Dinner Table Verbatim

Setting: The family dinner table with reference to the girls’ school, a nondenominational Christian school populated largely populated by Roman Catholics and conservative Evangelicals with a sprinkling of mainliners and two hardcore Catholic Anglicans. H is now in 5th grade; G is in 8th (!).

H: Dad, do the Roman Catholics have Rite I and Rite II?

Me: Umm… Not really, what do you mean?

H: Well, when we did class prayer in 3rd grade we used Rite I, in 4th grade we used Rite II, and now in 5th grade we use Rite I again.

Me: Oh, and your 3rd and 5th grade teachers are Roman Catholic while your 4th was nondenominational, right?

H: Right. Before we started class I asked [teacher] if we were going to use Rite I or II and he didn’t seem to know what I meant.

Me: [Realizing that she was referring to the Lord’s Prayer] Ah—no. They don’t call things Rite I and II. We do that. They’d call Rite I “traditional language” and Rite II “contemporary language.”

H: Oh. Why are Rite I services usually the early services?

Me: Well, usually the people who go to the early service are older people. There’s this idea that Rite I is for the older people and they’re more comfortable with it since it’s closer to the sound of the ’28 prayer book that a lot of them grew up with. I think some people in the Church were hoping that Rite I would just die out as the people who grew up under ’28 did, but I’m not sure that’s what we’re seeing…

G: So—as the people Grandmommy’s age [Baby Boomers] become the old people does that mean that we can make the early service Rite II because that’s what they like, and we can have Rite I back for the main service?


For the record, the church the girls and I attend now uses a mix of Rite II and EOW (we’re currently slogging through “EOW 3 season”). However, when we go to M’s church the first service is Rite I and that tends to be their preference. This isn’t something that we have consciously directed them towards—it just seems to be what they like…

4 thoughts on “Dinner Table Verbatim

  1. Mark

    Same experience in our house. The 13 year old boy under our roof happily gets up early for Rite I at 8:30

  2. TW

    Kids 9 and 11 totally get Rite I and thirst for tradition. At a certain point I really think Episcopalians need to realize that the Christians of the future are not going to come to us for our “relevant” improvements but because they actually want to be in touch with the old & distinctive stuff from BCP, from Evensong canticles to Cranmerian prayers. If the Baby Boomers for whom your child wisely wishes to make early-am provision keep clutching church power long enough to remake the BCP in their own style, we are toast, and the case that the world needs us to continue will be at its all-time weakest. And where will our young people who want this tradition go then?

  3. Adam

    Where’s the next revision of the BCP headed? I fear not in the direction of those “future eight-o-clockers.” Your girls are an inspiration. :)

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