Category Archives: Spirituality

Revised Trial Offices for the Dead

The trial Offices for the Dead that I posted have been seeing some use, and I have received feedback on them. I’ve finally incorporated that feedback into a new pdf version which I’m calling Revision 1.1.

Here are the changes contained in this version:

  • Venite antiphon changed from “O come, let us worship” to “: Come let us adore him.” as in prayer book MP
  • “Rest eternal * grant unto them, O LORD/And let light perpetual * shine upon them.” changed from two bicola to one: “Rest eternal grant unto them, O LORD: */And let light perpetual shine upon them.”
  • Lord’s Prayer offered in Traditional language alongside Contemporary.
  • Minor punctuation corrections
  • In MP2/EP2 “soul of your servant” for “soul of thy servant” in Collect for Recent Dead
  • All occurrences of “LORD” regularized as “LORD”
  • MP2/EP2 Prayer for the Church “eternal” regularized as “ETERNAL”
  • Rite I versions added by request

The major item is the last (Rite I versions added by request). While I prefer to use Rite I when I pray, I recognize that it is not currently the norm across the Episcopal Church. My initial concern was that If I released these in Rite I, they might be seen as by and for a niche community rather than the church at large. 

However, one of the priests who was providing me with feedback said that she and her community would prefer to have them in Rite I. So–it made sense to include them in the revised form.

This PDF groups the contemporary language offices first–Morning & Evening Prayer-Form 1, then Morning & Evening Prayer-Form 2, then the traditional language offices: Morning & Evening Prayer-Form 1, then Morning & Evening Prayer-Form 2

If you do use these, please do give me some feedback on your experience of using them—what works, what doesn’t, what could be added or deleted.

PDF of the trial Offices for the Dead

At the request of some folks who had seen the previous post on my Offices for the Dead, I have compiled them in a PDF.

This contains an introduction that briefly introduces the history and purpose of the devotion (largely adapted from the blog post below)  and also offers some suggestions for how individuals and communities might use them.

Then follow Morning and Evening Prayer for Form 1, then Morning and Evening Prayer for Form 2.

After being asked about it, I decided to remove the rubricized note at the beginning regarding the doubling of antiphons. In a nutshell, in a chockful multi-Office environment,  antiphons were not said in full before and after every psalm. If it wasn’t a fancy day, only the first few notes of the antiphon were sung so the rest of the choir would know what note to start singing the psalm on. (Yes, this goes back to the period of sung Offices and limited books.) Because I left the daggers in for the sake of the liturgical purists amongst us—you know who you are—I included the note in the web versions. For a standalone general-use document for Episcopalians, it is probably unnecessary.

The PDF is located here.

Casting Psalm 20

Psalm 20 rolled around in Morning Prayer today; out of habit, I slipped into casting it as a classical drama.

Hearing the Psalm

Verse 1 mentions “the Lord” and then immediately proceeds to “you.” Interesting. So we have on stage God and also another figure whose identity is—at this point—ambiguous; we’ll call this figure Person A for now. The identity of the speaker also is not clear so I’m going to guess that it is our Congregation-Chorus. We’ll see how this hunch plays out as we continue to read.

Verse 1 lets us know that Person A is in the midst of some kind of trial—this is a “day of trouble” and they could use “defense” from the Name of the God of Jacob.

Verse 2 establishes a temple-centric model of relationship with God: God is established in “his holy place” which in the parallel second half of the verse is identified with “Zion.” The image we’re working with is that torus-shaped cosmology where heaven and earth intersect at the site of the Temple in Jerusalem which is simultaneously a building in earth and the site of the heavenly court in heaven.

Verse 3 confirms this temple-centric notion by extending Person A’s relationship with the Temple. There’s history here because now we’re talking about Person A’s past “offerings” and “burnt sacrifice.”

Verse 4 lets us know that Person A has got some difficult endeavor in mind because they have a difficult to achieve “heart’s desire” and “plans.”

Verse 5 introduces martial language into the situation: “victory and triumph.” At this point in the process, I’m going to tentatively identify Person A as the king of Judah as the logical plain-sense referent of this psalm. A quick scan through the previous verses agrees with this: we’re talking about a king of Judah during the time of the First Temple who is likely setting out on a military campaign against enemies–likely foreigners, although nothing so far in the text requires this. This verse also presents the speaking voice as a plural one, matching my initial identification of the speaker with the Congregation-Chorus.

