House of Bishops proposes expanded path for prayer book revision

By Melodie Woerman
Posted Jul 10, 2018

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The House of Bishops on July 10 adopted a proposal for what it calls “liturgical and prayer book revision for the future of God’s mission through the Episcopal branch of the Jesus Movement.”

This summer’s meeting of General Convention is being invited to consider how it orders its common prayer and why.

The proposal is contained in an amended Resolution A068, substituting all new language for the version that the House of Deputies adopted on July 7. The bishops’ version of A068 now goes back to the House of Deputies.

Bishop Andy Doyle of Texas wrote the substitute language in consultation with the bishop members of the legislative Committee to Receive the Report of Resolution A169, which had considered Resolution A068 and others on prayer book revision.

The resolution now would authorize the ongoing work of liturgical and prayer book revision. The methodology will be a “dynamic process for discerning common worship, engaging all the baptized while practicing accountability to the Episcopal Church,” the resolution says.

The resolution now calls for creation of a Task Force on Liturgical Prayer Book Revision to be made up of 10 lay people, 10 clergy and 10 bishops, appointed by the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies. The members ought to reflect “the expertise, gender, age, theology, regional, and ethnic diversity of the church.”

This task force is to work with the Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Structure, Governance, Constitution and Canons to give the 2021 General Convention proposed revisions to the constitution and canons for more flexibility in liturgical choices.

House of Bishops session

The House of Bishops gathers for an afternoon legislative session July 10 in the Austin Convention Center during the 79th General Convention. Photo: David Paulsen/Episcopal News Service

The resolution memorializes the 1979 Book of Common Prayer “as a prayer book of the church preserving the psalter, liturgies, the Lambeth Quadrilateral, Historic Documents, and [its] Trinitarian Formularies.”

The resolution also states:

  • Liturgical revision will utilize inclusive and expansive language and imagery for humanity and divinity; and will incorporate understanding, appreciation and care of God’s creation;
  • Bishops are to engage worshiping communities in their diocese in experimentation and creation of alternative texts;
  • Every diocese is to create a liturgical commission to collect these diocesan resources and share with the proposed task force; and
  • All materials are to be professionally translated into English, Spanish, French and Haitian Creole.

It also calls on the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to create “a professional dynamic equivalence translation” of the current Book of Common Prayer and the Enriching Our Worship Series in Spanish, French and Haitian Creole. The SCLM would be called on to diversify the publication formats of new resources, liturgies and rites to include online publishing.

Full ENS coverage of the 79th meeting of General Convention is available here.

Doyle said he crafted his substitute after floor debate among bishops on July 9 that showed them deeply divided on the need for the revision process envisioned in the original resolution. Those who supported it said new language was needed to evangelize people outside the church and to address an imbalance between male and female imagery throughout the prayer book. Those who objected said it would take away from mission and evangelism, would cost too much or would delay improved translations of the current prayer book into other languages.

Doyle said that his substitute was carefully crafted and asked bishops to be careful in proposing amendments. “If we begin to pull on the strands it may easily fall apart,” he said. No amendments were offered.

– Melodie Woerman is director of communications for the Diocese of Kansas and is a member of the ENS General Convention reporting team.


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Comments (66)

  1. Jordan Sakal says:

    I am exceedingly proud of the Bishops here for putting forward their own plan for revision of the Book of Common Prayer. Adding language to make the BCP more inclusive reflects Christ’s message of loving one another and as a church that should be our ultimate mission and focus.

  2. Jon Spangler says:

    I fail to understand how revising our 1979 Book of Common Prayer– which has helped us become somewhat more inclusive as a church, as far as it goes — could possibly “take away from mission and evangelism, would cost too much, or would delay improved translations of the current prayer book into other languages.”

    If anything, making our BCP more inclusive will improve our ability to reach out in today’s world to share the timeless and priceless Gospel message. Re-translating our message (= God’s message) once again into more contemporary language — so that people today can actually hear and comprehend the Creator’s message of love , justice, and compassion — is the best way to “evangelize” and fulfill “God’s mission through the Episcopal branch of the Jesus movement.” I fear that failing to move forward with all possible speed to use language that is more inclusive — and that could make our church more transparent to the world around us — is an error grounded in shortsightedness.

