Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Prayer Book

Contemporary English Services
based on those in
the Book of Common Prayer and
the Ordinal,
in their English 1662 ,
American 1928, and
Canadian 1662

The aim of this prayer book is to make available in contemporary language the doctrine, devotion and structure of classic Anglican Common Prayer, as these are provided in the historic editions of The Book of Common Prayer. It is designed for use primarily with the
English Standard Version of the Bible, but the Revised Standard Version and other conservative translations will work also.
It is intended in the first place for the congregations in the networks of The Anglican Mission of the Americas; but; it is expected that it will also be used within other parts of contemporary Anglicanism, especially by churches in the Common Cause Partnership, and English-speaking congregations abroad.
The aim is not to replace the standard, traditional editions of The Book of Common Prayer authorized in England, U.S.A. and Canada, but to build a bridge towards them by presenting their basic theology, spirituality and reformed catholic ethos in a form of language that a majority feel is now the only real option—contemporary English.
It may be recalled that most of the forms of service designed for use since the late 1960s in western Anglicanism have sought to set aside the pattern and doctrine within the historic Book of Common Prayer, and replace them with a shape and theology that is a mixture of ancient shape and modern theology. Even where some of the historic content has been preserved, as in Rite One services of the 1979 Prayer Book of The Episcopal Church, it is made to fit into the “shape” of the modern Rite Two, and further, there is not sufficient traditional material within the 1979 Book to be consistently traditional (e.g., the Psalter uses inclusive language and there is no traditional Baptismal Service). Therefore, there is a real need in contemporary Episcopalianism and Anglicanism for the availability of classic Common Prayer in a way that is acceptable and usable by those who currently use Rite Two, or the Canadian 1985 Book, or the like. There is an open space developing for the experimental (and then continuing) use of traditional services in contemporary English, where the doctrine and devotion of the historic Anglican Way are present, known and received.


The Christian Year
Morning and Evening Prayer
The Litany
The Athanasian Creed
Holy Communion
The Collects and Eucharistic
The Catechism
Visitation of the Sick
Burial of the Dead
Interment or Scattering of
Family Prayer
Daily Lectionary
The Ordinal
The Making of Deacons
The Ordination of Priests
The Consecration of a Bishop
The Articles of Religion

An Anglican Prayer Book is published for The Anglican Mission in the Americas by The Preservation Press of the Prayer
Book Society on February 1, 2008. ISBN: 978-1-879793-13-2 and 1-879793-13-X. It has 240 pages and is in hardback.
Individual copies are $15.00 including S & H; multiple copies for congregations are $10.00 each, including S & H. Available from: The Prayer Book Society of the U.S.A., P.O. Box 35220, Philadelphia, PA. 19128-0220. 1-800-PBS-1928. Checks to “The Prayer Book Society.”
Very soon after February 1, 2008, individual copies only will be available at www.anglicanmarketplace.com for purchase with a credit card in a secure system.


Shane said...

I am in AMiA and have been using the trial "greenbook" for an Evening Prayer service. I am in the process of starting a new church in Phoenix: St. George's Anglican Community. I am excited to see the finalized version at the AMiA conference in Dallas in a couple of weeks. Hopefully, this will be the Prayerbook I'll be using for St George's.
I also know other AMiA churches using the 1662 BCP in "contemporary" English. I am definetely one who wants to worship using the traditional BCP but in the common language of the people.
Shane Copeland

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Excellent to know that it is indeed in use--I too hope that it becomes a frequently used Prayer Book in AMiA and in the CCP elements that do not already use the 1662 or 1928 BCPs.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

A book such as this would provide a welcome bridge between those CCP bodies that currently use the largely unacceptable 1979 (most ECUSA/TEC diocese, AMiA, CANA) and those that use the historic texts (APA and REC).


Shane said...

Yes, it is my hope also that a book such as this could be a bridge for the CC Partners. I think that there needs to be room for those whoe want the traditional BCP in traditional language and for those who want the traditional BCP in contemporary language.

As one who was never an Episcopalian, I have no attachment to the 1979 prayerbook. As I have continued to study in Anglican journey, I have made the decision that I want to distance myself from that book as much as possible.