Verse 6 confirms the identity of Person A as the king of Judah with the reference to “[the Lord’s] anointed” and the venture as a military one. The BCP translation of the psalm moves from the previous first person plural to a first person singular “I”; I see this as more of a poetic intensification of the statement of belief rather than a shift of speakers. (I can see the members of the Chorus turning to one another when they sing this line–or maybe a soloist?)

Verse 7 clarifies the military hardware used by the elites—“chariots” and “horses”—and the Congregation-Chorus’s belief (we’re back to first person plural again) that the aid of the Lord is mighter than high-tech weapons.

Verse 8 describes the hoped-for help described at the beginning: collapsing for the enemies and rising for the Judeans. (Is this a mixed Chorus of both priests and warriors?)

Verse 9 summarizes the psalm and provides almost a thesis statement in a concluding position.

Thus,  the psalm is a prayer to God on behalf of the king who is setting out on a military expedition. While God and the king are in focus the entire time, neither of them are given speaking roles. On the contrary, the whole psalm is in the mouth of the Congregation-Chorus. Indeed, if we wanted a more complex setup, we might even imagine two choruses, a Chorus of Priests and a Chorus of Warriors who alternate with one another. The Chorus of Priests would begin the psalm and would sing verses 1-4; then the Chorus of Warriors would enter with verses 5-9, with both Choruses singing verse 6 and 9 together.

Moving Christologically

So—what happens if we then make the Christological move and add another layer of meaning? What if we shift the identification of Person A with Christ and perhaps move to a Chorus of Angels or Disciples?

Certainly seeing Christ in a day of trouble is not difficult as this is his situation once he turns his face towards Jerusalem.

Verse 3 is reinterpreted in terms of what offering and sacrifice mean for the person of Jesus in light of his own self-emptying as described in the Philippians Christ Hymn as well as looking forward to the sacrifice of the cross. The mention of Zion as the place of this sacrifice is both literally accurate but also ironic as the site of the crucifixion.

Verse 4 likewise gains some additional pathos: the “heart’s desire” of Christ is the reconciliation of humanity and God that shall be accomplished by means of the cross.

The self-offering of verse 3 and the journey to the cross in verse 4 then require a reinterpretation of what “victory” looks like. This is no military conquest; on the contrary, this is strength made perfect in weakness.

Verse 6 then dwells in the irony of the reinterpreted victory (note the repetition of the word in this verse). The victory of Jesus the Anointed is in the accomplishment of his ministry of reconciliation that will look like anything but victory.

While verse 7 seemed hyperbolic when following the plain-sense of the passage—we’d rather trust a military victory to God than in high-tech weapons—the opposition between the spiritual and the militant seems much more appropriate when reading it Christologically. Weapons will not help you here; we’re talking about an entirely different kind of conflict where the size of your gun has absolutely nothing to do with your success.

We’ve not defined an enemy (“they”) in our Christological reading and the mention of them at this one point in verse 8 is brief enough that we don’t even need to. Instead, the focus and interest in this verse from a Christological perspective is the language of “arising and stand[ing] upright” given the obvious connections with the language of resurrection: for Christ initially as the first-fruits, then after for those who believe in him.

Verse 9, then, is a reiteration of both the ironic reversal motif (“victory to the king”) and also the earnest hope of the resurrection (“answer us when we call”).

In terms of the voicing, we could see the entire psalm in the voice of a Church-Chorus. I do think that verses 8 and 9 need to be heard in the voice of either the Church or the Disciples because of the resurrection language. An Angel-Chorus might be an interesting addition especially in verse 5 given the resonances with the angel chorus shouting for joy at the act of creation in Job 38:7; alternatively it’s also appropriate in the mouth of the Church riffing on 1 Peter 4:13 (with shades of Isaiah 12:6 as well…)

Summary

By casting it as a drama, then, attending to the plain-sense of the text, and then moving to an additional Christological sense of the text, we hear this psalm speaking to us in several voices. Our initial run-through honors the plain-sense of the text in its historical context. This was a psalm of Judah asking the blessing of God upon an unspecified military venture of the king. Our casting options could include a split chorus of priests and warriors as they combine to speak on behalf of the whole people. In addition to this meaning—not replacing it—is a Christological reading which follows in well-worn paths by identifying God’s anointed as Jesus. This reading requires a reinterpretation of victory and purpose—a reinterpretation that seems surprisingly appropriate for some verses. Ultimately, both meanings unite in affirming God’s fidelity to his Anointed and in the Chorus’s prayers for success in these endeavors.

