Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Time to Study the Anglican Church in North America's Possible Prayer Book Material

For a number of years I have followed once priest, now Bishop Dan Martin's blog, "Confessions of a Carioca". He has a traditional opinion of marriage yet remains loyal to the Episcopal church as well as a non-TEc opinion about the rights of a diocese to decide its course. This past week he has been blogging from the House of Bishop's meeting. I was struck by the fact that he had chosen to not participate in some of the worship services because certain music and liturgies were outside his comfort zone. Indeed, they would have been outside of mine too. One thing that he objected to was the following that was substituted for the traditional creed (I located the lyrics from a separate source here),

‘I Believe in God Almighty’ - Creedal hymn by the late Sylvia Dunstan based on the Apostles’ Creed: 

I believe in God almighty, Author of all things that be,Maker of the earth and heavens, Keeper of the sky and sea.I believe in God’s Son, Jesus, now for us both Lord and Christ,of the Spirit and of Mary born to bring abundant life.
I believe that Jesus suffered, scourged and scorned and crucified;taken from the cross, was buried—true Life there had truly died.I believe that on the third day Christ was raised up from the grave,then ascended to God’s right hand. He will come to judge and save.
I believe in God’s own Spirit, bonding all the saints withinone church, catholic and holy, where forgiveness frees from sin;in the body’s resurrection, for the breaking of death’s chaingives the life that’s everlasting. This the faith that I have claimed.

Please note that the virgin birth gets left out of this "creed". I guess that was okay with the majority of bishops present, at least no one else noticed or had the nerve to object.

It seems inevitable that strange teachings like this will creep into the Episcopal church's new prayer book that is in its early stages of development. If a bishop of the Church stays home rather than attend a service with such novelties, what do you think the effect will be on the desires of the average pewsitter come Sunday morning once the next prayer book is out of the closet.

There are options for traditionalists coming out soon. The Anglican Church in North America has available on-line "Texts for Common Prayer 'The Bible Arranged for Worship.'"  This page has links to the components of a future prayer book, and most of the material should look quite familiar to long time Episcopalians (those confirmed before the 1979 BCP).

Younger Episcopalians might be puzzled by some of the differences if they choose to visit an ACNA church that is using these liturgies.

One of these will be that the Episcopal sacred cow, the "Baptismal Covenant" has been scrapped.

Another shocker will be the Prayer of Humble Access has been included in the Eucharistic service. This prayer has been neglected for the past 38 years in most Episcopal churches that use Rite II for the main Sunday service, I recall one former rector who hated the Prayer of Humble Access for being too "grovelling" and too much in keeping with "That Southern obsession with Sin" and therefore two generations were raised not having to pray it.

I think it is time to study the ACNA's prayer book because it appears to be the lifeboat that TEc traditionalists have been needing.

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