Rev. Jefferies Response Re: ACNA 2019 BCP & Prayer Book Society USA’s Updated 1662 BCP

Glad to see Rev. Jefferies respond and do so on the same outlet that has mainly hosted as the battlefield of opinion on the new ACNA 2019 BCP, The North American Anglican.

A few items worth noting:

Some priests and theologians might explain the prepositions in the sacramental rites as causative, some as promissory, but in either case, we can all pray the same prayers. This was the theological genius of 1662.

. . .

And, certainly, the 1662 has strengths that the 2019 does not have. Most definitely. In unity, simplicity, beauty, the 1662 easily beats 2019.

Agree on all counts, which is why I hate to see us lose common prayer with so many options and would have rather seen an updating of the 2003 REC BCP as the baseline instead of “Starting from what is known and nearly-ubiquitous (the 1979 structures etc) . . . .”

I agree that some things have been lost that were in the 1662, but I don’t think they are the core — which I would argue is theological — of the legacy of the 1662.

I would disagree here. Losing language like “miserable offenders” in the daily office confession is excising theological language while adding additional prayers for the faithful departed does reflect minimizing one aspect of Anglican theology (original sin) while emphasizing a theology of remembrance for the dead. Likewise, it is unfortunate that the classic, short prayer book catechism (the basic requirement for confirmation and admission to Holy Communion) is not retained while additional daily offices are included and the word “regeneration” is made optional.  Such losses do not render the ACNA 2019 BCP a deviation like the 1979, but I do lament not restoring what was loss in the 1979 BCP. This was a crucial opportunity to restore what American Anglicanism loss and while the end result is a solid step in the right direction, but not a full restoration.

This makes the Prayer Book Society – USA’s recent announcement in publishing a new edition of the 1662 BCP with minor alterations to make it more global in usage quite interesting. Additionally, the United Episcopal Church of North America recently voted at National Council to allow usage of the 1662 BCP and a deanery has been formed in CANA West that will solely use the 1662 BCP.  Although personally, I prefer retaining the American inheritance of our 1892/1928 BCP and adapting it to conform to the 1662 (Athanasian Creed restored, Luther’s Flood Prayer restored, etc.). Hence, I remain a broken record for the 2003 REC BCP and REC Modern Language BCP, which does this but could still have been improved upon slightly in the modern language aspect.

. . . the BCP 2019 is un-apologetically an inheritor of the 1979 BCP and the Liturgical Movement it participated in . . .

. . .

. . . in a world indelibly shaped by the Liturgical Movement, . . .

Which is quite a shame, considering the errors spurred by Dix and the resulting Liturgical Movement. (See pages 1-2 here for more.)

A point of clarification, before closing out, the letter states:

That it could be approved both by John Cosin AND Richard Baxter, even though these two men had very different theological convictions; Indeed, the 1662 is clearly what we might with hindsight call a via media between those who emphasized the reformed aspect of their reformed catholicity, and those who emphasized the catholic heritage within that same description.

However, Richard Baxter was a nonconformist in part due to the 1662 BCP being enforced in the Act of Uniformity (1662), so the 1662 BCP is not exactly the “via media” between Bishop Cosin and Baxter but I agree the 1662 prayer book is truly representative of “reformed catholicity.”

This is why I support the traditional language version that ACNA Liturgy Task Force member Jacob Hootman has drafted, namely due to the restoration of prayer book language previously disregarded, and not because it is in traditional language.  I continue to urge readers to write the ACNA Liturgy Task Force and show your support for this project. Perhaps the ACNA BCP will once again restore some of the loss language and we can catechize those raised on the 1979 BCP with the reformed catholicity our forefathers professed and passed onto us in the historic liturgies and in the Articles of Religion.

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).

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.

New Podcast – Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd – Pelham, Alabama

As the new vicar of Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd in Pelham, Alabama, I have decided to start a podcast in order to distribute sermons, services, lectures, and miscellany. Please take a listen, rate, and subscribe to boost the podcast’s visibility for those who may also enjoy. It will soon be available on all major podcasting apps.

Visit our website and Facebook page for more information on the church plant and please drop by and visit or recommend a friend or family member visit with us one Sunday. Please like the Facebook page and send us a review as well!

ACNA 2019 BCP Finalized

You can review the final text on the website.  Unfortunately, the Family Prayer section continues to follow the 1979 TEC BCP and did not incorporate the reforms I proposed based on the 1928 BCP, which in turn was based upon Bishop Edmund Gibson’s original work.

Additionally, the ACNA Liturgy Task Force did not restore “miserable offenders” to the general confession in the daily office.  I am genuinely curious what the task force thoughts were regarding the feedback it received prior to the deadline last November.

I will refrain from rendering a judgment until after I have a copy to review and use it for a sufficient period of time. Based upon the trial texts it is an improvement on the 1979 TEC BCP, but I must continue to lament that the task force did not start with the 2003 REC Modern Language BCP and then work from there in adding services where needed.  Then the BCP could have been kept relatively small and additional services could have been published as a Book of Occasional Services, which the REC has done and was common in the past.

One last note, since women’s ordination has not been addressed by ACNA, it is curious the 2019 BCP would be formerly adopted since the Ordinal would need to be amended if ACNA restores a male-only priesthood and/or diaconate.

Be miserable in the new year

With the return of the Miserable Offenders Podcast, presented by the fine people of The North American Anglican.

Episode 6 dropped today on iTunes and other podcast services or may be streamed at the TNAA website. Additionally, be sure to like the new Facebook page for the podcast and subscribe and rate us on iTunes.

