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Source: (consider it) Thread: Patriotic Church Services
Gee D
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There have been previous threads about flags in churches and so forth. Tomorrow will be Australia Day, and we paid special attention to that in today's service. No flag in church, but the Australia Day Collect and Preface from APBA, emphasis on the history of brokenness in relation to the ancient peoples of this land in the call to confession, and some relevant hymns - from Together in Song, we has 135, 615, 672 and 188.

Should we observe European settlement in this land at all, bearing in mind the sorry history for the ancient peoples, and is it proper to do so in a church service at all?

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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bib
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We observed Australia Day at church this morning, mainly in the intercessions and in part in the sermon. However, we had the set collect, not the A.Day one, and our hymns were from the NEH ( we don't use Together in Song) and relevant to the 3rd Sunday after Epiphany. This seemed to me to be sufficient as most observance will be in the general community tomorrow, the actual day, with bbqs, citizenship ceremonies and general rejoicing. I don't see Australia Day as a religious observance but a our national day.

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Gee D
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Yes, we usually use NEH, but not for Australia Day.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Gee D
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I forgot to add that we sang both verses of Advance Australia Fair between the blessing and the dismissal.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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bib
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Your church is definitely more patriotic than mine. And yet my home is 'girt by sea'!

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"My Lord, my Life, my Way, my End, accept the praise I bring"

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Vulpior

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I was surprised that we didn't have any mention of it. We were using the Chattaway setting, which is specifically for the fifth thanksgiving prayer, so no room for a preface.

Ironically, the final hymn was to the tune of Jerusalem, that great English patriotic song!

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Barnabas Aus
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In our little country church, the liturgy was generally for Epiphany 3, with the intercessions referring to Australia Day, and including prayers acknowledging the First Australians. Entrance hymn was TIS188 sung to Paderborn and recessional TIS687, with the offertory more related to the lectionary.

We have had special Australia Day services in the past, but never have they taken a triumphalist patriotic theme, but rather been a thanksgiving which acknowledges the faults which still exist in our society, and praying for a better future.

The flag is not displayed in church, and the anthem has only been sung at services on the actual day. The only flag we possess is a slowly-desiccating Red Ensign from the Great War, which is laid up in the narthex.

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Rowen
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The fabulous lady minister in church yesterday*, well, she mentioned Australia Day in prayer. That's as far as she would go. She has seen too many services focus on worship of country but NOT God. Sadly.

* me, actually!

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Gee D
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quote:
Originally posted by Vulpior:
Ironically, the final hymn was to the tune of Jerusalem, that great English patriotic song!

And the words are by an heretic - although it has always been one of the great songs at the school I went to, even before it was taken over by English soccer fans.

[ 26. January 2015, 03:59: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

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Lothlorien
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by Vulpior:
Ironically, the final hymn was to the tune of Jerusalem, that great English patriotic song!

And the words are by an heretic - although it has always been one of the great songs at the school I went to, even before it was taken over by English soccer fans.
Sung by choir every year at HGHS on Empire (Commonwealth) Day assemblies. Last note of second verse was held for twelve beats, unlike newer arrangements which are much shorter.

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Al Eluia

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I hope in Australia you don't have any churches that display the flag as the main visual symbol, as some evangelical churches do with our flag in the U.S.

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bib
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No flags in my church although we have paraded them in on Anzac day to place near our war memorial.

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Fr Weber
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There are propers in the BCP for Independence Day (July 4), but surprisingly enough they read more as a caution against nationalism and jingoism than otherwise.

I have to admit that I've never celebrated Mass on July 4, though, so in our shack they go unused.

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dj_ordinaire
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
quote:
Originally posted by Vulpior:
Ironically, the final hymn was to the tune of Jerusalem, that great English patriotic song!

And the words are by an heretic - although it has always been one of the great songs at the school I went to, even before it was taken over by English soccer fans.
A rather wonderful heretic who saw angels in the trees on Peckham Rye. That has to count for something...

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Gee D
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His work as poetry is top class, but that does not stop it being heretical.

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stonespring
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I don't see anything wrong with having special eucharists and prayer services on "patriotic" holidays to pray for the country - I'm speaking from the US here.

