Thursday, January 28, 2010

Last night and next week

I posted last night's notes and handouts. Sorry, it is a bit out of order. The notes are further down this blog.

Next week, Associate Rector Ann Willms will talk about the Episcopal Church, the Book of Common Prayer, Anglican spirituality, and just about anything else you want to talk about as time permits.

Your homework assignment for next week:

Please find a Book of Common Prayer, and read the Preface (pgs. 9-11) and "Concerning the Service of the Church" (pgs. 13-14). The really ambitious can read the next chapter, "The Calendar of the Church Year."


1- What gets your attention?

2- How difficult is it to "keep the happy mean between too much stiffness in refusing, and too much easiness in admitting variations in things once advisedly established" in worship?

3- What is suggested about the shape of our worship in "Concerning the Service of the Church"?

4- Any Big Hard Questions coming to mind?


  1. 1) I've always enjoyed the Daily Office portion of the BCP. I find it a great help and comfort that the Church provides us with a way to read through God's Word every two years.

    I'm also struck by the idea the American Revolution changed the meaning and ends of people's prayers that "Rulers my have grace, wisdom and understanding to execute justice, and to maintain truth and that the people may life wuiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty." How do these ideas affect Anglicans outside of the United States?

    2) I think that keeping a happy mean between perscribed and organic worship is a very, very difficult things. I love the old hymns and Rite I but I also know these things do not speak to all people. One of the things I love about St. Paul's is that the parish provides many different types of worship services for many different types of worshippers.

    3) The Service of the Church suggests a stiff hold on how we conduct our services but with wiggle room for local variation. I especially like the note at the bottom that the BECP "is not intended, by the use of any particular word denoting vocal utterance, to prescribe the tone or manner of their recitation." These tones and manners are to be left up to local churches.

    4) I still wonder exactly where all of this came from. These services are not merely translated from Latin in the Roman Church. They are uniquely Anglican but what makes them that way? What do the aerobics and predictability mean for our faith community? Are they helpful and comforting or do they lull worshippers into a false sense of security?

    I thought I would share with y'all a quote from John Wesley about the BCP: "I believe there is no Liturgy in the world, either in ancient or modern languages, which breathes more of a solid, scriptural, rational piety than the Common Prayer of the Church of England."

    Also, I'm working with a somewhat older edition of the BCP, so please forgive my indescrepincies.

  2. I love the touch of irony that Wesley, who spoke so highly of the BCP, was more or less chased from the church for practicing "Methodism" and preaching outdoors to the masses.
    I'll post more thoughts once I've finished the rest of the reading.

  3. Here's the 1662 preface:

    The language is archaic, of course, but it's fun to see the comparison.