Liturgy News from the Blue Book

The Blue Book (to be sporting a red cover this year) was released today. For those not invested in the gobbelty-gook of Episcopal Church inner workings, this is the “Big Book ‘o Resolutions To Be Voted on at General Convention That Come Through Official Channels”

Needless to say, I took a quick stroll through the Liturgy & Music section

Two major items struck my attention, one on daily prayer, the other on the proposed revision of Lesser Feasts and Fasts.

The first item I post here in full given its importance to many of the readers here:

April 2007, Oviedo, FL; January 9-11, 2008, Berkeley, CA; May 12- 15, 2008, Seattle, WA
SCLM members: Ernesto Medina, Devon Anderson, Clay Morris
Consultants: Mark Bozutti-Jones, Rebecca Clark, Paul Joo, Lizette Larson-Miller, Julia McCray-Goldsmith,
Elizabeth Muñoz, Cristina Smith, Carol Wade, Julia Wakelee-Lynch, Louis Weil.

The SCLM was directed by the 75th General Convention in Resolution A069 to develop liturgical material for inclusion in the Enriching Our Worship series. The Commission was also directed to develop these materials
innovatively drawing on and reflecting our church’s liturgical, cultural, racial, generational, gender and ethnic
diversity. Recognizing that our current daily offices are based on a monastic model of prayer, the SCLM decided
to focus its work on the daily offices in order to develop cathedral-style ways of prayer.
The nine liturgists who gathered at the first meeting in Florida in April 2007 prayed, listened, sang and discerned
together over a period of five days. Out of this came the basic shape of the project heading forward from that
point, as well as a clear sense that the project would require more time than initially anticipated. It was clear the
scope of the project would be much larger than we had first thought.
The basic outline reclaims the practice of praying the hours. Daily Prayer allows for prayer at eight specific times
of the day:

  • Daylight
  • Start of Day
  • Mid Morning
  • Noon
  • Mid Afternoon
  • Evening
  • End of Day
  • Late Night

In addition to prayers being written for these specific times of the day, sets of prayers are being written for the
liturgical seasons of the church year. They are identified as follows:

  • Advent
  • Christmas
  • Epiphany
  • Lent
  • Eastertide
  • Ordinary Time (Two tracks are being developed for Ordinary Time: “Rest” and “Grow”)

The Rev. Julia Wakelee-Lynch was asked to serve as first round editor/consultant for the project, and a second
meeting with three additional consultants was held at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley, CA,
in January 2008. At that gathering, a rough draft for the season of Lent was developed, which was then tested out
in a wide variety of settings in parishes, small groups and by individuals. The response was very positive.
In May 2008, six consultants gathered in Seattle, WA, to assess feedback from the initial draft and begin work on
a broader draft which would provide sets of prayers for each season of the church year, adaptable for corporate,
small group and personal use. This draft is still in progress, as well as a scholarly introduction, which will provide
a broader context for the work, and an end section with notes and appendix of prayer resources.
Our plan is as follows:

  1. Complete the whole set of prayers in 2009 and send to a liturgical proof editor;
  2. Present to the first full meeting of the SCLM in the new triennium;
  3. When the collection is acceptable, send the prayers out for informal trial use in the remainder of the triennium; and
  4. Report in full to the 77th General Convention.

Resolved, the House of _____ concurring, That the 76th General Convention direct the Standing Commission on
Liturgy and Music to complete the work on Daily Prayer and report back to the 77th General Convention; and be
it further
Resolved, That the 76th General Convention direct the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance
to consider a budget allocation of $15,000 for implementation of this Resolution.

Hmmm. This could be interesting. I think I’m going to “receive” this for “reflection” for a bit…

As far as Lesser Feasts and Fasts goes, it seems that we’re going for more of a Roman-Kalendar-Just-Before-V-II feel where every single day has got somebody orther—or several somebodies!

