THL490 Christian Worship (8)

This subject explores the history and practice of worship across a variety of Christian traditions, including contemporary and blended worship. The subject centres on the effects and interrelationships of rites, symbols, words, music, gesture and space in facilitating worship. Key issues considered include liturgical forms, symbol, language, music, architecture and mission. In the context of human ritual activity, the importance of worship in the formation of Christian identity is analysed, including the relationship of worship to questions of power and abuse.


* Offering has a residential school. Please view following information for further details.

Session 1 (30)
On Campus
Canberra Campus
United Theological College
Online *
Canberra Campus

Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: THL490. Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Theology

Enrolment Restrictions

Not available to students who have completed THL115 as this is a paired subject.

Subject Relationships

THL115 Paired Subject

Incompatible Subjects


Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to analyse and discuss critically the nature of Christian worship in the context of human ritual activity;
  • be able to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the origins of Christian worship;
  • be able to demonstrate a critical understanding of particular forms in worship across the wider Christian tradition, including blended and contemporary forms;
  • be able to demonstrate an advanced understanding of the effect of form, language, space, body and music on the experience of worship;
  • be able to discuss the relationship between worship, mission, identity and pastoral care, including the relationship of worship to questions of power and abuse; and
  • be able to demonstrate self-guided learning, including advanced research, writing and communication skills.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • The nature, origins and practice of Christian worship
  • Rites and forms in worship: traditional, blended and contemporary
  • Symbol in worship
  • The principles of good worship
  • Space and architecture
  • Worship, identity and mission
  • The power of worship, and the potential for abuse
  • Worship and time
  • Worship and language
  • Worship and music
  • Worship and the body
  • Worship as a pastoral response

Indicative Assessment

The following table summarises the assessment tasks for the online offering of THL490 in Session 1 2021. Please note this is a guide only. Assessment tasks are regularly updated and can also differ to suit the mode of study (online or on campus).

Item Number
Value %
Short essay
Summary of article/chapter and discussion
Applied worship task

Residential School

This subject contains a 3 day Optional Residential School.

The residential school is normally run from Friday to Sunday and will include practical experience of worship. It allows for online students to interpret in common the way space, words, roles, body and sound are at work in worship. Further it allows them to apply theoretical constructs, together with their own experience, to situations of worship and ritual within an ecclesial environment.

Special Resources

Online students who choose to attend the optional residential school in Canberra will need to arrange and cover the costs of travel, accommodation and meals.

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: June 2022. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.