Monday, October 24, 2011

Common Prayer Developing in Sydney

With a tip of the hat to Andrew Reid, head here for a report in a newly developed draft of Common Prayer in the Diocese of Sydney and here for the website with these draft resources for perusal, use, and comment.

Here is a question: if Oz win the RWC in four years time, will anything among these resources help put together a celebratory service? With a side theme in lament ... for cuzziebros across the Tasman not retaining it?


Anonymous said...

"Here is a question: if Oz win the RWC in four years time, will anything among these resources help put together a celebratory service?"

Yes, you'll find it just after the service for Ash(es) Wednesday.

"With a side theme in lament ... for cuzziebros across the Tasman not retaining it?"
This is included in the Order for Tri-Commi-Nations.
Sydney also has an Order for the De-churching of Women! :)

Pseudo-Martin the RE-opagite

Father Ron Smith said...

Re 'Pseudo's remarks - about Sydney having an Order for the De-Churching of Women. I know you're only jesting here. But, be very careful, Sydney might well incorporate your idea into its quasi-liturgical practice!

Pageantmaster said...

Just a personal beef, and one unrelated to the merits of the proposed Sydney Prayer Book, or the New Zealand one for that matter:

In the far off days of my youth, there was one predominant Prayer Book and it was ours, and it was old. You could wander into most Anglican churches in most parts of the world, and you would be greeted by familiar and beautiful liturgy. I have to say as a youngster most of it flew completely over my head, and I wondered what all these Venites and Te Deums and so on were all about - and yet, the language seeped into my being and educated me, and much later I came to appreciate it and realise how rich and accurate is its theology and how much it informs my identity as an Anglican. It is as the more catholic would say as we believe, so we pray. We wished Peace with thy spirit rather than also with you and we believed Christ in His death upon the cross offered a full, perfect, and sufficient sacrifice, oblation and sacrifice for the sins of the world and we hoped that in the Eucharist we might be partakers of His most Blessed Body and Blood.

Then came the [UK] Alternative series rocky horror prayer books and an era of truly awful right on mush as thin and flimsy as the red books which contained it. Things have settled down in our now excellent 'Common Worship' and in the 1662 which still remains our lawful prayer book.

So I suppose my plea is this - rather than each province doing what is pleasing in its own eyes in its prayer book, and no doubt there is a need for local variations including the blessing of rugby balls and special prayers for the tri/quad nations as well as celebrations of national rejoicing at the results, nevertheless there is merit in bringing our liturgies and our beliefs they contain back together rather than sending them hurtling ever further into outer space competing with the ever expanding universe.

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Peter,

Straight off the bat, can I just encourage people to forget this is written by Sydney diocese when they first read it, and see what they think before any pro- or anti-Sydney prejudice kicks in? As for the RWC, I did note prayers for those with "life threatening illness" and "those facing an operation" that might be appropriate for those who lose a RWC against the expectations of their country :)
When I looked at this new resource, I was struck by how Anglican it is. You'd think from some commentary that there wasn't anything Anglican at all about Sydney diocese, but this new resource is a bit of modernised BCP, some AAPB (1978) plus some new elements which are very close to existing resources. The Creeds are there, Bible readings, prayers, Lord's Supper, etc. Honestly, if they just used the parts of the Prayer Book for Australia (2001) that they like, they would have almost the same prayer book.

One thing I did note was that they use "minister" rather than "priest" or "deacon" to describe the service leader. Also, no confirmation service. I believe this is still widely used in Sydney so I was surprised to see it omitted. Perhaps given it is usually a once a year event they focussed on the more regular gatherings first. They have also offered an alternate version of the vows in the Marriage service which reflect their complementarian perspective.

Something else to note is Form 3 of the Service of Word & Prayer, which offers time for informal discussion and questions. I guess this is aimed at those youth services and informal services which don't use a Prayer Book liturgy.

While this is a more formal resource developed by the diocese, they have also been using the site to provide more general advice about liturgy and church practice.

Father Ron Smith said...

Of course, there are still some (a few) parishes in the Sydney Diocese that practise the liturgical tradition of the Church of England - with a proper valuation of the Sacraments of the Church - including Confirmation. Does the new prayer book mean that these churches will have to import their own bishops to perform this Sacrament?

It does seem that Sydney places more value on 'occasional services' than the traditional Eucharist. In its reference to ministers, instead of priest or deacon, I suppose they're paving the way for a Lay 'Celebration' of the Lord's Supper?
Is this not a sufficient departure from Anglican tradition that might cause another schism? Probably not!

Pageantmaster said...

Thanks Fr Ron Smith - you encouraged me to check out the reference to priests in the old communion services.

