The Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force of the Anglican Church in North America met for it’s first meeting since its reorganization at St. Vincent’s Cathedral (Bedford, TX), February 26-27, 2015. High on the task force’s agenda was preparing texts for the rites of Baptism and confirmation.
The Most Rev. Robert Duncan (Bishop, Diocese of Pittsburgh) serves as the chair, with the Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, (Bishop, Diocese of Quincy, retired) serving as vice chair, and the Rev. Dr. J. I. Packer serving as senior reader.
The February meeting of the task force focused on reviewing the drafts for Baptism and confirmation rites. The texts for review had originally been prepared for the College of Bishops meeting prior to the Provincial Assembly in June 2014, with additional editing by Bishop Ackerman following the Provincial Assembly. The Bishops Review Panel then provided substantial revisions of the proposed texts in December.
“The Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force came to a consensus with the materials sent by the Bishops Review Panel,” said Archbishop Emeritus Bob Duncan, following the meeting. “We expect that the Baptism and confi rmation rites will be sent to the June meeting of the College of Bishops for adoption as working texts for the Anglican Church in North America.”
The Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force has been reorganized to broaden the scope of projects and to strengthen communication between the College of Bishops and the task force. The reorganization includes a new Bishops Review Panel and five sub-committees:
- Calendar, Collects and Lectionaries
- Episcopal Offices
- Offices of the Hours and Special Liturgies
- Pastoral Offices
- Psalter and Music
The subcommittees are supported by a Secretarial, Editorial and Translation Team.
In addition to the Baptism and confirmation rites, the Liturgy and Common Worship Task Force is also considering putting forward two “ecumenical Canons” (most likely similar to Prayers A and D in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer). Also under review is a proposal to adjust the rubrics to allow greater flexibility within the Short Form.
“We are using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as our theological guide,” said Archbishop Duncan, “but we are also cautious to not be too rigid in adhering to the shape of its liturgies, especially since most of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer was not offered in a Eucharistic context.”
Reviewing the length of worship services, considering occasions when Baptism and confirmation are combined, as well as seriously reflecting on the importance of confirmation (both for the adult profession of faith and the apostolic laying-on-of-hands) continue to provide the task force with fresh liturgical challenges for the Church today.
“I am grateful for the opportunity to work with such extraordinary people who bring their time, talents, and expertise to this endeavor,” said Archbishop Duncan. “I am also grateful for so many who are remembering us in their daily prayers. While we are indeed challenged by the task before us, we are also deeply thankful to serve the Church community for the glory of God.”
Scores of comments and suggestions have been received (and continue to be invited) on the working texts at firstname.lastname@example.org The Task Force has as its first priority the production of all the necessary Prayer Book texts. Then the Task Force will turn to revisions of each of the working texts in light of the comments made by worshippers from across the Church.
You can learn more about the work of the Task Force at www.anglicanchurch.net/?/main/texts_for_common_prayer