Sunday, August 26, 2018

What can a Kiwi bishop authorise re liturgy?

This post has been significantly revised after its initial posting since I thought I had the correct version of Title G Canon XIV. I now have that canon correctly and have revised my words below accordingly.

Within our church we have had a fairly broad approach to what constitutes an "authorised" service. Currently, as the pertinent example for this post, bishops and priests are permitted to use for a eucharistic prayer, any such prayer authorised for use in any other province of the Anglican Communion.

This provision has been welcomed in a number of parishes because it enables use of eucharistic prayers seen as more appropriate for certain contexts than anything comparable within our authorised prayers - a popular example being the use of "Prayer H" from the Church of England's Common Worship service book (pp. 204-205 in my lovely black leather edition).

This provision has also been welcomed in a number of parishes because it enables (say) a new vicar from the Church of Mars to continue to use tried and familiar rites from the Martian prayer book.

At least two criticisms of this universal inclusivity of authorised eucharistic prayers matter in my mind.

1. It unwisely presumes that all Anglican authorised eucharistic prayers are equally valuable (even as they are equally "valid" as Anglican eucharists). But, intrinsically, this is unlikely because (e.g.) we do not find that across the Communion all provinces are equally committed to inclusive language. And, of course, only one province, our own, is committed to the use of Te Reo Maori in eucharistic services.

2.  While it usefully opens the doors to "valuable" eucharist prayers from other provinces, it also potentially closes the door in some parishes to use of our own eucharistic prayers - prayers liturgical servants of our church have laboured over to produce and for which our church through synodical decision has expressed its intent to use as the "common prayer" of this church.

Consequently I support (and voted for at GS 2018) a bill to remove the current permission to use any authorised eucharistic prayer from any Anglican province of the Communion. That removal comes before our Diocesan synod for consideration in a couple of weeks.

Already it is clear that the prospect of not being able to use (say) Prayer H is uncongenial. My own response will be to propose that we observe other aspects of our legislation which provide for use of services.

Specifically, our constitution (part G, cited below) provides for "authorised services" to include services authorised under Title G Canon XIV (cited below). If, as Tikanga Pakeha, we agree that it would be valuable to have (say) "Prayer H" used freely within our Tikanga, we have a mechanism for achieving that end. (That is, if we want to use Prayer H, and we deem it to be not inconsistent with the Constitution or Formularies of this church). Alternatively, if I am understanding Title G Canon XIV correctly, an individual diocesan bishop (following the specific instruction below) could authorise a service which included Prayer H



Constitution part G

PART G    


1.            In this Constitution and in the Code of Canons if not inconsistent with the context thereof or by express words excluded all words and phrases referring to the diaconate, priesthood and episcopate, and in particular, but without limiting the generality hereof the words "Bishop", "Priest", "Deacon", "Curate", "Pastor", "Vicar" and "Minister", shall include both females and males.  In the use of Formularies of the Church words denoting males may be replaced with words denoting females consistently with the above provisions and when the occasion and circumstances so require.
2.            In this Constitution and in the Code of Canons if not inconsistent with the context thereof respectively and unless there are clear words to exclude or restrict such meaning the words and phrases following shall severally have the meanings hereinafter stated, namely,
Words importing the singular number include the plural number and words importing the plural number include the singular number.
Words denoting males or females include the other as the case may be.
“Clergy” includes all persons in Holy Orders who shall hold any spiritual charge or cure or a Bishop's  licence or permission to officiate in this Church, but shall not include a Bishop.
“Authorised Services” includes (a) Formularies, (b) Experimental uses as authorized by the Church of England Empowering Act 1928, and (c) other services authorized under Title G Canon XIV.[1]
3.            Any doubt which shall arise in the interpretation of the Constitution for the time being of this Church shall be submitted for final decision to the General Synod / te  Hīnota Whānui or to some Tribunal established by it in that behalf.
4.            It shall be lawful for the General Synod / te  Hīnota Whānui to alter amend or repeal all or any of the provisions hereof save and except those which have been hereinbefore declared to be FUNDAMENTAL PROVISIONS,
PROVIDED always that no such alteration shall be made until it shall have been first proposed in one General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui and been assented to by Te Runanganui o Te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa, the Synod of the Diocese of Polynesia and a majority of the several Diocesan Synods in New Zealand and finally agreed to in the meeting of the General Synod / te Hīnota Whānui next ensuing.
In applying this Constitution the Māori and English texts shall be considered together.

