Login
Vol I No. 1
PBS News & Events

Options for Prayer Book Revision put forward by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to the General Convention

by sinetortus

 

In response to the mandate from the previous General Convention to prepare a plan for the “Comprehensive Revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer , the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) first identified four options:

(1) initiating the process of full Prayer Book revision at the 79th General Convention;

(2) spending the upcoming triennium (2019-21) gathering and analyzing data so that the 80th General Convention could make an informed decision in 2021 regarding full Prayer Book revision;

(3) leaving the 1979 BCP as is for the time being, while developing and authorizing alternative rites and clarifying the canonical status of existing alternative rites; and

(4) presenting the upcoming General Convention with tools to encourage and facilitate a church-wide deepening of our engagement with 1979 Book of Common Prayer. These possible options were posted on the SCLM blog, inspiring spirited comments and debate from across the church.

After further deliberations these were narrowed down to two options which are now to be laid before the General Convention in Austin and it is to be noted that each option is costed out as the Commission has stressed the need for funding to match any work that is commissioned.

The two options are costed out at about 7-8 million for the full revision plan over three triennia, while the second option (containing a large budget for new works of translation comes down to 1.18 m over the next triennium.

 

The First Option:

The Commission explains, would commission the revision process immediately,  with a first stage being to gather data, resources, and ideas, and then in a second stage establish the structure to begin drafting immediately after 2021 General Convention.

The Budget estimate (2019-21 Triennium only) was set out thus :

  1. Full SCLM Meetings ($1600 per person per meeting; 20 people X 4 meetings): funding for interim body meetings is included in a separate, interim body budget line item.
  2. Bulletin collection project: $59,925
  3. Grounded Theory: $483,000
  4. Anglican Provinces: Interviews & Consultation: $4000 (10 Adobe Connect interviews with $250/filming & audiovisual, $150 transcription = $400/each x 10 = $4000)
  5. Support for academic conferences and papers: $20,000
  6. Focus groups/Art of Hosting: $908,800
  7. Representation at International Anglican Liturgical Consultation: $10,300
  8. Full-Time Project Manager: $410,000
  9. Communications: $21,000 ($7,000/year of triennium)
  10. Budget estimate for 2019-21 triennium (only) = $1,917,025

It was stressed however that this was simply for the first of a process that would extend over three triennia and accordingly that ‘a ballpark estimate for all three triennia combined, (and) …for the entire Prayer Book revision project, would be somewhere between $7 and $8 million.

The prepared resolution draft for consideration that would mandate this option reads as follows:

Resolution A068 Plan for the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer

Resolved, the House of ________ concurring, That the 79th General Convention approve the Option One plan for the Revision of the Book of Common Prayer 1979, which is included in the report to the 79th General Convention of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music Sub- committee on RevisionofTheBookofCommonPrayer;andbeitfurther

Resolved, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music be directed to implement this plan; and be it further

Resolved, That the sum of $1,917,025 be appropriated the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music for the completion of this plan.

 

The Second Option:

‘envisions a slower pace, while remaining open to Prayer Book revision in the future’ and invites the whole church to broaden its familiarity with the 1979 Prayer Book and the history that underlies it, and provides for time to reflect as a body on the significance of common prayer in our tradition.

The Budget plan for this option was set out as follows (however it is important to note that this option included what is in many respects a large separate project, namely that of translating the existing Prayer Book into a number of languages)

  1. Funding estimate (2019-21 triennium). For detailed accounting of how we arrived at these figures, see the Background Materials section:
    1. Full SCLM Meetings ($1600 per person per meeting; 20 people x 4 meetings): funding for interim body meetings are included in a separate, interim body budget line item.
    2. Bulletin collection project: $59,925
    3. Anglican Provinces Interviews & Consultation: $4000 (10 Adobe Connects interviews with $250/filming & audiovisual, $150 transcription = $400/each x 10 = $4000)
    4. Support for academic conferences and papers: $20,000
    5. Focus groups/Art of Hosting: $454,400
    6. Representation at International Anglican Liturgical Consultation: $10,300
    7. Full-Time Project Manager: $410,000
    8. Communications: $21,000 ($7,000/year of triennium)
    9. Translations of the Book of Common Prayer: $201,000
    10. Total budget estimate for 2019-21 triennium including translation project = $1,180,625

The SCLM has proposed the following draft resolutions to mandate this option :

Resolution A069 Engagement with the Book of Common Prayer

Resolved, the House of ________ concurring, That this 79th Convention of the Episcopal Church, calls the Episcopal Church to devote the next triennium to deep engagement with the structure, content, language and theological thrust of The Book of Common Prayer (1979), with a view to increasing the Church’s familiarity with the book in its entirety; and directs the SCLM to develop materials to aid

local dioceses, congregations, seminaries, and schools in the process of this deep engagement, focusing particularly on the use of the Prayer Book as an instrument for the catechesis and spiritual formation of the whole people of God; and directs the SCLM and the Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution and Canons to work jointly in expanding the canonical categories of liturgies authorized for use in this Church, resulting in resolutions to that effect to be considered by the 80th Convention in 2021.

