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.

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Remain within the bookends

It is good to see Archbishop Robinson, of the UECNA, blogging again in this latest installment from The North American Anglican. It is a great reflection on Anglican theology in a time in which many seem to pick and choose what their “Anglicanism” in a manner that reflects choosing your flavor of ice cream.

In the end, picking one’s own flavor has one end result: your faith turns out to be a mirror and you are worshiping yourself.

Fight for the formularies. Fight for the faith once delivered. Stay between the bookends.

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+

Miserably offended by “miserable offenders”

Professor Samuel L. Bray recently highlighted in his article, “‘And (Apart From Your Grace) There is No Health In Us’ Weighing the merits of a liturgical revision“, that the proposed ACNA Book of Common Prayer has qualified the classical prayer book phrase “there is no health in us” in the daily office General Confession.  I commend his well-researched article to everyone and hope the ACNA Liturgy Task Force will heed his advise and simply retain the clause “And there is no health in us” without qualification.

Today I write regarding a different clause that has been excluded altogether from the same General Confession found in the order for both morning and evening prayer.  The (in)famous clause, “miserable offenders,” follows directly after the line “And there is no health in us” in the classical prayer book.  However, in the proposed ACNA daily office General Confession, the line simply says “O Lord, have mercy upon us.”  It omits the following clause, “miserable offenders” and follows the language (or lack thereof) found in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, Rite One General Confession.

This omission is in need of correction. I applaud the ACNA Liturgy Task Force in restoring, albeit with qualification, the line “there is no health in us” but suggest they also restore the full language of the clause following it: “O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders.”  The term “miserable offenders” identifies humanity for precisely what we are and explains why we are asking for mercy from the Creator.

Additionally, no less a luminary than C.S. Lewis cautioned against the liturgical revisionism in his day and urged the retention of the very same clause in his essay, “‘Miserable Offenders’ An Interpretation of Prayer Book Language.”  In the words of the immortal Lewis:

ONE of the advantages of having a written and printed service, is that it enables you to see when people’s feelings and thoughts have changed. When people begin to find the words of our service difficult to join in, that is of course a sign that we do not feel about those things exactly as our ancestors. Many people have, as their immediate reaction to that situation the simple remedy — “Well, change the words” — which would be very sensible if you knew that we are right and our ancestors were wrong. It is always at least worth while to find out who it is that is wrong.

This brief essay is a must read for laity and liturgists alike.  “Modernizing” language or omitting language that is offensive to the modern mind also results in changing the theology of the Church’s rule of prayer.  The use of the term “miserable offenders” in the context of asking the Lord to have mercy upon us strikes home the fact that there is truly “no health in us” and, as Lewis explains, we are miserable as we are to be pitied for the state of affairs we find ourselves. This is exactly why we are asking for the Lord’s mercy.

Indeed, after this cry for mercy upon miserable offenders such as ourselves, the General Confession turns to asking God to forgive those who are penitent.  The confession ends with a request that we may repent and then turn to the Lord for restoration and assistance in living “a godly, righteous, and sober life” to glorify His holy Name.  But unless we realize the depths of our sinfulness, how can we truly ask for repentance and restoration?  It is precisely because we are miserable offenders without any health in us that we need repentance in the first place.  Furthermore, because of where we find ourselves, we are in desperate need for the Lord’s help in turning towards a godly, righteous, and sober life.

If you agree with restoring “miserable offenders” to the daily office general confession then please contact the ACNA Liturgy Task Force immediately at liturgytaskforce@anglicanchurch.net as they are quickly closing the time period for further comments and edits to the proposed ACNA 2019 BCP.