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«STANDING LITURGICAL COMMISSION The Standing Liturgical Commission 1. Revision of the Book of Common Prayer The principal event which the Standing ...»

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The Standing Liturgical Commission

1. Revision of the Book of Common Prayer

The principal event which the Standing Liturgical Commission is pleased to

report to the Sixty-Fifth General Convention is the publication on 2 February,

1976, of The Draft Proposed Book of Common Prayer. The Draft will be formally

presented to the General Convention on the first day of the session. Copies of The Draft Book have been mailed to all Bishops and to all Deputies elected as of the date of publication. As names of Deputies elected subsequently were made known to the Secretary of the Convention, copies of the said document were also mailed to them.

Thus, the Standing Liturgical Commission has complied with the Resolution of the Sixty-Fourth General Convention that "the process of revision be brought to completion twelve months prior to the Convention at which the constitutional process of revision will begin, with the completed work being submitted to the Deputies of that Convention, and to the Bishops of the Church six months prior to such Convention" (Resolution A-I 38). The Commission completed its work on The Draft Proposed Book in July, 1975, and the publication of the Draft by the Church Hymnal Corporation, well in advance of the six-month period specified in the resolution cited above, makes it possible for the Bishops and Deputies to the Sixty-Fifth General Convention to give adequate study to the Draft and to schedule the Special Order of Business "extending over not less than two days" for the consideration of The Draft Book, with a view to taking the first constitutional action on the Draft, subject to such amendments and alterations as the Convention may decide to adopt. (See Draft Resolution A-I04 below.) The Commission recommends that, following the legislative process of consideration, approval, or amendment and approval, the text as adopted by the General Convention be issued as The Proposed Book of Common Prayer, and be authorized, under the terms of Clause (b) of Article X of the Constitution "for trial use throughout this Church, as an alternative at any time or times to the established Book of Common Prayer," it being "a proposed revision of the whole Book... duly undertaken by the General Convention." (See Draft Resolution A-IDS below.) It does not appear necessary in this Report to describe once again the unique Church-wide process of trial use by means of which the Standing Liturgical Commission requested and obtained the participation of large segments of the Church in its work through the use of successive drafts in situations of actual worship. This process has been described in detail in previous reports. Beginning with the Liturgy of the Lord's Supper (1967), continuing through Services for Trial Use (1970) and A uthorized Services (1973), the entire membership of the Church was invited to use the various rites and to comment thereon. Prayer Book Studies 18-28 and other unnumbered publications were also authorized for trial use, including An Order for Worship in the Evening (1973), A Catechism (1973), and Holy Baptism together with a Form for Confirmation (1975). The Commission also published several other liturgical formularies in Alternatives for Trial Use (1975).

Thus, most of the contents of the Draft Proposed Book were used in their original and revised forms. The present Draft is the Commission's considered response to all of the innumerable comments and suggestions it has received throughout the entire nine-year period of trial use.

To all members of the Church who took the trouble to comment, the Commission extends its sincere appreciation. It expresses the hope that in the AA-271


course of the process of trial and response, the Commission has succeed in listening and hearing what the Church has been saying. While it could not possibly incorporate every suggestion communicated to it, the Commission has weighed and considered all comments and criticisms carefully and thoughtfully. It hopes that its work reflects with reasonable sensitivity the concerns and desires of large numbers of Church members. The Commission believes that no other method could have resulted in the production of so comprehensive and so rich a book of common worship, bringing together within the covers of a single volume so wide a spectrum of traditional and contemporary forms.

A theological commentary on The Draft Proposed Book of Common Prayer had to await its publication. After consideration by the Commission, it will be published separately, and will be made available, as soon as possible, to all Bishops and Deputies to the General Convention. Copies will also be made available to the general public. This commentary should serve, it is hoped, as an authoritative and invaluable guide to the study of The Draft Book.

The process of trial use has involved the active participation of numerous consultants, many of whom served as members of drafting committees and many more as reader-consultants. It has also involved an equally active participation by Chairmen and members of Diocesan liturgical and worship committees. To all these colleagues in revision, the Commission desires to extend its special appreciation.

Their names are listed in the Appendix to the theological commentary. The Commission recommends to the General Convention the adoption of an appropriate resolution of thanks. (See Draft Resolution A-I 06.) In the course of the triennium 1974-76, the Commission suffered the grievous loss of one of the members, the Rev. Canon Lee M. Benefee. A memorial minute expressing the Commission's feelings is appended in Annex I.

In presenting The Draft Proposed Book, the Commission cannot but recall with profound sorrow the names of other former members of the Commissionwho served faithfully at various stages of this difficult period of trial use, but who did not live long enough to share the joy of seeing the work of Prayer Book Revision, to which they contributed so much, brought to the present important stage of near-completion. In paying tribute to the Rev. Canon Lee M. Benefee, the Commission desires to recall the memory of these former colleagues: The Rt. Rev.

Arthur C. Lichtenberger, the Rt, Rev. Albert R. Stuart, the Rev. Louis B. Keiter, and Dr. John W. Ashton.

One major by-product of the process of Prayer Book Revision through trial use has been an evident renewal of the worship of the Church. The Commission hopes that the diocesan liturgical commissions which have played a vital role in this process of renewal will be continued and encouraged to intensity their work long after the completion of this stage of the process of renewal. (See Draft Resolution A-I07.) The Commission desires once again to place on record its profound appreciation of the generous understanding and unfailing support it has received from the President of the Church Pension Fund and Affiliates, Dr. Robert A. Robinson, from the Rev. Craig W. Casey, Assistant to the President, and Vice-President of the Church Hymnal Corporation, from Miss Olive Moore, Secretary of the Corporation, and from all.their colleagues. The Church Hymnal Corporation has published all the Prayer Book Studies prepared by the Standing Liturgical Commission since 1950, and it is now the publisher of The Draft Proposed Book. A list of these publications, together with cumulative totals of sales to date will be found in Annex 11.

