Alternative Pastoral Prayers

Alternative Pastoral Prayers – Blessings and Liturgies for Health and Healing, Beginnings and Endings

Published December 2011

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I have many years experience of facilitating traditional Christian services as an ordained priest and hospital chaplain and since 2005 more personal, spiritually focussed ceremonies, often in a way that celebrates the earth. Both side of my work can be found in “Alternative Pastoral Prayers – Blessings and Liturgies for Health and Healing, Beginnings and Endings” published by SCM Canterbury Press in 2011. It is a handbook of blessings and liturgies from cradle to grave – “hatching, matching and dispatching” with bells on! Because of my work in the hospital, tragedies and struggles are woven in with the celebrations so that all are marked and part of life. There are broadly 3 types of prayer – “Conventional” which are adapted religious Christian prayers, “Celtic”, which unlike my previous book, refers to Christian Celtic and draws on the Carmina Gadelica (hymns and incantations collected in 19C by Alexander Carmichael) and “Earth” which employs the earth and Spirit as metaphor to convey spiritual language.

The kinds of prayers to be found are: Baby Blessing and Naming, Private Blessing for a Miscarriage, Funeral for a Child, a Hospital Psalter, a Workplace Daily Office, Wedding Blessing for a Second Marriage, Blessing of a Civil Partnership, House Blessing, Blessing on Retirement, Funeral, Prayers for the Dying and Prayers for the Bereaved.

It is my hope that it will be used by clergy who find that the liturgies that we’ve been given strain at times, independent celebrants and anyone who would like a collection of prayers and blessings for “peak” moments either as a companion for themselves or a gift for another. It is my offering and response to the world I live and work in where so few people find conventional religious language makes sense to them, and where even among those who do, we need a varied menu.