I also believe that AMiA is growing with a number of people like myself who were also never a part of TEC and so there is great opportunity to build a bridge.

Unknown said...

However,for real traditionalists this book will be as much a wall as the book of '79. Having never been an Anglican, Shane can not recognize its lack of Anglican authenticity. One must remember this book was made and intended to be used by those who for a generation used 1979 without complaint. They were never theologically astute enough to recognize where the previous book was taking them until they were already there.
I would say that this book is an admission that the folk promulgating it are not ready for either Biblical or prayer book orthodoxy. It evades too many issues which a return to an authentic and undoubtedly orthodox prayer book would put in the pew and on the altar. And for that reason alone is more than unfortunate.

Shane said...

So are you trying to state that "biblical and prayerbook orthodoxy" is more equated to language than it is to the liturgy and theology of the book? If the only difference between this new prayerbook and 1662 & 1928 is the use of "you" rather than "thou" and other updated terms, then your contention falls flat.
The arguments that I have heard over and over against the 1979 book relate mostly to its abandonment of the theology of the real BCP (which I agree with). After that is the use of contemporary English.
If traditional vs. contemporary language is your real beef, then so be it. I'll agree to disagree with you.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

That is what Lee is saying, and he is wrong. The Articles of Religion state that Common Prayer should be in a language understood by the people. Lee thinks that a mere update of the 1928 or 1662 services, removing "thee" and "thou" and "betwixt" and the like is the equivalent of heresy. Please see then my heretical update of the 1928 BCP Eucharist of the archives, which I submitted to our liturgical committee. Know as well that the REC has a modern language 1662 already approved for those congregations who desire it and do not come from a traditional BCP background. Lee also equates wearing a surplice and stole with being "confused" and "un-Anglican."

He has just called a priest in the Anglican Mission in America who wishes to worship in the theology of the 1662 BCP (but without thees and thous) someone who has "never been an Anglican."

The AMiA book is indeed intended for use by those who were raised on the 1979 book, but now that they are apart from ECUSA they are complaining about the 1979 book and they see others who are complaining as well with whom they wish to have greater unity, hence the adoption of something that, had it come in 1979 and not been accompanied by theological heterodoxy in ECUSA, would not have been a break in the Cranmerian tradition in terms of its theology.

Lee, again, I think your response is uncharitable.

Anonymous said...

I believe anyone with even the most minimum education can understand the language of the 1662 and 1928 BCP's.

There is something to be said for archaic English, namely, that it is a language set aside for the worship of God, and perfectly "understanded of the people," in the words of the Articles. It is a mode of speech which speaks to the eternal. Further, archaic English is an unchanging dialect, if you will, of a language constantly changing in meaning, and thus a perfect vernacular expression of worship.

Obviously, I do not believe a contemporary language prayer book is needed--I really do believe that the language of the historic BCP's is perfect accessible and perfectly understood by any English speaking person. It may be unfamiliar, but unfamiliarity does not equal inability to understand.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

And here we have a bit of a impasse for some people. Those who want a "modern language" variation of the 1662 or 1928 BCPs are really only calling for the alteration of about 2% of the language used in the 1662 or 1928. Replacing "thee" and "thou" with "you" and the update of a few other words: beseech, vouchsafe, betwixt, etc. One side will say "it is just a few words--learn what they mean and you'll be fine."

However, it must be granted that this argument can go the other way: If there are modern equivalents that can be readily employed and do not alter the theology or meaning of the prayers, is it really so large a chasm between the two positions? Do we need this to be a matter of division?

I am not calling for the use of the modern language where the traditional language is already employed. I think some may be missing my point.

Once again, here it is. In the CCP relationship there are those that have known nothing else than the heterodox 1979 BCP. Years ago an Anglo-Catholic priest took the 1979 BCP and "King Jamesed" the language, leaving the heterodox theology largely intact, but it sounded better. This was a change in the wrong direction--taking bad prayers and putting them in traditional language.

What Peter Toon+ and others are trying to is take the 1662 and 1928 services, preserve the theology, but modernize the language so that those accustomed to modern language services will be using orthodox theology in their prayers. Which was better, the attempt to put bad prayers in King James English, or take Cranmer's good prayers and put them in slightly more modern form? The latter, I think. And if someone disagrees here I think they are of the mark.

