Texts for Common Prayer
"The Bible Arranged for Worship"
The Liturgy and Common Prayer Task Force is pleased to announce that the the following Texts for Common Prayer are now available in PDF and Microsoft Word format:
- Morning & Evening Prayer
- Holy Eucharist
- The Ordinal
- Guiding Principles of Christian Worship
With the exception of The Ordinal, which has been authorized and adopted, and is The Ordinal of the Province, the other materials offered in Texts for Common Prayer are “working texts” approved for use by the College of Bishops. These working texts are not yet finalized, awaiting response from the experience of their wide use in the Church. With that in mind, these rites are commended as appropriate forms for worship in the present season. The Archbishop’s instruction to the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force was the production of rites that were “so faithful and attractive that the Church would want to use them.” The hope in making Texts for Common Prayer available now is to give evidence that the assignment is well underway, and to invite the whole Body of Christ into the process of receiving and perfecting. Responses can be sent via email to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Although Texts for Common Prayer is copyrighted, many of the texts herein are in the public domain. Nothing in the copyright is designed to prohibit congregations from the free use of the texts in the form published.
UPDATE: Version 1.1 of the Texts for Common Prayer was released 11/16/13. This release corrects typos found in the original.
The Texts for Common Prayer is available in PDF and Microsoft Word formats in the following versions:
Binder Version (8.5 x 11)
Created with church office workflows in mind, this version has been optimized for a standard letter-sized document (8.5" x 11"), though the font choices can accommodate a variety of formats. Since some parishes create integrated booklets that include both the liturgy and correlating material (musical settings, lyrics, announcements, etc.) specific page numbering has been left out of this version.
Numbered Binder Version (8.5 x 11)
This version includes descriptions and numbering at the bottom of each page. This is the easiest way to reproduce the Texts for Common Prayer. Simply download and print!
Special Note: The page numbers are specific to each optimized version, and are not meant to correlate to the commercially printed and bound version of the TCP to be released in January of 2014.
On the Horizon: HTML & CSS
Many would prefer to access the Texts for Common Prayer online for devotional use. Still others would like to have an easy way to embed the prayers on their parish website.
Morning & Evening Prayer
Texts for Common Prayer (Full)
Guiding Principles of Christian Worship
On behalf of the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force, I am delighted humbly to offer some explanations of these proposed liturgies. They are more "old" than "new," since they closely follow the traditional theology of the BCP 1662. What follows are answers to anticipated questions. If you have any further questions, do not hesitate to contact your bishop or the Task Force at email@example.com.
We thank you for entrusting us with this privilege and we offer it you and to the Glory of God.
+William A. Thompson
Chair, Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force
Acclamation: Why has an article been placed before each Person of the Trinity? (i.e., "Blessed be God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit ...").
By using "the" we emphasize the nature of God as three persons rather than one person in three aspects (e.g., "Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier"). Avoidance of the article, "the," can lead to Unitarianism/modalism and undercut the Trinity.
The Collect for Purity: Why allow the whole congregation to say this prayer?
This historic prayer was originally said in the sacristy by the priest alone, but is now intended as a preparation for the whole congregation.
Summary of the Law/Decalogue: Why do we recite the Summary of the Law/Decalogue at the beginning of the Liturgy?
Our baptismal vows require sponsors to teach The Decalogue, The Lord's Prayer, and the The Creeds. Cranmer introduced The Decalogue as preparation for worship and as a reminder of our duties as Christians. The loss in our current society of absolute values requires the Church's response.
Kyrie: Why do we sing or say the Kyrie at every Liturgy?
In ancient times the congregation offered personal intercessions before the Liturgy began, using the Kyrie as the response to each petition. Later it was retained as a reminder that we, by virtue of sin, are unable to approach Almighty God apart from His Mercy and Grace.
Collect of the Day: Why are we changing the response to the greeting?
The Collect is intended to express the theme of the lessons for the day. It is prefaced by a greeting, "The Lord be with you," and the response, "And with your spirit." The greeting and response are direct translations from the Greek (cf. Galatians 6.18), and the Latin, "et cum spiritu tuo," which Cranmer translated correctly as "and with your spirit."
Lessons: Why are we including the reading of more than two lessons?
In the 1662 BCP the assumption was that the whole congregation would be present for the reading of the Old Testament in daily Morning and Evening Prayer. The current situation is such that the Old Testament is often ignored. In providing three lessons at the Eucharist, the congregation is given the benefit of hearing the clear inter-connection of Old and New Testaments; where the prophecies of the Old Testament are shown to be prefigurements of the New.