    1. Michael Smyser IV says:

      Right on unfortunately.

    2. B J Shirley says:

      This is idolatry, Making God in an image WE choose to suit us. We are to conform to Him, not Him to us.

      1. Tracy Anne Lawrence says:

        The TEC is worshipping “inclusivity” not God. This is politics, not religion or spirituality. “Progressive” Christianity seeks to eliminate Christ and the Trinity under the guise of “inclusion.”
        Most of these people aren’t Christians and they don’t believe the Bible is the word of God. They want to revise the Prayer Book based not on scripture, but on their whims and secular ideology. These are the people who destroyed half of the TEC and they are still dismantling it.
        They are extremist and secular progressives, not Christians. This is not part of the “Jesus Movement.” It is working against it. I doubt a majority of these people who are voting even believe the Jesus is the son of God. I know that PB Curry does, but what is he going to do with all of these extremists who are running the Church?

        1. Matt Ouellette says:

          I think it is cynical to accuse all people who want to revise the prayer book to use more gender-neutral language as not believing the core tenets of Christianity. While there definitely are some who think that way, there are also plenty others who are more like PB Curry and root their progressive expression of faith in the teachings of Jesus. I think both sides of this issue should step away from accusing the other of bad faith (i.e. the pro-revision side should stop accusing opponents of being sexist or homophobic; the anti-revision side should stop accusing the supporters of being extremists and heretics who don’t actually believe in Jesus).

        2. Mary Barrett says:

          I am thankful that I was able to spend three days as a visitor at the convention. What a Spirit-filled group it is. What a wonderful thing to see many diverse people come together to make difficult decisions as they move forward. Truly God is with them. I am proud to be an Episcopalian.

        3. J. Kevin Michel says:

          Very sad to see this comment. The church will progress, whether you will it or not. I have faith in the deliberative process not to get too far ahead of the congregants, but the church WILL change. God calls us to change with every line of the New Testament. It is the raison de etre of the christian mission. It always makes me sad to think that some will be left behind. Stagnation and theological apathy are not christian to me, but are rather the antithesis of the gospel. I hope you find a way to embrace and participate in the process of change, so that you can see that your concerns are included in the deliberations, and learn to accept the outcome.

          1. Steven Sterry says:

            While God calls us to change with every line of the New Testament, he does not call us to CHANGE EVERY LINE of the New Testament. Scripture makes clear that marriage between male and female was instituted by God. Same-sex marriage WAS NOT!

      2. Joyce L. S Beck says:

        The language of the 1979 BCP is overwhelmingly masculine, even when original languages (Hebrew or Greek) do not support masculine translations–of the Hebrew Ruach, for example, as a male Spirit, when the word is feminine in Hebrew. From a theological point of view, to equate any word, image or thing on earth, whether human or natural, with God is idolatry, so equating God with masculinity is idolatrous. Biblical language is metaphorical because humans have only a partial understanding of the Godhead and can never say what “the Great I Am” is in absolutist terms. So, language which balances male metaphors with others, fathers with mothers, daughters and sons, stones and streams is not only more inclusive, it is a way to show reverence and avoid idolatry.

        1. Steve Sterry says:

          Ms. Beck: Are you trying to tell us that there is no biblical truth and that all is metaphor; are you saying that all this metaphor gives us the right to pick and choose what is right or wrong; or are you saying that only your interpretation of this metaphor is biblical truth?

          If you believe that the Bible is only metaphor, how can you glean any truth from it? Even if you believe that some is metaphor, how can you know where the real truth lies? Your own church rules say that what is in the Bible is all that is necessary and sufficient for salvation. But if you interpret the Bible as it appears that you do, how can you be sure of the necessary and sufficient instructions for salvation?

          You and I are not theologians. Neither are most of our priests and deacons. We must assume that what the Bible instructs us is God’s truth and that we cannot pick and choose what to believe and what not to believe. When Jesus tells us that marriage is God’s blessed institution between a man and a woman, we cannot use the metaphor excuse to deny His words.

          If we really want to be inclusive, then all we have to do is admit the following:

          We are all sinners. Only Jesus lived a life free of sin.

