The Once and Future Prayer Book

The Center for Liturgy and Music, along with the School of Theology at Sewanee, recently sponsored a consultation to explore whether the time for a revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer  has come. Grounded in a fresh revisitation 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. What 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, to be held soon at Sewanee, will focus 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?

The plenary addresses of the Most Rev. Frank Griswold and the Rev. Dr. Lizette Larson Miller were recorded and we offer those to you here.