The Liturgical Addendum

My sincere apologies to the General Convention translation crew… The appendix to the Standing Commission on Liturgy & Music (SCLM) resolutions has now been made public. It can be found here (in a 264 page pdf…). The first section contains the materials on same-sex blessings. A second part contains the material generated by my Calendar Subcommittee. Of that part there are three major sections. The third contains resources for Honoring God in Creation.

The first section of the Calendar material is the revised collects. These go from page 152 to page 171. Generally, what you’ll find here is a move away from the “biographical collect.” Introduced in the 1980 revision of Lesser Feasts & Fasts, the biographical collect tends to functionally serve as a mini-homily in prayer form. It tends not to formally be a collect as a collect is one sentence long; these tend to be two sentences. Instead of stressing elements of biography or profession, the new collects try to foreground virtues and charisms. That is, the new revisions attempt a deeper connection with Baptism and the Baptismal Covenant.  Baptism doesn’t give a person a profession. That is, one isn’t baptized as a lawyer or a musician or a teacher. Rather, Baptism opens us to the gifts of the Holy Spirit and the virtues of Christ. As a result, most of the revisions attempt to reflect this theological understanding grounded in Baptism, and focus on charisms and virtues rather than accidents of profession and biography.

The second section contains the prefatory material for “A Great Cloud of Witness” (GCW) which introduces a new paradigm for understanding the materials formerly submitted as Holy Women, Holy Men.  This material goes from page 172 to page 217. I’ll expand on this later, but there are two central shifts here. The first central shift is from the Calendar as martyrology to the Calendar as necrology. That is, the SCLM is not saying that the people listed in GCW are saints. Rather, these are people whom we recognize as part of our broader family of faith who have helped the Episcopal Church understand who it is and how it proclaims the Gospel in this time and place. Saints are not declared by a “central committee” but by local communities who may choose all, some, or none of the folks listed in GCW as they discern holiness and sanctity within the bounds of a prayer-book faith. The second central shift is from propers to commons. Instead of trying to assign appropriate propers—Scripture readings in particular—to every single person in the book, the Commons of Saints have been greatly expanded and the individual entries suggest which Commons would be appropriate sources from which to select biblical readings if a given individual is deemed to be a saint by the local worshipping community.

The third section is a companion to GCW. Entitled “Weekday Eucharistic Propers: 2015”, its presence underscores the fact that all of the contents of GCW are entirely optional. Thus, it presents three among many licit options for celebrating weekday Eucharists by 1) collecting the options for following the Temporal Cycle together into a coherent structure, 2) giving greater visibilty to the sadly neglected Various Occasions, and 3) giving options for eucharistically celebrating saints as determined by the local community. This material goes from pages 218 to page 228.

I will be saying more about these materials as time allows and as you ask questions for clarification!

4 thoughts on “The Liturgical Addendum

  1. Beth M

    Thank you for this. It hits me for the first time, looking at all the lessons and tags, that this model is going to be far more work for those of us who have daily Masses. But I am more than willing to do it, rather than stay in the corner we’ve backed ourselves into with HWHM.

  2. Dan Martins

    I’m sorry it has come to this. To exchange a martyrology for a necrology is an impoverishment of our common life–though it is entirely consistent with what the RCL has done to the readings for All Saints. But I acknowledge that it’s the best TEC can produce at this season in our history. We need to be better schooled in our own identity as a church. FWIW, I’m on the GC committee that will be considering this project.

  3. Shawn Strout

    Outside of the pdf provided in this blog entry, is there a printed version of Weekday Eucharistic Propers 2015? I’ve checked both on Amazon and Cokesbury and cannot find one. If there is a printed version, could someone point me to it? Thanks!

  4. Derek Olsen Post author

    I asked Nancy of Church Publishing this just last month. They’re just finishing up Great Cloud of Witnesses, and Weekday Eucharistic Propers is next. To the best of my knowledge it has not yet been started or if it is, it is just in the early stages of preparation.

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