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During this meeting, and the March 24-25, 1958, meeting, procedural questions raised by the UPCUSA merger were resolved.
Lewis Briner, Lane Professor of Pastoral Theology and Liturgics at the UPCUSA's McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago, was loaned from the Board of Christian Education to the Joint Committee on Worship, especially for contact with the Consultation on Church Union.
Unfortunately, the matter of cooperating with the United Church of Christ to produce one service for the Lord's Day, as well as the problem of the UPCUSA's relationship with the Reformed Church in America and the PCUS, complicated life for the committee secretary.
The UPCUSA Board of Christian Education had assigned Briner, one of its members, to serve on the Committee.
Even though the subcommittee on the lectionary was still hesitating, the UPCUSA General Assembly would have to be prepared for the possibility of change.
(96) A summer workshop at Louisville Theological Seminary (then PCUS) featured leadership "from our two (UPCUSA and PCUS) denominations and from the extremely innovative RC Archdiocese of Louisville." (97)
The Joint Committee on Worship ended when the UPCUSA Committee on the Book of Common Worship was officially discharged at the 1970 General Assembly in May.
"[I]t has probably fallen into the hands of one-twentieth to one-tenth of the members" of the three churches (UPCUSA, PCUS, and Cumberland), although some would only use it as a hymnal, "the liturgical texts and order being ignored." He felt "that it is off to as good a start as a startling new liturgical book could be in a church which has no required liturgy and a certain suspicion of fixed texts." (125) This, of course, was a much better situation than was faced by the 1946 Book of Common Worship.
The official name of the committee headed by Edward Dowey was "Special Committee on a Brief Contemporary Statement of Faith", and its mandate from the UPCUSA General Assembly was, above all, to aid the church in confessing its faith in the last third of the 20th century.
(15) With the replacement of Westminster and the institution of a book of diverse confessions, candidates were no longer asked in the UPCUSA ordination vows to subscribe to a system of doctrine but to teach and serve "in obedience to Jesus Christ, under the authority of the Scriptures, and under the continuing instruction and guidance of the confessions of this Church." Edward Dowey commented:
(16) It was with this understanding of United Presbyterian doctrinal standards, including the Theological Declaration of Barmen, that The Book of Confessions was adopted by the UPCUSA General Assembly of 1967.
General Assembly stated clerk and UPCUSA head of communion Eugene Carson Blake, frequently consulted by the special committee, became general secretary of the World Council of Churches late in 1966.
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