I would add though that I do not approve of the singing of the national anthem in the place of a hymn in a church service (we don't have an established church in this country - if you do have an established church then it makes sense to sing the national anthem, although I don't like the idea of an established church). I also think that, just as "pop" songs that may happen to have religious content are often inappropriate in church because of their secular connotations, many other "patriotic songs" that do not have a history of being songs for worship should not be used.

So in the US, in a worship service, I would not approve of "America the Beautiful," "God Bless America," etc. I don't think "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" is appropriate either (I know it's set to the tune of "God Save the Queen" - but correct me if "My Country 'Tis of Thee" was originally intended to be a song for worship).

I think "God of Our Fathers" was composed precisely to be a patriotic hymn for the United States, so I would be ok of this, although I would find its not-so-gender neutral lyrics to be less-than-ideal.

I know the Episcopal Church has a history of flags and many of the songs I pooh-pooh above being sung in church. (Makes sense I feel uncomfortable hearing them being/coming from the RCC myself.)

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Gee D
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Thank you all for your comments.

No, we don't have a flag in the church. We do fly the flag of the Anglican Church of Aust outside, and until it disintegrated, flew an Aust flag outside , but on an out-of-the-way flagpole. t has not been replaced. There is an Aust flag in the chapel at school, but I can't quickly recall one elsewhere save in a War Memorial Chapel.

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
... I would add though that I do not approve of the singing of the national anthem in the place of a hymn in a church service (we don't have an established church in this country - if you do have an established church then it makes sense to sing the national anthem, although I don't like the idea of an established church). I also think that, just as "pop" songs that may happen to have religious content are often inappropriate in church because of their secular connotations, many other "patriotic songs" that do not have a history of being songs for worship should not be used.

So in the US, in a worship service, I would not approve of "America the Beautiful," "God Bless America," etc. I don't think "My Country, 'Tis of Thee" is appropriate either (I know it's set to the tune of "God Save the Queen" - but correct me if "My Country 'Tis of Thee" was originally intended to be a song for worship). ...

Doesn't it depend on the words? God Save the Queen is framed as a prayer. It is therefore a musical version of prayers for the state. Rule Britannia and Flower of Scotland aren't and therefore don't belong in a church service. Nor, I would have thought, is a song addressed to one's country or its flag. Isn't that idolatry?

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L'organist
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The only regular occasion when we have a service including the National Anthem is Remembrance Sunday, and our custom then is that the Anthem is sung after the blessing.

Other occasions may arise if, for example, the anniversary of the sovereign's accession occurs on a Sunday: again, in that instance (a) extra prayers would be said for HM and (b) the Anthem would be sung but AFTER the blessing.

Anyone with any doubts about this only has to cast their mind back to the last royal wedding: yes, the National Anthem was sung, but it was after the blessing.

We don't sing Jerusalem in the regular run of things because it isn't a hymn but a national song. If it is requested by a couple for a wedding (yes, really) then it will be placed after the blessing.

[ 29. January 2015, 11:35: Message edited by: L'organist ]

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Bishops Finger
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What L'organist said - same as at our place.

(Though I still wish our Sunday BCP Matins ended with the Third Collect.. [Disappointed] . If it did, I might occasionally attend!).

Ian J.

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Ecclesiastical Flip-flop
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quote:
Originally posted by Bishops Finger:
What L'organist said - same as at our place.

(Though I still wish our Sunday BCP Matins ended with the Third Collect.. [Disappointed] . If it did, I might occasionally attend!).

Ian J.

You don't have to stay to the end and you can leave when you want to.

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Knopwood
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I'm going to be in Toronto in a couple of weeks for the Accession Service at the cathedral - that's about as patriotic as I get in church. When I lived there, I even used to hide out at St Martin-in-the-Fields on their patronal festival to avoid Remembrance services.

At the Accession Service, there's a big to-do at the beginning with the seating of the Lieutenant-Governor, and the service includes both anthems. It's a bit sentimental for me, as it was the first Anglican service I ever attended (when I was 14 and at the height of my Lefebvrist phase, for the Golden Jubilee). I'm travelling to Toronto for it because no church around here offers it, although my own parish did it as a one-off a few years back for the Diamond Jubilee. (I hadn't moved here yet but we did have a college field trip to one of the two Mohawk royal chapels for a Mass celebrated by the National Indigenous Bishop).

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SvitlanaV2
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In my Methodist experience, Remembrance Sunday is where patriotism comes in, although there's often an attempt to pray for all conflicts, and ask for peace in the world.

