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Source: (consider it) Thread: BCP optional?
Circuit Rider

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I just heard from a friend, former Episcopal priest now Catholic under the Ordinariate, that in some dioceses (or churches?) use of the BCP is optional. Is this true?

I am absolutely amazed, because I thought that was the defining aspect of TEC. Every Episcopal church in which I have worshiped has used the BCP, but my experience has been limited to the diocese of my state.

In addition, he said the diocese has little authority beyond property ownership, which is equally surprising to me.

I'd love to see conversation on this.

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I felt my heart strangely warmed ... and realised I had spilt hot coffee all over myself.

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Utrecht Catholic
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I have never heard the news that the use of the 1979 US Prayer Book is optional in the TEC.
Far from it, wherever you worship,there is always the the use of the US BCP.
I suppose that this story comes from Poped priests, who like to tell you how bad it is within the Episcopal Church,I would call this rumours or just gossiping.
Furthermore, an Anglican/Episcopal priest is already a Catholic Priest,since the Anglican Communion is part of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church.
The Church of Canterbury is not perfect,neither is the Church of Rome, which has to solve a lot of problems in the years to come.
Canterbury has the courage to discuss the problems and difficulties, Rome likes to put them under the carpet.

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Robert Kennedy

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Sergius-Melli
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quote:
Originally posted by Circuit Rider:
I just heard from a friend, former Episcopal priest now Catholic under the Ordinariate, that in some dioceses (or churches?) use of the BCP is optional. Is this true?

I can't say with any authority on TEC, not knowing its constitution, but I imagine if there are other forms that are authorised, as other forms are in the UK Anglican Churches, then it is perfectly valid to use any form that is authorised...

The Bishop of a Diocese also holds the right to ok or disallow a different form from the authorised for pastoral/exceptional circumstances, and of course there is the situation of peculiars where almost anything can be done without such permission... whether the Churches that are linked to the comments in your o/p have gone down this root at sometime might also help explain any anomolies.

As for authorised versions in the CofE - my favourite hobby horse the Diocese of Sodor and Mann falls outside of the act of uniformity and is therefore not bound by the rules of that act or the subsequent ammendment ot the act it has been free to use whatever form it likes leading to situation where I was born into a parish which solely used BCP, and religiously grew up in a Parish which used the Roman Missal.

How this is helpful I'm not entirely sure, but a little info from this side of the pond...

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Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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Only last Sunday, I took the opportunity to try out the Croydon (Greater London) Ordinariate to see how they are getting on. Members are formerly of the neighbouring St. Michael's Anglican Church, including Fr. Donald, the former Vicar who was celebrant.

It was interesting to note that they had brought their liturgical usage with them, unaltered as though they were still at St. Michael's. This means the use of BCP combined with the English Missal; Eastward-facing; still part of the biretta-belt; maniple and crossed stole; both genuflections at each elevation; the genuflection at the 'Incarnatus' in the credo. They had even produced their own order of service booklet, which included the Mass settings of Merbeck and Martin Shaw. For whatever reason, incense was not used on this occasion.

During the Canon, 'Benedict our Pope'; 'Keith our Ordinary' were commemorated, leaving out the local Archbishop of Southwark.

I suspect a different Ordinariate congregation would be using a different order of service petty well identical to the Normative Rite.

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Joyeuses Pâques! Frohe Ostern! Buona Pasqua! ¡Felices Pascuas! Happy Easter!

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PataLeBon
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My liberal TEC church (in a conservative diocese) doesn't always use the BCP.

That being said, we always use an authorized Anglican rite (We've used CofE, New Zealand, and South India). We don't make them up out of whole cloth and we do get the Bishop's permission before doing so.

Thinking about it, we've used some experimental rites from TEC, but they (again) have been authorized by the Bishop.

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Swick
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The 1979 BCP is the default, normative book used throughout the Episcopal Church, but as others have noted, other liturgies that have been authorized by the diocesan bishop may be used.

I live in Massachusetts, and in every church I've attended, without expection, the Sunday service was mainly from the BCP, but sometimes with additions from other liturgies, or slight changes in the BCP text. A common change in in Eucharistic Prayer B, where we are called "rulers of creation." This is often changed to "stewards of creation."

There is more diversity in services during the week. Years ago a priest at my church used a service from the New Zealand Prayer Book" for the Noonday service. When she left we reverted to the BCP, and no one complained.

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Jon in the Nati
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quote:
I am absolutely amazed, because I thought that was the defining aspect of TEC.
Would that it were so.

