the implications of the material discussed for their own liturgical context.

An investigation of liturgy and mission, attempting to identify the changing understanding of how these two ecclesial actualities interact and to chart the role of culture in relation to the missionary  imperative expressed in the liturgy. Reflection on these issues will be in relation to theological concepts and to the published policy documents of the church and their critics. Students will be encouraged to think critically on the pastoral implications of the material discussed.

This module will explore the ways in which Christian worship has been influenced by its relationship with time. The study of Daily Prayer and the Church’s Year (Calendar) provide the twin foci for this exploration.

The way Christians have developed daily patterns of prayer will be investigated, together with the constituent elements of this form or prayer: the use of psalms, scripture and intercessory prayer. The historical origins and evolution of the Christian festivals together with their theological and ritual meaning will form the basis of an analysis of annual rhythms of prayer.

Students will be encouraged to relate their study to their own and other church contexts, and to evaluate the ways in which liturgical prayer might relate to the contemporary experience of time.

Music is a core feature of much Christian worship, whether chanted psalms, congregational hymns, liturgical texts arranged for choirs or contemporary worship songs.

This module explores the variety of musical styles in Christian worship from both historical and contemporary perspectives and draws upon critical themes in musicology, theology and pastoral liturgy.

It will equip students to make informed assessments of music choices in the liturgical events of different ecclesial settings. Musical skills, while beneficial, are not required

This module investigates church buildings and their art in selected and typical historical periods to highlight the key interpretative issues. It will consider 20th Century and contemporary responses to social and theological change demonstrated in Christian architecture. Students will be encouraged to reflect upon the use of liturgical space in specific contexts.