The 2015 General Convention
As promised, here are a few of the liturgical changes that are on the horizon for our Church.
- Convention approved the passing of two resolutions which call for writing the plan to create a new Book of Common Prayer (“BCP”) and a new Hymnal (“H”). The BCP we use (our 4th since 1789) has been in effect since 1979, and the H since 1982. Since that time, many additions have been made to other supplemental books. It is time to bring our materials up to date. Also, so many of our prayers need to reflect changes in language that have occurred even in 35+ years. NOW remember, all the resolution does is order the Standing Commission for Liturgy and Music to create the plan by 2018 of how we go about creating new books. The actual work does not begin until then.
- Work on a book that contains the services and calendar of feasts throughout the year is now in its 3rd draft entitled A Great Cloud of Witnesses. Think of this as a book of “saints” recognized by the Episcopal Church.
- Convention maintained our Church’s practice of inviting all baptized Christians to receive Holy Eucharist. It will not permit an “open invitation” to non Christians who do not share our belief in this sacrament to receive communion. (There is a faction in the Episcopal Church that wishes to do so.)
- Work will continue to be done with the translations of John’s Gospel in the sensitive Good Friday liturgy whereby his phrase “the Jews” can properly convey that John is not condemning all Jewish people but only the leadership of those who had Jesus crucified. We believe that it was for all of us that Jesus died and we are all the sinners in need of redemption.
- Convention approved two new marriage liturgies with gender neutral language as well as continued interim use of the blessing of same sex marriages. These are trial liturgies that will be tested through use. Eventually, this becomes a part of prayer book reform as well.
- Next week: more…..