[1] Statute 726, 2016


Each Tikanga is authorised to approve forms of service not inconsistent with the Constitution / te Pouhere, or with the Formularies of this Church.
Within Tikanga Māori, Te Runanganui o te Pīhopatanga o Aotearoa may act to grant such authorisation.
Within the Tikanga of the Diocese of Polynesia the Diocesan Synod of the Diocese of Polynesia may act to grant such authorisation.
Within Tikanga Pākēha the Synodical Conference may act to grant such authorisation provided that this authorisation will apply only in those dioceses in New Zealand whose synod has ratified the authorisation of the Synodical Conference.
Ngā Pīhopa Amorangi may authorise forms of service to be produced and used in different situations in Te Pīhopatanga upon such conditions as Te Pīhopa may determine.
The Bishop of Polynesia and other Bishops with episcopal jurisdiction within the Diocese of Polynesia may authorise forms of service to be produced in different situations in the Diocese of Polynesia upon such conditions as the Bishop may determine.
Diocesan Bishops and other Bishops with episcopal jurisdiction within a Diocese in New Zealand may authorise forms of service to be produced and used in individual ministry units, after consultation with the Vestry or equivalent body, and in other particular areas of the Church’s work, upon such conditions as they may individually determine in each case, and in consultation with their Diocesan liturgical committees.
Any form of service authorised under this Canon:
is an authorised service, but is not a Formulary unless it shall have been approved under the provisions of the Church or England Empowering Act 1928 and the Constitution / te Pouhere;
must conform to ‘A Form for Ordering a Service of the Word’ or ‘An Alternative Form for Ordering The Eucharist’; and
must not be inconsistent with the teachings of the Formularies.
A copy of any service so authorised shall be forwarded to the General Secretary, to be held in the records and archives of the Church.


Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Peter, I am always concerned when someone in authority wants to ban a particular form of worship that only appeals to a segment of one particular worship community - without consideration of the fact that this form of worship has proved congenial to its traditional understanding of 'worship'- provided, of course, that a particular worship rite is in keeping with the ethos and custom of Anglican's 'Unity in Diversity' that has governed our Communion's breadth of spirituality for ages.

That breadth includes - at this point in time - vocal interjection from the congregation of 'words of knowledge' or prophetic utterance in the middle of a liturgy (Evangelical, Charismatic) - to prayers for the dead; invocation of prayers of the Saints, and Devotions to the Person of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament (Anglo-Catholic).

My real concern, Peter, is if the Bishop were to forbid any of these practices which have been used for decades in our very varied eclectic congregations in the diocese, in accordance with the particular Evangelical or Anglo-Catholic traditions in which people have found nurture and spiritual consolation.

Rigorous policing of worship activities could lead to lifeless and disspirited congregations, where devotions could become perfunctory instead of spirit-filled. What is needed is pastors, clergy and ministers whose experience of Anglican worship is sufficiently broad to enable their conduct of worship activities to be orderly and respectful of tradition with an openness to the Holy Spirit's grace.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Ron
I appreciate your concern about what a bishop might "ban"; and also your affirmation for responsible yet creative leaders of worship, but my post has nothing to do with bishops who "ban" and everything to do with what a bishop may, with sole discretion, authorise for use ... which turns out to be nothing which is not authorised by the wider church!

Anonymous said...

Dear Peter

Your post confuses me.
Most significantly, Title G Canon XIV is not what you quote in your post,
so your whole premise and conclusion is based on presenting incorrect information.
Secondly, some international Anglican Eucharistic Prayers are clearly of better quality than some of our own ones.
Thirdly, using our own ones does not assure us that Te Reo Maori will be used - I have been to many diocesan Eucharists in the last decade when little to no Te Reo was used.

Bryden Black said...

Most of your readers Peter will have come across the old Latin tag, lex orandi, lex credendi (“the law of worship is the principle of belief”). This has indeed served our Anglican Tradition for decades, even centuries, especially when we supposedly had/have no equivalent of a Westminster Confession or a Book of Concord. [Actually, we do have the 39 Articles and the Book of Homilies ...!] But the 1960s witnessed two key things: liturgical renewal, triggered mostly by the first half of that century’s fruits of scholarship; and the ever wider dispersion of Anglicanism across the world especially when there were other “winds of change” in the air politically, and that world began slowly to enter a post-colonial age. The combination has created an absolute plethora of Anglican liturgical practices across the Communion, some of which are barely recognizable as belonging to the same ‘family’: they probably don’t!

The tag now appears to be “unity in diversity”. I have explored that form of discourse elsewhere and will not repeat my serious cautions around its genuine viability for the Christian Church. For what is at stake in the topic you raise, Peter, is in fact the entire business of the Culture—Theology interface. And as I’ve intimated previously on ADU, I frankly do not sense this Province has the due resources to tackle such a rich, complex thing. That doesn’t mean we will not try to forge ahead in some direction or other. It only means the directions we might choose will be determined by factors other than those derived from a clear sifting of the business the Church really ought to be about.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bosco
You are right - I know what I did wrong.
Title G Canon XIV now correctly cited and post adjusted.

MarcA said...

It has always struck me as ironic that so many years and so much effort went into the ( ultimate) creation of Common Worship here in the C of E yet there are places where liturgy has been all but abandoned, and others where u get bits of the Roman rite or even the full Roman rite and in exotic corners even east ward facing Latin my innocence I thought other Provinces were more loyal to their PBks and Canons than our liberty hall...but seems not...

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Bryden, contrary to your fear of the ancient and modern concept of Anglicanism as 'Unity in Diversity'. in his latest Book "A Future of Faith" (Pope Francis' dialogue with journalist Dominique Walton), even the Head of the Roman Catholic Church praises the multiplicity of worship practices in individual countries around the R.C. world.

