Creating A New Zealand Prayer Book.

Bosco Peters reviews a memoir of the process leading to the approval and publication of A New Zealand Prayer Book.

This book is the first substantial memoir covering the whole 25 year period of the Prayer Book Commission and its work. It is a fascinating, personal account that will explain much about that watershed event in our church’s history.

The book is written in a very readable manner, it would be just as easy to follow for the non-specialist or someone with just general interest.

Brian Carrell was a member of the Prayer Book Commission from its second year (it started in 1964, he joined in 1965) and he saw it through to its publication in 1989. Not only was Brian present and part of it throughout this history, but he kept very full personal records.

Brian Carrell describes himself as an Evangelical. Regulars here will know of my caution about using labels. Anglicans who describe themselves as Evangelical in New Zealand often sit loosely to their commitment to the worship agreement of this church. Brian is clearly an Evangelical not to be so identified. He values the biblically-based and transforming power of good common prayer. Nor has the New Zealand Evangelical Anglicanism that he declares himself part of become fixated on some of the issues where others often got stuck overseas. Those two points importantly clarified, it is still true that, as he is first to admit, this is a personal perspective. It is to be hoped that others might now be encouraged to write their own accounts.

This book works systematically through the major revisions that were authorised by General Synod along the way to the final Prayer Book. As he follows this chronological approach we also meet the major players involved, each normally with a photograph. The primary focus of the book is the development of the eucharistic revisions.

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