          We welcome other sinners with open arms because we are told to love our neighbor and we believe that commandment.

          We love you; but we do not love our sins.

  3. Steve Price says:

    New language is needed to evangelize people outside the Church”.Which parts of our current liturgical language is to be sacrificed?They don’t seem to be referring to gender neutral or sexual orientation inclusive .That’s a separate part of the sentence. If this is referring to some of the suggestions that were published in the weeks before the convention such as replacing language referring to the Virgin Mary with our sister Mary (backdoor way of denying the virgin birth and divinity of Christ?) and the Holy Catholic Church with the body of Christ I’ll be another ex Episcopalian .

    1. Jon Spangler says:

      The reason for new (more inclusive, more welcoming) language is to increase our ability to communicate the timeless Gospel message, not to dilute or change it. Our branch of “the Jesus Movement” needs to use language (and liturgy) so that people today can hear and understand the Gospel, just as it was critical to translate the Bible into languages that everyone could read for themselves. Using liturgical language that, for some people, obscures or limits the Creator means we are failing at our basic tasks of preaching, healing, and teaching.

      Revising the 1928 BCP made our (God’s) message of love, justice, and compassion more comprehensible in 1979. Both our world and its languages have changed since then and it is incumbent upon us, as the bearers of the Good News, to “make all things new” so a new generation can hear the same Good News that we already understand. (And we understand Love Incarnate because someone told us that message in terms that *we* could hear and receive.)

      There is nothing in proposals to make our liturgical language more inclusive that denies what we already know and love: it is merely a way to expand our vocabulary, in order to a) see more of God’s limitless glory than we see today, and b) help others see it as well.

      I had to expand my own vocabulary to make God’s love and forgiveness known (real) to hundreds of San Mateo County Jail inmates during weekly Bible studies for over 10 years (1987-1997): it was my responsibility to make sure these men could hear and understand the Gospel and I used any terms necessary to make sure they could hear that God loved them. We, as God’s church, must always be ready to revise our (liturgical) invitations to grace and peace for today’s world–so that the timeless message can be heard and received.

  4. PJ Cabbiness says:

    Truly sad, unnecessary and unwarranted. The arrogance steeped in leftist emotionalism is driving this misguided and destructive effort. This Convention has, in its Marxist and ecofascist enthusiasm, laid the foundation for further schism. Our once thoughtful, enlightened Christian denomination is now simply a progressive theopolitical activist movement. I believe the final seeds of our denominational demise were planted and watered here.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      This is far too cynical, not to mention that this substitute proposal effectively squashes comprehensive revision of the BCP:
      https://livingchurch.org/2018/07/10/bishops-kill-bcp-revision/

    2. Jon Spangler says:

      There is nothing in the House of Deputies’ proposals to make our liturgical language more inclusive that denies what we already know and love. Liturgical renewal and revision is merely a way to expand our vocabulary, in order to a) see more of God’s limitless glory than we see today, and b) help others see it as well.

      I had to expand my own vocabulary to make God’s love and forgiveness known (real) to hundreds of county jail inmates during weekly Bible studies for over 10 years: it was my responsibility to communicate the Gospel to these men in words and phrases (in English and Spanish) so they could hear and understand the Gospel. We, as a church, must always be ready to revise our (liturgical) invitations to grace and peace for today’s world–so that the timeless message we bear can be heard and received.

      The House of Deputies’ Resolution AO68 essentially intended to leave Rite I untouched and merely authorized the process of beginning to revise our BCP. (That is not quite equivalent to declaring that God is dead or that church doctrine must change. I think people are safe in maintaining their belief in the Virgin Mary or anything else within our canons. )

      Liturgical revision is not “leftist,” “Marxist,” ecofascist,” or arrogant: it is simply an effort to make sure that our liturgies and language do not keep the Creator of the Universe (who is beyond human names of any kind) in a tiny, locked, and “comfortable” theological or liturgical box so limited or small that He is no longer revealed.

    3. Andrew Poland says:

      This Church has been radically changing for the past ten or so years. Consider your grandparent’s Episcopal Church and then consider what’s going on today. Many of us are fearful. If my grandmother were still alive to hear about us having “revivals”, she would have had a major problem. In fact, if any of my ancestors were alive today to see where the Church is, they would be deeply troubled by it. Potentially doing away with language that is at least close to what they had is then obscuring any historical, cultural link that remains for many. This isn’t inclusion.

      On that note, Mr. Spangler, although I applaud you for the work you have done with inmates, I find a severe fault in your reasoning regarding inclusion. The term has now become a sort of code word for many in our church for progressivism, to deny that is simply delusional, and to throw it around and present it as the only path to piety is alienating and unfair. You wish to talk about our belief, but ignore the concept of “lex orandi, lex credendi”. We are well served to remember that the BCP united the English language as one, and until 1979, every single Anglican on this planet prayed virtually the same way not just every Sunday, but through time going back to the beginning of our Church.

      Being inclusive need not mean abandoning our identity. Neither does being a good Christian require subscribing in partisan politics and manipulating the faith to alienate and force others to either abide or leave. I truly wish our denomination could get that through our collective heads. Until then, please forgive me for rolling my eyes whenever I hear this talk of being “inclusive”.

      1. Matt Ouellette says:

        I think it’s somewhat cynical that inclusive is a code-word for secular progressivism. For many in the church, inclusion is based on our faith in Christ’s universal love, not in secular ideology. The question is: how do properly convey our faith in Christ in a way that is both inclusive and faithful to our inherited theology?

      2. Donald Caron says:

        Your grandparents, Mr. Poland, would not recognize the state of the world today, either. The current generation has seen the demise of Christendom, which has affected all denominations in the West. We have likewise seen sensibilities grow toward all manner of minority identities as well as a fuller appreciation of the contribution of women in the Church and the world. We can hold on to forms from an earlier time and become a quaint museum or we can listen to contemporary voices and maintain a living presence in the world. Ges, we are witnessing a decline in the lower of the institution, but perhaps the dream of God for the world is moving us away frm institutional trappings. The Prayer Book is the gift of the Episcopal Church to the world to give voice to a longing for relationship with God in a communal way.

  5. John Hobart says:

    Given the bump the church got from the introduction of the 1979 BCP, I find it hard to believe that not everyone looks forward to further improvement.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I still love the 1979 BCP, despite its flaws, and I’m glad the Bishops killer revision of it for now.

      1. Jordan Sakal says:

        As an Anglo-Catholic, I support the 1979 BCP because of its familiar language and the ease with which I fell into it (similar prayers to the ones I grew up with.) I admit that there are flaws with it (a lack of inclusive language for one, and a general clunkiness with some of the service prayers as well. Maybe this is just a personal preference though.) However, this does not mean that I think that there should be wholesale changes to the BCP. For example, the Nicene Creed should remain just as it is and so should the Lord’s Prayer, these prayers represent a cornerstone of faith for our Church and as Christians on the whole.

        We should keep the BCP as it is and support our church with our whole hearts.

  6. Dennis Keitb says:

    Alternative text?

  7. Matt Ouellette says:

    It seems comprehensive revision of the BCP is dead for now:
    https://livingchurch.org/2018/07/10/bishops-kill-bcp-revision/
    Perhaps those who were proclaiming that the sky was falling can calm down now. I’m glad we will not be going forward with major revision, and will instead spend more time engaging with our current prayer book. I think revision should happen sometime in the future, including the addition of inclusive language, but only after we’ve moved on from other divisive fights in our church and are more secure in our theological beliefs.

    1. Anthony Price says:

      I agree that this is definitely not the right time to undertake a BCP revision, and am cheered that the bishops have defused the project for the time being. Our church is still in flux at the moment. The various issues involving humanity are being roundly and thoughtfully debated, but the pews are emptying. It is difficult at the present time to see where our admirable embrace of liberty and justice is leading the Episcopal Church, thus it is almost certain that a short-term BCP revision would likely fall short of the mark in terms of future suitability. Let’s be patient a while longer.and not try to use the BCP as a tool for addressing unresolved issues. Let the next BCP become instead a testament to future consensus that the Episcopal Church has finally arrived at a respectable level of maturity and self-awareness of which we – and Jesus – can be proud. Is that day ever likely to arrive? Let’s hope and pray that it does, but at the present time our eyes are still opening to the possibilities..