Speaking of the Epistle of Diognnetu, Pope Francis has this to say:

"A letter from the second century..that, precisely, is the spirit of modernity in the Church. It explains that a Christian is open, modern. That word 'open' is, I think, what is specific to a Christian being open. Open to the Spirit. Closure is not Christian. Fidelity is Christian. If I close myself off (from modernity); If I defend myself, that isn't Christian. Defending values through closure is not a Christian way. Values defend themselves by being what they are; as Jesus gave them to us. They are Christian words And they defend themselves through the teaching one makes of them because we transmit them... The Christian spirit is open. Modernity is openness. Not being afraid"

Like Pope Francis, I think there is too much fear in the hearts and minds of conservative Christians - preventing the Church from being relevant to the needs of people as they present themselves in our world of today.

Peter Carrell said...

Hi Perry
I always think that the CofE (in which I once lived and occasionally ministered, 1990-93) is like ACANZP in this respect: notwithstanding "headlines" re liturgical diversity/creativity/straight out ignoring agreed texts, most parishes, in most services, most Sundays follow agreed common worship texts.

Unknown said...

Peter, why should any province have its own BCP rather than a Directory such as the ones the Presbyterians use? If the bones of worship are strong, then what is the harm of letting bishops drape them in the best rites that they can find?


Peter Carrell said...

Hi Bowman
In reply:
1. It is argued that the bones are not strong (cf. Bosco's Liturgy blog)
2. That is kind of my point: bishops do have the capacity to "drape etc" and I am not arguing against that. Providing:
3. There is respect for the work we have done as a church on rites which have grown from the soil of the Blessed Isles and not from the West Island, or Up Yonder, where the soil is no doubt also fine, but has different nutrients in it.
4. Point 3 is required to be made in our culture because a feature of that culture is to despise the homegrown and to worship the imported.

Jean said...

I have no strong feelings on this one. Most of the Anglican Church Services I have been too use liturgy from our prayer book albeit sometimes it may be shortened; at the same time I enjoy difference on occassion - a change is as good as a holiday. At the co-operating Parish in Fairlie this last weekend, gathering around for communion, an I am ‘guessing’ more Presbyterian form of Eucharistic celebration was altogether moving.

The NZ Prayer Book in its references to Te Reo and to our context I believe has a beauty of its own in connecting the people it services to the God they serve in the place they are.

Is there not anyway, rather than having a motion to omit the use of international services bar the ones approved by local synod, that you might instead limit their use? Say for example, international Eucharistic liturgy from throughout the Anglican Communion can be used at the discretion of the Minister, so long as the majority of services performed in said Parish are based upon the NZ Prayer book?

Bryden Black said...

Well Ron; I have to say I applaud the specific language used by the pope. BUT NB the subtle differences in the exact wording between yourself and him. My fear is prompted not all by the substance of the pope’s message; I rejoice in that sense. Rather, such “fear” as I might have is schooled by the jargon that signals another agenda than the true mission of the Church. Just so and only so, this carefully worded title of mine:
“Whose Language? Which Grammar? ‘Inclusivity’ and ‘Diversity’, versus the Crafted Christian concepts of Catholicity and Created Differentiation”, in Brian Edgar & Gordon Preece, eds, Whose Homosexuality? Which Authority? Homosexual practice, marriage, ordination and the church (ATF Press, 2006), pp.151-167. This Australasian collection sought to promote a variety of perspectives and understandings of a “double-bunger of an issue in the churches and society”. Published as a double issue of Interface, it is the fruit of a conference held in Melbourne in 2004, and is deliberately styled as a follow-up to an earlier collection from New Zealand, edited by Murray Rae and Graeme Redding, also published by ATF Press, in 2000. My own extract seeks to frame the debate in a way that delves far more deeply into the archaeology and genealogy of two key forms of discourse, which, it is claimed, are not only in the end incompatible, but which renders one as being far more satisfactory and robust a form of discourse than the other.

Your generation, Ron, was reared on the likes of George Orwell and the power of language for totalitarian ends. 1984 and Animal Farm come to mind! For those who have ears to hear, little has actually changed.

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Jean
I don't think the liturgical police are going to round up vicars who occasionally use their discretion re use of international liturgies.

A question re regular use of a non-authorised liturgy (even when it is a minor number of times compared to a majority usage of NZPB) is whether the priest is vesting that decision with the parish and the diocese as a sign of belonging to a church which is more than the local congregation. That is, a desire to use a non-authorised liturgy should lead, in a natural/Anglican way to seeking appropriate authorisation.

Jean said...

Hi Peter, you disappoint I was expecting a more Trump like approach to the application of the proposition at hand : ) ... The example I shared was a bit out of context to your discussion of course given the McKenzie church is both Anglican and Presbyterian, merely an occassion where a different Presbyterian approach incorporated in worship rendered more rather than less appeal from this visitor due to a difference from the norm. I am wondering though, is the use of liturgies outside the NZPB a common practice in our Diocese other than those with a specific traditional approach such as SMAA?

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Jean
Most parishes I visit use NZPB more or less "as it is written" but some clergy - notably in response to GS 2018 on liturgical authorisation - attest to use of valued eucharistic prayers from other Anglican provinces. In my understanding, "Prayer H" (which is very good, IMHO) may be the most popular of those adoptions. Also use are "Wild Goose" liturgies and the like, Celtic spirituality being appreciated by some Anglican parishes.

Anonymous said...

As well as, astonishingly, having no agreements for regular services such as inductions, building consecration (and deconsecration) – and also what such rites effect - NZ Anglican agreements on worship (and other things) are difficult to find, confused, and confusing.

I have long sought for this to be remedied but responses have simply increased rather than decreased the confusion.

I was against the recent change to our Constitution allowing bishops to authorise services and I continue to hold to my opposition. Although I support the blessing of committed same-sex couples that it facilitates in the current approach, a much simpler way forward would also have been clearer.

There are at least three interpretations of the changed Constitution – including within the House of Bishops:
1) Bishops can authorise any rite except they must use the ordination rite as agreed
2) Bishops can only authorise rites for which no agreement (formulary) currently exists
3) Bishops can authorise any rite whatsoever, even if an agreement (formulary) currently exists. This includes bishops being able to ignore the agreed ordination rite and authorise their own rite to ordain.

Your proposal to prevent the use of overseas Eucharistic Prayers does not lead to ministry units using prayers liturgical servants of our church have laboured over to produce and for which our church through synodical decision has expressed its intent to use as the "common prayer" of this church. It simply means that everything else can (continue to) be locally constructed except for the Eucharistic Prayer (and even then, this can be bypassed by using the framework for constructing a Eucharistic Prayer locally as per our Prayer Book pp 512-514).

The only way forward to achieve your hope is to rescind the (confused, confusing, and poorly-thought-through) Alternative Form for Ordering the Eucharist of which the allowance to use international Eucharistic Prayers forms a part. And to rescind the allowance to use A Form for Ordering the Eucharist (pp 511-514) for all occasions and revert back to its original of “particular occasions and not for the regular Sunday Celebration of the Eucharist”. In other words – return to the vision of common prayer as we had it in the 1989 Prayer Book.

Good luck with trying to get the liturgical toothpaste back into the agreement tube. Whatever is decided in important meetings, we have a culture of ignoring with impunity.



Jean said...

Hi Peter

Thanks for the reply; I have a copy of Wild Goose though have only used it to compose prayers. So, largely the majority of folk use the NZ Prayer Book Eucharist more or less as it is written. For this reason I am not persuaded a need for the Bishop (a.k.a. A title you may find chasing you around at present : ) to authorise the International Eucharistic prayers in use within a Diocese. However, I can see the wisdom of such a move due to our current climate within the global church. With the growing range of views and material on offer with now diverging theological viewpoint, having Eucharistic liturgy authorised within a Diocese will allow a means for ensuring the theological foundation of what is being used in Parishes remains consistent with the biblical teaching framework of a specific region.


Unknown said...

Hello, Jean! What is Wild Goose?


Jean said...

Greetings Bowman!

“A Wee Worship Book” by Wild Goose Worship Group, is according to the book, the outworking of the Wild Goose Worship Group an ecumenical group formed out of the Iona community with a commitment to the renewal of public worship. It contains liturgy for Morning, Noon and Night and Holy Communion. The intention was for its use as an adjunct as opposed to a replacement of denominational liturgies.

My copy was a gift - I do not lead worship, but the creative, arty side of me enjoys the expression of language contained in it. Wild Goose is a Celtic symbol of the Holy Spirit.

Enjoy your day.

Unknown said...

Thank you, Jean, for your informative and interesting reply.

The liturgical importers I know here up yonder are partial to Taize rather than Iona or Lindisfarne. And thus far, no purveyers of the latest neo-Celticity have asked us to pray in the name of the Mother, Child, and Wild Goose. But there seems to be a first for everything new, and some would like to see the last of a few things ancient.

On the rest of the thread, I am still undecided because the premises of the several contributors are unclear and to me a bit novel. Up here, TEC's BCP 1979 gives the celebrant four contemporary eucharistic prayers A, B, C, and D that read as smooth, rich translations of the Roman Rite's 1, 2, 3, and 4. (Indeed, I have heard them in Catholic masses in parishes that think the padre is just improving the wooden style of the missa.) So no interest up here in a rite to express America per se. Peter's desire to protect your local liturgics industry from unfair competition from foreign imports is something new to me.

I can say that I share Bosco's usual concern that liturgical acts either be demonstrably those of the whole Body or else lead in due course to the officiant's deposition, excommunication, and removal. To accommodate local and missional creativity, the ways of demonstrating that solidarity can vary somewhat-- I prefer well-wrought directories to overwrought rites-- but the necessity of doing so is intrinsic to Christian belief and practice. Perhaps that is only to say that I prune well as winter approaches and see the Wild Goose doing the same as lost churches shrink and close.


Unknown said...