I confess to still being really unclear on what inclusion in LFF means due to a fundamental fuzziness (deliberate I believe) around the Episcopal Church’s understand of the place, nature, and theology of sanctity. If, as Lutherans believe,” the memory of saints may be set before us, that we may follow their faith and good works, according to our calling” (CA 21.1) then let’s pile ’em on because we can use as many good examples as we can get.

If, however, as catholic theology teaches the saints are the Church Triumphant who, through grace, stand in the presence of God almighty now and intercede on behalf of us sinners then a special kind of discernment is called for.

Or to put it in a way more familiar to our medieval ancestors in the faith, are these individuals who have so imitated Christ that God uses them as vessels of eschatological power to extend divine grace and holiness into our daily world?

In any case…

I’m of two minds on the current state of the kalendar—on one hand I’m thrilled to see that John Cassian made it in. I’m taken aback, however, at the rubrical difficulties caused by the placement of his feast: Feb 29. What—he gets sanctoral honors once every four years? What’s that about!

St George is back (March 23)!

Again, (see above) I’m unclear on the observance of March 24th: Genocide Remembrance. I think we who have survived the 20th century have to be more aware of the sheer numbers of people who died in the previous century through genocide starting with the oft-forgotten Armenian genocide and on to on-going genocides in Africa. But is this the right way to do it? I’m quite torn on this one…

(I’ve also been concerned for a while about our martyr to non-martyr ratio. I feel that they need to be fairly on par . If we’re not remembering that death is sometimes a consequence of true faith, then we’re missing part of the scandal and the danger incumbent on all who embrace the cross. And our martyr ratio is falling fast…)

John Calvin (May 28th).

John XXIII (June 4) ?

Bach, Handel, and Purcell (July 28th). Yay!!

Catherine Winkworth to be observed (or at least commemorated) alongside J. M. Neale (Aug 7). Yay!

Cuthbert and Aidan have been combined—they no longer “warrant” separate days…

Gruntvig & Muhlenburg? Great Lutherans but… Asbury & Whitefield??

Byrd, Merbecke, and Tallis–and St Cecilia’s been restored!!

Some new commons were added including an additional set for the BVM:

The Blessed Virgin Mary

Collect: Almighty God, by thy saving grace thou didst call the blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of thine only Son: inspire us by the same grace to follow her example of courage and faithful witness to our Savior Jesus Christ; who with thee and the Holy Spirit livest and reignest, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Collect: Almighty God, of your saving grace you called the blessed Virgin Mary to be the mother of your only Son: inspire us by the same grace to follow her example of courage and faithful witness to our Savior Jesus Christ; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Psalm 34:1-8
Isaiah 43:9-13, 19a
1 Corinthians 1:26-31
Luke 1:42-55

Preface: Because even as our sister Mary didst consent to become God-bearer for thy people, thou hast called us to bear thy word of hope, healing and resurrection to a world in need of thy mercy and grace.

Preface: Because even as our sister Mary consented to become God-bearer for your people, you call us to bear your word of hope, healing and resurrection to a world in need of your mercy and grace.

No new Marian observances, though…

So—there’s a lot here; you heard it here first…

10 thoughts on “Liturgy News from the Blue Book

  1. Michelle

    I am glad to see that George will be back on, especially given that he is the patron saint of my parish.

    Given how little we know of George’s actual life, for the last couple years the kids of my parish have started celebrating all saints on the Feast of St George. So each of the teens and pre-teens get up at the sermon time and give a short bio of their favorite saint. I have a feeling there is a tradition in the making…

    (George does get liturgical inclusion on his feast day.)

  2. John-Julian, OJN


    I went through all the LFF stuff (something like 250 pages and no longer called LFF) yesterday and I am utterly dismayed.

    1. I have completely lost track of who is “in” and and why…and I cannot even bring myself to think of what the NEXT additions will be. It’s a real mix, but I think sanctity is subtly being re-defined. I’m delighted to see the restoration of some traditional names, but dismayed by the massive additions.

