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A free floating commentary on culture, politics, economics, and religion based on a passionate commitment to the truth and a desire graciously to refute that which is contrary to it….
"He must hold firm to the sure word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to confute those who contradict it."
--Titus 1:9, Revised Standard Version
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We pass on to consider the present usefulness of the Prayer Book and the possibility of extending that usefulness in the future. And now I shall speak wholly as an American to Americans, not because the destinies of the Prayer Book in the new world are the more important, though such may in the end turn out to be the fact, but simply because we are at home here and know our own wants and wishes, our own liabilities and opportunities, far better than we can possibly know those of other people. As a Church we have always tied ourselves too slavishly to English precedent. Our vine is greatly in danger of continuing merely a potted ivy, an indoor exotic. The past of the Common Prayer we cannot disconnect from England, but its present and its future belong in part at least to us, and it is in this light that we are bound as American Churchmen to study them. Let us agree then that the usefulness of [15/16] the book here and now lies largely in the moulding and formative influence which it is quietly exerting, not only on the religion of those who use it, but also largely on the religion of the far greater number who publicly use it not. It has interested me, as it would interest almost any one, to learn how many prayer books our booksellers supply to Christian people who are not Churchmen. Evidently the book is in use as a private manual with thousands, who own no open allegiance to the Protestant Episcopal Church. They keep it on the devotional shelf midway between Thomas a Kempis and the Pilgrim’s Progress, finding it a sort of interpreter of the one to the other, and possessed of a certain flavor differencing it from both. This is a happy augury for the future. Much latent heat is generating which shall yet warm up the chillness of the land. The seedgrain of the Common Prayer will not lie unproductive in those forgotten furrows. The fitness of such a system of worship as this to counteract some of the flagrant evils of our popular religion, can scarcely fail to commend it to the minds of those who thus unobserved and “ as it were in secret,” read and ponder. Much of our American piety, fervid as it is, shows confessedly a feverish, intermittent character which needs just such a tonic as the Prayer Book provides in what Keble happily called its “sober standard of feeling in matters of practical religion.”
Then, too, there is the constantly increasing interest...which it is such a pleasure to observe among Christians of all names in the order of the ritual year, in Christmas and Easter, Lent and Good Friday—who can tell how much of this may not be due to the leavening influence of the Prayer Book, over and above what is effected by the public services of the Church? “I wonder,” said a famous revivalist to a friend, a clergyman of our Church, “I wonder if you Episcopalians know what a good thing you have in that year of yours. Why don’t you use it more?”
And true enough, why do we not?
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship --Book of Common Prayer Parish Ministry Ministry of the Ordained
The Book of Common Prayer was born of a time of “War and Tumults.” In Europe, a powerful anti-Catholic movement had found its boldest leader in Martin Luther, who excoriated the Church in his Ninety-five Theses (1517-18). Luther attacked the Church’s practice of apparently offering salvation (or, at least, partial remission from sins) through the sale of indulgences. Luther came to believe that absolution and salvation were not in the power of the Church but were freely bestowed as gifts by God. The sinner is justified—redeemed from sin, made righteous—by faith alone in God, not by doing good works or by buying ecclesiastical favors. Along with this emphasis on faith went a necessary stress on the sinful helplessness of man, and on our spiritual fate as predestined by God (since we cannot earn our own redemption). Luther and his fellow-reformer John Calvin appealed to the Church fathers as theological sponsors. Both Paul and Augustine, after all, were preoccupied by the narrative of our original sin, and Augustine had argued that God’s grace was bestowed, not earned. The Catholic Church struggled internally after the Reformation with the problem of “double predestination”—the idea that God has already decided who will be in the elect and who will be damned.
Pope Leo X could not see the Catholicism in Luther’s Protestantism: he excommunicated the insurgent in 1521, sealing a schism that Luther had probably not desired. In the next twenty years, Lutheranism became a German church; Calvin established a kind of Protestant theocracy in the city-state of Geneva; Protestantism spread to France, the Netherlands, Scotland, and Scandinavia; and the Catholic Church in England severed its ties with Rome. Thomas Cranmer was at the middle of this revolution. Henry VIII had used him in 1527 on diplomatic business, as one of the theologians tasked with arguing the rectitude of the King’s divorce from Catherine of Aragon. Henry, who made him Archbishop of Canterbury in 1533, was probably less of a reformer than Cranmer: he wanted the Pope out of his business, but saw himself as “Defender of the Faith,” a faith still essentially that of English Catholicism. (The British monarch is to this day the “Defender of the Faith.”)
Only when Henry was succeeded by Edward VI, in 1547, could the reform that Cranmer wanted truly proceed. Cranmer’s Book of Common Prayer was revised in 1552, three years after its publication, in order to intensify the Protestantism of its theology....
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship --Book of Common Prayer * Culture-Watch History Poetry & Literature Religion & Culture
“The Episcopal Church’s roots are deeply embedded in the Church of England,” said the Rev. Robin Biffle, rector of St. Mark’s. English settlers in North America used the 1662 Prayer Book before independence. “It is an interesting living artifact, too, because it’s still regularly used in England,” she said. “Anglican Churches from Aotearoa to Zimbabwe use books descended from this one.”