All of us, I think, see change around us, respect the reasons for much of it, and assume that vibrant churches will adapt to it. But a few of us also see that some of this change is Western culture's conscious pulling away from its historic churches. How should a church adapt to this?

We few, I again think, are not conservatives commanding the tide not to rise, but we do predict that churches will die where they are not equally conscious in articulating their integrity in Christ. Hostility toward our societies is the misguided mindset of Jonas; independent in the midst of them is what those in Christ are always called to be.

That Topic has been most difficult for those on both sides who still expect a society-church symbiosis after the passing of Christendom. Old-time conservatives found it hard to see that civil unions or SSMs corrected a social and economic injustice that did nothing to promote the gospel. Old-time liberals have struggled to show that SSB can meet the higher standard of integrity of a post-Constantinian church.

Bryden Black said...

Kia ora Bowman; re yours @ September 1, 2018 at 8:18 AM, and then the PS

I too am rather perplexed as to why we need to get all knotted up over importing suitable (sic!) liturgies that enrich our worship experience .... But then, I’ve had the enjoyment of encountering first hand such a diverse lot of liturgies over the years and across the world of AC, and elsewhere. Not least, I had the great pleasure and good fortune to spend a month in the company of your own Marion Hatchett back in 1977, when he was “scholar in residence” during a month we had at St George’s College, Jerusalem. He filled/sorted out a number of lacunae in my seminarian training!

But as you perhaps intimate in the PS: gone are the days of lex orandi, lex credendi ... for the simple reason that massive cultural change these past decades and even centuries has perforce manifested itself in such vast liturgical changes that they may no longer express any common ‘family’ resemblance. The huge shifts in actual belief do manifest themselves in liturgical behaviour. Hence the irony of the (sic) above!! And now of course re That Topic ... and your very last paragraph:

As Providence would have it, I have been rostered on to preach tomorrow on Titus 2:11-15. Should be fun! Not least given our most local of situations ... and the fact that I try always to structure what I have to say via a Life-Bible-Life process. And what a life situation we’re in right now! And what a richly encapsulating passage from the Bible!! ‘Cretans’ beware ...!

Father Ron said...

Dear bryden,

I'm interested in the fact that you have chosen - or been instructed - to preach on a text from Titus 2: 11-15, a biblical passage that does NOT appear in our authorised New Zealand lectionary for Sunday, 02 September 2018.

I remember our former Bishop encouraging diocesan clergy to 'stick to the lectionary' authorised by our ACANZP. Is there a special reason for your deviation from the set Readings? It is this sort of 'deviation' a problem that sets your partush apart from the rest of us - I think this is one of the issues being dscussed on this thread.

Another question is this. Do you consider the clergy of your Church to be immune from diocesan rules on the conduct of preachment that neglects the thematic scheme that our Church has mapped out for the education and spiritual needs of the whole Church that we are part of? Or is there a HINT OF 'CONGREGATIONALISM' at work that considers a particular parish free to choose its own thematic teaching?

Bryden Black said...

Thanks Ron for your reaction to my latest post. It exactly illustrates my opening sentence: “I too am rather perplexed as to why we need to get all knotted up over importing suitable (sic!) liturgies that enrich our worship experience.”

The point is this: I respect the fact that another is my vicar. He has made it plain to all of us that his coverage of the Bible, “the whole counsel of God”, will embrace the necessary intent of the Lectionary ever since its 1970 revisions onwards. And this he has done, via OT selections of entire swathes, e.g. the Joseph saga, via solid chunks of Gospel, and now we happen to be in the entire Letter to Titus.

This methodology parallels boldly the intent of the Lectionary well, but also has the added advantage of enabling us all to see the sweep of a sizeable section of Scripture and not just snippets (even if these do mostly try to embrace a common theme in the current Common Lectionary).

As it happens, this particular purple passage of the Pastorals, seems to most providentially permit an address which hits the nail right on the head re our present wretched dilemmas as a church and a Church. I’ll take that as a form of confirmation way superior to any bureaucratic Pharisaic rubric, thank you. For in the end Ron, the difficulty with both the essence of this thread (notably its engine), plus a fair few of the comments within it, is that they come well within that other Pastoral Letter’s warning of 2 Tim 3:5. “Hear what the Spirit is saying to the Church.”

Jean said...

Fear not BW the Wild Goose remains encapsulated in the book title only - (e.g. not so wild). Taize Services have become somewhat popular in Kiwi-land too. Perhaps we have the range of imports, probably not surprising as the Pakeha’s amongs us were all imported. As far as I know I am little English, Scottish and Irish which might explain many a thing. As Peter shows his fondness of though, the NZ prayer book is well written for our context. Have there been no attempts at all in the US of A to write liturgy to connect with context,not even amongst those of Native American or African American heritage?

Peter Carrell said...

DEar Bryden and Ron
Please take care ...

Bryden: the prescription that we follow the lectionary is not a bureaucratic Pharisaic rubric. It is a requirement of our church. You cannot disobey requirements of our church with subjective appeals to private judgement on what appears to be providential on any given Sunday ... if you are not going to follow the lectionary then sin boldly but, please, do not support such bold sinning with weak arguments!

