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The Book of Services for Congregational Worship is the outcome of the labors of a Committee appointed on November 14, 1911, by the Directors of the American Unitarian Association. The Committee consisted of Rev. Samuel A. Eliot, Rev. Howard N. Brown, Rev. Thomas Van Ness, Rev. William S. Jones, Rev. John H. Lathrop, Rev. Sydney B. Snow. The book has been prepared to meet the growing demand for a convenient and well-considered manual of worship adapted to the use of the Free Churches of the Congregational order. For this reason the simple order of service adopted is the form already familiar in many of these churches. It has had a natural growth and is, apparently, best suited to their common requirements. No part of the book as it stands bears the stamp of any single mind. It is the product of a group of minds, fairly representative of different shades of judgment and experience. In the preparation of the first five services the Committee has limited itself for the most part to editing material already at hand; this has been taken from a wide variety of sources, both ancient and modern. The services for special days and occasions reflect to a greater extent the individual taste and feeling of the members of the Committee.
That the work of the Committee, protracted and painstaking as it has been, has provided a final solution for the problem of public worship would be too much to claim. Services put together with far less thought have, however, held their place for years and have become endeared to the congregations using them. The members of the Committee cherish the hope that the services now offered will win for themselves an even deeper esteem. They are bold enough to think that the suggested readings and prayers contain less to which reasonable minds can make objection and more that is of the highest rank as an expression of religious thought and feeling than any heretofore employed in our churches. Especially do they believe that the Responsive Readings from the Psalms are the best ever compiled for general use.
With the fervent hope that these utterances of the spirit which searcheth the deep things of God may commend themselves to all who are striving to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, these services for congregational worship are offered to the churches of the Free Christian faith.