In 2010, the General Synod passed a resolution directing the Faith, Worship, and Ministry Committee to set up a Liturgy Task Force to get working on the revision of our contemporary language (read everything except the BCP) authorized liturgical texts. Using a set of Principles for Liturgical Revision—which were adopted by that General Synod—the Liturgy Task Force started its work the next year. The group decided to focus, for the first stage of their work, on main services of Eucharist and Baptism, on Daily Office and Psalmody, and on the Proper Prayers.
I hope that you’ve seen the trial use Collects: first for Advent, and then for Year A Pentecost. These are the first, small, concrete pieces of the LTF’s work to surface publicly. An inclusive language liturgical psalter will soon be available.
Beneath that surface are a lot of conversations, wide ranging and deep. What does the Anglican Church of Canada need, in terms of new and alternatives texts? When so much already exists out there, locally developed or available from other
Provinces and from the ELCIC (Evangelical Lutheran Worship is authorized for use for us where permitted by the diocesan bishop, remember!), what is the most pressing need? In part, yes, it’s new and revised texts, drawn from other sources or newly created; in part it’s also a lot of good, solid liturgical-theological formation of leaders and planners of worship to make good liturgical choices. Also needed are conversations about why we have ‘authorized’ texts in the first place, and what we mean by ‘common prayer.’
The Introduction to the Book of Alternatives Services contains some very helpful reflections on the perennial nature of liturgical revision. It is always the case that the church needs to be reflecting on its current contextual realities and missional directions, and it is the interplay of these reflections with the active engaged life of corporate worship that leads to new expressions that are, well, new but not-new, fresh, but formatively ancient and grounded, that tap into, express and give fresh voice to God’s call to us in this time and place, and to our response to that call.
Thanks to Matthew Griffin for making space within The Community’s Liturgy blog as a place for me, on behalf of the Liturgy Task Force, to engage a wider conversation about this work. I’m intending to offer occasional reflections that will always be ended with a question—to hear from you, as a way of feeding into the ongoing conversation in and work of the Liturgy Task Force.
So, for starters: What in our present collection of authorized texts for eucharist and baptism is groaning at you for revision? Why is that? What’s lacking and why does it feel to you that there is lack?—and remember that other questions are going to follow soon!