Returning to the Old Paths: A Traditional (and Restored) Language ACNA BCP

The ACNA blogosphere and social media has been dominated by the new kid on the block, the ACNA 2019 Book of Common Prayer. Meanwhile, I overlooked an emerging project to render the 2019 BCP into the language of Cranmer.  But this isn’t simply a Rite I job on the ACNA prayer book, instead, it is actually restoring key language. Exhibit A, from the Daily Office Confession:

We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, and we have done those things which we ought not to have done; and there is no health in us.

What you may notice is the omission of “and apart from your grace” preceding “there is no health in us.” This was an addition to the 2019 ACNA BCP that Professor Samuel Bray took to task over at the North American Anglican.

Now enter Exhibit B, also from the confession:

But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders.

Ah, there it is. Miserable Offenders unite.

It is my understanding this project has the blessing of the Liturgy Task Force (there is a rubric allowing for traditional language in the ACNA BCP).  There is potential this work will be published officially by the ACNA with the College of Bishops’ blessing. I hope some of the changes to the classic canticles are also reversed and for heaven’s sake, put the Opening Sentences, well, in the opening of the offices.  Also, based on my use of the ACNA BCP when compared to using the 2003 REC BCP offices, it would be a huge and simple improvement to place the supplemental canticles and seasonal antiphons within the text of the offices to prevent from needlessly flipping several times during the offices.  When using the 1928 BCP or 2003 REC BCP I have found a congregation does not miss a beat so long as you print the page number in the bulletin for the canticles that will be used in the service or simply announce “turn to page x” and read the title of the canticle being read/sung next.  It is far easier to tell a congregation to skip a page or two on an optional canticle than jump to the back and hold your place in the office and then pick up where you were without confusing someone (see, I can be “missional”!).

It is with great joy that the twenty and thirty somethings have been pushing for this project (and I do believe Jacob Hootman, who spearheads this project was not yet nineteen when he started this work!).  Please contact the Liturgy Task Force AND the College of Bishops and let them know you support the project and want the restoration of important, classical Anglican language.

My wish list for this noble project would include restoring the simple, yet theologically heavy, classic catechism as it can be memorized and truly provides a new Anglican with the core of what is necessary for confirmation. This is not meant to degrade the ACNA Catechism as we do need their longer catechism to educate persons in a post-Christian society, but for the purpose of ensuring each confirmand knows what is key prior to confirmation the shorter catechism is better-suited and is based on the model of St. Cyril’s Catechetical Lectures (the Lord’s Prayer, the 10 Commandments, and the Creed).  Perhaps merely re-adopt the 1928’s Offices of Instruction would suffice since it is a liturgy for the entire church to recite and learn the catechism together (something we recently did at Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd). Additionally, instead of noting Ash Wednesday and Good Friday “are encouraged” for fasting, it would be important to note that these are required days of abstinence and all Fridays are days for fasting to keep within the prayer book tradition. If my memory serves me correctly, the American prayer books dropped the requirement in the 1662 BCP, in the “Concerning the Service of the Church”, requiring “And all Priests and Deacons are to say daily the Morning and Evening Prayer either privately or openly, not being let by sickness, or some other urgent cause.”  This should be restored in this traditional language version as a requirement for the clergy in a rubric before the major daily offices.

Please note, I am not opposed to contemporary language prayer books as I submitted my proposals to the task force, but I do believe words have meaning and excising words or providing additional contextual language comes dangerously close to crossing the boundaries of revision to revisionism. I do not believe the Liturgy Task Force had any intent of the latter and this traditional language ACNA BCP project provides the opportunity to ensure ACNA “not move the ancient landmark that your fathers have set” (Proverbs 22:28) but instead to “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.” (Jeremiah 6:16).

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My Last Reflection Before Leaving Law for the Ministry

The following was my last contribution to The Jere Beasley Report, the long-time publication of my former law firm that I was honored and truly blessed to call my home for nearly a decade.  I was fortunate enough to be asked to submit my favorite Bible verse in the regular section of The Report. It can be accessed on page 33 of the online edition.

My favorite verse since I was a teenager are the following words of Christ that have pierced my soul since I first read them: “For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world and forfeit his soul?” (Mark 8:36). These words of Christ have forever been seared in my mind as a reminder that life is not about money, power, or self-gain, but is about losing ourselves to His will. Namely, this is serving our neighbors by showing our love through acts of service, which demonstrate the faith we have in trusting—truly trusting—that our Creator has redeemed us to serve others.

Many have asked why I am going into the ministry. It is not because formal ministry is “more holy” but due to a call placed on my heart. It was an irresistible call and one I was not looking for but no matter who we are, or where we are, we are called to serve others as we are and in our careers. It is our vocation to be fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, employees, and ultimately Christbearers to all we encounter. I urge the reader to understand that it is not a higher calling to go into the ministry as we are all minsters in our own locations to each and every one we encounter each and every day. Look around you. The people you work with, befriend, and love are those whom you minister to and to whom minister to you. They bear the image of God and as C.S. Lewis so eloquently put:

“There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub and exploit—immortal horrors or everlasting splendors.”

-C . S . Lewis “The Weight of Glory”

Treasure those immortal souls who are around you and protect your own soul by selflessly serving them. Serve others by relinquishing the burdens of this world and casting your trust on the One who created the world, Jesus the Christ. God bless you all in your own ministries wherever you are.

ACGS – Pelham 39 Articles Wrap-Up Episode

The Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd – Pelham, AL podcast wraps up its series on reading through the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion by concluding with Articles 35-39 and ending the series by reading the Preface attached by order of King Charles I.  Please remember to like and subscribe to the podcast to increase its exposure.

Articles 22-34 Episode – ACGS Pelham Podcast

We are approaching the end of our read-through of the 39 Articles of Religion.  Please remember to rate and subscribe to the podcast so others can find it better.

Articles 11-21 on the ACGS – Pelham podcast

Deacon Andrew continues the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd – Pelham, AL podcast by picking back up in his read-through of the Thirty-Nine Articles. Give it a listen on your favorite podcast app.

New ACGS-Pelham Episode & Available on iTunes

Good news, the Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd – Pelham podcast has dropped its second episode in the series of reading through the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion.  This newest episode picks up at Article 6 and finishes with Article 10. As promised, this is a read through that is akin to an audio book but there is a small discussion demonstrating the difference between the U.S. version of Article 8 from how Article 8 was originally drafted.

Importantly, (finally!) the podcast is available on iTunes. Please remember to subscribe and rate the podcast and if iTunes is not your cup of tea then take a look at the parish website for a full list of apps that are distributing the podcast.

First Office of Instruction Audio and ACGS – Pelham Podcast Availability

As the new Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd – Pelham, AL podcast is added to more apps, please check the website to see where you can download. We are still hoping it will be available on iTunes soon but it is currently available on seven different apps: https://www.goodshepherdacna.com/podcast.

Also, we recorded the First Office of Instruction from the 2003 REC Book of Common Prayer as a service and plan on doing the Second Office soon.  The REC BCP version is spot on with the 1928 BCP except for a few very minor additions, namely breaking up the Ten Commandments into more questions. The responses remain the same.  We hope to record more parts of the classic prayer book, especially the 1662 Catechism and the 1928 American Family Prayer Offices to assist families with their devotional life.