LFF 2018 in the Breviary

At long last…

I have finally gotten around to some long-lingering kalendar updates to the breviary. They’re not done yet, but there is some new stuff in there.

I’d had the codes for the items in Great Cloud of Witnesses in the saints table for some time now, but had never gotten around to actually hooking that in to the options; it’s in now.

The bigger news, though, is that the new commemorations and collects for the trial use Lesser Feasts & Fasts 2018 are in and can be selected as an option. As with all Episcopal kalendars in recent years, there are things to like and not like about LFF 2018. On the whole, it’s much better than its two predecessors—and I say that as the chief architect of Great Cloud of Witnesses

In putting together GCW, we (I) tried to thread the needle too finely. I wanted to try and please as many folks as we could, both those who wanted a broad expanse of folks—including many with whom they were unfamiliar—and those who wanted to only celebrate as saints those they believed were genuinely saints. In essence, I went too “meta” with the notion that these were all options and that local communities should canonize and celebrate those they regarded as saints. This nuance appears to have been largely missed by the voters at General Convention and the broader church.

Oh well.

What LFF 2018 accomplished was to salvage and continue the work on the collects that we had begun with GCW. It also tried to balance the representation on the kalendar. I’m sure some see this as liberal pandering; I don’t. Instead, the saints do need to portray the full span of humanity as faithful witness of Christ’s resurrection power, not just a list of well-connected French & Italian bishops (looking at you, RC calendar of the 1890’s) or a list of white missionary Anglican bishops in the Americas (looking at you, early versions of LFF).

What I have not done yet is to thoroughly incorporate the collect changes of LFF 2018 throughout the kalendars as a whole. That is, I now offer 5 Episcopal kalendar options in the breviary:

  • The original 1979 kalendar
  • The official Lesser Feasts & Fasts (2006)
  • The now superseded Holy Women, Holy Men (because there are some who still like and use it)
  • The “made available” Great Cloud of Witnesses
  • The “authorized for trial use” Lesser Feasts & Fasts (2018)

Right now, the first four are all using the Holy Women, Holy Men collects (except for the new additions to GCW); the fifth contains the new ones.

In the next week or two, I am going to replace the HWHM collects with the LFF 2018 collects (for the commemorations for which they are available). There are two reasons for this:

  1. I think the LFF 2018 collects are objectively better than the (current) HWHM collects
  2. The trial use collects need to be used so that the Church gets an experience of them

So—if you’re one who pays close attention to the collects, you’ll be seeing that change soon.

Sanctoral Table of 1963

Why, you ask, does it take so much time to digitize a resource like the Prayer Book Studies Series? Well, one of the reasons is that the SLM of the time was fond of tables…

Tables are a pain.

But—it is quite interesting to see the things that the tables contain. For instance, here is the PBS XVI update of the comparative table of saints across the Anglican Communion in 1963 and incorporating the Roman Calendar changes of 1960. Frankly, we could use to do a lot more of this. I constructed one of these while thinking about changes/additions for Great Cloud, but I don’t believe it ever saw the light of day… In any case, here it is:

 

JANUARY
Day Feast Proposed English 1928 Scottish 1929 South African 1954 Japanese 1959 Indian 1961 Canadian 1962 Sarum Roman 1960
1 HOLY NAME OF JESUS X       X        
  OCTAVE OF CHRISTMAS             X    
  CIRCUMCISION   X X X   X X X X
2 Holy name of Jesus[1]                 X
3                    
4 Titus [2]       X          
5                    
6 THE EPIPHANY X X X X X X X X X
7                    
8 Lucian               X  
9                    
10 William Laud X     X     X    
11 David of Scotland     X            
12 Benedict Biscop       X     X    
  John Horden             X    
13 Octave of Epiphany             X    
  Institution of Baptism [3]           X     X
  Kentigern     X            
  Hilary   X X X     X X  
14 Hilary X       X       X
15                    
16                    
17 Antony X X X X X X   X X
18                    
19 Wulfstan X X X X       X  
  Henry (of Finland)             X    
20 Fabian [4] X X X X X     X X
21 Agnes X X X X X X X X X
22 Vincent X X X X     X X X
23 Phillips Brooks X                
24 Saint Timothy [5] X   X X X X X   X
25 THE CONVERSION OF ST. PAUL X X X X X X X X X
26 Polycarp X X X X X X X   X
27 John Chrysostom X X X X X X X   X
28                    
29                    
30 King Charles I     X       X    
31                    

1. Roman on 2nd Sunday after Christmas or Jan. 2.

2. See Jan. 24 and Feb. 6

3. Roman observes Baptism of Our Lord.

4. With Sebastian, in Roman, Sarum, and South African.

5. With Titus in Canadian.

FEBRUARY
Day Feast Proposed English 1928 Scottish 1929 South African 1954 Japanese 1959 Indian 1961 Canadian 1962 Sarum Roman 1960
1 Bride     X         X  
2 Ignatius of Antioch [1] X X     X       X
3 PURIFICATION X X X X X X X X X
4 Ansgarius X X   X     X    
  Cornelius X                
  Gilbert of Sempringham       X          
5 Agatha       X       X X
6 Saint Titus [2] X   X     X     X
7                    
8                    
9                    
10                    
11 Finnian     X            
  Caedmon             X    
  Organization Nippon Sei Ko Kai         X        
12                    
13                    
14 Valentine       X     X X X
15 Thomas Bray X                
16                    
17 Finan     X            
18 Colman     X            
19                    
20 African Missionaries and Martyrs       X          
21                    
22                    
23 Lindel Tsen; Paul Sasaki             X    
24 MATTHIAS X X X X X X X X X
25                    
26                    
27 George Herbert X     X     X    
28                    
29                    

1. See December 17.

2. See Jan. 4 and 24.

MARCH
Day Feast Proposed English 1928 Scottish 1929 South African 1954 Japanese 1959 Indian 1961 Canadian 1962 Sarum Roman 1960
1 David X X X X   X X X  
  Marnan
(Ernin)
    X            
2 Chad X X X X     X X  
  John and Charles Wesley             X    
3 John and Charles Wesley X                
4                    
5                    
6 Baldred     X            
  Perpetua and Felicitas             X   X
7 Perpetua and Felicitas X X X X X X   X  
  Thomas Aquinas             X   X
8 Thomas Aquinas X   X X X X      
9 Gregory of Nyssa X                
10 Kessog     X            
11                    
12 Gregory the Great X X X X X X X X X
13                    
14                    
15                    
16                    
17 Patrick X X X X X X X X X
18 Cyril of Jerusalem X   X X X X     X
19 Saint Joseph X   X X X X X   X
  Thomas Ken [1]       X     X    
20 Cuthbert X X X X     X X  
21 Benedict [2]   X X X X X X X X
  Thomas Cranmer [3]             X    
  Thomas Ken [1] X                
22 James DeKoven X                
23 Gregory the Illuminator X                
24                    
25 ANNUNCIATION X X X X X X X X X
26                    
27 John of Damascus [4]                 X
28                    
29 John Keble X     X     X    
30                    
31 John Donne X                

1. Cf. March 19 and 21.

2. See July 11.

3. See Proposed for June 10.

4. See Dec. 5.

APRIL
Day Feast Proposed English 1928 Scottish 1929 South African 1954 Japanese 1959 Indian 1961 Canadian 1962 Sarum Roman 1960
1 Gilbert     X            
  J. F. D. Maurice X                
2 Henry Budd             X    
3 Richard X X   X X   X X  
  Reginald Heber             X    
4 Ambrose [1] X X X X X X X X  
5                    
6 William Law [2]       X          
7                    
8 William Augustus Muhlenberg X                
9 William Law [2] X                
10                    
11 Leo the Great [3] X X X X X X X   X
12 G. A. Selwyn [4] X     X          
13                    
14 Justin Martyr [5] X   X X X X     X
15                    
16 Magnus     X            
17 Donnan     X            
18                    
19 Alphege X X X X     X X  
20 Serf     X            
21 Anselm X X X X X X X   X
  Maelrubha     X            
22                    
23 George   X X X X X X X X
24 Wilfrid       X          
25 MARK X X X X X X X X X
26                    
27                    
28                    
29                    
30 Catherine of Siena X X X X X X     X

1. Roman lists on December 7.

2. Cf. April 6 and 9.

3. Sarum on June 28.

4. S. African on the 11th.

5. Scottish on the 13th; Canadian on June 1.

MAY
Day Feast Proposed English 1928 Scottish 1929 South African 1954 Japanese 1959 Indian 1961 Canadian 1962 Sarum Roman 1960
1 PHILIP AND JAMES [1] X X X X X X X X X
  JAMES OF JERUSALEM [2]             X    
2 Athanasius X X X X X X X   X
3                    
4 Monnica X X X X X X X   X
5                    
6 St. John at Latin Gate   X X X X X   X X
7                    
8                    
9 Gregory of Nazianzus X   X X X   X   X
10                    
11 Cyril and Methodius [3] X           X    
12 Florence Nightingale             X    
13 Martyrs of Uganda [4]       X          
14                    
15                    
16                    
17                    
18                    
19 Dunstan X X X X     X X  
20 Alcuin X                
  Council of Nicaea             X    
21                    
22                    
23                    
24 Jackson Kemper X                
25 Aldhelm   X X X     X X  
26 Augustine of Canterbury [5] X X X X X X X X X
27 Venerable Bede X X X X X X X   X
28                    
29                    
30 Joan of Arc       X     X    
31                    

1. Roman on May 11.

2. See Oct. 23.

3. Roman on July 7.

4. See Oct. 29.

5. Roman on the 28th.

JUNE
Day Feast Proposed English 1928 Scottish 1929 South African 1954 Japanese 1959 Indian 1961 Canadian 1962 Sarum Roman 1960
1 Justin Martyr [1]             X    
2 The Martyrs of Lyons X     X          
3                    
4                    
5 Boniface X X X X X X X X X
6                    
7                    
8                    
9 Columba X X X X X X X    
10 First Prayer Book [2] X                
  Margaret [3]     X           X
11 BARNABAS X X X X   X X X X
12 Ternan     X            
13                    
14 Basil of Caesarea X X X X X X X X X
15                    
16 Joseph Butler X                
17                    
18 Ephrem of Edessa X               X
  Bernard Mizeki       X          
19                    
20 Fillan     X            
21                    
22 Alban X X X X X X X X  
23                    
24 NATIVITY JOHN BAPTIST X X X X X X X X X
25 Moluag     X            
26                    
27                    
28 Irenaeus [4] X X X X X X X   X
29 PETER   X X     X      
  PETER AND PAUL X     X X   X X X
30 PAUL           X      

1. See April 14.

2. See Canadian on March 21.

3. See Nov. 16.

4. Romans on July 3.

JULY
Day Feast Proposed English 1928 Scottish 1929 South African 1954 Japanese 1959 Indian 1961 Canadian 1962 Sarum Roman 1960
1 Octave of John Baptist             X X  
  Dominion Day             X    
2 Visitation X X X X X X X X X
3                    
4 INDEPENDENCE DAY X                
5                    
6 Octave Peter and Paul             X X  
  Thomas More             X    
  Palladius     X            
7                    
8                    
9 Stephen Langton             X    
10                    
11 Benedict of Nursia [1] X             X  
12                    
13 Silas       X   X      
14                    
15 Swithun   X X X     X X  
16 Osmund       X       X  
17 William White X                
18                    
19                    
20 Margaret of Antioch   X X X X   X X X
21                    
22 Mary Magdalene X X X X X X X X X
23                    
24 Thomas a Kempis X                
25 JAMES X X X X X X X X X
26 Parents
B.V.M. [2]
X                
26 Anne   X X X X   X X X
27 W. R. Huntington X                
28                    
29 Olaf     X       X    
  Mary and Martha [2] X     X   X     X
  William Wilberforce       X     X    
30 William Wilberforce X                
31 Joseph of Arimathaea X                
  Germanus and Lupus       X       X  

1. See March 21.

2. Roman observes Joachim on Aug. 16.

3. Roman and Indian observe Martha only; S. African on the 30th.

AUGUST
Day Feast Proposed English 1928 Scottish 1929 South African 1954 Japanese 1959 Indian 1961 Canadian 1962 Sarum Roman 1960
1 Lammas   X X       X    
  St. Peter’s Chains       X X X   X  
  Maccabean Martyrs             X   X
2                    
3                    
4 Dominic X     X X X     X
5 Oswald   X X       X X  
6 TRANSFIGURATION X X X X X X X X X
7 Name of Jesus   X X X   X X X  
8                    
9                    
10 Laurence X X X X X X X X X
11                    
12 Clare X       X       X
  Charles Inglis             X    
13 Hippolytus X           X X X
  Jeremy Taylor             X    
14 Jeremy Taylor X                
15 Repose of B. V. M. X   X X X X X X X
16                    
17                    
18 Helena         X        
19                    
20 Bernard of Clairvaux X X X X X X X   X
21                    
22                    
23                    
24 BARTHOLOMEW X X X X X X X X X
25 Louis X               X
  Ebba     X            
26                    
27                    
28 Augustine of Hippo X X X X X X X X X
  Robert McDonald             X    
29 Beheading of John the Baptist   X X X X X X X X
30                    
31 Aidan X X X X   X X    
SEPTEMBER
Day Feast Proposed English 1928 Scottish 1929 South African 1954 Japanese 1959 Indian 1961 Canadian 1962 Sarum Roman 1960
1 Giles   X X X X X X X X
  Robert Gray       X          
2 Robert Wolfall             X    
3                    
4                    
5                    
6                    
7                    
8 Nativity of B. V. M.   X X X X X X X X
9 Boisel; Kiaran     X            
10 E. J. Peck             X    
11                    
12 John Henry Hobart X                
13 Cyprian of Carthage [1] X X X X   X X   X
  First General Synod, Canadian Church             X    
14 Holy Cross X X X X X X X X X
15                    
16 Ninian X X X X     X    
17 Lambert       X       X  
18                    
19 Theodore of Tarsus X X X X X   X    
20 John C. Patteson X     X     X    
21 MATTHEW X X X X X X X X X
22                    
23 Adamnan     X            
24                    
25 Sergius X                
  Finnbar     X            
  Lancelot Andrewes       X     X    
26 Lancelot Andrewes X                
  Cyprian of Carthage [1]         X     X  
27                    
28                    
29 MICHAELMAS X X X X X X X X X
30 Jerome X X X X X X X X X

1. Roman on the 16th (with Cornelius); see also the 26th.

OCTOBER
Day Feast Proposed English 1928 Scottish 1929 South African 1954 Japanese 1959 Indian 1961 Canadian 1962 Sarum Roman 1960
1 Remigius X X X X     X X X
2                    
3                    
4 Francis of Assisi X X X X X X X   X
5                    
6 Faith   X   X       X  
  Thomas of India           X      
  William Tyndale X           X    
7                    
8                    
9 Denys   X X X X   X X X
  Grosseteste             X    
10 Paulinus       X     X    
11 Kenneth     X            
  Philip the Deacon       X     X    
12                    
13 Edward the Confessor   X X X X   X X X
  Congan     X            
14                    
15 Schereschewsky X                
16 Latimer
and Ridley
X           X    
  Henry Martyn       X          
17 Henry Martyn X                
  Etheldreda   X X X     X X  
18 LUKE X X X X   X X X X
19 Frideswide       X       X  
20                    
21 James Hannington [1]             X    
22                    
23 James, Brother of the Lord X     X   X      
24                    
25 Crispin and Crispinian   X   X     X X  
26 King Alfred the Great X X   X     X    
  Cedd             X    
27                    
28 SIMON AND JUDE X X X X X X X X X
29 James Hannington X     X          
30                    
31                    

1. See the 29th.

Note: Last Sunday, Feast of Christ the King in Roman and Indian

NOVEMBER
Day Feast Proposed English 1928 Scottish 1929 South African 1954 Japanese 1959 Indian 1961 Canadian 1962 Sarum Roman 1960
1 ALL SAINTS X X X X X X X X X
2 All Souls   X X X X X X X X
  Richard Hooker             X    
3 Richard Hooker X                
4                    
5                    
6 Leonard   X X X       X  
7 Willibrord X     X     X    
8 Octave; Anglican Saints   X X X   X X    
  Gervadius     X            
9                    
10                    
11 Martin of Tours X X X X X X X X X
12 Machar     X            
  Charles Simeon X     X          
13 Charles Simeon             X    
  Devenic     X            
14 Consecration of Samuel Seabury X                
15 Fergus     X            
16 Edmund       X       X  
  Queen Margaret X   X       X    
16 Hugh of Lincoln   X         X    
17 Hugh of Lincoln X   X X       X  
  Hilda   X     X   X    
18 Hilda X   X X          
19 Elizabeth of Hungary X     X         X
20 King Edmund   X X X     X X  
21 Columban                  
22 Cecilia   X X X X   X X X
23 Clement of Rome X X X X X X X X X
24                    
25 Catherine of Alexandria   X X X X   X X X
26                    
27                    
28                    
29                    
30 ANDREW X X X X X X X X X
DECEMBER
Day Feast Proposed English 1928 Scottish 1929 South African 1954 Japanese 1959 Indian 1961 Canadian 1962 Sarum Roman 1960
1 Nicholas Ferrar       X          
2 Channing More Williams X       X        
3 Birinus       X          
  Francis Xavier           X     X
4 Clement of Alexandria X X X X X X X    
5 John of Damascus [1] X                
6 Nicholas of Myra X X X X X X X X X
7 Ambrose [2]                 X
8 Conception of B. V. M.   X X X     X X X
9                    
10                    
11                    
12                    
13 Lucy       X X     X X
14 Drostan     X            
15                    
16 O Sapientia   X X X     X X  
17 Ignatius of Antioch [3]   X X X   X X    
18                    
19                    
20                    
21 THOMAS X X X X   X X X X
22                    
23                    
24                    
25 CHRISTMAS DAY X X X X X X X X X
26 STEPHEN X X X X X X X X X
27 JOHN THE EVANGELIST X X X X X X X X X
28 THE HOLY INNOCENTS X X X X X X X X X
29 Thomas Becket       X X   X X X
30 John Wycliffe             X    
31 John West             X    

1. Roman on March 27.

2. See April 4.

3. See Feb. 1.

Hear Me Talk about Oxford 2.0

At school the second quarter is coming to an end and we're gearing up for midterms. It wasn't until my friends from All Things Rite & Musical tweeted a link to my Anglo-Catholic Future talk that I realized it was up for listening!

So---here you will find the audio of me talking about my take on an modern Oxford Movement 2.0.

If you haven't read them before---or if you haven't read them recently---I'd recommend reading Robert Hendrickson's "It's Time for a New Oxford Movement" post and also the follow-up from Ed Watson "What's Preventing a New Oxford Movement?" before listening to my talk.

I usually post the text as well, but there's talk about doing something else with these so I'm holding off until I know more.

Sanctoral Hash

Before we start talking about the legislation around the sanctoral calendar that occurred at General Convention, let me refer you once again to the brief history of the Episcopal Calendar that I wrote for the Liturgy Center at VTS.

There are two directions from which to approach the question of the sanctoral calendar.

The first is to approach it as a place are individuals are recognized. An individual is lifted up as a saint—however that gets defined and understood—and is put on the calendar because their life-story appears to fit the criteria used for judging saintliness. From this perspective, the question of whether a person belongs on the calendar or not is a matter of whether they tick all of the right boxes and none of the wrong ones.

The second direction is to approach the calendar as a set, a deliberate group. As a set, the balance of individuals says something about how the church as a whole understands sanctity and the various breakdown of roles and functions within the church as a living organism. To borrow the great Pauline metaphor, a proper sanctoral calendar ought to reflect the disposition of the various parts of the body that make up the whole. It can’t be all made up of “brain” or all made up of “foot” or you get a warped view of the Body of Christ and its constituent features. To say it more clearly, the composition of the whole needs to reflect that contemplative holiness, self-sacrificial martyrdom, theological brilliance, pastoral sensitivity, just social action, and more are all in the mix in terms of what sanctity looks like. Furthermore, other kinds of balance matter here, not just the theological. This is where issues of race, ethnicity, temporal period, and gender come in as well.

One of the classic instances of imbalance is the late 19th century Roman Catholic calendar which was dominated by French and Italian bishops. What it said was, if you want to be holy, be a French or Italian bishop. If you’re a married woman of color, you’re out of luck.

When you approach the calendar from this angle, the question isn’t just about the worthiness of a given individual; it also has to do with how many of a given sort are in the whole system. Balancing the competing theological criteria with race and gender concerns makes this a very complicated matter. But if we are trying to portray sanctity across a wide range of time, locations, and social classes, it’s an exercise worth doing. We are literally trying to image the full humanity of Christ by illustrating how instances from across the whole spectrum of human experience have communicated Christ in their time and place.

What the proposed LFF 2018 was trying to do was to attack the calendar from the second angle. It tried to create a balanced group of worthies. Because our previous calendars had been so badly skewed in terms of gender and ordination status, and theological role, the only way to accomplish balance was to take some people off and to add some new people on. Overwhelmingly, the people removed were 19th century American white (male) bishops. The people added were women from across time and space. This is how numbers and math work—you can either add more and more people to come up to your target figure (and the addition of commemorations itself was an issue), or you can remove some from an over-represented group which means you will not to add as many from your under-represented groups.