    2. It seems that there is an inclination to raise up “local commemorations” over “universal commemorations” — I mean, there is no way our daily liturgy can carry all that weight, and we are simply going to have to go back to pickin’ and choosin’, and weeding out those who are irrelevant to us. I’m sad about that, because I’ve wanted to go “with the Church” and include everyone — even people I would not normally wish to honor. (and now CALVIN, yet???)

    3. And although OJN has been doing three Readings for LFF’s from the beginning (we selected appropriate “Third Readings”), they have now chosen different 3rd readings — and even changed a lot of Graduals. That means we have to go back and begin from scratch and re-write EVERYTHING in the Ordo. Yuck!

    4. I wish they had thought to include a monastic on the Committee, since we probably do more with LFF than the vast majority of parishes. I’d have loved to contest a good many additions and changes.

    5. And I am nervous about the day-long Offices thing because it smacks of generating un-based stuff. I may be wrong, but I am very suspicious.

    Well, enough ventilating. It is all too much for me to process right now, but it is dismaying…..

  3. Derek the Ænglican

    Michelle, Joan is back in. I only mentioned a couple of the new entries that caught me attention. I’m not familiar with that particular martyrology but apparently its an Irish version of the standard one:

    There are several Irish martyrologies, the best known of which are the Martyrology of Tallaght (MT) which is an Irish version of the Hieronymian Martyrology, Felire Oengusso (an old-Irish metrical version of MT), Feilire hui Gormain or Martyrology of Gorman (which may be described as a versified Usuardianum with additional Irish entries). There has been much discussion about the origin, dates and context of these Irish Martyrologies, but recently Professor Padraig O Riain of University College Cork, who has published several articles on the Irish martyrological tradition, has shown that the Martyrology of Tallaght and the Martyrology of Oengus may be dated to about 830. He has also shown that the Martyrology of Tallaght represents an Irish edition of a Northumbrian copy of the Hieronymian martyrology. These martyrologies were published by the Henry Bradshaw Society (qv), and are available in Q-1, as are Professor O Riain’s articles.

    (From the website of the Library of the University County Cork)

  4. Michelle

    Yes, I have looked at the Martyrology of Tallaght myself. I did quite a bit of work on Willibrord’s Calendar quite a while ago. I was going to produce a digital edition cross referenced to Martyrology of Tallaght, Martyrology of Oengus, Bede’s Martyrology, and Old English Martyrology (mid to late 8th century). I never quite finished it and my coding skills have been lost in all the new coding stuff that has come out. Shame all that work will probably never get used.

    Anyway, my point was that Tallaght actually has a lot more names than other martyrologies.

  5. Joe Rawls

    I have my own calendar, basically the “official” TEC calendar with add-ons–lots of Orthodox saints, the OT prophets, Merton, Anton Bruckner, etc etc. The current TEC number has several new people I’ve never heard of, and so they’ve been dropped, since they mean nothing to me. Looks like more of this will happen if the proposed revisions go through. I refuse to commemorate more than one person per day. Calvin? Really.

  6. Christopher

    Ummm. Can I just ask what in our present Book is not adaptable to local situation that we need more and more and more? This all looks a little light somehow, but I’ll think more on it. Why not traditional names for the hours? Why not remember that there is a reason why we have tended to emphasize the Anglican Morning and Evening Prayer as central and primary to the Office? This muddies all of five centuries of reforms.

    I think we’re going to have to live with a conflicting understanding of sanctity as we’ve never been of one mind on the matter, but we’re glopping up the calendar to the point no day will be without a commemoration. I admit at home we remember some Lutherans, Benedictines, and “queer” saints along with some of our creatives that get left off. Why not Dorothy Sayers if we can have John Calvin?

  7. Pingback: More on the Saints:HWHM « haligweorc

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