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Vol II No. 5

The classic prayer book for the 21st century

by
Drew Nathaniel Keane

Liturgical renewal has taken center stage recently among Anglicans and the 1662 Book of Common Prayer in particular has been much in the spotlight. In 2018 the General Convention of the Episcopal Church (Resolution A068) invited Bishops to “engage worshiping communities in experimentation and the creation of alternative texts” — that is, alternatives to the 1979 — opening the door to the rediscovery of old liturgies as much as to the development of new ones.

Birmingham’s cathedral Church of the Advent, for example, has “chosen to engage portions of the earlier Prayer Books in our Communion liturgy (particularly those of 1552 and 1662), precisely because we believe those versions offer a clearer and more consistent gospel message.” GAFCON’s Jerusalem Declaration on the Global Anglican Future affirmed “the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer.” The 2019 Book of Common Prayer of the Anglican Church in North America calls the 1662 Prayer Book “Anglicanism’s sine qua non,” noting that at “the beginning of the 21st century, global reassessment of the Book of Common Prayer of 1662” recognizes it “as ‘the standard for doctrine, discipline, and worship.’” Even its 16th-century English, which many in the mid-20th century

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