Be Afraid…Be Very Afraid

In thinking about liturgy and what we can do about it, Caelius earlier raised the frightening prospect of a Prayer Book revision in 2008. If GC’06 transpires as it seems to be unfolding, the church will be in chaos with departures, fights at the parish and diocesan levels, and an exodus of the more conservative folks currently within ECUSA. All in all–a prayer book revision at this time would be…less than prudent. The wheels are already in motion though. A book called “Enriching our Worship” is, I believe, essentially a volume of trial liturgies.

I thought I’d head over to ECUSA’a website to see what I could find on this. When you go to liturgy and music you are sent to another site which at least looks and feels like an official ECUSA site for all things worhip and liturgical: The Worship Well. Again, I know nothing about it but the little bit I’ve glanced at has me concerned. Why, you ask? Well…try the opening lines for resources for the season:

The end of summer and the beginning of fall–here in North America, anyway!–is an excellent time to incorporate eco-justice themes into your community’s worship. …

If we’re thinking about doing something about this prayer book revision we may well already be behind the power curve. Perhaps it’s time for a conspiratorial memo of our own… ;-)

14 thoughts on “Be Afraid…Be Very Afraid

  1. LutherPunk

    If the ECUSA shakes out the way that RW process did, then only a carefully selected handful will be test parishes, all the results from them will be glowing, and you’ll be standing in church in 2010 asking yourself the question, “Am I singing this song to the glorius and life-giving Holy Trinity, or to Hecate?”

    See the least part of my response over at *C’s for an idea…

  2. David B.

    After I used “Renewing Worship” for the first time in seminary, I became very suspicious of the future of any prayer book revision in ECUSA. Even before I seriously considered becoming Catholic, I remember thinking, “any future prayer book revision is going to be scary!” Generally, the trend in the Catholic Church is toward more conservative liturgical practices (e.g. the new English translation of the Roman missal), but the mainlines seem to be going the other way.

    I am wondering if any seminary, except perhaps Nashotah and Trinity, actually even use the ’79 book anymore. From what I understand, “Enriching Our Worship” and other more PC ones have replaced it. If “Enriching Our Worship” is any indication of the future, we should be very afraid!

  3. Derek the Ænglican

    At General we did use the ’79 BCP the majority of the time. MP and EP were always BCP–MP, Rite II; EP, Rite I. Daily Mass rotated between the BCP, EoW, and the LBW with the majority being the BCP.

  4. Anastasia

    seriously, people aren’t over the trauma of the last prayer book revision. you can’t do this to us. it’s unpastoral. I mean that in all seriousness.

  5. Derek the Ænglican

    I agree, Anastasia. Especially since I’m sure that it’ll do away with Rite I and the last vestiges of our connection to the 1662 prayer book will be swept away in a flood of enlightened eco-justice. Don’t get me wrong–I’m no advocate of clear-cutting the Amazon or anything but let’s let worship of God remain worship of God…

    And what were you driving at with that wait wait wait comment down below? I’m curious…

  6. *Christopher

    I second anastasia’s response; it’s too early. Do not touch the dial at this time. Let’s learn that lesson from the Reformation. Imagine five/six revisions in course of about 10 years: Sarum (or another usage of the Roman Rite), Sarum + (with some English), 1549, 1552, Restoration, 1559? O my G-d, what a nightmare!

    Last I attended, CDSP still uses mostly Rite II, with Rite I worked in some days and the occasional “Rite III” (Enriching Our Worship or other creations).

    I think raising this matter now is necessary. We should not let a revision slip in the midst of all of this fighting. Better to hold to 1979 for now.

    I was pointed to the Worship Well when we were planning a Good Friday service. Too much woowoo for me. The Sophia Network?

    It seems we’ve now mistaken using “An Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist” (pp. 400-405) for Principal Sunday Eucharist–which canonically, this is NOT allowed (and Caelius’ parish apparently doesn’t say the Creed–if this is their principal service, it’s required to say the Creed! Caelius, are you listening?)

    The joy of the deep structure over our historical rites until we end up with banal mush.

    Only if we worship G-d can we properly recognize the potential for icon that the rain forests are…lose that focus and we’re just one more materialistic social justice crusade.

  7. Caelius

    Oh, I’m listening… And I know well what you say is correct, believe me. I just want to know whether people are transgressing because they don’t know the rules, think the rules don’t apply to them, or think the rules should go into the outer darkness. And frankly holding the line on the 1979 BCP for the time being seems to be a fully reasonable proposal.

  8. Gracious Light

    Why is it a bad thing to incorporate eco-justice thmes into the liurgy… especially the prayers of the people?

    And let’s get a little perspective: the trial liturgies in the UMC turn 30 in two months, the 79 BCP is 26 and the LBW… sorry not too familiar with my new-temporary-full-communion brothers and sisters. But I do know this: we are beginning a second generation that knows nothing but these liturgical renewal liturgies. For example, I am repulsed every time i see a UM clergy in a church with a credance table placed in front of the altar kneel down beside the altar (a la 1964 rubrics) but use the 89 liturgy. It is incongruent. Worse yet, I nearly run if they use Word and Table IV (the former Methodist Church liturgy).

    Going back to the ‘good ol’ days’ just won’t do. The people who were shaped by prior liturgies are dying or are dead. Their propenents in younger generations are probably in the minority.

    Don’t you think its time to accept the gift that we have been given with all the post-Vatican II reforms and celebrate them for what they are?

    We can knee-jerk all we want and some saying of very brave “no’s” need to be uttered but to simply dismiss and hold the 1964 Methodist liturgy or 29 BCP as a work of pure inspiration need only look across the pond at our Anglican brothers and sisters that insist upon using the 1662 BCP on not only the canonically required occasions( Xmas Day, Easter Day, Feast Day of the Church, and Pentecost, I think) but on every possible occasion. They are full of octagenarians. Now, I am more than willing to fry up some crow if I’m wrong but Anglican churches that seem to be doing some things positive in terms of attracting people are using Common Worship at every service possible.

  9. Derek the Ænglican

    We should celebrate the *good* parts of them and I’m not denying that some are good. But the fundamental question is this: what’s the appropriate place of consciousness-raising in the worship of God? Who is the service about and who receives its focus? Us or God? Prayers are to God and for God and only secondarily to remind us how we should be praying on a regular/daily basis. Education is not a prayer’s primary function.

  10. *Christopher


    I do want to point out that Rite 1 is rooted in the 1637 Scottish usage rather than 1662, which means it regathers much of 1549 lost in the more 1552ish 1662 English usage. And it draws upon Eastern Christian sources in some bits. I have never experienced Rite 1, I’m sorry to say…

  11. Gracious Light

    Jim White, God rest his soul, would agree. I remember getting reemed out by him when I asked him one day on a bus about the formative component of prayer. i agree, prayer is not catechisis but what we pray does shape how we live the other 6 days of the week.

  12. *Christopher

    What I hate is when a prayer, say for ANWR (which I’ve raised in prayer numerous times) become rather a lecture by eco-justice activists or those who want to drill it for oil.

  13. Derek the Ænglican

    How many of these did we hear in the Cannon? And to send it right back at you–how well do eco-justice liturgies fly in bach-hills Georgia?

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