Call for Papers

The theme of the Society's conference in 2020 was to have been : The Embodied Worshipper: Liturgy, Worship, Bodies and the Senses

At our 2020 conference, SLS will be exploring the relationship between liturgy, worship and embodiment, broadly understood.


Proposals for papers are sought addressing this theme, which might come from one of the following suggested directions (though proposals taking other approaches are encouraged):


  • Culture: inculturated understandings of the body; the relationship of the body to the spiritual and material world; the effect for worship of changing cultural understandings of the body; the cultural referents of different styles of worship.

  • Gender: perceived or expected gender roles in the worshipping community; transgender and non-binary perspectives; rebaptism, affirmation of baptism, and rites of transition.

  • Use of the senses, especially the senses and sensory experience in worship; the link between our senses and our emotions; the use of light, smoke, audio-visual, etc. – the multi-sensory and material culture of worship – in some new forms and fresh works, as well as in the more traditional.

  • Physicality in worship in different traditions; the use of movement, posture and procession in worship; the possibilities of worship beyond the body in the digital world

  • Disability and ‘differently-abled’ perspectives; inclusivity; worship and the aging body.

  • History and development of bodily expressions of worship; recording, communicating, and documenting the body in liturgy and worship.

  • Relationship to textual liturgical considerations

  • Pastoral offices & rites of initiation; role of the body in funeral rites and liturgies around healing and dying; the recurring interest in the body (naked, re-clothed, washed anointed) in baptismal liturgy; penitential practice; fasting

The organisers recognise that discussion of the worship in Pentecostal and Charismatic traditions and in new forms of worship and fresh expressions is underrepresented in this area, and especially encourage proposals that address these perspectives. We also welcome proposals from those at the earlier stages of their academic career, as well as established scholars. Proposals outside of the conference theme are also welcome. 


The programme will have room for a limited number of long papers (45 minutes, plus 15 minutes for questions) and for a larger number of short papers (20 minutes, plus 10 minutes for questions). 

Proposals with the paper title and an abstract of about 250 words should be submitted no later than Friday 15 May 2020 by e-mail, to: .  Those whose papers have been accepted will be notified at the beginning of June.

Please note that submitting a proposal does not automatically reserve a room at the conference, those submitting proposals for papers also need to book.