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Towards a new prayer book

Towards a new prayer book

The Church Divinity School of the Pacific offers a forum on “Imagining a new prayer book” as part of its Alumni Convocation Symposium, October 8, from 3-5 p.m., local time.

The Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, presenter, is the current dean of academic affairs, and a long-time teacher of liturgy and liturgics. She served on the Standing Commission for Liturgy and Music from 2008 – 2015, and as chair from 2009 – 2015.

The seminary website describes the event:

 The 2015 General Convention called for a plan for revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer that will “utilize the riches of our Church’s liturgical, cultural, racial, generational, linguistic, gender and ethnic diversity in order to share common worship.” Join us to explore the possibilities and challenges for Prayer Book revision. What should change? What should be added? What should we keep? We’ll consider how a new prayer book can enable the Episcopal Church to gather and form faithful disciples in the 21st century, and how our common worship can express and shape our participation in the mission of God.

This presentation will be livestreamed:

What do you imagine, or dream of, in a new prayer book?


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Philip B. Spivey

“I avoid looking forward or backward, and try looking upward.”—Charlotte Bronte

Carolyn Peet

I would suggest that the new prayer book be published in a 3-ring binder. Would make it much easier to change in the future to keep up with the culture.

Sara Leiste

Agreed. I would also want good electronic versions that are easy to navigate.

David Allen

Open to the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Randall Stewart

Respectfully, I don’t see a “ground up” movement at all. I see an aging generation of boomers wanting to leave their mark, that will leave those of us who are younger to once again clean up your mess.

Ann Fontaine

I guess the churches I attend and where I worship are not the ones you have experienced, Randall. (not a boomer btw – but even worse “a silent”)

David Allen

Please tick off the messes that you’ve been saddled with so far.

David Allen

So it’s Boomers causing the drop in membership in every denomination, regardless of left or right leaning?

Did you stop to consider that more populous prior generations are dying off?

Randall Stewart

Let’s start with rebuilding the membership of the Episcopal Church, which has dropped rather significantly.

Having said that, I don’t take this seriously. Where was the huge “groundswell” for a new BCP? Was there a petition I didn’t hear about? Three years ago the Liturgy and Music committee tabled a new hymnal because of a lack of support. Now it’s back on the agenda. No one has even asked if there is support for a BCP in my parish.

Don’t tell me that this is a ground-up effort. You can’t like a prayer book that way anyway.

Br. Gregory Shy, CoS

As a religious singing/saying the daily offices, I wonder if it might be better to split the new prayerbook into multiple books dedicating at least one section/volume to a FULL edition of the Daily Offices (with another for Mass/Eucharist and Baptism and a Separate but Complete Ordinal as well)? Specifically, I would love to have something that combines in one book or set of books (like the RC Liturgy of the Hours or the Old Monastic Breviary) the ordinary of the daily offices (perhaps with restoration of the three-part minor offices as separately terce/sext/none) along with EVERYTHING needed to really sing/say the office accessible together. This might be something such as a combination of what are now multiple books such as the now-out-of print book, The Prayerbook Office, The currently in-print Daily Office book, The Plainsong Psalter and some relevant sections of the Hymnal with the service music and perhaps selected (meaning properly indexed/recommended/appointed) office hymns.
The Psalms would have pointing to Gregorian chant Psalm tones and antiphons appropriate to ordinary days as well as liturgical seasons and feasts (as in the current Plainsong Psalter). There would be options (perhaps at least two or more) for multiple Psalm schemas e.g. the 30-day traditional post-reformation Anglican Psalter, perhaps a “weekly” Psalter of all 150 across the multiple offices and the current 7-week scheme as items of choice. It would include FULL music as well for ALL of the offices, including the little offices and Compline (both of which now live in an appendix to the accompaniment edition of the Hymnal 1982). For the music, ALL of the music necessary for singing the office would be accessible easily in that one volume (avoiding difficulties such as having the invitatories, lucernaria, little offices and Compline in some far-off appendix to the organist’s accompaniment hymnal).

As an specific wish, I would really like the commission to consult with and include religious who actually pray/sing the office daily, as I think that we understand better the difficulties now of our “cobbled together” solutions and the needs for something more usable. To fully sing/pray the office today (unless part of a community with resources to self-publish a full office of their own) requires juggling of the Hymnal 1982, The 1979 Prayerbook or derivative, A Bible, A book of non-scriptural readings, Holy Women – Holy Men, The Plainsong Psalter and The Hymnal 1982 accompaniment edition appendices. One needs a backpack just to carry all of these. (Please don’t tell me that one can get them electronically. I have tried this. Switching from one e-book to another is no better practically than the paper volumes. The current “E” prayerbooks are useful, but include no musical resources)

And while I am on the topic, it would be really nice to make provision for the minor propers for the Mass/Eucharist including in the updated musical resources both simplified as well as traditional/complex musical settings (by this I mean the Introit, Gradual or Psalm, Offertory and Communion).

Nancy D Stevens

I so want a change in one of the Baptismal Covenant promises:

Please use Jesus’ new commandment to “Love one another as I have loved you” instead of “loving your neighbor as yourself.”
Jesus needs to be the standard, not us.

David Allen

loving your neighbor as yourself

That’s Jesus’ teaching. The 2nd greatest commandment.

Mk 12:31

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