Nicene Creed: Why, in the Nicene Creed, are we saying "We believe" rather than "I believe?"
The original Greek text used "We Believe" because this Creed reflects the belief of the whole Church as a united body, as contrasted with the Apostles' Creed which is a personal profession of faith used at baptism. The translation we are using for the Creed is that used by The Church of England in "Common Worship," an adaptation of 1662 BCP.
Long form of the Prayer of Consecration: Where does this form of the prayer come from?
This form follows the 1928 American BCP and the 1962 Canadian BCP, both of which closely conform to the 1662 BCP.
Invocation: Why include the invocation of the Holy Spirit (epiclesis) in the prayer, and why in the placement represented here?
The prayer reflects the Trinitarian nature of the Deity, and acknowledges that all sanctifying action is by God's Spirit. The invocation is upon both the elements and the people. The placement is true to Cranmerian form and the ancient Sarum usage.
The Fraction: What is the purpose of the Fraction and why does it refer to the Passover in the present tense?
We have kept as optional the '79 BCP "Alleluia, Christ our Passover IS sacrificed for us" because it is a common ecumenical text and communicates the on-going, living reality of the sacrifice of Christ; the sacrifice is not something the priest is accomplishing, nor something which occurred only in the past, but "anamnesis," an on-going, living reality. A second option, "Christ our Passover Lamb..." is a reference to I Corinthians 11.24 as used by Cranmer in the first Prayer Book.
Prayer of Humble Access: Why was the language of the prayer changed?
Words such as "abundant" (changed from "manifold") and "...delights in showing mercy" (changed from "...whose property is always...") were considered more true to the intention of the text as it is understood in modern English. Furthermore, the original parallelism of "Body" and "Blood" of the 1662 text was restored.
Ministration of Communion: Why were the Words of Invitation changed?
The familiar text, "The gifts of God for the people of God," was first used in the 1979 BCP and was derived from a Greek Orthodox source. By contrast, "Behold the Lamb of God..." comes directly from Scripture and was used by Cranmer in the 1549 BCP.
Offices: Why has some of the language been changed in the Offices?
The format for both Morning and Evening Prayer are closely based on 1662, with changes in language to accommodate modern usage (e.g., "devices and desires" no longer means what it did in the 17th century but "deceit" communicates more clearly to a modern audience).
Phos Hilaron: Why was The Phos Hilaron added to Evening Prayer?
This ancient greek hymn was added in Evening Prayer to parallel the opening canticle, Psalm 95, in Morning Prayer. All the Canticles are rooted in Scripture and organized according to season.
Canticles: Where did the translations of the Canticles come from?
Following the directives of the Archbishop, we sought to update the Cranmerian texts. Further, we sought to include Canticles that have been part of the Daily Office for many Anglicans.
Collects: Why is there an option for a different collect for each day of the week?
These Collects were all present in previous prayer books but were little used. The intention is to re-appropriate them in such a way that they are used more regularly.
Antiphons: Why are there no "ordinary time" antiphons for the Venite?
This is an unfortunate oversight which will be corrected.
Venite: Why is the Venite shortened except in Lent?
This follows the form of the 1979 BCP (USA). The rubric will be corrected in the future to read, "The last section is especially appropriate for penitential occasions."
Confession: Why are the words, "apart from your grace..." added to the Confession?
This phrase underscores the importance of God's Grace at work in all of our lives.
Suffrages: Why, in the suffrages, was "Save the State" or "Save the Queen" omitted in the prayers?
Because the book will be used both in Canada and the US, the use of "nations" is more inclusive. Why did we include the additional versicle, "Let not the needy be forgotten" and the response, "and the hope of the poor be taken away"? This versicle and response come from the American BCP '79 and calls us to the Biblical commitment to care for the poor.
Ordinal: Why is the Ordinal not identical to the 1662 version, and why is it very different from the American BCP '79?
The new Ordinal is not new; it closely follows the 1662 texts, in particular it restores the strong language regarding the responsibility of Bishops, priests, and deacons to lead holy lives, and teach pure doctrine. The only additions are optional presentations of objects symbolic of each office which are part of the ancient customs of the Church frequently used even when not noted in previous prayer books.
Bound copies of the Texts for Common Prayer are headed to the distribution center. They will be available for delivery in mid-February. You can order online now.