A Thursday Reflection – 7.30.15

The 2015 General Convention – Liturgical Changes (or not) – Part II

  • For the first time, it will now be allowed, with our Bishop’s permission, to use, on a Sunday celebration, that section in the Prayer Book starting around p. 400 which allows for the presider at Holy Eucharist on Sunday to be more personal and to create his/her own Eucharistic Prayers as long as such prayer follows the mandatory structures that our Prayer Book demands. Since 1979, this “Order for Celebration” has been allowed for small group weekday type Eucharistic celebrations but never on a Sunday.
  • The convention referred back to committee for further study the creation of a new question to be posed as part of taking (or renewing) Baptism Vows: “concerning our responsibility as baptized Christians to care for God’s creation.”
  • Liturgical materials honoring God in Creation are now to be made more available and perhaps be inserted into another book we clergy use: The Book of Occasional Services (BOS).
  • Regarding that above cited BOS, there is now a call to bring that book up to date. No work has been done on it since the 1990’s.
  • Final and perhaps most theologically meaningful and somewhat controversial: Convention referred back to commission for further study the possibility to allow priests to confirm adult candidates whom they instruct and baptize.   This would mean, e.g., that two years ago, if this change had been made, I would have been permitted to both baptize and confirm Matt Worner and Georgia and Reilly Grzywacz. This (re)opens the theological debate of the meaning of Confirmation as a separate rite much less a separate sacrament reserved to a Bishop. Just FYI: Roman Catholic priests have been allowed to confirm adults whom they baptize since 1972 via the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults.   Eastern Orthodox priests have always been allowed to “chrismate” (they don’t even use the word “confirm”) any baby, child or adult as part of the Rite of Baptism.   In the words of the immortal Betty Davis: “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”(–All About Eve–)