Episcopal Church prepares for release of new prayer book translations

Spanish, French, Haitian Creole versions to be available for feedback

Episcopal Church Office of Public Affairs
Posted Jun 7, 2021

The Episcopal Church is pleased to announce the upcoming release of trial translations of the Book of Common Prayer in Spanish, French and Haitian Creole and plans to seek feedback from native speakers of those languages.

The new translations of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, mandated and budgeted by the church’s General Convention in 2018, will be available online for review, with accompanying survey questionnaires in each language, according to the Rev. Dr. Juan M.C. Oliver, custodian of the Book of Common Prayer. The Spanish and French translations will be available on June 15, with the Haitian Creole version to follow.

“We are very excited about disseminating the translations and questionnaire as far and widely as possible, to include the voices of native speakers in congregations, seminaries and retreat centers worshipping regularly in these languages,” said Bishop Pierre Whalon, chair of the French editorial team. “We ask that the House of Bishops and the House of Deputies encourage all its members to disseminate information about the translations and encourage feedback.”

The translations have been developed by professional literary translators, all native speakers of those languages, and edited by teams of three native speakers of each language.

“Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who published the first Prayer Book in 1549, spoke of the need for the Church’s liturgy to be in a language that would be understood by the people … all the people,” said Presiding Bishop Michael Curry. “Only in this way would our prayer truly be common, or shared. The Way of Love demands it, for it would not be love if some are ignored.”