Thursday, December 8, 2011

Anglicans Have Set A Timeline For New Liturgies

I just receive in the mail a magazine type report from the Anglican Church in North America.  I'm not sure what to call it!  It seems to bear the title The Apostle, but it does seem to be a report, rather than a denominational magazine or newsletter.  Further, below the title and the name of the church comes what I suppose is a subtitle, "Ministry In Review."  So, it is, as I said, "a magazine type report" and a review of the ministry of the ACNA.

Within the report, one finds much interesting information, but this blog post is only going to mention two items.

First, as the title of this post indicates, the ACNA has set a timeline for their new liturgies.  -  Many of us have been waiting a long time for the development of their new Book of Common Prayer.  It looks like we will have to continue to wait for some time.  What we do know is that the Ordinal has been produced and is being used throughout the province.  -  I blogged about that back in August, though it was actually made public in June!  -  A copy of the Ordinal can be found, here.

The exciting news is that the task force is working hard on TWO forms of the Holy Eucharist liturgies, and they hope to present them to the College of Bishops at the June 2012 meeting.  Once the bishops approve the liturgies, they will be made available through the ACNA website.  -  So, Eucharistic liturgies may be available as soon as the end of June 2012.  Since this will constitute the primary worship service, this is the liturgy (or liturgies!) for which people are really waiting.

No indication was given as to why two Eucharistic liturgies are being developed, or what the differences may be.  Will it be a matter of contemporary versus Elizabethan English?  Or, will one see some influence of the '79 BCP in one of the liturgies?  -  To the latter suggestion, the report indicates that the "Theological Lens" of the task force has been concerned to root the liturgies of the church "in the tradition of our Anglican heritage while also being accessible to both long-time Anglicans and those new to the tradition."  The report goes on to say that the liturgies "will not be innovative but clearly founded in the historic Anglican Prayer Book tradition."  This last statement makes it sound like those who are used to the '79 BCP will have some adjustments to make.

However, the report also indicates that +Duncan hopes that the liturgies will "commend themselves.  In other words, there will be no coercion."  -  That seems to indicate that the province will not be saying, "This is the book we will be using."  Rather, it seems, that bishops will be allowed to continue approving whatever Prayer Book they choose (e.g., the '28, '79, or Reformed Episcopal version, etc.).  It would be a shame, though, if this new province, as it is trying to continue to coalesce, could not produce a Prayer Book that is seen as common for all ACNA parishes.

The report also indicates that they are working on the liturgy for Baptism and Confirmation, as well.

A second item from the magazine that caught my eye is the Ecumenical Relations report.  It seems that the ACNA, to one degree or another, has had some form of dialogue or conversation with (or are anticipating discussions with) the Eastern Orthodox (via the Orthodox Church in America), The Roman Catholic Church, the new North American Lutheran Church, the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod (the only non-Lutheran group with which the Missouri Synod folks have ever dialogued!), the Lausanne Conference on World Evangelism, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Messianic Jewish movement, the Assemblies of God, and the Presbyterian Church in America.

I think that it would be great if the Church of the Nazarene would enter into some kind of dialogue with the ACNA.  Nazarenes do not have a great history of these types of dialogue with those beyond our own tradition.  We talk with and partner with Wesleyan-Holiness churches quite a lot.  We are members of the National Association of Evangelicals, the Christian Holiness Partnership (which is now, really defunct, and, in some ways, superseded by the Wesleyan Holiness Consortium, of which we are a part), and the World Methodist Council.

Nevertheless, Nazarenes do have Anglican roots through John Wesley.  Our Articles of Faith have a clear line of decent from the Anglican Articles, as does our ritual for the Lord's Supper.  Further, the Anglicans could see in Nazarenes something of a connection regarding the way that they relate to The Episcopal Church, and the way that Nazarenes relate to The United Methodist Church.  That is to say, certain Anglican priests have been known to indicate that Nazarenes left the Methodists for becoming too liberal, just like they left TEC.  -  Now, I'm not arguing that such a statement is quite accurate, but I would say that there may be some parallels in that Nazarenes are the largest of the Wesleyan-Holiness denominations, and therefore present an alternative expression of Methodism when compared with the UMC.

Such a dialogue could help Nazarenes clarify their muddied understanding of deacons and elders orders, as well as help us begin to more clearly own a Wesleyan understanding of the sacraments and worship.  On the other hand, Anglicans could gain from us in the areas of evangelism and Wesley's understanding of Christian Perfection.  The latter could especially be pointed out in connection to the Collect of Purity.


danielhixon said...

I also received the report; I knew I was on their email list but didn't know that they had my (new) address.
I'm hoping to see some dialogue between the UMC and ACNA - the way things are going it may turn out that they prove a more viable long-term ecumenical partner than TEC...maybe. But we can dialogue with both.

Regarding the new BCP, I really fail to see why so many traditionalists hate the 79 BCP. Rite 1 preserves the Cranmerian liturgy almost entirely, and I don't see the big difference with rite 2 either. The collect for purity, Gloria in Excelsis, and Creed (i.e. basically the whole liturgy of the word) is basically identical to the older liturgical tradition. The Eucharistic prayer A (which seems to be by far the most often used) has the same form and content (though not precisely the same wording) as the old liturgy as well. I don't see how folks object to it on theological grounds - unless the objection is that there are simply too many options (rite 1 v.s. rite 2 and multiple eucharistic prayers in rite 2, some being quite different from the old liturgy). I could understand how that could be seen as a departure from the spirit of having a common prayer to begin with, but the objections I hear would lead one to believe that the 79 BCP is somehow heretical.
Any insight into what that is about?

danielhixon said...

I see the point of those who argue that the 79 BCP's Psalter is not a particularly exacting translation; but then I have to put up with Methodist clergy preaching from "The Message" at almost every retreat and conference I attend.

Robin G. Jordan said...

If you read the report of the task force now posted on the ACNA website, the two liturgies will in all likelihood be contemporary English versions of the Rite I Holy Eucharist and the 1928 Order for Holy Communion.

Todd Stepp said...


Thank you for drawing my attention to the report. I had not seen it prior to your comment, and it took me a little while to find it, after your comment!

I think it is well worth reading for anyone who has been looking forward to the new ACNA BCP.

The link is: