Enriching Our Worship Available in PDF

When I was appointed to the Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music (SCLM) and became chair of the Digital Publication committee, I discovered in the course of my research that we had never actually acted upon General Convention resolution 2009-A102. This is the resolution that re-authorized provisional use of the “Enriching Our Worship” series under the authorization of a diocesan bishop or equal ecclesiastical authority. The second Resolve resolves “That these liturgical texts be freely available in electronic format on the internet.”

I can now report that we have accomplished this with the partnership of Church Publishing.

Enriching Our Worship 1: Morning and Evening Prayer, the Great Litany, and the Holy Eucharist

Enriching Our Worship 2: Ministry with the Sick or Dying; Burial of a Child 

Enriching Our Worship 3: Burial Rites for Adults, together with a Rite for the Burial of a Child 

Enriching Our Worship 4: The Renewal of Ministry and the Welcoming of a New Rector or Other Pastor 

Enriching Our Worship 5:Liturgies and Prayers Related to Childbearing, Childbirth, and Loss 

There is no news as of yet on the accompanying “Enriching Our Music” service music that goes with it.

Now, as some readers know, I am not EOW’s biggest fan. Indeed, I’ve only read through some of these liturgies, and have only experienced a few of the Eucharistic rites one or two times many years ago. On the whole, I was not overwhelmed.

There are some assumptions that EOW reflects what “the next prayer book” will look like. They are just that—assumptions. Per a discussion at the last meeting of the SCLM, these rites have no official status. There are certainly those who want to see them as the next step, and as heading in a prayer book revision direction, but that is not the mind of the SCLM now, and I am not eager to see any work of prayer book revision anytime in the near future.

What this move does do is signal a move towards a more digitally-friendly publication process. It’s a first step in a better direction. These liturgies are still under copyright and they remain in a PDF format. We still have a ways to go in order to get the kind of commitment to digital mission and evangelism necessary in the coming years. But we are getting there…

5 Replies to “Enriching Our Worship Available in PDF”

  1. In the diocese where I live, selected parts of EOW are in widespread use… the confession, the Eucharistic Prayers, and the post-communion prayers.

  2. When did the switch to copyrighting the liturgies happen? The 1979 BCP and predecessors are not copyrighted. I would like to see that continue, as it makes it easier to evangelize share the prayers online.

  3. Our friends at RSCM America are claiming that the 1979 psalter is copyrighted.

    As best I can recollect, the trial and supplemental texts have been copyrighted for quite some time.

  4. This stuff is laid out in the Canons in Title II, sec. 6b.2 . When it comes to proposed revisions like EOW: “It shall be the duty of the Custodian of the Standard Book of Common Prayer:..To protect, by copyright, the authorized text of such revision, on behalf of the General Convention; which copyright shall be relinquished when such proposed revision or revisions shall have been adopted by the General Convention as an alteration of, or addition to, the Book of Common Prayer;”

    So—everything that is in the prayer book itself is in the Public Domain. That includes the translation of the Psalms found there.

    Now, the pointing and the musical settings found in works like the Anglican Chant Psalter or the Plainsong Psalter are an entirely different story. The pointing, as far as I can tell, is additional editorial work that likely independent copyright protection. Likewise, the chant cannot be, say, copied and used in a bulletin either. This may seem odd—how could 1000+ year old chant be protected by copyright? The explanation is that the chant isn’t under copyright, but the type-setting of it is the intellectual property of Church Publishing. Thus, you can use the same chant tune, but you’ll have to use your own software to transcribe the music or write it out longhand and scan it in. You can only imagine the complications the hymnal represents!

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