Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Not now. . .

Within the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States (that is, The Episcopal Church) there is within the structures of General Convention, the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music. Their mandate is (according to Canon I.1.2(n)(2)):

A Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music. The Custodian of the Book of Common Prayer shall be a member ex officio with voice, but without vote. It shall be the duty of the Commission to:
  • (i) Discharge such duties as shall be assigned to it by the General Convention as to policies and strategies concerning the common worship of this Church.
  • (ii) Collect, collate, and catalogue material bearing upon possible future revisions of the Book of Common Prayer.
  • (iii) Cause to be prepared and to present to the General Convention recommendations concerning the Lectionary, Psalter, and offices for special occasions as authorized or directed by the General Convention or Convocation of Bishops [sic].
  • (iv) Recommend to the General Convention authorized translations of the Holy Scripture from which the Lessons prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer are to be read.
  • (v) Receive and evaluate requests for consideration of individuals or groups to be included in the Calendar of the Church year and make recommendations thereon to the General Convention for acceptance or rejection.
  • (vi) Collect, collate, and catalogue material bearing upon possible future revisions of The Hymnal 1982 and other musical publications regularly in use in this Church, and encourage the composition of new musical materials.
  • (vii) Cause to be prepared and present to the General Convention recommendations concerning the musical settings of liturgical texts and rubrics, and norms as to liturgical music and the manner of its rendition.
  • (viii) At the direction of the General Convention, to serve the Church in matters pertaining to policies and strategies concerning Church music., the SCLM has recommended against revising The Hymnal 1982. That would make this hymnbook one of the oldest in use among churches using a hymnal -- without at least a moderate revision. The claim is that the Prayer Book should be revised first. The committee cited The Hymnal Revision Feasibility Study produced in 2012 by the Church Pension Group in which nearly 13,000 respondents gave overwhelming approval to the hymnal and the SCLM found this perhaps a red light to proceed with any revision with the utmost caution.

The General Convention had told the SCLM to continue its multitriennium project of revising the 2003 edition of the Book of Occasional Services (everything from seasonal blessings, to a Christmas Festival of Lessons and Music to a service for All Hallows’ Eve. The committee's revision modernizes “archaic language” and adds new material that includes such diverse rites as one to change one’s name (perhaps after changing one's gender), the requisite climate change rites, and even a rite for Día de los Muertos/Day of the Dead!  They were also asked to produce a set of prayers for racial reconciliation and justice (which they have done).

Perhaps of greater interest, the 78th General Convention (July 2015) changed the canonical language that defines marriage as being between a man and a woman (Resolution A036) and so the SCLM was told to develop two new marriage rites with same sex (Resolution A054).

One of the most curious complaints, however, was that the SCLM said over and over again that it was not given enough money to do what it was told to do.  Some things never change.  Oh well, they waited 42 years for the last hymnal.  Another 42 years would make it about 2024.  They have plenty of time to find the money and put it all together. . . along with some other probably changes to reflect the times which are a changin. . .


Anonymous said...

I assume readers of this blog also know about the cellar door blog, which regularly roasts the constant changes made (in language, length, and theology) to old Lutheran hymns in LSB.

Anonymous said...

Why the tiny type face? It is a real pain to read.

The 1982 Hymnal is almost as bad (but not quite) as the 1979 BCP. Fortunately, most Continuing Anglicans still use the BCP 1928 and the Hymnal 1940. That which is true and good does not have an expiration date. As long as you don't change the theology to suit the social demands, you have no need to change Prayerbook or Hymnal.

Fr. D+