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September 8, 2017

Liturgical Changes for the New Program Year

As we begin a new program year on Sun., Sept. 10, and wind down the long season after Pentecost, we will be using prayers from Enriching Our Worship 1, the liturgical supplement to the Book of Common Prayer first published in 1997. Enriching Our Worship is intended to "expand the language, images and metaphors used in worship." These expanded images are meant to help us enter into the "mystery of God" which "transcends all categories of knowing, including those of masculine and feminine" (Enriching our Worship 1, p. 5).

In using these prayers, we are participating in the ongoing work of Prayer Book revision and expansion that our Church has undertaken since the General Convention of 1789 adopted our first Book of Common Prayer. Next summer, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music will present General Convention with four possible paths for future Prayer Book revision.

One hallmark of Enriching our Worship is the dropping of the filioque clause ("and the Son") from the Nicene Creed–this is the phrase that describes the origin of the Holy Spirit. This might seem like a radical break with tradition, but these words were not included in the original version of the Creed, adopted at the council of Constantinople in 381. They were added later by Western Christians, but never accepted by the Eastern Orthodox, and became a major cause of the schism of 1054. The Episcopal Church committed to removing the clause from future revisions of the Prayer Book at the General Convention of 1994.

Finally, we will continue to use the contemporary translation of the Lord's Prayer through the end of the liturgical year. This translation (the work of the International Consultation on English Texts) captures the meaning of the original Greek in the everyday language of the modern world, and yet manages to retain a sense of poetry and rhythm--which becomes especially apparent the more you commit these new words to memory and can say them by heart.

Please contact the Rev. Jason Cox with any questions you may have.