Strictly speaking, the 79BCP is still the standard. But there are a whole bunch of supplemental liturgical materials, including but not limited to the insipid Enriching Our Worship series, which are approved by GC. Much of these are inclusive language texts, alternate versions of BCP material, or new compositions altogether. So far as I am concerned, most of it is very poorly done.

As Swick mentions, there are lots of priests who make changes to the BCP text on the fly, simply because they think they can. And most places, especially those of an Anglo-Catholic bent, supplement the BCP with texts from other sources (postcommunions from the English Missal or the modern Roman Missal are quite common).

Honestly, it is hard to say to what extent using the BCP as written is 'mandatory.' Certainly, it is about the only thing that staves off complete liturgical anarchy, and yet if you want to you can do pretty much anything (don't even get me started on Rite III) with impunity.

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Zach82
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One always hears of places that don't use the '79 BCP, but actually experiencing a non-BCP service is rare unless you go out of your way to hear it. All Saints, Brookline down the way has a "Celtic Eucharist" in the evening, but the main services are always BCP. St Paul's Cathedral, Boston, has a non BCP service called "The Crossing," but once again, it's not the main service. On the other side of town is All Saints, Ashmont, which uses the Anglican Service Book instead of the BCP, but I rather doubt that's what TEC haters are talking about.

Don't listen to Ordinariate priests. They HAVE to make things sound worse than they are to justify their departure in their minds.

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Jon in the Nati
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quote:
One always hears of places that don't use the '79 BCP, but actually experiencing a non-BCP service is rare unless you go out of your way to hear it.
You're correct about this, in that the number of places that use a completely different book is, I think, rather small. And a large portion of those are going to be pretty conservative Anglo-Catholic parishes anyway.

What I find is much more common are places where the BCP rite is used but the words are changed. Sometimes this is subtle ("for all" rather than "for many" in the words of institution is a very common one), and sometimes it is done more obviously. While I doubt that is what the Ordinariate leavers are talking about, I think this is a serious concern in that it undermines the BCP rite, the BCP itself, and ultimately undermines our Anglican identity.

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Prester John
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I have only seen the Table of Contents for the Anglican Service Book but I was under the impression that it was intended only as a supplement for the BCP and it would be impossible to use it as the basis of daily/weekly worship.
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Olaf
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As a frequent visitor to Episcopal places all over, I go to them specifically because I can pretty much expect a by-the-book Rite 1 or Rite 2 liturgy. Rarely are there any deviations, and those deviations 99% of the time come from other Anglican resources.

Even the Anglo-Catholics use it.

I'm afraid that the convert priest's days of yore, when every single church used the BCP 1928 verbatim were quite simply fantasy. There were umpteen different missal versions floating around, with who knows how many supplemental texts.

quote:
Originally posted by Prester John:
I have only seen the Table of Contents for the Anglican Service Book but I was under the impression that it was intended only as a supplement for the BCP and it would be impossible to use it as the basis of daily/weekly worship.

The Anglican Service Book is available at Google Books.

It is indeed possible to use it as you suggest.

quote:
Page 14, BCP 79:
In any of the Proper Liturgies for Special Days, and in other services contained within this Book celebrated in the context of a Rite One service, the contemporary idiom may be conformed to traditional language.

As you can see, the permission is about as general as they come. The Anglican Service Book simply saves people from having to endure a priest trying to make thee/thou/thy translations as s/he goes along. (By the way, I have yet to encounter its use. When I am at a TEC Rite 1 liturgy for a "Proper Liturgy" day, they seem to use the contemporary proper text, and use Rite 1 for the rest.)

When it comes to the Anglo-Catholic sections of the Anglican Service Book, I have little doubt that a similar provision in the BCP79 somehow covers those as well.

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CL
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quote:
Originally posted by Zach82:
One always hears of places that don't use the '79 BCP, but actually experiencing a non-BCP service is rare unless you go out of your way to hear it. All Saints, Brookline down the way has a "Celtic Eucharist" in the evening, but the main services are always BCP. St Paul's Cathedral, Boston, has a non BCP service called "The Crossing," but once again, it's not the main service. On the other side of town is All Saints, Ashmont, which uses the Anglican Service Book instead of the BCP, but I rather doubt that's what TEC haters are talking about.

Don't listen to Ordinariate priests. They HAVE to make things sound worse than they are to justify their departure in their minds.

Riiight, they have to justify it to themselves. [Roll Eyes]
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Anglican_Brat
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One potential problem with allowing alternative rites is that it allows people to avoid revising the BCP. Now of course, that avoids fun liturgical battles between traditionalists and innovators, but at the same time, over time, it dilutes the importance of having a common liturgy.

