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date: 18 October 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter outlines the history of Presbyterian worship practice from the sixteenth century to the present, with a focus on North American Presbyterians. Tracing both their hymnody and their liturgy ultimately to John Calvin, Presbyterian communions have a distinct heritage of worship inherited from the Church of Scotland via seventeenth-century Puritans. Long marked by metrical psalmody and guided by the Westminster Directory, Presbyterian worship underwent substantial changes in the nineteenth century. Evangelical and liturgical movements led Presbyterians away from a Puritan visual aesthetic, into the use of nonscriptural hymnody, and toward a recovery of liturgical books. Mainline North American and Scottish Presbyterians solidified these trends in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries; however, conservative North American denominations and some other denominations globally continue to rely heavily on the use of a worship directory and metrical psalmody.

Keywords: liturgy, worship, psalmody, hymnody, service book, directory

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