Tag Archives: Contemporary

Anglican BCP MMXII

Here continues the discussion of traditional Anglican liturgy in contemporary modern English–without the blandness one generally finds in contemporary English.  As the preface says:

This book is intended for Anglicans regardless of ecclesial affiliation and churchmanship, yet it is the product of two converging paths. The first path is the desire of some for an Anglican liturgy that is truly traditional yet in a contemporary idiom, a liturgy largely for those to whom the Shakespearean style of English in worship is perceived to be a barrier. Several attempts along this path have been made by various groups, yet the products seem invariably unsatisfactory at best and inappropriate at worst to be an offering of praise and thanksgiving to the Most High. The second path is the desire of many for a liturgy that although expressing orthodox theology yet profits from the last century-plus of liturgical scholarship and stands squarely in the Anglican tradition.

In crafting this liturgy, it soon became apparent that both these paths could converge in one book as well as in one text. Following decades of precedent, the contemporary idiom employs, wherever possible, the texts of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy, specifically those corrected after the promulgation of Liturgiam Authenticam and intended for the third edition of the Roman Missal. In using these texts, the Church as a whole will be praying again (in English at least) with one voice. Thus this Anglican Book of Common Prayer does what liturgy at its best ought to do, it fosters unity horizontally, in space as it were, and expresses unity vertically, across the centuries of our tradition stretching back as far as the bringing of Christianity to the British Isles in the earliest days of the Church.

To address the first priority, that this book is intended for all Anglicans, the Eucharistic Liturgy offered the greater challenge, especially dealing with wide variations of churchmanship. In order to meet this challenge, the liturgy includes practices widely found yet makes liberal use of the permissive rubric (“may”) so that practices can be tailored to suit each location. The celebrant is free to use or omit many of the practices that in the past caused such strife and unnecessary division in the Church. In order to express the universal nature of Anglicanism, the first Eucharistic Prayer contains elements from Prayerbooks around the world, specifically the U.S.A. (1928), England (1928), Scotland (1970), Canada (1962), South Africa (1954), and the West Indies (1959). Two additional canons are provided, one from the historic source of all Anglican liturgy, the Sarum Missal, and the other from the first BCP, edited to eliminate reduplication of petitions and intercessions from the General Intercession.  The Divine Office is taken from the original BCP, re-sourced, and finally conformed to the wider Church’s practice. Again, note the prevalence of the permissive rubrics; the Eucharist and Office can be as spare or as ornate as desired without violating rubrics.

The book may be examined here, (Anglican_BCP_2012b) and your comments are invited.

Anglican Mass in Modern English

After seeing the products of attempts to translate parts of the 1662 BCP and the U.S. 1928 BCP into modern English with varying degrees of success, I was about to give up, as have so many, the idea that liturgy could be written in modern English without sounding either pedestrian or trendy – or horrible.  (Imagine if you will, beginning every prayer with “We just want to praise you, Father God….”)  So I thought I might give it a try myself.

Now, I’m no Shakespeare or Eliot.  The last poetry I wrote resides in my wife’s dresser, written when I was courting her and was less critical.  Thank goodness it isn’t shown to anyone.  After all, being critical, not creative, is my strong suit.  But as I contemplated the attempts out there, a little voice whispered “heck, even I could do better than that!”  So here it is. 

Anglican Mass in Modern English

Here is the Eucharist from the U.S. 1928 BCP, translated into current modern English, following the principles of Liturgiam Authenticam, and using the most up to date ICEL texts, which will be in sync with the next Roman Missal to be issued in English, probably 2010 or so.  It is set up to work with either the 3 year Ordo Lectionum Missae and the Daily Lectionary or the older lectionaries in the various BCPs.  I think the former the better choice, of course.


Because Anglicanism is an international body these days, I have edited the base text in three ways,

  1. By incorporating some features of other national Anglican BCPs (Canada 1962, Scotland 1970, South Africa 1954, West Indies 1959),
  2. By eliminating some of the vague areas that have been patient of heresy, and
  3. By streamlining the whole to make it possible to have a short weekday service for working folk.

I have prepared this text for discussion purposes only, and it has not been authorized for public use by anyone, anywhere.  I haven’t even tried it out by myself. 


I would be glad of any comments.