ACNA Prayer Book chairman pleased with progress

 

ACNA Prayer Book chairman pleased with progress

Author: 

James Gibson

The Anglican Church in North America will probably not have a completed Prayer Book for several more years, but the Rt. Rev. Bill Thompson, Bishop of the Diocese of Western Anglicans and chairman of the Prayer Book and Common Liturgy Taskforce, is pleased with the progress that is being made on the project. The taskforce completed three days of meetings in Columbia, South Carolina on Wednesday.
“During these three days, we accomplished a great deal,” Bishop Thompson said.
Among the tasks nearing completion is the Eucharistic rite which will be used at the upcoming ACNA Assembly in June. “It may not be the final form,” Bishop Thompson said, “but it will give the people there an opportunity to see what we are doing.”
A priority to which the taskforce has been committed from the beginning is an ordinal that will ensure future deacons, priests, and bishops take appropriate vows. “We thought it was important to have a solid, theologically grounded ordinal,” Bishop Thompson said. “If you were to compare the 1979 Prayer Book with the 1928 edition, you would see the vows are very divergent. The 1979 Prayer Book was much more watered down. We thought it was important for those being ordained to make the right kinds of vows.”
Work has also begun on rites for baptism and confirmation, as well as the offices for Morning and Evening Prayer. Marriage and burial rites will be considered in the near future.
Although the taskforce is made up of persons from a diversity of liturgical backgrounds, Bishop Thompson said there has been remarkable unity among the group. In his homily at the closing Eucharist service, the bishop thanked the taskforce members for keeping their focus on the most essential thing, namely, a love for Christ and his church.
“One of the first things we did in our first meeting in November 2008 was to put together what we called a theological lens,” Bishop Thompson said. “What were the things that were important? What did we want to do? What did we not want to do?”
What has emerged is a commitment to unity, consistency, and the traditions of both Anglicanism and the early, undivided church. “The theology will be consistent with our Anglican heritage and with the heritage of the early church before the division of East and West,” Bishop Thompson said. “Innovation was not a high priority.”
There is currently no timetable for completion of the Prayer Book, but Bishop Thompson said that with the electronic technology now available, parishes will be able to begin using its resources long before the finished product is published.