I am hoping this will be a bridge between the two camps in CCP, those that use the classical Prayer Books in traditional language and those that are currently using the 1979. I'd much rather go into the diocese of Forth Worth (or an AMiA parish) and hear Toon's update of the 1928 than the awful theology (in modern or King James) of the 1979.

Shane said...

Anglican Cleric,
Thanks for your response. By the way, I am currently a Deacon and will be ordained into the priesthood in the spring.

I agree with you that this should not be a matter of division. I have no problem with those who want to worship in more traditional language. So I am not here to convert anyone to use contemporary English.

However, I will put these two thoughts out there in response to "psalm ciii"
Who has decreed that archaic English is "a language set aside for the worship of God?" I would argue that it is because the church has simply not kept pace with the use of language in society. There is some merit to that, however, at what point does the situation become the church retaining Latin for worship when the people no longer speak it?

Secondly, is statement that "anyone with even the most minimum education can understand the language of the 1662 and 1928 BCP's." The problem is that our society is becoming more illiterate. The reading level of the average American is atrocious. Yes, education is certainly part of our job as the church, but I fear that this problem is only going to get worse in the future.

Lastly, I was at the AMiA conference last year when Dr. Toon talked about the difficulty of putting the BCP into contemporary language. He said that it was more difficult than a true translation, from say English to Spanish. So I understand the complexity of the issue.

Unknown said...


I am sorry that you think my opinion 'unchariable,' but the question of language is one that is even older than my 70 plus years. I use to think that 'ordinary Americans' read and understood English because we had spoken it all our lives and many of us knew nothing else. But I have since been knocked about enough that I am beginning, however painfully, to know better. You quote the Articles and rightly so because they are one of the standards which true Anglicans should know, value and keep albeit they are only authoritative in their Latin version and the standard English translation is very clever and almost sneaky when you realize what is not being said. Yes, the services are to be in a language 'understood of the people' but the language of the prayer book was not contemporary, not the 'language of the people' even when it was written. And that for a reason which seems to escape people who I rashly think would most incline to understand it. Sorry.
On the other hand I quite agree with your bit about putting the bad prayers into better langauge. It doesn't and won't improve their theology. But it will certainly leave less room for the composer to wiggle with when the question of that theology is posed. Why? Because the language is set and less likly to be wiggled out from under us. It was the same with Latin and with Old Church Slavonic which was really old Bulgarian or so I am told. And we want our theology fixed so that it can't be twisted away from us as it was in the Episcopal Church in the sixties and seventies. I got my first taste of it as a college student in the fifties in a discussion with a future PB over the relevance of the Athanasian Creed which he completely dismissed. That was my first hint as to what was to come in the Episcopal Church.
And since you raise the "surplice issue" again, what I was trying to say and probably did so badly is that as every English prayer book since 1559 has required the vesture that the English Church used before the issuance of the first prayer book of 1549, those who did otherwise were being disobedient and doing so from a theological motive which in time was to lead to the English Civil War, the abolition of prayer book worship and the murder of priests and bishops who attempted to maintain the standards as set forth in the prayer book and in the canons. It was done by people who were deliberately attempting to replace the theology of the English service with that of continental protestantism. I simply expect people who take an oath to achieve ordination as deacon, priest or bishop to be willing to keep their word to both God and the Church. Now I really do realize that we have a very, very long tradition of folks who believe this sort of dishonesty is perfectly ok, but when I was a cadet it was drilled into us that a cadet "does not lie, cheat nor steal or tolerate those who do." An archaic sense of honour, I realise, but one with which I was raised. The one Episcopal Church I was forced to attend (because there was no other) where the surplice was worn was one in which the priest pushed on me the radical God is dead and the scriptures a bunch of lies theology. He was very rough and there have been those who have been more suave, but I have really yet to find one who believes what the prayer book says or is willing to keep what he promised. I would have been happy to have had a better experience.
And, yes, our society is becoming more illiterate because we tolerate educators who do not understand what education is about and are set upon dumbing us all down. However we should not tolerate that in the Church. Our job is to teach and to teach truth. We can only do it by being true, really completely TRUE! But there will always be some among us who will seek the easy way. But we will gain no one's respect by so doing - not even our own.
Shane, before you allow yourself to be priested please pick up a copy of the real 1662 BCP and read every single word. Highlight the rubrics and consider their meaning and just why Dr Toon would not consider including them in his "translation." Then read and reread the prefaces and seriously think and re-think what they intend you to understand. And how they intend you to believe and live. then go where you think God is calling you, but I will be very disappointed if I ever read as I did this week of another AMiA priest who led a service from behind a drum set.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...