The CofE Evensong service I attend includes the Queen in its petitionary prayer every week. It's very rare for the Methodists to pray for the Queen as such, but prayers will be said for our 'political leaders'.

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Baptist Trainfan
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I remember being slightly "thrown" when attending a Church of Ireland service in Wexford as, of course, the prayers for the Queen were replaced by those for the President. I should have been expecting that, of course! Presumably something similar happens in ECUSA, etc.?
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L'organist
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The BCP Offices for Morning and Evening Prayer - aka Matins and Evensong - both have set prayers.

You get the standard ones after the creed and responses, then the anthem, and then prayers as follows:
  • for the Queen (or King)
  • for the royal family
  • for clergy and people
  • a 'prayer of St Chrysostom'
  • the Grace

The only occasion on which you leave out prayers for the sovereign and royal family is if you have already had The Litany.

Similarly, the Prayer for the Church at a BCP Communion service includes prayers for royals, government, priests and people.

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Rara temporum felicitate ubi sentire quae velis et quae sentias dicere licet

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SvitlanaV2
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I suppose it makes sense that the CofE would take patriotism for granted in its weekly worship, but to an outsider from a different denomination in England it may feel a little strange.

I wonder if there are any denominations that refuse to mark Remembrance Day?

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Albertus
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Wasn't there a story about HLateRH Princess Margaret attending a synagogue service and saying afterwards how pleased she was that they had prayed for the Queen? On being told that they did this every week she was even more pleased and said 'I'll have to tell my sister'.
Praying for the Queen, in her dominions, isn't really about patriotism, is it, any more than praying for politicians would be. It's part of praying for the wellbeing and good government of the nation. I'd have thought that just about anybody who prays at all, except possibly some Anabaptists (and don't tell Gamaliel or Steve Langton I said this- let's not go there again) would be happy to do that.

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L'organist
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Precisely, Albertus.

If you pray for the Government (dare I suggest most of us would think they need it, whether or not we agree with their policies) then you pray for the whole edifice, starting with the Head of State - which is HM The Queen.

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Praying for the Queen, in her dominions, isn't really about patriotism, is it, any more than praying for politicians would be. It's part of praying for the wellbeing and good government of the nation. I'd have thought that just about anybody who prays at all, except possibly some Anabaptists.

I don't see why that should be a problem for them, as they surely must recognise the legitimacy of the nations and its structures, even if they don't agree with Establishment. It might be more of a problem for "home-rule" people in some of the overseas dependent states, or those around the Commonwealth who might regard the Queen as a colonial anachronism.

ISTM that the folk who would be least likely to pray in this way would be the far-right anti-Government folk whom you might find in places like Oregon or Washington State ... although I would have not thought that they are likely to be Episcopalians who use a Prayer Book!

(P.S. I'm not being anti-American here, so please forgive me if I am unwittingly stereotyping).

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SvitlanaV2
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Do the Baptists pray specifically for the Queen, as opposed to simply praying for our 'political leaders'?

If they do, they're more particular than the Methodists. I wonder why that is.

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Gamaliel
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Tell it not in Gath, eh, Albertus?

[Big Grin]

Gamaliel is listening ... I'm not sure about Steve Langton.

No, I don't want to go down the Establishment/Non-Establishment, Constantinian/Non-Constantinian route again any time soon (or ever again ...)

But I was intrigued by Giles Fraser's piece in Saturday's Grauniad:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2015/jan/30/stephen-fry-downton-abbey-nostalgia-church-england

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by SvitlanaV2:
Do the Baptists pray specifically for the Queen, as opposed to simply praying for our 'political leaders'?

That's entirely up to individual ministers or leaders of worship - there is no set protocol. In many churches you will (sadly) find little or no mention of political matters, whether in prayers or at any other points in the service.
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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Gamaliel:
No, I don't want to go down the Establishment/Non-Establishment, Constantinian/Non-Constantinian route again any time soon (or ever again ...)

But I was intrigued by Giles Fraser's piece in Saturday's Grauniad:

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/belief/2015/jan/30/stephen-fry-downton-abbey-nostalgia-church-england

We shall note that ... but (dare I say) not discuss it!

Stephen Fry comes over as much more vituperative about religion in
this recent article.

