The Preface to the Anglican Standard Text in the Book of Common Prayer states,
The Anglican Standard Text is essentially that of the Holy Communion service of the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 and successor books through 1928, 1929 and 1962. The Anglican Standard Text is presented in contemporary English and in the order for Holy Communion that is common, since the late twentieth century, among ecumenical and Anglican partners worldwide.
What this preface does not state is that the beloved 1662 BCP is a minor adaptation of the earlier 1559 Elizabethan Prayer Book. The preface to the 1662 BCP states three general kinds of changes were made from the 1559 BCP in producing the 1662 BCP.
First, the Rubrics or instructions on how the liturgy was to be used were clarified.
Second, “some words or phrases of ancient usage [were put] in terms more suitable to the language of the present times, and the clearer explanation of some other words and phrases, that were either of doubtful signification, or otherwise liable to misconstruction.”
Third, the Scriptures used in the liturgy were updated with the most accurate rendering possible. In this case it was a move to the Authorized Version or what we call the King James Version.
So what does this all mean?
What we have in the 2019 BCP comes from the Elizabethan 1559 Book of Common Prayer. It is thoroughly Anglican and historic. It is also true to scripture and it is beautiful. The changes to our liturgy have been slight and were done in the same historic pattern that brought us the beloved 1662. The rubrics have been clarified, the language has been modernized to meet the needs of this current generation and the scriptures have been made more accurate with the adoption of the English Standard Version as the new standard for the liturgy. It is an exciting time to be an Anglican!
How was the 2019 Prayer Book developed?
Below is a brief history from the 2019 Book of Common Prayer Task Force.
The call for a new Book of Common Prayer was made in 2009, at the time of the formation of the Anglican Church in North America. A Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force was appointed and produced the “lens” by which prayer book texts would be considered: “Guiding Principles of Christian Worship”. The Ordinal was approved by the College of Bishops in September 2011. Morning and Evening Prayer and the first “working texts” for the Holy Eucharist were adopted in June of 2013. At that time a mechanism for extensive church-wide feedback (firstname.lastname@example.org) was put in place. By June of 2017 all working texts for the Book of Common Prayer 2019 had been approved and were in use in the Church. Four years of feedback on the Daily Office and Holy Eucharist were considered, and as appropriate incorporated, in final texts of these rites approved by the College of Bishops in January 2018. Feedback on all the other prayer book texts was to be considered, evaluated and incorporated during 2018. Final form of all prayer book texts is proposed for the College of Bishops meeting in January 2019, after the most participatory process of prayer book revision ever undertaken. The vision from the outset was of texts “so faithful and attractive that the Church would want to use them.”
So what does this mean?
- The 2019 Prayer Book started in 2009 with the formation of the Anglican Church of North America.
- It has undergone four years of extensive Church wide feedback. This includes feedback from members of Holy Trinity, Fr. Paul and Fr. Bausch.
- In January of 2019 the College of Bishops received the final form of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer.
- The 2019 Book of Common Prayer is set to be published on or before the 2019 June Assembly of the Anglican Church in North America.
God's peace to you all!