Please clarify where you think the rubrics as presented by Toon and those in the 1662 and 1928 BCPs differ substantially.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Also, as an aside, while I know that AMiA has failings (as do all of the Anglican jurisdictions), it has explicitly expressed a desire to conform itself to the Reformed Catholicism of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer. I am willing to extend charity and support towards those bodies that are endeavoring to make these moves. I am happy that new clergy like Shane are unhappy with the status quo of cut and paste liturgies from the 1979 book and want to embrace the theology of the 1662.

Again, I am happy to enter a church that has the name "Anglican" in its title and experience 1) orthodox worship according to the classical Prayer Book (if it is in the classical language, all the better, but better a modern language version of the 1662 or 1928 than the 1979 in either King James or modern prose), and not a Frankenstein liturgy of either an evangelical or crypto-Roman nature, 2) hear an orthodox sermon preaching Biblical doctrine, and 3) a priest dressed like a priest, either in surplice and stole or alb and chasuble.

Shane said...

I have been using the Church of England's 1662 BCP. For the last year I have been studying and using it along with Dr. Toon's "contemporay English" greenbook.

I have also been studying the rubrics and liturgy of the 1662 in comparison with the American 1928, 1789 (which I picked up last summer for $5 at an antique shop), and the the 1979 as well. I will even add that my studies have led me to look at the 1549 & 1552. Out of this, I am convinced that the 1662 is the BCP that I will continue to use as my basic prayerbook.

And yes, I have been studying the "vestments" issue also. Including reading proceedings from the late 1800's regarding charges against the Bishop of London.

Lastly, I do not equate using traditional language with either "dumbing down" or "teaching truth." In my opinion, the strongest argument for using contemporary language is the fact that the New Testament was written in Koine (common) Greek, not in the traditional languages of the day: either classical Greek or Latin. If God's Word was able to be rendered in common language, then certaintly the BCP can be.

I respect anyone's godly convictions that have been thoughtfully considered and have biblical basis. As I said on an earlier post, I am not trying to convert anyone to a less traditional worship style. I'm just trying to articulate the convictions that I believe that God has led me to. So while I won't convince you that contemporary language and "drums" can be a part of Anglican worship, I will be incoporating both.

All of this is to say that I have not entered into Anglicanism lightly. I am taking calling to pastor an Anglican church with prayerful study and humility to lead God's people. I hope you can respect that there are individuals who are given the same kind attention to the things of God as your surely have, and yet, come away with different connclusions.

God's grace and peace,
Shane Copeland

Anonymous said...

To say that archaic language is "set aside" for God is simply to say that precisely because it is not the language of common usage it rather easily commends itself as a special "language of prayer."

That's not to say that traditional language is "inspired" in a way modern language is not. It's simply to say that traditional language does "shock" the ear of the hearer into a sense of the church as a place of prayer and of the Liturgy as the meeting place of heaven and earth.

It's important to remember that even in Cranmer's day, the language of the BCP was not simply the language of commerce and colloquy. Even then it was a somewhat elevated and liturgical language that was meant to aid the Christian in worshipping the Lord "in the beauty of holiness."

Modern language liturgies that retain the rich doctrine of our tradition are to be commended for their missional usefulness, but we must also remember that "understanding" is not the only goal of drawing people in to the worship of our God who is "an all consuming fire."

With much Christian love,

Fr Ronald Drummond

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Fr. Drummond,

Very good comments. I too believe that "modern language" services have missional usefulness (and when developed should deviate only slightly from the original), but that the precise and inspiring prose of ++Cranmer should be the ideal.


Anonymous said...

