One of the joys of our tradition is that the prayers, Creed, and Scripture readings (ie. our liturgy) flows from a rich history spanning back to the very early church and across the globe. Every so often, church leaders revise this liturgy in order to modernize language and clarify doctrine.
Anglican bishops allow their churches to choose among approved liturgies. Presently, many Anglican churches, including Restoration, have been using the 1979 Book of Common Prayer (Rite II). In 2009, the College of Bishops commissioned a Liturgy Task Force (LTF) to develop a renewed Prayer Book. The hope is that as our denomination grows, we can become more unified in our form of worship while contextualizing local services under the discernment of the Rector (lead pastor) and Bishop. The LTF is nearing the completion of this impressive work.
Our bishop, Bishop Stewart, has recently asked all of the churches in the Upper Midwest to use the ACNA’s “Renewed Ancient” liturgy throughout Easter Season. This liturgy is what will appear in the ACNA’s published Prayer Book in 2019. I’m very excited about this. And actually, if you were at our Easter service, you’ve already heard it! Much of the language is similar to what we’ve known. (If you would like to see a detailed comparison of the BCP ’79 and ACNA Renewed Ancient liturgy, check out this chart.) Among other things, using this liturgy will be a beautiful sign of unity among our regional churches.
As you hear these prayers each week, especially the communion prayers, I invite you to listen carefully for the story of salvation and hope of glory; stand firm in your faith knowing that Christians are joining in our prayers from across time and throughout the world; and be strengthened by Christ himself as he mysteriously nourishes you through his Word and at his Table.