From my own perspective I am not really looking for a cathedral quality setting of the liturgy, but I would like a variant tune to the Our Father, and I would like a musical setting for the Creed. Just so that the liturgy was a little more musical.
In terms of length, I suppose my thought is that there are occasions when folk would benefit from the eucharist (who could not) but when there just is not 2 1/2 hours to do it in. It seems to me that even in the Coptic rite there is a shortening of what must have been an even more lengthy service - I mean that in the Hours the psalms are distributed to be read simultaneously, and there are prayers in the liturgy which are now said silently (and therefore quickly). Indeed since the Coptic rite seems to me to be especially monastic in origin - because of the history of the Church during centuries of persecution - I wonder if that is not another reason for the very long services when the whole cycle is prayed?
I have some younger Coptic priest friends who are well educated theologically but I see that their entire week is now spent celebrating very long services in Church and they do not have time even to respond to emails, let alone spend time thinking, studying and writing. This is not a criticism at all of the Coptic practice, which is often inspiring.
Last night I was discussing this with my two new catechumens. We will hopefully expand our services each month to a weeknight liturgy, a evening of the Vesper's Hour, Prayer and Study, and perhaps a cleaning night. We would also like to start praying at least one Saturday Raising of Evening Incense. What we seemed agreed upon was that we should not try to do everything possible, not only because we would burn ourselves out, but also because we are indeed called to be Christian fathers and husbands and neighbours and witnesses outside the building of the Church as well as within.
This is not to propose a reduced Sunday liturgy. People can always come in a little later and could even be in Church for just an hour from the Gospel. It is not even to suggest a restoration of some ancient rite. (As if we had any authority to do so). But it is to wonder how and whether there is a space between doing everything and doing nothing. Because many people are unable to do everything.
I notice that quite a few Coptic churches are now celebrating a Liturgy of the Word, which is essentially the first part of the Liturgy up to the dismissal of the catechumens I guess. They are using this to reach out to non-Orthodox in the English language and with a shorter non-eucharistic service. At Chatham we have used the hour of Prime successfully as a lay-led service when Father Michael was not available, and now if I am ever not there. Part of the problem may well be that we are not exposed to the full cycle of Coptic services very often and so we are less aware of other opportunities for spiritual benefit - I say this to myself.
I know that Father Simon has been supporting more and more of the Paschal cycle with great benefit. And I hope that next year we will have a fuller Pascha at Chatham. It seems reasonable that we should be aware of everything in the tradition before we wonder what else we could do! More and more seems available in the English language. And as we have discussed Orthodoxy does begin somewhere, even when it is being inculturated in another setting. We don't start from scratch.