Well interestingly if you read the CofE still legal 1662 Prayer Book, you will see that that while curates and priests are mentioned in the rubric, the predominant reference is to ministers. That is also true of the first and second Edwardian prayer books of 1549 and 1552; while interestingly in the version of the Elizabethan prayer book of 1559 I checked out there appears to be exclusive reference to priests.

I am not sure much difference was intended: the term 'minister' appears to be used in the sense of [ad] ministration of the eucharist in the rubric and provides no support to lay administration.

If you check out the 39 Articles in the 1662 which Sydney seems to like, they are quite clear that:

1. It is not lawful for those who have not been made ministers to administer the sacraments [Article XXII]; and

2. The making and consecration of ministers is to be undertaken according to what was then the ordinal of Edward VI [Article XXXVI]

I gathered from an exchange with David Ould some time back that the practical problem for Sydney is that they decided for some reason or other only to ordain those who will become incumbents, meaning that they have a shortage of the ordained to administer the Eucharist.

If they are so insistent upon that, the old BCP's are clear that it is easy to ordain those called by those having authority of the congregation [see Article XXII], but no sanction is given to the administration of the Communion [consecration of the elements]by the laity.

Rather than licensing the laity as it appears Sydney so want to do, the answer is to ordain those they wish to engage in administration, if necessary in a limited form of orders pending theological training rather than manage to perplex other Anglicans as diverse as myself and you Fr Ron. Many of the mutual ministry models use such ordained assistant ministers but none of them approve administration by the unqualified, the unauthorised and the unordained.

In case of interest the BCP 1662 is available here:
and earlier prayer books here:

It is notable however the difference in the consideration shown to the concerns of other Anglicans by the diocese of Sydney as opposed to the in your face, take it or lump it, independence of TEC. Sydney are to be commended for their collegiality and consideration for the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Pageantmaster, it's interesting that John Richardson, who sometimes chimes in here, has just issued a post calling for more deacons, as opposed to priests:
It's odd that deacons may lead services, preach, baptize, marry etc but can't lead Holy Communion.
Why this anomaly? Is it a medieval hangover that Cranmer couldn't face?

Father Ron Smith said...

Thanks, Pageantmaster, for your research on the subject of the 1662 Prayer, which I, peronally, use to celebrate Mass once a month in our parish, incidentally, although we have our own N.Z. Prayer Book, with up-to-date versions of the Eucharist, which I use on other occasions (and much other valuable resource material), I still value the 1662 Mass for it's simplicity and intrinsic piety.

Pageantmaster said...

Hello Martin - I haven't yet read the Ugley Vicar's post but will - I seem to remember that John has a connection with Moore College, and perhaps will answer that himself.

As far as administration goes, certainly over here if a deacon is taking communion in the absense of a priest, he will have bread and wine available which a priest has pre-consecrated, the service being taken effectively in two parts, the 'business' having been done previously.

Others may know more about the reasons and indeed the situation with deacons and indeed the 'minor orders' which we used to have.

I suspect Cranmer would have no more countenanced lay administration of the eucharist, which in his Articles he is clear is one of the two sacraments ordained by Christ, than he would have thought of communing the unbaptised, the other sacrament ordained by Christ.

Fr Ron - There is something very reverent and deep in the 1662 Communion Service. I think the great merit in the 1662 is that is makes clear that it is directly sourced in the Bible complete with the relevant verse references. It is a Biblical education in itself as well as a thoughtful Eucharist, or Mass if you wish as well as being sourced in it.

I am not saying there should be no liturgical development, writing our own prayers for our own time and liturgy for our changing needs is a healthy process, but the main services need to be shared among us in a common form as far as possible, and with great attention paid to the theological innovation which may be introduced unwittingly or even worse, deliberately.

TEC's ubiquitous 'Baptismal Covenant' is an example of a new liturgy which may have come to supplant older theological understandings, perhap deliberately used to undermine them, but in the US it has been around for so long, that even the traditionalists are surprised to find that it is a 1979 innovation and something the rest of us do not share.

Father Ron Smith said...

Thanks, Pageantmaster for your thoughtful reference to the 1662 rite of Holy Communion. I, personally, am content to celebrate this rite for people for whom it is especially relevant and meaningful.

After all, that ought to be the objective of the Eucharistic Celebration - the understanding of Christ's 'Real Presence'. 1662 makes n bones about the Elements of bread and wine 'becoming' the Body and the Blood of Christ - after the example of Queen Elisabeth the First: "Christ was the Word that spake it. He took the bread and brake it, and what His Word doth make it; I do believe and take it".

Regarding the matter of TEC's 'Baptismal Covenant'; how does it differ, in essence from the idea of the implantation of the Holy Spirit into the life of the new believer, and the cleansing from the blight of 'original sin'?

