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Learning through Difference (part 3)

Crest and Coat of Arms of the ACC and of TEC

In the third and final part of our series, the Reverend Matthew Cadwell, rector of Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Wakefield, MA, and doctoral student in theology at Trinity College, Toronto, writes in response to the question:


What from Canadian practice do you find yourself missing in TEC, and why?


I think the aspect of Canadian liturgical life that I miss most is the inherent license for liturgical creativity.  The variety of options available in the BAS enables one to craft liturgies that are unique and that speak to particular occasions.  I also have an appreciation for the 1962 Prayer Book in that it provides access to an aspect of the Anglican liturgical heritage that is less present in The Episcopal Church today, even as we do have a variety of Rite I options in the 1979 Prayer Book.  Truth be told, however, on occasion I do import some of my favourite Canadian liturgical texts into my U. S. context.  Often these are simply slight wording changes (made with the permission of the bishop) and sometimes they are litanies and responsaries that seem especially appropriate to the day.  I have even added proper prayers over the gifts from time to time.

While I appreciate the fact that as North American Anglicans we have access to a rich array of liturgical resources, for the sake of greater unity across our provinces I do lament that it seems that The Episcopal Church and the Anglican Church of Canada are moving in tandem parallel directions toward more inclusive, multicultural liturgical expressions, but are not working as closely together as they might and probably should.  But perhaps as both provinces consider the need for newer authorized Books of Common Prayer it could be possible to work together to craft a new book that could be used by both churches, with adaptations available for each context (for example prayers for the Canadian monarch or the American president).  I believe that this would be a profound witness to the strength of the “bonds of affection” and the unity we share in our corner of the Anglican Communion.


As we finish our series, we thank the Reverend Matthew Cadwell for his time and effort in preparing his reflections on what he most appreciates about the differences in liturgical expression between the Anglican Church of Canada and in the Episcopal Church. Reading his piece today, I was left wondering: how might we better share resources across the two provinces that have so much in common?


Matthew Griffin

About Matthew Griffin

I'm a priest serving in the Diocese of Niagara, with both a pastoral and an academic interest in the relationship between liturgy and theology. I enjoy reading, cooking, and spending time with my beloved and our young son.
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