The General Synod of the Anglican Church of Canada has released its liturgical documents as free PDF downloads. Here’s the official announcement on the move which contains links to the Book of Alternative Services among other items. Even though this is titled “Alternative”, keep in mind that the Canadian Church follows English precedent; there is an official Canadian Book of Common Prayer released in 1962 which I understand to be a light revision of the English 1662 BCP. The BAS (from 1985) is the normative use and is quite similar to the American ’79 BCP. For whatever it’s worth, the Canadian BCP is not available at the above link but may be found online at the site of the Prayer Book Society of Canada.
One difference that I see as I scan the BAS’s section on the Daily Office is a didactic introduction before the liturgies themselves that give some information about the history and theology of the liturgy. This seems like a Good Thing (as long as it’s accurate and well done as these appear to be).
However, the news item includes this news as well:
Now General Synod is embarking on another period of liturgical revision. At the national meeting of General Synod this June, members will consider new principles for liturgical revision. They will also consider a motion asking the Faith, Worship, and Ministry (FWM) Committee to start work on the next generation of liturgical texts.
Dr. Scully notes that if General Synod gives the go-ahead, this next stage of liturgical revision will likely involve online conversation. The last FWM committee wanted to ensure that the web could be used to engage people from across the country in a participatory process. “Trial use and evaluation for new liturgies could be very lively and web-based,” said Dr. Scully.
So, the Canadians are taking the plunge towards a new official book. It’ll definitely be worth following online and through our correspondents on the ground as these matters develop as they will no doubt have an impact on future directions in American liturgical revision as well.
I, for one, will be interested to see if the Canadians will be moving towards or away from the directions that seem to be taking in the Enriching Our Worship materials…