I'm with Lee on this question. When one starts making "small" adjustments in language, revisionist theology can creep in easily. I have examined Dr Toon's "Worshipping the Lord in the Anglican Way," his rewriting of the Prayer Book Communion Office. I makes me cringe. It reminds me of Bach's Well-tempered Clavichord being played on a marimba, or Beethoven's Third Symphony performed on an accordion. I am sure that the founders of the Prayer Book Society are restless in their graves.
Laurence K. Wells

Unknown said...

Since I do not have a copy of the last revision and must rely upon what was given out at last year's AMiA conference,
The first rubric in question is:"The Chancels shall remain as they have done in times past." When issued in the first year of Elizabeth I's reign the intent was that the altar and the area around it should continue to look as it had been under Henry Viii and Mary. That is, it should continue to look as if it were as it was intended to be, a Catholic Church.
The second: "And here it is to be noted that the ornaments of the Church and of the Ministers thereof at all times of their ministrations, shall be retained and be in use in this Church of England, by the authority of Parliament, in the second year of the reign of King Edward the Sixth." That is they should be those used in the Church of England as it was before the issuance of the first Book of Common Prayer which would be those proper to the Sarum Use which from 1541 was the only legal use in all of England, the others having been suppressed and abolished by Convocations and Parliament in that year. The idea, explicitly stated in the prefaces of the BCP is that there should be One Use throughout the Church of England and the same set of rules would be obeyed everywhere. We know to whom we owe the destruction of that ideal and the lack of charity which they had for those who tried to retain it.
While such a lack is certainly not to be found in this blog, it yet surprises me that one who knows and so clearly loves the Anglican tradition as set for in its classical prayer books fails to see the danger in the modernist chipping away at the Church's reliance upon both tradition and antiquity to maintain the faith which the apostles delivered to the saints.
I would like to thank the Rev'd Fathers Wells and Drummond in joining me in this defense of the prayer books language.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

This rubric was superceded by that of the 1928 Church of England book.

Also, given that most of the heresy I saw in ECUSA was set out by clergy in albs and chasubles, your argument holds little weight in linking orthodox belief with the following of this rubric.

Unknown said...

Yes, the 1928 Book attempted to regularize what was already happening, but, and strangely, the very same folk whose usage would have been made official were those who finally kept it from being approved. But who knows what evil lurks in human hearts?
And I must, of course, agree with you that those who worked the hardest and the most effectively in destroying orthodoxy in ECUSA wore the canonical vestments. They knew that they must not give any too readable clue to their actual intentions before they achieved the power to destroy. That does not make the use of the historic vestments of the Western Church evil or wrong because they were used by evil and heretical persons - nor does it excuse those who violate the traditions of the Church after having publicly vowed to keep her "doctrine, discipline and worship. . ."
I understand and sympathize with where you are and why, but is not one of the unresolved problems of orthodoxy in Anglicanism that of doing the right thing for the right reason when so many seem to be running after the latest fad? It is so easy to bend the rules "just a little bit" to be one of the fellows. And how are we to know when they have bent just a little too much so that the branch has no choice but to snap and break? That is a question to which I have no answer, but I am glad that your blog - with great charity - is asking the question.

Anonymous said...

Just an honest question regarding the Ornaments Rubric: How could the 1928 English Book "supercede" anything since it failed to pass in Parliament and therefore failed to become an authoritative formulary?

Fr. Ronald Drummond

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

It was passed by the Church of England in Convocation. The fact that the Parliament of that time, filled with those who were not members of the CoE nor understood her theology, did not pass this Book of Common Prayer, does not detract from its nature (in my opinion). The 1928 English book is the last English Prayer Book in the Cranmerian Laudian lineage.

As to the whole vestments issue, I once again will simply state that I think this is a secondary issue. When ever I have stepped into an ECUSA parish it usually "looks right," usually better than any ACC, APCK, ACA, etc., parish I've ever visited. There have been great rood screens, proper vestments, etc. And yet. . .the worship is heterodox.

Which would I rather have (and where would you rather have a Christian go)? To the place where the priests are in "proper vestments" praying awful prayers and preaching something other than the Gospel, or where the Gospel is preached and the 1662 and 1928 BCPs are used by priests in alb and stole, or surplice and stole, or alb, stole, and cope?

Anonymous said...


Your point is well taken. I like the 1928 English BCP very much, but the reality is that in England, the Parliament must pass any revision of the BCP for it to become authoritative and binding. It's not the way it should be, but it's the way it is. The book's nature is not dispute...it's authority is.

Regarding vestments: Your point is well taken here as well. However, I think it is helpful to look to the East for light on this matter. All of the quibbling about catholic vesture/heterodox teaching vs. protestant vesture/gospel teaching would simply mystify an Eastern Orthodox brother, for whom these things are not either/or but both/and.

When we have these discussions we inevitably debate what is "essential" or not. "Unity in essentials...etc" The beauty of the Orthodox is that they do not have this division of essential from non-essential. The faith, the Liturgy, the ceremonial, the vestments, the basic architecture all form one seamless garment which is "Orthodoxy."

Our current discussion is an inevitable result of our "western-ness." The question you posed at the end of your last comment would be answered by an Orthodox: "Why should there be a choice between the two?"

There's something very appealing about that.

With Christian love,

Fr Ronald Drummond+

Anonymous said...

But my own answer to your question would be: The latter, of course! (Just to be clear)

Anonymous said...

"But my own answer to your question would be: The latter, of course! (Just to be clear)"

oops, didn't identify myself...Fr Drummond once again

Unknown said...


I am a little late in responding to this last post of yours, but I was thinking how closely to the actions of some of those returning from Zurich and Geneva your opinion was. They saw the Roman errors and wanted to distance themselves from them and attempted to do so by disobedience to the vows they took before their consecration to the episcopate.

The question remains much the same: can we adhere to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the undivided Church as was the intention of the Elizabethan restoration while rejecting the historic vestments of the Church simply because the heretics and schismatics in TEC use them? I don't think so. I have great sympathy for those who believe that the surplice alone is sufficient for the celebration of the eucharist because I understand the temptation of the false tradition which was foisted upon us by those who Bishop Cosin identified as "lately returning from Geneva," but the rubrics of the official English prayer books were always relentlessly "high church."

On the other hand, the Russian Orthodox bishop who celebrated the eucharist from memory with wine made from raisins and stolen bread chained in a space in which he had to use his own chest for an altar is also relentlessly high church. I believe that one of the defining marks of Anglicanism is that when it comes to the things of God we give of our best, making every altar in every space in which we worship as close to the ideal as we are able. We demand the highest but we can bend for those who are doing their best even if they don't understand what the fuss is about. I know you also understand that.

Rev. Dr. Hassert said...

Once again (and again and again); this is a rather pointless discussion, and after this post I will delete further entries on this matter.

Here is the position of this blogger, surplice and stole or cope and alb and chasuble are legitimate forms of Anglican vesture for the celebration of the Eucharist (and Roman priests have celebrated in surplice and stole as well). They were authorized in Convocation in the 1928 English BCP, and in that each national church has its own usage, the surplice and stole have been the standard for American Anglicanism. This has been the standard Anglican dress for the Eucharist for four hundred years.

"The question remains much the same: can we adhere to the doctrine, discipline and worship of the undivided Church as was the intention of the Elizabethan restoration while rejecting the historic vestments of the Church simply because the heretics and schismatics in TEC use them? I don't think so."

Well, of course I disagree. Your retort that my argument is that ECUSA folk wear chasubles, so we shouldn't wear them missed my point entirely. If that were my argument, it would have been akin to the Puritan argument, but my position is Hooker's. I have nothing against Anglicans wearing the historic vestments, and support such a move, but I am not going to declare those who do not "un-Anglican" or "heretics" or anything of the sort.

You implied that praying the 1928 in a surplice and stole leads to people believing un-Christian or heterodox things. My counterpoint was that ECUSA folk dress in all the right garments, and yet what they pray and preach is largely heterodox. So, wearing the right vestments does not make one Christian or un-Christian. Dressing "right" didn't preserve orthodoxy.

The vestments worn by Christian priests have differed over the centuries; the cope and the chasuble are derived from the same garment, and the surplice is a monastic variation on the alb.

Again, this argument is pointless, and as this blog is a benevolent dictatorship, I'll delete further posts on this topic (as well as posts that call those who use modern language or wear a surplice "un-Anglican," "confused" or heterodox.