Sarah Travis, Assistant Professor of Preaching, Worship, and Christian Ministry at Knox College, has written Unsettling Worship: Reforming Liturgy for Right Relations with Indigenous Communities. Available from Wipf and Stock and Amazon.
Settler churches across North America have committed to the work of conciliation and reconciliation with Indigenous Peoples. Worship is a space in which these commitments are expressed and nurtured. As we are embraced by God’s reconciling love in worship, we are equipped to carry that reconciling love into our relationships beyond the worship space. Worship equips us for the work of conciliation, but the liturgy itself needs to be decolonized if it is to truly honor Christian commitments to God and neighbor. This book explores the reformed liturgy in its pattern of Gathering, Word, Table, and Sending, searching it both for colonial vestiges, and spaces of new possibility. Unsettling Worship invites the reader into a conversation about reformed worship in a setting of ongoing colonization. Worship should both unsettle us, and equip us for the essential work of making things right with Indigenous neighbors.
“In this much-needed conversation about decolonizing—and revitalizing—worship in Canada and beyond, Sarah Travis both names the barriers to conciliation/reconciliation in reformed Christian worship and argues for the need to engage indigenous ways of knowing. She encourages settler/dominant culture communities to face the legacy of colonization head on, especially the residual hurt and pain of residential schools, with humble, practical suggestions, and an ethics of shalom that foregrounds the prophetic role of worship.”
—Becca Whitla, professor of practical ministry, St. Andrew’s College
“Sarah Travis brings us the unsettling truth through her incisive interrogation of colonial history and its reification within the praxis of worship in our local churches. Without leaving us at the doorstep of despair, Travis’ comprehensive study provides theological and ethical considerations alongside practical examples that invite worship practitioners and theorists to seek the heart of Creator and walk in a good way. I recommend this book to every worship leader and seminary professor of worship.”
—Suzanne Wenonah Duchesne, director of Mast Chapel, New Brunswick Theological