The reaction from convention on seeing LFF 2018 was to approach it from the first direction and to freak out about people not seen. The issue is not that those people were not properly saintly; the issue was one of representation and balance. Otherwise, we send the message that the best path to sanctity is to be a white American bishop.

Now. All of that having been said, here is the resolution that General Convention passed:

A065 Authorize Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, that the 79th General Convention authorize the continued use of Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2006; and be it further

Resolved, commend the continued availability of Great Cloud of Witnesses 2015 for the 2018-2021 triennium; and be it further

Resolved, that the new commemorations in Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2018 proposed by the SCLM be authorized for trial use and be included in the calendar for the 2018-2021 triennium, under Article X(b); and be it further

Resolved that the SCLM provide the 80th General Convention with a clear and unambiguous plan for a singular calendar of Lesser Feasts and Fasts.

The first resolve retains Lesser Feasts & Fast 2006 as the official Calendar of the Church.

The second resolve “retains” Great Cloud of Witnesses by extending its non-canonical status (?) as available. I’m not sure what this does. To me it signals that they still want to keep the Great Cloud/Holy Women, Holy Men material in the mix but—as we have been over a number of times—there are issues with this material with regard to which criteria the entries match and whether all entries meet all of the criteria.

The third resolve essentially misses the point of LFF 2018—i.e., the principle of re-balancing—and smooshes [technical term] the new entries into…what…LFF 2006?…thereby watering down the intent of re-balancing.

The fourth resolve is kind of a middle finger to the SCLM and folks who have been doing Calendar work over the past several years. Here’s the thing. Constructing a calendar that will be accepted by all Episcopalians is an inherent impossibility. Some of us believe in saints in the objective sense: that there are baptized Christian people who are physically dead who are participating in a closeness with God now that other physically dead people are not currently enjoying. Other Episcopalians fundamentally reject this notion and the theology that flows from it. A person who regards a sanctoral calendar as a roster of those actively praying for us now is going to have a different set of criteria and a different set of understandings about how that roster is made than someone who is looking for a list of inspirational figures who may or may not have been Episcopalian. In Great Cloud of Witnesses and in LFF 2018, we tried to put together a compromise list that would balance out competing Episcopal understandings of sanctity yet still have a list that people on both ends of the spectrum could live with.

Let me be blunt. There are people in Great Cloud of Witnesses that I do not regard as saints. Which is why Great Cloud was offered as a list from which local communities could identify those people they considered to be saints. That way we could have a list of inspirational people and yet not call them saints—because not all of them met that standard.

LFF 2018 was another attempt at a singular calendar that would address the concerns raised by the 2003 demand for attention to balance and representation. But Convention decided that wasn’t ok either.

At one point in 2013 or 2014, I listed out six different competing demands that a given calendar proposal would have to meet in order to satisfy all interested parties. Not all six can be met—something has to give. One of the major problems was the sheer volume of material in Holy Women, Holy Men/Great Cloud of Witnesses. Despite the fact that everyone in it is optional, there was tremendous push-back at GC 2012 that there were far too many names. Thus for a calendar to be accepted it must be smaller that HWHM/GCW. General Convention will not pass a lazy process of addition that just keeps adding on more and more names. Therefore if there is a “a clear and unambiguous plan for a singular calendar” there have to be winners and losers. We can’t do another compromise document. What the SCLM will have to propose is an actual sanctoral theology, and then follow that theology up with criteria and commemorations that meet those criteria.

They’ll be in my prayers…

Liturgical Look Hiatus

I really don’t want to do this, but for the sake of my sanity, I’m taking a break from the Liturgical Look Forward series.

Two main factors are driving this. The bigger reason is life changes. As some of you know, I recently changed jobs. After a decade in the corporate IT world, I am going to be teaching Computer Science and Math to high-schoolers as my day job. (I’ll still be teaching Church History & Scripture to Master’s students in the evenings.) As the new semester approaches at rocket speed, I’m trying to wrap my head around five new class that I’ll be teaching in the Fall while tying up some loose ends like—finishing Psalming Christ and a big web site project that you’ll hear more about once it’s implemented.  As much fun as “The Liturgical Look Forward” is, I can’t commit the time to it until some of these other things get fully finished and I get my bearings in the new job.

The other factor is that I’m still not completely pleased with the format or the reception of LLF. I think I’m still missing some key elements, but I’m not entirely sure what they are. I believe the concept is sound, but it hasn’t connected with people in the way that it could or should. So, I need to do some thinking around that as well. In my spare time…