And be it further

Resolved, That the sum of $1,180,625.00 be appropriated the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music for the completion of this plan.

(And the following note was added by way of historical background regarding the action of the previous General Convention

***

“2015-A068 of the 78th General Convention of the Episcopal Church reads:

Resolved, the House of Deputies concurring, That the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, in cooperation with the Custodian of the Book of Common Prayer, be directed to begin work on translation of portions of the Book of Common Prayer and/or other authorized liturgical resources into French, Creole, and Spanish, according to the principles outlined in Canon II.3.5; and be it further

Resolved, That the General Convention request the Joint Standing Committee on Program, Budget and Finance to consider a budget allocation of $40,000 for the implementation of this resolution; $20,000 to be allocated for work on French and Creole translations; and $20,000 for work on Spanish translations.

EXPLANATION

The 78th General Convention approved A068, asking to begin translation on portions of the Book of Common Prayer, yet failed to appropriate the funding to complete, or even begin, this work. It is the position of the SCLM that lack of needed funding is a serious injustice, and that adequate financial resources must be found to ensure professional, high-quality translations of our liturgical materials. Soon after its publication in 1979, the Book of Common Prayer was translated into Spanish and French. The translators were directed to make literal translations, which,

as a result, lacked the quality of the English version. The texts have been criticized by speakers of these languages as awkward, unidiomatic, and, in many instances, grammatically incorrect.

The continued use of these flawed translations sends a clear message to Episcopalians whose first language is not English: their culture and mother tongue are not valued enough to warrant the investment of resources necessary to address this problem professionally, in order that in keeping with Anglican principles, public prayer may take place in a language “understanded of the people.” (Article XXIV, Book of Common Prayer 1979, p. 872).

The SCLM therefore asks the General Convention to take decisive steps to correct these injustices, including a serious commitment of financial resources.

The Proposed Plan of Work through which Option Two would be implemented over the next triennium is set out as follows

    1. Catalogue texts used in worship: The SCLM will complete a comprehensive survey of worship in the Episcopal Church by collecting three service bulletins/leaflets (or descriptions, where these are not in use) from each congregation. Using the collected artifacts, a complete digital catalogue of the texts in use in worship in the Episcopal Church will be created and made publicly accessible upon completion.
    2. Listen to the church through focus group conversations: The SCLM will facilitate focus group meetings in each province and diocese in the Episcopal Church exploring our relationship with and experience of the Book of Common Prayer and other liturgies of the church. The SCLM will intentionally seek out ways to include all voices (including the differing theological, socio-economic, racial, generational, and gender identities within the church). The groups will draw on such methodologies as “The Art of Hosting” and other approaches that create safe, fertile space to tell the truth and be creative.
    3. Consult with other Anglican provinces: The SCLM will send two members as provincial representatives to the meeting of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation (IALC) to learn about the liturgical developments within other provinces, and consult with representatives of Liturgical Commissions in other Anglican Provinces.
    1. Liturgy in congregations using languages other than English: Consult with each language group within the Episcopal Church to learn about the liturgies in use in worship (both translated liturgies and those liturgies originally written in languages other than English) and learn how the SCLM and GC can help to empower these communities to craft or more widely share liturgies and music in their own mother tongues.
    2. Study and develop resources to equip congregations, musicians, seminaries, schools, and individuals for creative engagement with the 1979 Book of Common Prayer: The SCLM will intentionally explore the underutilized resources within the BCP 1979 diverse approaches to implementing the liturgies and using the liturgical space, and the use of the BCP 1979 for evangelism and formation.
    3. Study the need for liturgical and pastoral resources surrounding terminal illness and death: Collect resources currently in use and begin to develop new resources.

 

For the full text of the SCLM’s materials provided to the Convention go to

 

https://extranet.generalconvention.org/staff/files/download/21031