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Whether you are studying at the Queen’s campus or at our Shallowford House learning centre, worship lies at the heart of everything we do. It is our ability to pray and worship together which enables such a diverse place as Queen’s to ‘work’.
Because Queen’s is an ecumenical and international community, worship is diverse and enriching, but can also sometimes be challenging and uncomfortable. The two key principles that make it work are generosity and hospitality.
We encourage all those who lead worship (staff and students) to offer the best of their own tradition with generosity. Because not everyone who is present will share the leader’s own worship tradition or style, that has to be done in a way that is also hospitable.
In practice this means giving more explanations than you might in your own church, taking care over jargon, not assuming that everyone will know what to do, remembering that not everyone will be familiar with the same songs, and being invitational rather than directive in how you ask people to participate.
When we are participating in worship that others are leading, we encourage an openness and respect for forms of worship which delight others, as well as the forms we love. All of this means yielding our preferences to others, knowing that others will do the same for us.
Corporate worship takes place every weekday in the Queen’s chapel, usually just before lunch. Residential weekends for part-time students also include a regular pattern of chapel worship. Those gathering at Shallowford House for weekly evening classes always begin the evening with worship too. At Queen’s there is also a longer service (usually with Holy Communion) on a Tuesday and a Wednesday evening (5pm).
In addition to this regular pattern, we encourage students to organise other forms of worship at other times. Many meet regularly in the Queen’s Chapel for morning prayer and for night prayer. Others organise one-off informal praise services or other special worship events. Our rule is simply that everything must be open to everyone. All are welcome.
Though worship at Queen’s can be challenging, we believe it prepares us for worship in real churches. Most congregations nowadays include people who have previously worshipped in a different denomination. Learning how to lead and participate in worship in ways that are generous and hospitable, along with our emphasis on taking context seriously, gives us lasting skills for Christian life and for church leadership.