The 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church most unwisely passed resolutions calling for the revision of the Book of Common Prayer and the Hymnal. I want to state plainly why I think both of these are unwise. Before doing so let me say that I am a cradle Episcopalian and member of the vestry of my parish.
Regarding the Hymnal, the SCLM actually had a study done regarding the feelings of the people vis a vis hymnal revision and the people were overwhelmingly against it. Why was this passed given that it has no support in the church, especially among younger members?
Regarding the proposal to revise, The Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments and other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church etc., there are several strong reasons that we should leave well enough alone.
First: as I wrote as a comment on a blog post announcing the call for revision, “Something else for us to fight about, Yea!” I mean really we have just gotten over a decade and half of fighting. Do we really want to cause ourselves another decade’s worth of grief?
Second, the 1979 prayer book, with its dated 1970s language, and “spirit of vatican two” romish tendencies is a perfect example of why it is unwise to get sucked up in the spirit of the age while doing liturgical revision. But at least with the 79 book you can escape into Rite I.
Third, the people who are really worked up about the language of the prayer book are going to use their preferred language anyway and this being the Episcopal Church, they are not going to be punished for it. So they don’t really have a legitimate beef.
That is why I am against hymnal and prayer book revision. I hope and pray that the annual meetings of the parishes of this church will vote to reject, resolution 2015-A169 regarding prayer book revision and 2015-D060 regarding hymnal revision, showing them to be contrary to the mind of the church.
However, if we are going to revise the prayer book and hymnal, I have my own ideas about how to do so. In fact I have a complete text of a proposed revised BCP and Hymnal. I will start posting parts of it beginning with the introduction tomorrow.