Great Article on Family Prayer and an Announcement

The Rev. Dcn. Parker has authored a brilliant article on utilizing the full version of the daily offices but in an abbreviated manner (as allowed by the rubrics) to better facilitate family prayer.

The readers of this blog will recall my focus on using the Catechism, Family Prayer, 39 Articles, and other sections of the 1928 American and 2003 REC Prayer Books to facilitate family devotions.  As Dcn. Parker points out, Bishop Edmund Gibson authored a booklet of family devotions that were minimally adopted in creating the Family Prayer Offices in the 1928 American and 2003 REC Prayer Books.  These offices are greatly abbreviated and lack liturgical responses that would be more engaging for the family.  However, the abbreviated version of the full daily offices Dcn. Parker writes about do include responses that are more engaging for the entire family (or church small group for that matter).

I fully endorse and strongly recommend families use the abbreviated office that Dcn. Parker references in his article.  He is to be commended for “doing the math” and condensing the office (as allowed by the Prayer Book) into a shorter form and publishing this office for the church to use within their home.  A copy of the condensed office may be found at the bottom of the article at The North American Anglican or here.

Speaking of Bishop Edmund Gibson and his work, Family Devotion; or an Exhortation to Morning and Evening Prayers in Families, I have submitted for publication a book that takes the abbreviated daily offices and prayers from Bishop Gibson’s work and “updated” the language and spelling so the contemporary church will have his work again for family use.  Bishop Gibson’s booklet included several prayers not included in the Family Prayer Offices published in the 1928 American and 2003 REC Prayer Books.  Additionally, since the ACNA 2019 Proposed Book of Common Prayer will only include an abbreviated form of Family Prayer based on the 1979 Episcopal Prayer Book, my work will hopefully serve as a supplement.

But wait, that’s not all!” Also included in my book will be the Godly Prayers originally attached to the 1559 and later editions of the classic Books of Common Prayer, but not formally considered a part of the Prayer Book.  I have also edited the language and spelling as needed and hope it will prove a useful resource for families, small groups, individuals, and the church at large.

Finally, I have edited and enlarged much of my work on this blog to serve as a bit of a “how to” guide in starting family prayer.  Hopefully, it will prove to be of some use, but the real gems are the two works on prayer that are being edited and republished.  More details on a publication date will be posted later.

Additional Anglican Resources

Continuing on a series of posts that links to Anglican content (see here & here), I am providing a few more resources:

The Miserable Offenders Podcast from The North American Anglican.

The Prydain Blog’s Resources page (also an excellent blog!)

An Apology for the Church of England, Bishop John Jewel

The Two Books of Homilies

Family-Devotion; or, An exhortation to morning and evening prayer in families. Revised and enlarged, Bishop Edmund Gibson

Examination Questions On Professor Harold Browne’s Exposition of the Thirty-Nine Articles

A Collection of Private Devotions for The Hours of Prayer, Bishop John Cosin

Two Answers to Cardinal Perron: And Other Miscellaneous Works of Lancelot Andrewes

UECNA Theological Institute – Free online lectures

Nov. 1 Deadline for Daily Office and Holy Eucharist Feedback

This is in follow-up to my recent post encouraging ACNA clergy and laity to ask the ACNA Liturgy Task Force to place “miserable offenders” back into the Daily Office General Confession.  I submitted my post and a brief email to the ACNA Liturgy Task Force and, understandably, received an automatic-reply.  I will republish this automatic response below but I want to highlight two aspects of the reply, namely the scope of review for the Task Force and the upcoming deadline to submit feedback.

First, in the words of the Liturgy Task Force, “[t]he Daily Office and Holy Eucharist are in a ‘final’ form” but they are still considering feedback received prior to November 1, 2018.  Therefore, please submit your feedback (such as including a more expansive Daily Office for Family Prayer and re-inserting “miserable offenders” in the General Confession) as soon as possible.

Second, when submitting feedback, make sure it is “in discreet, focused comments or simple bullet-point proposals on certain words and phrases within a rite.”  In other words, keep it short and sweet! The more feedback that is received on targeted changes, such as adding “miserable offenders” to the Daily Office General Confession, the greater the likelihood these changes will be made.

Although there is a Nov. 1st deadline for feedback regarding the Daily Office and Eucharist liturgies, please note that feedback and comments regarding “the Initiatory (Baptism and Confirmation) and Pastoral Rites (Holy Matrimony, Thanksgiving for a Child, Healing, Time of Death and Burial)” are due August 6th according to the ACNA website.

Remember, to send feedback to the ACNA Liturgy Task Force, please email them at liturgytaskforce@anglicanchurch.net.

Below is the automatic-reply from the Task Force:

Hello!

This is an automatic reply, but, my name is Ben Jefferies, and I am the secretary to the Liturgy Task Force.

Thank you for taking the time to offer feedback on the ACNA liturgies; it is most welcome!

Feedback on all of the rites appearing in the Book of Common Prayer (2019) is appreciated, and all feedback will be considered by the Liturgy Task Force throughout the revision process that concludes at the end of this year.

The Daily Office and Holy Eucharist are in a “final” form, and the deadline for feedback has officially passed. However, in order to make the newly approved “final” rites as good, true to principle, and useful as they can be, the Liturgy Task Force will still consider focused feedback received between now and Nov 1, 2018.

Because all rites have preliminary approval of the College of Bishops, feedback in essay form and requests for global re-consideration can no longer be accepted.  Please offer feedback in discreet, focused comments or  simple bullet-point proposals on certain words and phrases within a rite.

May God bless you for your concern and love for his Church,

Ben+