Gathering for Worship is published by Canterbury Press, which can be forgiven for describing the book on the Canterbury Press web site as "the authorised service book of the Baptist Church in England and Wales." While in certain respects Gathering for Worship is the Baptist worship book that most closely approximates the Book of Common Prayer, it is not only not an "authorised" liturgy for "the Baptist Church" (an inaccurate description of the ecclesial status of the Baptist Union of Great Britain besides); it is a much more flexible and adaptable collection of worship resources than the BCP, though Gathering from Worship does draw upon the BCP (and the liturgical resources of other traditions) for a number of collects, forms, and other liturgical texts, guided by the "core worship values" of Baptist communities identified in the rich theological account of Baptist worship elaborated in the book's preface:
- attention to scripture
- a devotional relationship with God and an openness to the Holy Spirit
- an understanding of the church as community
- a concern for the kingdom of God
- the Lordship of Jesus Christ, which is an over-arching commitment that binds these other values together (p. xvi)
Gathering for Worship is a treasury of resources that deserves to be better known and widely utilized throughout the English-speaking Baptist world. Baptists in my own American context have long needed such a resource, and I hope that my students as well as others will begin turning to it regularly when they plan and lead worship.