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Bran Stark
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quote:
(By the way, I have yet to encounter its use. When I am at a TEC Rite 1 liturgy for a "Proper Liturgy" day, they seem to use the contemporary proper text, and use Rite 1 for the rest.)

This has been my experience as well. And it makes me weep. But I guess it fits right in with the common practice using the modern text of the Nicene Creed and the General Confession in Rite I services... I really wish we could just have straight trad language, if we're gonna do Rite I.

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dj_ordinaire
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Zachary and CL - there are plenty of places where issues related to the Ordinariate can validly be discussed but this thread is not one of them, except in the narrow confines of discussing the OP. please try to keep it this way.

dj_ordinaire, Eccles host

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Albertus
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon in the Nati:
quote:
I am absolutely amazed, because I thought that was the defining aspect of TEC.
Would that it were so.


As Swick mentions, there are lots of priests who make changes to the BCP text on the fly, simply because they think they can. And most places, especially those of an Anglo-Catholic bent, supplement the BCP with texts from other sources (postcommunions from the English Missal or the modern Roman Missal are quite common).


As ever, Fr Forrest nailed this 60 years ago...

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Swick
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I for one am thrilled that using other texts reduces the pressure to revise the 1979 BCP. No liturgy is perfect, but I shudder at what might be produced with a total revision.

I pray the Daily Office, and for the past three years have been using "Holy Women Holy Men," the revision of "Lesser Feasts and Fasts" produced by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music. Leaving aside the question of why certain people have been included (today's commemoration is of Elizabeth Seton a convert *from* Anglicanism to Roman Catholicism), the collects are frequently awful. About half of them have already been revised, and while the revised collects are often better, more work needs to be done. The Commission seems to be allergic to calling Jesus "Lord", or even Savoir.

I feel much safer having authorized alternative liturgies and having parish priests tinker with a few words than having to use what might come out of a full scale BCP revision.

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Jon in the Nati
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Quite so, Albertus. And as Olaf mentions, there never was a golden age. My own liturgical preferences are straight-up, sky-high and smoky, but even when I crib from other sources, I never changed the text of the BCP.

Given that I have my own parish to attend to, I don't really get out much. But I can say that I cannot remember the last diocesan event (ordination, chrism mass, installation of pointy-hat, etc.) I attended that did not use some kind of alternate text or in some way futz with the BCP text.

And as Anglican_Brat said, a lot of this is just an excuse not to revise the BCP. Just as well, really; having a basically-orthodox text like the 79BCP to work from is much better than taking our chances with whatever a 2014 BCP might end up to be. But the ability to use all this other stuff really undermines the BCP tradition and the unity of worship (if not liturgical practice) it is supposed to represent.

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Jon in the Nati
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Also, using Rite II texts in a Rite I mass makes Baby Jesus cry. [Disappointed]

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Homer: Aww, this isn't about Jesus, is it?
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Comper's Child
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quote:
Originally posted by Prester John:
I have only seen the Table of Contents for the Anglican Service Book but I was under the impression that it was intended only as a supplement for the BCP and it would be impossible to use it as the basis of daily/weekly worship.

I recently went to mass at that parish church where it is used for the offices and most masses as far as I know. Some of the "translations" are a bit tortured.
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Mr. Rob
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quote:
Originally posted by Circuit Rider:


I just heard from a friend, former Episcopal priest now Catholic under the Ordinariate, that in some dioceses (or churches?) use of the BCP is optional. Is this true?


Your former Episcopal priest friend is quite wrong. I'm surprised he said that. The only authorized and by far the most commonly used liturgical text is the 1979 BCP. That has never been more true than at the present moment among almost all TEC parishes and institutions of whatever type. There are merely a hand full of notable exceptions, such as St. Clement's Church, Phildelphia, or Sunday Evensong at St. Thomas Church, Fifth Ave, New York City

Your friend is perhaps harking back to his experience in the bad old days before the introduction of the 1979 BCP, and the present settlement over its use. The book is so well done as to supply the needs of most every parish, place and everyone. Prayer book use has, in fact, never been so wide spread.

TEC Diocesan bishops are not empowered to exempt any church or place from use of the 1979, BCP. Ordinaries may only give permission for trial or provisional liturgical forms approved by a commission of TEC General Convention.

One can assume that there are worship practices allowed all over TEC with a wink and a nod. But anyone with more than a casual familiarity with TEC knows that the 1979 BCP is the commonly accepted standard for all.


*

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Organ Builder
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I can't say I get to a large number of TEC parishes for services. The course of my work, however, does take me into a large number of TEC parishes when they aren't having services. I've never walked into one that didn't have well-thumbed copies in the pews--sometimes used to the point it would be safe to call them tattered. I haven't been in England since the late 1970s, but my sense then was that it would be harder to find prayer-book services in England than in the US.