      1. Jon Spangler says:

        “The various issues involving humanity are being roundly and thoughtfully debated, but the pews are emptying.”

        This is not particularly true in our San Francisco church, where we are engaged in today’s issues and have a vital and expanding community every week. Granted, what works in San Francisco may not work in every community, but our liturgy is engaging, inclusive, enjoyable, and builds a strong, compassionate community. http://www.saintgregorys.org

        1. Tracy Anne Lawrence says:

          San Franciso is the seat of secular progressivism in this country. There are many, many people who don’t adhere to those points of view and have no interest in creating a TEC that serves one small group of its membership. Forcing one set of values and views on an entire Church is a losing proposition. You will be left with that small group in the Pews. That has already happened to a large extent. Furthermore, this is not “inclusive.” Secular progressives in the TEC include anyone who agrees with their ideas of “inclusion” and excludes, shuns, ignores and even sues anyone who does not. I hope this chapter of the Church’s history is coming to a close and some balance will be found under the new Presiding Bishop. He is on the right track but it will take years to heal the divisions that have been created. The TEC is not a church for Progressive Democrats only. It is a Christian church for everyone and everyone should be comfortable. It is not a private club for liberals or conservatives. It is a church that is part of the ‘Jesus Movement and there are many followers of Christ who are moderates and conservatives, as Bishop Curry has rightly pointed out.

    2. Jon Spangler says:

      If members of our small part of God’s universal community of believers (the church) are not sufficiently “secure in our theological beliefs,” doesn’t that indicate that we need to talk a whole lot more about what faith and belief are, how we see ourselves (individually and corporately) as followers of Christ and believers in the power of Love, and how we preach, teach, and heal in today’s world?

      What better way exists to have these conversations than through expanding our liturgical and theological vocabulary (and thereby our “spiritual muscles”)? It is through worshipping creatively that our understanding of Jesus of Nazareth and the Almighty expands and becomes more all-encompassing, equipping us to better “love one another” and “serve the Lord” in the work that is set before us…

      1. Anthony Price says:

        Jon, I applaud your success in growing your parish. Unfortunately that is a fairly rare situation, and we could doubtless learn from you. Meanwhile, there are lots of other ways to engage newcomers at a local level with written words besides rewriting and republishing (at great expense) our existing BCP.

  8. Rev. Dr. James Hargis says:

    Some may be proud. I am ashamed. We are not ready for this, yet TEC seems hellbent on change ), no matter what. Sad thing is, it will make no difference. It will not evangelize, it will not spread the Good News, and it will not reconcile. One thngi it will do is further disenfranchise, and weaken TEC.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      What are you ashamed of? How is TEC hellbent on change when the Bishops just voted down comprehensive BCP revision?

  9. Deacon Patrick Bradley says:

    Does 10 clergy mean 10 priests. Nine priests and a token deacon? Five priests and five deacons?
    (The resolution now calls for creation of a “Task Force on Liturgical Prayer Book Revision” to be made up of 10 lay people, 10 clergy and 10 bishops, appointed by the presiding bishop and the president of the House of Deputies.)

  10. Deacon Bernie Jones says:

    If they are not careful this can become a crazy mess.

    1. PJ Cabbiness says:

      It already has.

  11. Brenda Johnson says:

    The church that I joined in 1971 is no longer the church that I loved. There have been so many changes that my husband and I no longer attend. With all of these progressive changes has the membership grown? I think not. Truly sad watching this beautiful religion slowly fade to an unrecognizable faith. Reading about changing the language in the BCP is just nuts to me with gender neutral. I never felt that any of the words in the 1979 BCP were offensive. I was married by those beautiful words! I feel more will leave as the church moves more toward these progressives changes. So many of my friends are not happy with what is going on and will follow us out the door as we have done. SAD!

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      Well, comprehensive prayer book revision is not happening now because of this substitute amendment, so perhaps we can all calm down. And while I also find the 1979 BCP to be beautiful and am happy it will not be revised, I do think that more gender-inclusive language is a good thing as long as it is implemented carefully. The Bible doesn’t use only male imagery to describe God, and neither should our liturgies.