[ 02. February 2015, 10:27: Message edited by: Baptist Trainfan ]

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Barefoot Friar

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Here in the American South, Protestants love to get patriotic in church. The Sundays closest to Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day all get patriotic sermons and music. Many of the smaller churches (especially rural ones) will even recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag in place of the creed.

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leo
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quote:
Originally posted by L'organist:
The BCP Offices for Morning and Evening Prayer - aka Matins and Evensong - both have set prayers.

You get the standard ones after the creed and responses, then the anthem, and then prayers as follows:
  • for the Queen (or King)
  • for the royal family
  • for clergy and people
  • a 'prayer of St Chrysostom'
  • the Grace

The only occasion on which you leave out prayers for the sovereign and royal family is if you have already had The Litany.

Similarly, the Prayer for the Church at a BCP Communion service includes prayers for royals, government, priests and people.

It is 'legal' to leave out the state prayers and still claim to be 1662. One rarely gets them on Radio 3 on Wednesdays and I haven't heard them used for a long time.

I haven't used the state prayers since about 13 years ago. That's despite my being a stickler for the prayers I use instead being in 'thee and thou' form.

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My reviews at http://layreadersbookreviews.wordpress.com

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Bishops Finger
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Alas, we still have the oleaginous State Prayers at Sunday (said) Matins - but they are replaced at Evensong by a hymn and then Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament [Big Grin]

Ian J.

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Our words are giants when they do us an injury, and dwarfs when they do us a service. (Wilkie Collins)

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Nick Tamen

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quote:
Originally posted by Barefoot Friar:
Here in the American South, Protestants love to get patriotic in church. The Sundays closest to Memorial Day, Independence Day, and Veterans Day all get patriotic sermons and music. Many of the smaller churches (especially rural ones) will even recite the pledge of allegiance to the flag in place of the creed.

In many Protestant churches in the American South, this is quite true. But certainly not in all of them, and I would suggest it's more true of some denominations than others.
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Baptist Trainfan
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Although I feel it absolutely right to pray for our country, or talk in church about Christian responses to national issues, I am not too happy about being excessively patriotic in our worship.

Three reasons:
- we worship God, not our country; it is easy to slip from one to another;
- although they are citizens of their nation, Christians' ultimate allegiance is pan-national, to the people of God drawn from all nations;
- more pragmatically, you may have foreign nationals in your service who cannot identify with - and may even be repelled by - your patriotism.

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SvitlanaV2
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quote:
Originally posted by Albertus:
Praying for the Queen, in her dominions, isn't really about patriotism, is it, any more than praying for politicians would be. It's part of praying for the wellbeing and good government of the nation.

Regarding the 'dominions' (and the Commonwealth in general), I imagine that the Anglican churches there pray for the Queen because that connection is part of their heritage that they particularly value. She may be the head of state in many different countries, but in most cases she doesn't have much to do with 'good government'. Christians of other denominations in those places may see little reason to pray for the Queen in particular, though I'm sure they wish her well.

quote:
Originally posted by Baptist Trainfan:
[Praying for the Queen is] entirely up to individual ministers or leaders of worship - there is no set protocol. In many churches you will (sadly) find little or no mention of political matters, whether in prayers or at any other points in the service.

I know that Baptist churches are left to their own devices, but I was really asking whether it was likely. Maybe the Baptists in London feel a particularly close connection to the Queen, but I can't imagine the Baptist churches I know feeling driven to pray for her by name except in special circumstances.

As for 'political matters' in church, the clergy in mainstream CofE and Methodist churches used to be criticised occasionally for preaching sermons that were little more than vaguely left-wing screeds with a light Christian gloss on top. This was probably unfair in most cases, but I don't think the clergy in those churches generally need to make their worship more political.

I get the impression that even today Methodists might be a bit overrepresented in terms of political engagement. It's not much talked about in churches, but I suppose it permeates things to a degree. The Baptists seem to be different in this respect.

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Gee D
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Growing up, we used the 1662 BCP, and very strictly. As a consequence, we prayed for Elizabeth our Queen, Phillip Duke of Edinburgh, Charles Duke of Cornwall* and all the Royal Family. 2 changes of prayerbooks later, the old State prayers have all but vanished. In our church, we have Choral Evensong once a month, using the 1662 Book, and thus including the State prayers. The Great Litany is sung in procession twice a year, and so they get a further airing then, along with reference to Anthony our Prime Minister, and Michael our Premier.

HM has no more role in the Anglican Church here than she does in TEC or the Anglican Church of Canada - or indeed in any of the churches in the Communion other than the C of E.

* This lets you know how old the recollection is - before he was made Prince of Wales. Perhaps we should have put more oomph in our prayers for him, as those we offered seem to have had little effect.

[ 03. February 2015, 04:42: Message edited by: Gee D ]

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Emendator Liturgia
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quote:
Originally posted by Gee D:
.... along with reference to Anthony our Prime Minister, and Michael our Premier.

Oooo, how very formal: we pray for our leaders too (and for Elizabeth our Queen, interspersed with Peter our G-G and David our G) but use the names they and everyone else uses: Tony and Mike.

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Enoch
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Slight tangent alert

There's often a sort of idea around that by praying for politicians and public figures, we're somehow giving them a sort of imprimatur, or showing we support them. Isn't this a bit of a nonsense?

Rather than thinking there's something a bit demeaning about being asked to pray for politicians and public figures you're out of sympathy with, does it make more sense to ask yourself 'if they're wrong/corrupt/rubbish/stupid or whatever, doesn't that mean they need praying for more than they would if I thought they were great.

In a way, good people need praying for less than bad people do.

[ 03. February 2015, 13:48: Message edited by: Enoch ]

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stonespring
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Given that patriotic prayers in England are so closely associated with praying for the sovereign, how frequent are prayers for the Prime Minister, the Cabinet/Government, and Parliament?Would the local council government (or the mayor of a city, etc.) be prayed for? Are judges prayed for?

In the US, depending on the church, I've heard all of these government institutions prayed for (although of course we don't have a Prime Minister and have Congress instead of Parliament, etc.). But the President, although s/he is head of state and is often prayed for, is not seen as an embodiment of the State itself, so people often feel like they need to pray for all the other different kinds of people involved in the different national and local branches of government.

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Basilica
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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
Given that patriotic prayers in England are so closely associated with praying for the sovereign, how frequent are prayers for the Prime Minister, the Cabinet/Government, and Parliament?Would the local council government (or the mayor of a city, etc.) be prayed for? Are judges prayed for?

Well, there are prayers for the government in every BCP Holy Communion:

quote:
And grant unto her whole Council, and to all that are put in authority under her, that they may truly and indifferently minister justice, to the punishment of wickedness and vice, and to the maintenance of thy true religion, and virtue.
Note that the "Council" is the Privy Council, once an important body in advising the Sovereign. A subcommittee is the present-day Cabinet, so certainly the Cabinet are prayed for.

And just about everyone else is summed up under "all that are put in authority under her".

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Baptist Trainfan
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quote:
Originally posted by Enoch:
There's often a sort of idea around that by praying for politicians and public figures, we're somehow giving them a sort of imprimatur, or showing we support them. Isn't this a bit of a nonsense?

Yes. In any case, if we're leading worship, we must remember that there will be a range of political affiliations within the congregation.
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Albertus
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Quite so.
Now I think of it, the BCP Holy Communion goes beyond praying for our own monarch:

quote:
We beseech thee also to save and defend all Christian Kings, Princes, and Governors; and specially thy servant ELIZABETH our Queen;...
The intercessions in the ASB 1980 Rite A, upon which I was more or less brought up, had 'Bless and guide Elizabeth our Queen, give wisdom to all in authority, and direct this and every nation in the ways of justice and of peace, that men may honour one another and seek the common good'.

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leo
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But the ASB allowed one to pray using other words - the prayer as printed was a framework which could be either rejected or used as frame for biddings.

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Albertus
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Oh yes, certainly it did.
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stonespring
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So no one seems to mention praying specifically for the Prime Minister, for example, and specifically naming her or him (in addition to the Sovereign), as something that is common in the everyday/weekly Prayers of the Faithful in the C of E. Am I wrong?
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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by stonespring:
So no one seems to mention praying specifically for the Prime Minister, for example, and specifically naming her or him (in addition to the Sovereign), as something that is common in the everyday/weekly Prayers of the Faithful in the C of E. Am I wrong?

It's less frequent. Also, the Prime Minister doesn't represent the state. He doesn't correspond to your President and is not the person to whom we owe loyalty. But there's no reason why not. After all, whether one agrees with the administration of the day or not, and as I said earlier, particularly if one doesn't, they need our prayers.

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