That's not to suggest no one ever does something a little irregular--but my general sense is that the laity overwhelmingly loves the BCP, and the clergy generally respect that regardless of their churchmanship.

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Oblatus
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quote:
Originally posted by Organ Builder:
That's not to suggest no one ever does something a little irregular--but my general sense is that the laity overwhelmingly loves the BCP, and the clergy generally respect that regardless of their churchmanship.

I think the only Episcopal church I've walked out of was one where I was visiting, and the liturgy that Sunday was to be a Rosh Hashanah one, for educational purposes. As I wouldn't expect a synagogue to do a Mass for educational purposes, I figured I'd seek out another church to visit. Fortunately, I was very early for the special Rosh Hashanah service in the Episcopal parish, so I didn't make a scene of any sort while leaving (although the rector saw us leaving...we smiled and waved on the way out so as not to appear to be in a huff, although we sort of were).
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Organ Builder
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I believe I would have done the same, Oblatus.

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How desperately difficult it is to be honest with oneself. It is much easier to be honest with other people.--E.F. Benson

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Olaf
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quote:
Originally posted by Jon in the Nati:
Given that I have my own parish to attend to, I don't really get out much. But I can say that I cannot remember the last diocesan event (ordination, chrism mass, installation of pointy-hat, etc.) I attended that did not use some kind of alternate text or in some way futz with the BCP text.

I'm afraid every denomination is plagued with such shenanigans at diocesan and national events. Those who plan such events, no matter how much sense they have, are often stuck using certain things, whether they like them or not.

For Mainline churches in particular, which aspire to be Big Tents that fit everybody (subject to interpretation), these diocesan or national liturgies do not really represent what happens in the pews at the average church.

Of course, Father Trad Priest who suffers through diocesan convention every year tends to think that those liturgies reflect how the rest of the diocese is or is meant to be. What he doesn't know, because he is busy working on Sunday morning, is that Mother Hippie Rainbowchasuble uses the exact same by the book Rite 2 liturgy with A Community Mass musical selections as he does on Sunday morning at 10am, and Rite 1 spoken at the 8am.

In denoms that are schismatic or have formed over an issue or three, this probably rarely happens.

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Angloid
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If only we in the C of E had taken the same line as TEC, and published a new Book of Common Prayer. As it is, we have a fossilised 1662 BCP which virtually nobody uses (the usable versions of the services are in CW anyway), and a series of options called Common Worship. It is possible to construct the equivalent of the TEC BCP out of CW, and many of the texts show an improvement; but there are many more variations and confusing alternatives than there should be for a common liturgy.

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Olaf
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To an outsider, it seems like the ASB had more of the staying power of BCP79. Common Worship overdid things tremendously, although it does seem make it possible for a C of E place to have more of a Catholic feel, and perhaps moves things in the direction of BCP79 in that regard.

The siren song of electronic media is tempting, but when push comes to shove, all a place needs is an altar book for the priest to grab at the last minute, and some pew editions.

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Anglican_Brat
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Common Worship still strikes me as bizarre. I can understand having a contemporary and a traditional rite in the Prayerbook. What I don't understand is having a contemporary rite translated into classical Elizabethan language and a traditional rite translated into modern language (4 rites? [Ultra confused] ) Plus the number of Eucharistic prayers and variety of options provided defeats the purpose of a common liturgy.

That being said, given the huge variety within the authorized Common Worship in the CofE, there is no excuse for clergy in England to write up their own liturgical rites.

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Sergius-Melli
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quote:
Originally posted by Olaf:
Of course, Father Trad Priest who suffers through diocesan convention every year tends to think that those liturgies reflect how the rest of the diocese is or is meant to be. What he doesn't know, because he is busy working on Sunday morning, is that Mother Hippie Rainbowchasuble uses the exact same by the book Rite ...

Which is what I have always liked about 'The Red Book' (ie. the 2004 Holy Eucharist) in the CinW - it can be used by very different Churchmanships in very different ways, yet 'Fthr. Trad.' and 'Mother Hippy' use the same form and order... something really comforting about that fact!
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Mockingbird

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quote:
Originally posted by Oblatus:
I think the only Episcopal church I've walked out of was one where I was visiting, and the liturgy that Sunday was to be a Rosh Hashanah one, for educational purposes.

There are good ways and bad ways to introduce Episcopalians to Jewish worship and history. If this was a dropped-from-the-sky one-off event for people with no prior introduction to modern Jewish liturgy, then it falls into the category of "egregiously ill-thought-out."