The Commission also wishes to place on record the gratitude it owes to its distinguished book designer, Mr. Nelson Gruppo, whose career includes service with the Office of War Information, 1941-45; the design of numerous business AA-272


publications and magazines, including This Week, Time Magazine and many others.

Mr. Gruppo is the designer of the last U.S. Air Mail stamps, and is the recipient of numerous awards in graphic arts.

The Commission is especially grateful to J ames Bradbury Thompson, distinguished book designer, who served as consultant in preparing the basic guide-lines for the typography and design of the Draft Proposed Book. Mr.

Thompson had an outstanding career as design director and design consultant for numerous American publications including, among others, Time-Life Books, Art News and Art News Annual, and publications of the Field Enterprises Educational Corporation. He has taught Graphic Arts at the School of Art and Architecture, Yale University, and served as consultant at Cornell University. He was a member of the Board of Governors of the Philadelphia College of Art. He is First Vice-President of the Art Directors' Club, and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. He has exhibited at international exhibitions of Graphic Arts in Paris, London, Milan, etc., and is the recipient of numerous awards, the latest being the Medal for 1975 of the American Institute of Graphic Arts. Mr. Thompson is the author of The Monalphabet (1945) and Alphabet 26 (1950).

In the preparation of a work of this scope, under the pressure of rigid constitutional deadlines, it is unavoidable that some typographical and other errors should creep in. A number of these errors are listed in Annex III.

2. Program of Work for 1977-79 The time of the Standing Liturgical Commission during the present triennium was wholly taken up with the preparation of the Draft Proposed Book. It became necessary, therefore, to set aside to a future date a number of projects closely related to the total program of Prayer Book Revision. The following numbered paragraphs summarize the program of work envisaged for the next triennium.

(I) The Commission attaches importance to the completion of a study identifying the sources of various liturgical formularies included in The Draft Proposed Book. This is necessary both as part of the history of the Church's tradition of worship and as a belated acknowledgment of the Commission's indebtedness to many authors and publishers of religious works, on which the Commission has drawn and for which it is deeply grateful. They deserve an appropriate acknowledgment.

(2) An important project, initiated at the same time as Prayer Book Revision, and reported to the General Convention of 1970, is the revision of the Book of Offices. This undertaking was entrusted to a Drafting Committee in 1967-73, and considerable work has already been done. It had to be set aside to enable the Commission to concentrate all its resources on preparing The Draft Book of Common Prayer. The resumption and completion of this project is all the more necessary now, since it appears to be generally accepted that both contemporary and traditional idioms have a place in the Church's worship. This work may require the assistance of two or three Drafting Committees to bring it to completion during the next triennium.

(3) In preparing the Main Lectionary for use on Sundays and the Daily Office Lectionary, the Commission's attention was focussed on the pericopes to be included in the three-year and two-year cycles of the readings for the Church Year.

The Commission kept in mind the General Convention's mandate to insure that the Lectionaries conform as closely as possible to those used in Roman Catholic and Lutheran Churches. It is now important to review critically what has been accomplished, to prepare a rationale for the selections made, and to set forth the principles used. The tables of readings may of course be changed by anyone Convention, and therefore this work should be completed in time to be considered AA-273


by the Sixty-Sixth General Convention at which the second constitutional action on The Proposed Book is to be taken.

(4) The Commission found it possible to add only two names and one commemoration to the Calendar since the approval of Lesser Feasts and Fasts in 1964 and the trial use Calendars in 1970 and 1973. These are the names of Absalom Jones, Priest (February 13), and Edward Bouverie Pusey, Priest (September 18). The commemoration added is that of Holy Men and Women of the Old Testament (November 8). A number of suggestions were made to the Commission for inclusion of other names common to certain Anglican calendars and the names of heroes of the Faith indigenous to, or connected with missionary work on, the American continent. The Commission did not have the time to give adequate consideration to these suggestions. Therefore, at its last meeting, it set up a permanent committee on the Calendar to consider these pending suggestions, and also some other aspects of the Calendar in the light of experience.

(5) A great deal of the time of members of the Commission and its staff was taken up during the current triennium in leading group discussions and diocesan or regional meetings, at the request of the diocesan authorities, to study materials approved for trial use. If the General Convention adopts a Proposed Book, the demand for educational and background materials will greatly increase. The Commission considers it an essential part of its task to respond to these needs. If Prayer Book Revision means the renewal of the Church's worship, and if it leads to a deeper understanding and more flexible use of biblical and liturgical materials included in The Draft Book, it is essential that considerable time and effort be devoted to this educational and evangelistic work. A Committee on Educational Materials has been set up. It will need all the help and guidance the Commission can give it. This work is especially important in the coming triennium because not all congregations have taken full part in trial use. To many worshipers The Proposed Book will be a totally new experience, for which they have not been prepared.

Pastoral concern for these congregations requires that their needs be met by means of brochures, study-guides, other publications, and above all, by conferences and other personal contacts with members of the Commission and its staff.

(6) Closely related to the above is the anticipated increase in contacts with other Christian bodies and other churches of the Anglican Communion. Since The Draft Proposed Book of Common Prayer is the first major revision of an Anglican Prayer Book, incorporating many new liturgical principles, recovering much of the historical tradition common to all Christian churches, and to Anglican churches in particular, and aiming towards the greatest possible comprehensiveness, it is only natural to expect intensive interest on the part of churches that find themselves at different stages of the same process.

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