  12. Susan Salisbury says:

    Both of my children were raised in the Episcopal church and both have left it to attend non denominational churches that they believe give them more of a Jesus and less of a cold dead spiritless form of Christian belief. The more you substitute progressive politics and political correctness for actual love of Jesus, the faster you will kill the church. Keep it up. Soon there will be a lot of real estate for sale

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      That’s a shame, but it’s not everyone’s story. I’m a millennial who specifically converted to TEC because of its affirming and inclusive theology which I find to be more in line with the teachings of Jesus than the exclusivist teachings of the Roman Catholic Church I left. Wanting more inclusive language is not necessarily substituting progressive politics into the church. I hope you realize that some of us root our desire for inclusion in the teachings of Jesus and not secular ideology. We just need to make sure we implement inclusive language carefully so as to not remove our inherited theology from our liturgies in the process.

      1. Clifford Grout says:

        Matt:

        I am glad you have found a home in TEC. But you are a distinct minority. Of all the people I grew up with at our local TEC parish, not one still attends that parish, and less than five are still in TEC.

        Of my family, my brother is now Roman Catholic, I am Eastern Orthodox, and my father, a former Vestry member and member of the parish’s school board, hasn’t been back to church in many months.

        Of the parish my wife and I left where we live, the ASA in 1996 was over 500. Today, it is less than 250.

        These are because TEC has shed it’s timeless purpose in favor of timely trends. I do not comment here to gloat or judge, but as a warning. A famous man once said to set your course by the light of the stars, not by the light of passing ships.

        I bid you peace.

        1. Matt Ouellette says:

          I’m sorry, but as far as I know, almost every church denomination is on the decline right now due to the fall of Christendom, not because of supposed liberal approaches to theology (even the conservative Southern Baptists are on the decline). I respect Eastern Orthodox theology on a number of issues (sin, atonement, etc.), but their unwelcoming approach to LGBTQ+ Christians and opposition to ordination of women is unacceptable for me, who sees those positions as elevating outdated gender roles over the gospel’s message of all being one in Christ.

          1. Clifford Grout says:

            Matt:

            That decline is post 1960’s, and in the US almost exclusively limited to mainline Protestant denominations. Roman Catholicism has held steady. Orthodoxy, while small, is growing. Evangelical churches continue to grow. Islam is also growing.

            What do all of these offer that mainline Protestantism doesn’t? Answers. Agree with them or no, they have a framework for a godly life. People come to Faith seeking answers, not simply affirmation. They seek order and understanding in a disordered and incomprehensible world.

            Again, I bid you peace.

          2. Matt Ouellette says:

            The only reason the RCC is growing is because of immigration. Otherwise, it is declining just like the mainline churches. The Orthodox churches are also on the decline:
            https://www.thenationalherald.com/87376/orthodoxys-sad-decline-america/
            And also, like I said before, it’s not just mainline Protestant churches that are declining. So are the conservative ones (e.g. Southern Baptists). Therefore, a conservative approach to gender and sexuality is not going to be the salvation of the American church (if that were the case, the continuing Anglican churches would be flourishing instead of TEC). And I did not simply seek out affirmation as a gay Christian in TEC (in fact, I didn’t discern my sexual orientation until I had already converted to TEC), I was seeking a church that is faithful to the teachings of Jesus instead of faithful to outdated notions of gender roles and sexuality.

    2. Michael Smyser IV says:

      Thank you for your comments on our Church and it’s continued march toward nothingness. It’s all about the Christ and not sexual identity of who is called a man God or who is a woman Mary. Political correctness has no place in the Church. Let’s not give the “shopping center churches” leadway in their haphazard course of the blind leading the blind either

  13. STANLEY ZIMMERMAN says:

    Have watched the BCP commentary. Re: The church hierarchy, wake up, smell the coffee. The vast majority of persons in the pew don’t want the BCP trifled with. Leave it alone, keep the
    $11 million in the bank. Any alternative worship format, hymns, etc. can be accomplished with a
    paperback auxiliary publication, not mandated, just available. Read and heed parishioner views.

