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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A must read for families

This article from The North American Anglican, a special from one of the contributors to The Homely Hours, is an absolute must-read for those interested in family devotions.

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.

Simple Way to Learn Anglican Chant

A relatively straightforward video that is less than ten minutes long can be found here.  I hope to start teaching my children Anglican chant as a way to work through the Psalter and hopefully assist in memorization.

Also, much of what little I have learned regarding chant is thanks to the resources provided at Cradle of Prayer. I highly recommend their website and daily office recordings.

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.

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.

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+