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Permission Granted for Clergy to Officiate at Same-Sex Marriages
From September 1, 2012
July 19, 2012
Bishop Mark S. Sisk today sent a letter via email to the clergy of the Diocese of New York giving permission for them to officiate at same-sex marriages both in a religious capacity and as agents of New York State, commencing September 1, 2012. He wrote the letter, which contains a complete explanation of his reasons for making the change in policy, after consultation with, and with the full support of Bishop Coadjutor Andrew M. L. Dietsche (whose own letter appeared followed in the email) and Assistant Bishop Andrew D. Smith.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Bishops Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship --Book of Common Prayer Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family * Theology
So what, exactly, did the Bishops do today (July 9), besides “pass” a piece of paper labeled “Resolution A049”?
Did they amend the Book of Common Prayer?
They did not.
Did they approve an alternative to the BCP for trial use on a Church-wide basis?
They did not—the proponents of A049 knew they did not have the votes to do that.
Instead, at the last minute, they carefully reworded their Resolution to take out the word “trial [use]” wherever it appeared, and put the word “provisional” in its place. In this way, the rudderless Bishops apparently believed they were not opening up a route to amending the Book of Common Prayer, by triggering the requirement of the need for a supermajority under Article X of the Constitution (as discussed in this post).
But did they approve, then, an experimental rite for “special occasions” and for use only with the permission of a bishop, as discussed in this earlier post?
No, they did not manage to do that, either....
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal - Anglican: Analysis Episcopal Church (TEC) General Convention --Gen. Con. 2012 TEC Polity & Canons Sexuality Debate (in Anglican Communion) Same-sex blessings * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship --Book of Common Prayer * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family * Theology Anthropology Ethics / Moral Theology Pastoral Theology Theology: Scripture
St. Paul's Cathedral in London celebrates the occasion on 2 May with a special service of evensong, or evening prayer, from the 1662 volume, often shortened to the BCP or Prayer Book. Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams is to attend, along with members of Prayer Book societies in Australia, Canada and the U.K. that are dedicated to keeping the work alive.
"I hope and pray that people in Britain and around the English-speaking world realize the importance of this great work," Prudence Dailey, Chair of the Prayer Book Society in the U.K., told ENInews.
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Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship --Book of Common Prayer Parish Ministry * Culture-Watch History Poetry & Literature Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
Merciful God, who through the work of Thomas Cranmer didst renew the worship of thy Church by restoring the language of the people, and through whose death didst reveal thy power in human weakness: Grant that by thy grace we may always worship thee in spirit and in truth; through Jesus Christ, our only Mediator and Advocate, who livest and reignest with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Anglican Provinces Church of England (CoE) * Christian Life / Church Life Church History Liturgy, Music, Worship --Book of Common Prayer Spirituality/Prayer
Christian worship is a political act - as much as any placard waving demonstration or any conniving behind the scenes number-crunching. In worship, Christians bow to a power above and beyond Kings and Presidents. They name Jesus Christ as the supreme Lord. They proclaim a name that is above every name. In Christian worship we are reminded that reality isn't what it appears to be.
That is the remarkable achievement of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). It draws the worshipper into the world as the Scriptures describe it - a world in which only God is Almighty and yet supremely merciful and in which human beings are utterly dependent on him, for life and for new life.
That contemporary revisions of the liturgy have de-emphasized the sovereign power of God by preferring to address him by any name other than "Almighty" loosens a knot that binds the theology of the BCP tightly together.
Read it all.
A new iPhone application has brought the traditional Book of Common Prayer together with today's technology, courtesy of a group from a Nichols Hills church.
The new app, iPray, became available in mid-April, much to the delight of the group of people who helped create it.
David Hill, CEO of Kimray Inc. and a member of All Souls' Episcopal Church, 6400 N Pennsylvania, came up with the idea for the app as a way to help his children navigate the Book of Common Prayer more easily.
Read it all.
Filed under: * Anglican - Episcopal Episcopal Church (TEC) TEC Parishes * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship --Book of Common Prayer Spirituality/Prayer * Culture-Watch Science & Technology
[This] is that book for all occasions, that word for all seasons called the Book of Common Prayer. It may be none too common now, and was exceptional even when first recited, yet it still speaks to each of us when each of us most needs to be spoken to. Amen.
So what was your favorite part of the royal wedding?
Yes, we know, we weren’t going to watch all that royal folderol, either. Not us. Not us republicans, revolutionaries, no longer fighting for the rights of Englishmen but striding like a new, liberated and liberating breed on the face of the Earth: Americans. What has all that pomp and circumstance got to do with us any more?
And yet, from the first blare of the bugles and the click-clack of horses pulling the royal carriage, from the first view of Westminster Abbey and Big Ben, something stirred throughout thewhole English-speaking world-wherever Shakespeare and the King James Bible and, yes, the Book of Common Prayer are still read. And wherever the old words can still break through the cloudbank called modernity. And all eyes turned once again to that sceptered isle, that royal throne of kings. The sun shone again.
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Filed under: * Christian Life / Church Life Liturgy, Music, Worship --Book of Common Prayer Parish Ministry Death / Burial / Funerals * Culture-Watch Marriage & Family Poetry & Literature Religion & Culture * International News & Commentary England / UK
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