A Dual Site Consultation:
hosted by the Center for Liturgy and Music at Virginia Theological Seminary
and The School of Theology at the University of the South (Sewanee)
The Episcopal Church’s General Convention has asked for the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to develop of a process for the possible revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. So the questions must be asked:
- Is it now time for prayer book revision or does the 1979 book continue to serve the church well?
- If the time has come, what sort of revisions, in part or in whole, might we need to make?
Consultation I was held at Virginia Theological Seminary in June, 2016. It’s premise was to ask whether the time for revision has come. Grounded in a fresh re-visitation of the conditions that led to the 1979 prayer book, a critical assessment of the current situation of the church’s life and witness was offered. Also addressed were those conditions – social, cultural, religious, theological, spiritual, missional – that powered the revision of 1979 and are similar conditions present now? What are those conditions and what challenges to our liturgical life do they present? What matters of aesthetics, language, and culture press the question of prayer book revision?
Consultation II was held at Sewanee in October, 2016. This conversation focused on the major rites and contents of the prayer book, assessing their present strengths and possible needs for revision, should a process of revision seem to the church to be timely. What liturgical, rites, rubrics, and practices have “worn well” over time and continue as lively practices in the church’s worship? What elements of the prayer book – Initiation, Proper Liturgies, the Eucharist, the Office, Pastoral Rites, and the Calendar – beg for revision?