Unknown said...

Jean, I would be surprised and disappointed to find that no further experiments had been attempted, but speaking broadly, Native Americans/First Nations are accommodated by translating the BCP etc into their languages, whilst African Americans usually prefer their own gospel music and often Anglo-Catholic ceremony. There is no better celebration of Easter in English.

Long ago, I was invited to the Baptist ordination of an African American friend. I had the only pale face in the nave, where I was quite enjoying the informal musical offering before the service.

But then the ushers led me back to the clergy and the candidate. Black (or National) Baptists in Virginia adhere closely to the practice of C17 English Baptists whose ordinations were recognisably influenced by Calvin's rsther patristic reconstruction of the act in the Institutes. So the local clergy having been assembled, they had to examine the candidate privately, approve his ordination, and plan the service. They were in no hurry, and neither was the congregation outside.

The senior minister in the county asked a blind man who had memorised the Bible to examine the candidate's overall knowledge of the text of the Bible. The examiner, a bit like a pitcher in baseball or cricket, tossed a string of increasingly difficult questions to which my friend replied. The clergy around the table cheered them both on as if it were a boxing match they wanted both to win. Finally, when the candidate replied that Abiathar was the high priest when David's men ate the shew-bread, the examiner declared that he had no more questions, and the room erupted with cheers and applause. Then the senior minister called on each of us in turn to ask the candidate three questions, the first (at least) from scripture. Mine were all about apocalyptic texts-- Daniel 7:9-13, St John i 9, and Revelations 12-- and again the company cheered on my questions as much as his answers.

The senior minister asked whether any objected to the ordination of the candidate. None did. He called for a show of hands; all raised them. He asked for a voice vote. All said aye.

Unknown said...

The senior minister divided the service. Wryly noting that I was new to all this-- as a 20 year old undergraduate I was new to everything-- he assigned me the openimg prayer. "Keep it short," he said.

Rejoining the congregation, now exuberantly singing and swaying on its feet, the clergy were seated on a row of chairs spanning the chancel. A wave of applause briefly interrupted the singing to greet us. I, going first, was seated to the far left. What could be simpler?

When the signal was given, I strode up to the pulpit and began to recite the BCP prayer attributed to St John Chrysostom. I expected it to take about a minute, but as soon as I got the first phrase out, the congregation started hollering praise to the Lord. As soon as the voices calmed a bit, I tried to continue at the second phrase; it was again punctuated by a wave of devotion. This congregation was going to pray in call-and-response, and the prayer was going to last much longer than a minute.

What they wanted, I finally understood, were words or phrases to shout back that evoked an attitude of prayer. And they were especially happy when they settled on the sane ones. And vocal cues to the significance of words made it easier for them to respond together. Unscripted as it is, there is an art to it.

Unknown said...

The senior minister was pleasantly shocked by how well it was going. When I finally got to the end of the prayer and turned to sit down, he motioned for ne to stay and keep going.

With what? The Lord's Prayer was assigned and other prayers seemed not quite right for call-and-response. Perhaps because I was in an apocalyptic mood anyway, I persevered with the anaphora of BCP 1979 Eucharistic Prayer D pp 372-376, substituting a few references to ordination for the Words of Institution etc.

EP D is modeled on EP 4 in the Roman Rite, which itself recollects several early and Eastern anaphoras. So once we were past the Sursum Corda-- which can be read as simple instruction in how to do call-and-response-- we were meditating on God " and true... dwelling in light inaccessible... from before time and for ever... Fountain of life... Source of all goodness.. you made all things and fill them with your blessing; you created them to rejoice in the splendor of your radiance..." In that crowd it was fun to pray, "countless throngs of angels stand befote you to serve you night and day..." and on to the Sanctus and Benedictus.

Unknown said...

When I had done all that I could, I was dismissed with some applause, and the service continued-- more prayer, a brief public examination of the candidate, the usual readings, a choir, some preaching, the laying on of hands, more prayer, the Aaronic blessing, more singing. At the reception that followed, I was asked in several polite ways how I had learned to pray like a black man.

Unknown said...

None of that, Jean, was very Celtic, but I still hope that the Wild Goose was pleased. I was and am intrigued that the old words worked so well in an unexpected setting. And because of that, I have since suspected that liturgists accomplish at least as much when they teach prayer to congregations as when they carve new rites into official stone. A virtue of having a repertory of common prayer and prayer-forms is that a church can get on to reflection on how they are interpreted and performed. If Bosco or Peter have thoughts on this, they will be interesting.


Peter Carrell said...

Dear Bryden
Thanks for a recently submitted comment which I will redact a little as it is not helpful on a public blog to discuss the merits etc of others via names.

Out of deference Ron to our host and bishop elect, I shall conclude with some final observations.

[A previous vicar's] method of selection for public readings of Scripture and so sermons was pretty eclectic, even perhaps Congregationalist as you charge. YET WHAT OTHER ORDAINED MINISTER IN THE DIOCESE [] GREW OVER 23 YEARS A PARISH OF 650-670 ASA? “By their fruits ...”


Just so Ron and Peter, I boldly reassert the criterion of 2 Tim 3:5 as a most serious warning to both of you. Meanwhile, we shall be rejoining the RCL for Advent through to Epiphany. Fin ...

Note from Peter C: Indeed, Bryden, and the above comment is a stronger argument for your point than the previous argument ... but either way, to not follow the lectionary needs to be clearly understood as voiding the authority of our church expressed through its rules, something (voiding the authority) colleagues are wrestling with in our church at this time, and hopefully on a consistent basis across all our rules.

Unknown said...

If one wants to preach outside the lectionary, why not read the preaching text after the lectionary texts? Why not more scripture rather than less?

If one refuses to read the scriptures with the rest of the ecumenical Church-- I would be fascinated to know why not-- then if one is indeed in Christ, why not be say, a Baptist instead of an Anglican?

Only the Holy Spirit gives solid growth to churches. He does sometimes use new methods or personalities, but nothing that absolutely depends on either is ultimately important to anyone.

Identity politics is not my cup of tea, but reading that the origin of the lectionary was "bureaucratic" and "Pharasaic" made me wish that civil servants were always so wise and grateful that the Jews in that invention had been.

Thinking scripturally and naturally, dioceses are the only churches, but they will usually have some varied assemblies that meet apart from the whole for sprcial needs. In the C21, churches that meet only in cathedrals and a few web-connected chapels-of-ease are entirely feasible, and may (see Mike Bird's OP on this) be the foreseeable future.

Behind all of this-- sometimes behind even That-- is a doctrinal question that hovers over Anglican evangelicals generally--

Is it faithful to the scriptures today to act as though forensic, particularist soteriology is sufficient and any participationist one is absent from the Word?

After all, *ecclesia reformans semper reformanda,* and it is undeniable that *union with Christ* has been retrieved in every Protestant theological tradition, even the conservative confessional Reformed (eg Richard Gaffin, Jim Jordan). When the scriptures could still be read as exclusively particularist and forensic, a certain cocky orneriness against catholic tradition could almost seem brave and holy. But if such readings were ever plausible, surely they are not the most persuasive today. Those regenerate in Christ normally work with the Body, not alone.


Bryden Black said...

Ah Bowman; your delightful fourfold comment warrants the 2018 Golden Goose Egg Award (if our host were to set up such a thing). Loved the story; thanks! [What’s the rubric for the said award? Why; simply the best comment presented during the year.]

Bryden Black said...

Naturally Peter I respect your authority to edit comments on this blog: you’re our host. In my own defence I’d submit two further points, and a final conclusion.
1. You’ve taken at least half the wind out of the evidential sail you yourself were actually seeking in your own initial response. The counterpoint of your third [] was telling ... So be it! Yet perhaps that too is a parable ...
2. Ah yes; “all our rules.” What surely is a parable is our Lord’s comment that ties in powerfully with that 2 Tim 3 warning: let’s hope these formal rules are not too busy straining out gnats while swallowing camels. Just so, “Pharisaic”.
For what is paramount about our present Kiwi Episcopally granted authority is that it promises already to be inconsistent across the whole, leading to real impairment within the whole, via their respective liturgical options taken.

Father Ron Smith said...

Dear Bryden, those who have a 'pet' cause to propound are usually (a) the first to criticise others for using their preferred exegetical process; and (b) not averse to using their own casuistic arguments for avoiding use of the officially approved lectionary as to support their particular punch-lines. It is for this very reason that our Church insists on due process with the reading of the scriptures.

Providentially, the arguments you might have used to support your own selection of Scripture yesterday (Titus 2:11-15) for your preaching at the Eucharist, could probably have been countered by my use of the authorised Readings in my preachment at the 8am Mass at SMAA, which (in James 1:17-27) warns against those who think they are more 'religious' than others. Also, in the Gospel (Mark 7) Jesus warns the Pharisees of their obsession with the protocols while forgetting that inward purity is more important than mere outward observances.

Bryden Black said...

Funny that Ron; our Vicar has just asked us to go through the Letter of James. Sermons on the website. Enjoy!

Unknown said...

Thank you, Bryden, for this unexpected hypothetical honour.

And thank you, Jean, for an interesting question to answer.

Alas, the second part of the five-fold comment is missing. If Peter cannot find it, I may fill that in some day.

Father Ron, where in St Mark vii do the Jerusalem Pharisees and scribes argue that outward observances are *more* important than inner purity? Had you been on the scene to argue for inner purity, Jesus and the Pharisees etc would all have stopped arguing to agree with you-- "Yes, Gentile Ron, inner purity is very important to God; stay pure!-- and then they would have turned back to serious halachic reasoning about the applicability of temple regulations to Galilee.

One might say that the southerners had traveled north to Galilee with the inspiring, egalitarian, even humble message that temple sanctity is available everywhere to any Jews who prepare for it. That is the motivation for their innovations, and it is still the message of rabbinical Judaism today.

But Jesus himself is shown confirming the purity law in its original form, whilst rejecting an elaboration of it that burdened souls and obscured its ultimate purpose. If one knows that Jesus's Body is the type of which the temple is the antitype, his rejection of a temple-defined purity makes much more sense. But in St Mark vii, Simon is not yet Peter, and so only the Lord understands this.


Jean said...

Is that a Wild (free range) Golden Goose Egg award you are proposing Bryden or a domesticated version? : )

Peter Carrell said...

Dear Bowman
I was having such a good run with the new lease of life Google notifications were giving me about comments that I had stopped checking the "Awaiting Moderation" page. But, alas ... still now found. Incidentally, what a great story :)

Bryden Black said...

I think you well know the answer already Jean: “Aslan is not a tame Lion!” [But i now mix my critters ...!]

Bryden Black said...

I guess Bowman we shall have to wait to see if our Bp elect will grant a faculty or not!

As for you correct use of anti-type/type reading, I guess you already know Nick Perrin’s Jesus the Temple (Baker, 2010)? Wonderful exposée.

Anonymous said...

That Jesus did consider some (at least) of his Pharisaic opponents to be externalists and hypocrites is plain from many passages in Mark and Matthew (and the earlier we date these gospels, the stronger the case that these disputes reflect the actual ministry of Jesus rather than a retrojection of late first century controversy between the church and the synagogue - as a lot of critics aver about Matthew's Gospel). But the doctrinal-pastoral issue at hand was the Pharisees' belief that all Israel (or the men at least) were called to live as priests and thus follow the rules of priestly purity. To buttress their claim, they had recourse to the theory of the Oral Torah, which God had supposedly given to Moses along with the tablets of stone and the law recounted in the Pentateuch. The Oral Torah had supposedly been conveyed by word of mouth down every generation since Sinai. It's plain that Jesus didn't buy this theory, as he dismisses the Pharisees' teaching as 'your own traditions' (Mark 7.9) and 'the commandments of men'. In other words, Jesus rejected the proto-Tridentine 'two-source theory of divine revelation' - he was 'sola Scriptura' man avant la lettre. (Sorry, couldn't resist that one.)

Unknown said...

Never underestimate the influence of Trent on the Pharisees. It continues even today! ;-)

Sanders explains the Second Temple Jews as they actually were, Lim shows that our OT canon was a tradition of the Pharisees, and Humphreys tells us what the canonical scriptures actually say about tradition. Boyarin and Schaefer offer integrated accounts of the origins of the episcopal and rabbinical religions that survived AD 70. All of this was unknown or forgotten before; knowing it better now, we think and pray on.

Even Douglas Campbell does not think that his massive Deliverance of God is the last critical word on St Paul, justification, etc. And there are other massive newvtomes on Paul to love. But Deliverance may be (like Baby Rudin in real analysis) the winnowing fork that separates fully responsible exegetes from the rest.

Which reminds me, Bryden, of your other neighbour Mike Bird's campaign for the papacy. Not the throne of St Peter or of St Mark, but the long vacant one of St John Stott. Since the latter's passing, there has been no single evangelical who was a universally respected arbiter and influencer of doctrine. That has been so, despite the revival of evangelical learning, because none of the several worthy candidates for such a role has quite transcended, both in style and substance. his church and continent. And of the most popable, those few who are comfortable with the new learning have been too busy producing and guiding it to follow developments farther afield. Anyway, the best scholar is not necessarily the best pope.

Bird's trajectory has been different. Baptist --> Presbyterian --> Anglican. Oz --> Scotland --> North America (frequent visitor) --> Oz. He stands with the confessional Reformed, but on the Amyrauldian edge of them nearest the right-wing Barthians, Lutherans, and Wesleyans. He has published good contemporary research-- he's not a fuddyduddy who knows too much about Lady Jane Grey but nothing at all about Metatron-- and has produced a good introductory system for "gospel people." That system is broad enough to countenance believer's baptism whilst urging frequent eucharist and at least a virtual presence. He is young enough to attract further influence, and he is obviously figuring out how to use what he has.

What do you think?


Anonymous said...

Dear Bryden

You write "we shall have to wait to see if our Bp elect will grant a faculty or not!" - a faculty for what?



ps. I am pleased to see that “Brydenese” is becoming accepted as a dialect.
[laterally: many people do not realise NZ has TWO official languages. English is not one of them]

Bryden Black said...

Aha! Sorry Bosco ... The context is Jean’s and my brief exchange regarding BW’s being awarded the Golden Goose Egg Award. Which too has naturally its wider context ...
Unfortunately written words especially on blogs sometimes don’t quite have the humour tones of spoken speech – even in Brydenese!

Bryden Black said...

Dear Bowman, yours of September 4, 2018 at 1:25 PM awaits still a reply: a bit busy of late with intractables ...!

While I've encountered MFB's material over the years, I've never met him in person - yet! For all that, his scope and depth is impressive and fruitful. YET again for all that, my sense goes elsewhere:

Given the tide of the Holy Spirit (Kenneth Latourette) clearly suggests the western church is ebbing somewhat and those tides of the Third World/Majority World/Two Thirds World are in full flow, I'd hope for any 'papal successor' to JRWS to come from these churches.