Some discussion of the ongoing work on Holy Women Holy Men is currently on the top of this blog.

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Forþon we sealon efestan þas Easterlican þing to asmeagenne and to gehealdanne, þaet we magon cuman to þam Easterlican daege, þe aa byð, mid fullum glaedscipe and wynsumnysse and ecere blisse.

Posts: 1443 | From: Between Broken Bow and Black Mesa | Registered: Apr 2004  |  IP: Logged
Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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FWIW I haven't seen BCP used in OZ for 20 years - that was when I eradicated it from use in a country out-centre in NSW. Prior to that I hadn't seen it used except once, at my theological college, when all the students walked out in disgust.

By contrast I used it once or twice a week in my NZ parish. And hated it. Though I came to like the language (not the miserable theology), and, as I presided back to the people, no-one could see the twinkle in my eye as I intoned "most miserable", "no health in us" and "dost vouchsafe to feed us"* et cetera et cetera. I especially love the hierarchical view of the universe, from Divine Right of Kings, magistrates, Bishops down to poor miserable-worm-peasants (in whom no goodness deigns to dwell, I fear, but who may be redeemed by obedience to bishop, magistrate and King in ascending order of importance).

Let the bastards eat cake, I say.

*Which I don't object to theologically.

[ 01. February 2013, 05:06: Message edited by: Zappa ]

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shameless self promotion - because I think it's worth it
and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

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John Holding

Coffee and Cognac
# 158

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Ah, Zappa, but the BCP to which our American friend refers will be the 1979 (?) US BCP, not the CofE 1662. The US book includes, I believe, a version of the eucharist not far removed from the 1662, but also modern language rites and a lot more.

John

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churchgeek

Have candles, will pray
# 5557

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"Using the BCP" means a few things.

It can mean reading the text from it in the liturgy, and if that's how you understand it, then using texts from Common Worship or EOW or any other source will seem like not using the BCP.

But keep in mind that the BCP has orders of service that simply stipulate the general shape of the liturgy and what elements must be in it. So you can bring in a lot of other texts while still using the BCP, actually.

And the BCP is normative in other ways too: the calendar, little rubrics (e.g., that the Eucharistic table must be spread with a clean white cloth), etc.

If you follow the rubrics, the order of service, and the calendar, you're still using the BCP even if you import text from other sources.

I personally like the texts in the BCP (and don't need to open the book in Eucharists or Evening Prayer, the two I know pretty well). The then-dean of the cathedral in Detroit where I became an Episcopalian had us doing some unusual things that helped us appreciate the BCP, I think. One was that we used Rite II, except during Lent we used Rite I (with no imported modern language; but like most churches we imported the trad. language for the Lord's Prayer in our Rite II liturgies). We also had Morning Prayer with Eucharist one Sunday a month, so we got to SING some of the canticles and get to know the prayers from that office, and still have Communion. I'm really grateful to have had all that during my initiation into TEC.

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I reserve the right to change my mind.

My article on the Virgin of Vladimir

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Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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quote:
Originally posted by John Holding:
Ah, Zappa, but the BCP to which our American friend refers will be the 1979 (?) US BCP, not the CofE 1662. The US book includes, I believe, a version of the eucharist not far removed from the 1662, but also modern language rites and a lot more.

John

Ah. [Hot and Hormonal]

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shameless self promotion - because I think it's worth it
and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

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Lietuvos Sv. Kazimieras
Shipmate
# 11274

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The traditional language eucharistic rite (Rite I) in the TEC 1979 BCP is closer to 1549 than to the 1552-1662 order. Specifically, it's a modified version of the old non-juring Scottish order reflecting ++Laud's reworking of the rite in the 1559 BCP in a direction back toward Cranmer's original 1549 liturgy (reassembling the bits that Cranmer had so grotesquely chopped up in the second BCP). The American liturgy of the Eucharist has always reflected the Scottish order rather than the 1552-1662 BCP orders. However, '79 slightly modified our traditional order to reflect the principles of Gregory Dix. Hence, our 1928 BCP is the last in the line that directly reflects the Laudian-Scottish programme.
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Zappa
Ship's Wake
# 8433

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Holey Moley ... I'll go back to being a Simple APBA 1995 Believing Chiristian™

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shameless self promotion - because I think it's worth it
and mayhap this too: http://broken-moments.blogspot.co.nz/

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leo
Shipmate
# 1458

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Abba? Knowing me, knowing you - great.

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My Jewish-positive lectionary blog is at http://recognisingjewishrootsinthelectionary.wordpress.com/
My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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