  14. Joan Gundersen says:

    Read the resolution. This is a both/and resolution that leaves the 1979 BCP imtactfor thelomg term and then proposes adding a process for developing new liturgies in addition (not replacing) over time in a careful process with lots of feedback. There is also a resolution coming forward that proposes very modest changes in Eucharistic prayers A,B, and D for trial use immediately as an expanded language adoption for thos who do want something changed now. Read that before you wring your hands too much.

    1. Charles Nelson says:

      The House of Bishops is truly “The House of Wisdom.”

    2. Steve Price says:

      So what are we proposing to change in Eucharistic Prayer D?”Remember,Lord ,your one holy catholic and apostolic Church? Or is it ” and grant that we may find our inheritance with the Blessed Virgin Mary? Isn’t the real motive of the comprehensive revisionists to purge the liturgy of any Anglo Catholic appearances so we can broaden our appeal to those with anti-Catholic bias.I say let them stay in the Southern Baptist churches with the other bigots .

    3. Betsy Hetzler says:

      Well said, Joan. The alarm going off in so many areas is that the present BCP would become unrecognizable & heretical by extreme changes. Personally, I love the BCP as it is. I pray that it stays as it is for many decades to come.

  15. Matt Ouellette says:

    I think a lot of people here a mistaken to think that gender inclusivity is leading to the decline of our church. The fact is that almost all denominations are on the decline in this country, regardless of theological stances (this includes even the more conservative denominations like the Southern Baptists). So I’m sorry, but I don’t think going back to more conservative approaches to gender and sexuality will prevent decline in our church. We need more evangelism, and we need to adjust to being part of a post-Christendom society.

    1. Wayne Helmly says:

      Matt,

      Like you, I do not think that The Episcopal Church’s evolution on gender inclusivity, among other things, has caused decline. In fact, in my particular situation here in South Carolina, my parish has grown precisely because of our willingness to change and grow in Christ along spiritual lines.

      If we are called to follow Christ and the lead of the Spirit, to walk the way of love, it might mean constantly praying for our liturgy to change so that it might more accurately reflect our understanding of God and Her church.

      Jesus told the disciples there was more to be revealed, but that they (*we*) were simply not ready to hear it yet. I wonder if being settlers on the 1928 or 1979 BCP precludes the movement of The Spirit in our day.

      Like others have said, the current church is not the church of my grandmother. But that’s probably a good thing.

      Thanks for your articulate witness as a young person in The Episcopal Church, Matt. We need to hear it.

  16. Matthew Simpson says:

    In studying Church History, I have learned “we have been here before.” Not the precise details of course, but the essence of trying as a collective Church to integrate her Gospel truth within her social context. This has never been easy; it has always been messy. We will continue on…the question for in our American context is do we just leave; find a better product? Or do we engage, knowing change can only come from within?

  17. Rev.. Harvey E. Bale says:

    Before becoming a Deacon, I spent much of my life working on health care policy related and tax related issues. The phenomenon in those areas is one of constant turbulence — health care and tax laws constantly being revised — with hardly anyone being satisfied. Without commenting on the substance of what may come out of this 30-person committee process, I can only observe that it is a shame that our Prayer Book seems to be subject to a frequency change that seems to narrow the window for whatever revision is — temporarily — agreed upon by TEC. I am not comfortable with the idea to “memorialize” (whatever that means — to entomb?) the 1979 BCP.

  18. cynthia seddon says:

    AS an ex episcopalian, the changes in that denomination almost emptied a church I knew. To think that “mankind ” meant only men is ignorant would peoplekind sound any better? I prefer to keep the beautiful language of the present prayerbook which has for so many years brought blessing, and shows the awesomeness of our God. Unfortunately,this current generation cannot understand good English nor can it speak it. The episcopal church is on its way to irrelevancy,and will continue to lose members as it becomes just a political forum.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      Why not “humankind?” I think we can still have beautiful language and use more gender-inclusive images of God (as long as we are careful not to remove important theological doctrines in the process). I don’t the TEC will be any less relevant than all the other church denominations which are declining due to the fall of Christendom.

  19. cynthia seddon says:

    The fall of christendom is precisely because of what is happening now. Too much squabbling over words, instead of emphasizing the love of God for all His people. The rise of ultra feminism caused harm,as a woman A former deacon, I am not threatened by the use of masculine nouns,I know that ” mankind” means everyone. Unfortunately, good english is not spoken or used much anymore, therefore a lack of understanding happens.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I personally think feminism (defined as the promotion of gender equality) has done our world a whole lot of good (allowing women he right to vote, be ordained to all levels of ministry in this church, have equal rights, etc.), and I think it is a fulfillment of St. Paul’s statement that we are all one in Christ Jesus our Lord. And I also think the fall of Christendom is in some ways a good thing too (the Church and the State should not be meddling in each others’ affairs, as it breeds corruption for both the Church and the State), and has nothing to do with the rise of secular liberalism. I am also not threatened by the use of masculine words either (I personally still use them when praying to God), but I also don’t think it is wrong to use gender-neutral or feminine imagery for God as well.

  20. John Williamson says:

    The bishops’ wording is just bureaucratic gobbleygook.

    1. Steve Sterry says:

      What will be next? Does this mean that the Episcopal Church will need to revise the Holy Bible so that it will comply with a new inclusive Book of Common Prayer? Be careful about what you ask for.

  21. cynthia seddon says:

    I am thankful I am no longer an episcopalian, this latest gathering has shown me just where the
    episcopal church is heading,too liberal and political, too intent on advancing an agenda which will drive many conservatives away. A sign of the times.

    1. Matt Ouellette says:

      I’m sad you feel that way. I don’t think being inclusive towards marginalized groups should be seen as driving away conservatives. I think this church is doing good work to advance God’s kingdom, despite its flaws and the theological weaknesses of some in leadership.

      1. Rev. Dr. James Hargis says:

        It’s not about being conservative. It’s about being biblically truthful, theologically sound, and faithful to the mind of Christ. TEC is falling way short, in all these areas.

        1. Donald Caron says:

          I believe that the mind of Christ was focused on two main ideas: to correct people’s ideas about God so they would be able to embrace the love of God rather than anticipate punishment, and to proclaim the reign of God in this world so that people might love one another as God loves each of us. I believe that discipleship means using those two principles in the way we encounter the world so that Christians embody news that can clearly seenas good.

          1. Phillip Wheeler says:

            Oddly enough, Jesus spoke far more often about hell and outer darkness than he ever did about heaven. One parable after another, as a matter of fact. Jesus loved the world and (gasp) SINNERS enough to die on the cross so that all might come to Him- not so that we might turn into what they are. “If I am lifted up I will draw all men ( yep, MEN- that does include wo-MEN, too) unto me.”
            Believe it or not there is such a thing as right and wrong.; and He is the one who determines what that is God is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The shoddy opinions of the world may change, but he doesn’t,

  22. John Roach says:

    The Bishops have made a good compromise choice. One reason that this Church has shrunk is because of the past poor ones. Yes, long time Episcopalians have a culture too, one to preserve and defend.

  23. Phillip Wheeler says:

    What ENS is reporting is NOT what the bishops actually voted on; then, I guess that is a violation of their decidedly liberal agenda.
    The bishops, as this web site originally posted voted to allow for POSSIBLE revisions that maintain the connection with our 1979 BCP. A unanimous vote by the House of Bishops sets up a new commission to consider revising our liturgy… not our prayer book, The notion seems to be in keeping with the Church of England’s “revision” of their cherished 1662 book. In other words, keep the original, and allow for a separate text- like the “Common Worship” books. If your parish doesn’t like it, it ignores it.
    The point that seems to be overlooked by the incredibly liberal reporting of this is that it wasn’t an un-revised prayer book that caused TEC to hemorrhage members- it was the agenda of those who want to change the Gospel of Jesus.
    If you won’t take Him at His word, why do you bother to go to a church at all? Why not just join a social club?

  24. Jaan Sass says:

    I belong to a growing TEC congregation here in San Antonio Texas. we emphasize evangelism, social justice sacraments and relationship with Christ. we have an active Brotherhood of St Andrew and use materials from the society of st John the evangelist. personally I have been on the conservative side even left for a time but came back because the Episcopal Church was the only place I felt welcomed and loved. I am not into prayerbook revision but I could see the need to revise morning and evening prayer. I love attending the services at the SSJE monastery in Cambridge.

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