Enriching Our Worship: Supplemental Liturgical Materials [Paperback] Review

Enriching Our Worship: Supplemental Liturgical Materials [Paperback]It is an oft-quoted joke that if you ask an Anglican to pray, the Anglican will first reach for a book.Reality is, as it often is, twice as true and half as funny, but for a particular reason.The Anglican liturgical style is very rooted in tradition, and while innovation is acceptable, it must be done in full recognition and appreciation of the past.The primary book used during worship services is the Book of Common Prayer, a book that has remained the centre of Anglican worship in various formats since the 1600s.Each national church has the option of modifying the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) for itself; as the various national churches strive to develop liturgies that their communities respond to fully, they develop trial liturgies and disseminate those in various ways.One typical way for the Episcopal church (the official branch of the Anglicans in America) is to publish supplemental liturgical books that may be used along side (almost never instead of) the Book of Common Prayer.
'Enriching Our Worship' is one of the latest of such books, deriving from the deliberations of the more recent General Conventions and the liturgies approved for consideration.One of the primary purposes of this book is inclusive and expansive language, incorporating the broader considerations of language highlighted by liberation theologians (among others) that traditional language tends to lean too exclusively toward patriarchal models of God and community.The language of many worship services, while of undeniable beauty and majesty, still feels more like an historical reenactment at times than a true worshipful experience for many people.The language of the eighteenth and nineteenth century still dominates, even in the 1979 American version of the Book of Common Prayer.
As the introduction states, this is simply another step in a continuing journey of the liturgical development in the life of the church.Some changes are rather minor -- for example, the 1979 BCP still has the simple substitution, derived from 1789, replacing the monarch of Britain with the President in the prayer formulations when praying for the leadership of the nation; this does not reflect the true separation-of-powers method of American governance, so Enriching Our Worship addresses this.At other places, the language shift is much more dramatic (hence, more controversial).avoiding masculine references to God, even in the traditional Father-Son-and-Holy-Spirit formulations.
The text includes revised versions of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer, an Order for Evening Worship (a variant of Compline), a Great Litany, a Holy Eucharist service (with three Eucharistic prayers), fraction anthems, blessings, and other prayers.This text also recognises the importance of music in worship, and adds as the final pages the musical notations for opening acclamations, prefaces, concluding doxologies, and fraction anthems.
There are notes about historical, social and theological considerations for many of the changes made, but these are cursory compared the volumes of text written regarding liturgical development in the church.This is a text meant to be used.However, it is also a text meant to be critiqued, and the church invites commentary back in various forms from those use it.
For Episcopalians and others attracted to liturgical forms of worship, this is a good text to have to show some of the modern ideas as they intersect traditional patterns of worship.

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