Living into the Prayer Book an Option 4 Manifesto
In the name of the Most Holy and Undivided Trinity, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, Amen. We communicants of the Episcopal Church a part of the Anglican Communion a branch of the Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church of God, passionate about the church’s mission and our tradition of worship, do call upon our brothers and sisters in Christ to choose option 4 and step back from liturgical revision and commit to exploring the theology of the current prayer book in greater depth.
But in so doing we are explicitly not in favor of continuing the status quo. Rather we favor a radical living into the prayer book, including the daily offices. To this end we call upon the communicants, families, parishes, diocese and national church to embrace the following program of reform.
Individual and Family Worship
a) That every communicant of this church following The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles pray in the words the Lord himself hath taught us: in the morning, at noonday and in the evening.
b) That every family have morning and evening worship, when they are not joining their congregation for that purpose, using the devotions for individuals and families or the daily office from the Book of Common Prayer.
c) That every parish have a program to help their communicants and families to implement the forgoing.
d) Every parish that has paid full time clergy should have Morning and Evening Prayer daily, with the litany on Wednesday and Friday.
e) On Sundays every parish that has paid full time clergy should have Matins, Mass, Litany, and Evensong.
f) Larger parishes should also serve Sext and Compline on Sunday.
g) Parishes that have full time paid clergy, should serve matins, mass and evensong on the Feasts of the Incarnation and of the Evangelists and Apostles.
h) On Sundays parishes without full time paid clergy should have Matins, Litany and Ante Communion at the least.
i) Every parish without paid full time clergy should have Morning OR Evening Prayer daily, with the litany on Wednesday and Friday.
j) The Decalogue, the Exhortation, and the penitential order should be used at the principal mass monthly, except during the 12 days of Christmas and from Easter Sunday to Trinity.
k) More Collects: the Book of Common Prayer tradition appoints seasonal collects for Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter. They should be used along with the collect of the day.
l) That each of the forms for the prayers of the people should be used, either rotating them by week or seasonally.
m) That the additional prayers should be used liberally at the conclusion of the office. They could be rotated in a formal pattern or the minister could use those that seemed appropriate but they should be used.
n) Every parish that has more than one Mass a week should use both Rite I and Rite II every week.
o) That all six of the Eucharistic canons of the Book of Common Prayer should be used, even prayer C.
p) That the “I believe” and “we believe” versions of the creed of the Holy Fathers of the 1st and 2nd Ecumenical Councils should be used alternating ether seasonally or every other Sunday.
q) Parishes should not use supplemental materials when the Book of Common Prayer provides a full order of service (i.e. not for Matins, Mass, Litany, Sext, Evensong, and Compline), but should feel free to use them for the holy days and special services etc.
r) Every Diocese should help the parishes to implement the forgoing.
s) That the cathedrals in every diocese should take the lead in implementing the forgoing in their worship.
The Standing Committee on Liturgy and Worship
t) Should print a book of the traditional Sarum office hymns for all the hours and other traditional Anglican hymns for Matins and Evensong.
u) Should print a book of lections for Sext and Compline with readings for each day of the year.
v) Should print a book of minor propers for the Eucharist for Sundays and the Feasts of the Incarnation and of the Evangelists and Apostles.
The General Convention
w) That following the canons for revising the Book of Common Prayer a rubric should be inserted into the Book of Common Prayer allowing gender neutral expressions in place of gendered ones except for the names of the persons of the Most Holy Trinity.
x) That a same sex marriage service CLOSELY based on the current marriage service be developed and then following the canons for revising the Book of Common Prayer be inserted after the current marriage service.
Parishes Wanting Additional Revision of the Book of Common Prayer
y) Should fully implement points b-q and when produced use the resources in points t-v.
z) After at least 3 years of living into the prayer book fully, should then in consultation with their Ordinary explore the tradition of our worship. This could include a year worshiping with the Sarum Missal in English. Four months each worshiping with the 1549, 1552, and 1559 Books of Common Prayer. Then Six months worship with each of the 1662 and 1789 Books of Common Prayer. Then send a year worshiping with the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. With this knowledge they will be in a better position to recommend revisions in keeping with our tradition.
Many will no doubt say that this is an overly ambitious program. Do we have the energy to say the office daily? Can parishes be expected to find a server for mass on the Feasts of the Incarnation and of the Evangelists and Apostles? Will people come?
We respectfully submit that if we do not have time to do what the Book of Common Prayer and the tradition of the Church Catholic clearly calls for, we do not have time to waste on prayer book revision.