As for Martin's query as to why deacons cannot 'lead' the service of Holy Communion; the only answer is that a deacon is not a priest and cannot consecrate the elements.

An authorised deacon or lay-person, in N.Z. can be licensed to 'lead' a
'para-Communion', which is an office around the distribution of the Reserved Sacrament. This would only be used in the absence of any priest to preside. Perhaps Martin is unaware of this fact.

Andrew Reid said...

Hi Pageantmaster,
Thanks for your contributions here, and your research into the BCP. I guess what I thought when I read through this new resource was, Why don't they just use the bits of the Prayer Book for Australia they like? It's almost the same as existing orders of service available.
That would at least have the benefit of using a common prayer book within Australia. Or is it so tainted by the references to Mother Earth and Anglo-Catholic options that the whole thing has to be rejected?

Fr Ron,
I wouldn't read anything sinister into the omission of confirmation - this is a development version, and they may not have had the opportunity to revise this service, or they may have felt the existing 1978 AAPB service did not need any revision. As far as I understand, confirmation is still done in Sydney diocese like anywhere else. The BCP and AAPB are still authorised for use, so there should be no problem for parishes continuing to use more traditional liturgies. I understand there is some generosity to those parishes in using the innovations of the Oxford movement which were definitely not included in the 1662 BCP.

Anonymous said...

"As for Martin's query as to why deacons cannot 'lead' the service of Holy Communion; the only answer is that a deacon is not a priest and cannot consecrate the elements.

An authorised deacon or lay-person, in N.Z. can be licensed to 'lead' a
'para-Communion', which is an office around the distribution of the Reserved Sacrament. This would only be used in the absence of any priest to preside. Perhaps Martin is unaware of this fact."

Thank you, Ron - I did know these things, which are essentially statements of church law; my thinking aloud, rather, was to do with why Cranmer didn't follow through with his principles. The diaconate was never really reformed in the Church of England. I suspect it was because, for all that he enthusiastically embraced Lutheran teaching on justification by faith and Calvinist teaching on the eucharist (as these were embodied in the 42 Articles), institutionally speaking Cranmer was of a conservative cast of mind and didn't want to rock the boat when radical Anabaptists like Muntzer had done crazy things in Germany. The fear of lawlessness was very strong in the 16th century.
It still seems strange to licence deacons to preach and baptize but not to administer Holy Communion.

Father Ron Smith said...

Martin, Martin! Do read again my summation of why a deacon cannot preside at the celebration of the Holy Communion1. A deacon may indeed administer the Sacrament which has already been consecrated by a priest - as may any licenced Lay-Person. He/She may not preside at the prayer of consecration - he/she is not ordained to do so.

Priestly ordination is a manifest requirement for the consecration of the Elements of the Anglican tradition! This is precisely why Sydney's advocacy of Lay-Presidency at the Holy Communion is resisted by all other Anglican Provinces. Have you not understood this?

Anonymous said...

Yes, Ron, I do understand all this. I was using "to adminster" in the BCP sense of "to minister", not the more modern sense of "to distribute bread and wine". Liturgial revision introduced the words "preside" or "celebrate" which (AFAIK) were not used previously by Anglicans. I know what the church law (canon) is on the matter.
My point all along has been this:
preaching and baptism are ministries of the Gospel which deacons are authorized to perform. The Holy Communion is equally a ministry of the Gospel. Why are deacons excluded by canon from doing this?
Why is priestly ordination a "manifest requirement" for leading Holy Communion? "manifest" to whom and how? Is this stipulated in Scripture? If so, where? Or is this a matter of longstanding church tradition and canon - like the maleness of the priesthood?

Father Ron Smith said...

Martin, if you really do not know the answer to your final question, then perhaps you need some instruction in the catholic faith.

Most Anglicans I know in New Zealand, whether Lay or ordained know precisely why a priest is ordained primarily to celebrate the Eucharist - NOT, as the Diocese of Sydney seems to understand, for the preaching of the Word and to manage the administration of a parish.

Anonymous said...

"Martin, if you really do not know the answer to your final question, then perhaps you need some instruction in the catholic faith."

Ron, I was brought up as a Roman Catholic and I know all about the Roman doctrine of the (male only) Priesthood sharing exclusively in the Priesthood of Christ and being ordained to offer repeatedly the sacrifice of Calvary in the Mass. And I am prety sure this is not the reformed doctrine of the Christian ministry as taught by the BCP and the 39 Articles.
So my questions remain, disturbing as they are to some.

Pageantmaster said...

Fr Ron Smith, Andrew Reid and others - you might be interested in the website resources set up for the 350th anniversary of the prayer book in 2012: