Archive for June 2012

Chalice Worship (1997)   7 comments

Above:  Logo of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

Chalice Worship is one of my favorite volumes, one which functions for me as one of a set of prayer books.  It takes its place along side The Book of Common Prayer (1979), A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), and a volume of novenas.  I, with my Episcopal Church-honed liturgical tastes, enjoy the fresh, reverent, and poetic language of Chalice Worship.  The resources in this book differ from those I have found elsewhere, so the volume is unique, adding welcome spice to a variety of well-written liturgical life.

Chalice Worship, a resource of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), is a companion to Chalice Hymnal, the denomination’s 1995 successor to Hymnbook for Christian Worship (1970), a joint project with the American Baptist Churches U.S.A., then called the American Baptist Convention.  CW (1997) is, in a way, a successor to that book, which contains worship resources (although mainly in older-style English) in the back.  CW (1997) is primarily the successor to Christian Worship:  A Service Book (1953),

The first and last complete book of worship resources…..It set a benchmark for any would come after him [editor G. Edwin Osborn] in similar labors.

Chalice Worship, page xii

CW (1997) complements Thankful Praise (1987), edited by Keith Watkins, and Chalice Hymnal (1995), not replicating material from them.

The scope of Chalice Worship is comprehensive.  There are the usual services, such as Holy Communion, baptism, confirmation, marriage, healing, and funerals, for example.  But one can also find a service to celebrate a wedding anniversary and another to bless a friendship.  And the funeral service comes with options for various occasions, such as a suicide, a sudden tragedy, and a stillbirth.  There are also daily morning and evening prayer services, which are beautiful.

There is also a section of three ecumenical services:  the Lord’s Supper, Martin Luther King, Jr., Day, and Thanksgiving.  These appeal to me because of my bad experiences with community worship services; they tend to be flavorless bastard stepchildren of liturgy, appealing to few or none while attempting to encompass all or as many as possible.  But these ecumenical rites have two parents who are glad to claim them as their own.

These parents are Colbert “Bert” S. Cartwright (http://neatnik2009.wordpress.com/2012/06/29/feast-of-colbert-s-cartwright-august-5/) and O. I. Cricket Harrison.  They served on the committee which produced Chalice Hymnal (1995).  Cartwright, who died in 1996, was a Disciples of Christ minister and a witness for civil rights in the U.S. South when that was unpopular with many other white people.  Harrison composed hymn tunes and descants, translated a hymn from Spanish, and wrote a hymn one can find in that hymnal.  And she, with the help of Ann Cartwright, Colbert’s widow, and David P. Polk, editor of Chalice Press (as she wrote,

the unnamed third editor of this work

Chalice Worship, page xiii)

brought the volume to completion.  I thank God for all that they did toward that goal.

Back to my summary….

Chalice Worship also  provides services for the Christian Year and special Sundays.  So, for example, Advent, Christmas, Lenten, Holy Week, Easter Vigil, Easter Sunday, Pentecost, and Trinity Sunday resources are present.  The Feast of Christ the King (as I know and celebrate it each year) has become “The Festival of Christ the Cosmic Ruler.”  That is fine, for “king” is just a metaphor; I will not become upset about it.  And one can find rites for special Sundays ranging from Father’s Day to Mother’s Day to All Saints’ Day to Labor Day to AIDS Sunday.  There are also resources for the Week of Compassion (the third to fourth Sundays in February), when the Disciples of Christ collect funds to alleviate global suffering.  Compassion is a good thing.

One can also find resources for occasional events, such as installing church offices, honoring graduates, saying farewell to a retiring minister, opening a meeting or conference, blessing a home, or blessing a mother and a child after a difficult birth.  If a congregation has divided, it might avail itself of a prayer for that occasion.  Given recent headlines in ecclesiastical and collegiate settings, the Prayer for One Who Has Been Molested seems timely.

My favorite part of the book however, is its comprehensive selection of short prayers and litanies for various occasions.  I have found them quite helpful.  Once, a few years ago, when I needed the prayer “For the Brokenhearted” (page 364), I posted it online, giving credit to the source, of course.  Shortly later I received a comment from a complete stranger.  That person wrote,

Thank you.

My advice, O reader of this post, is to use this book at least for individual prayer, and corporate worship if possible.  Share it with others.  Such a wonderful resource, Colbert S. Cartwright’s final work, deserves no less.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 29, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PETER AND PAUL, APOSTLES AND MARTYRS

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The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992)   11 comments

Above:  Logo of The United Methodist Church

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The United Methodist Church (1968-) descends immediately from The Methodist Church (1939-1968) and The Evangelical United Brethren Church (1946-1968), both products of mergers of older denominations with roots in the 1700s.  Methodism began as a revival movement within The Church of England, and so inherited part of the Prayer Book tradition.  John Wesley, a lifelong member of the See of Canterbury, abridged the 1662 Book of Common Prayer into the Sunday Service, which the first U.S. General Conference adopted in 1784.  Yet the General Conference of 1792 all but threw away the Sunday Service, under the pressures of revivalism and frontier realities.  And Holy Communion, which Wesley advised taking as often as possible, even daily, became in infrequent practice–perhaps once every three months.

The history of U.S. Methodism tells of increasing gentility during the Victorian Era, hence the proliferation of impressive church buildings in towns and cities.  (Presbyterians did much the same, by the way.)  And more formality in worship followed within such structures.  Yet the old ways persisted in many quarters.  Nevertheless, there was enough support for reclaiming a measure of Methodism’s Anglican heritage to warrant the beginning of the process of creating (in 1940-1944) The Book of Worship for Church and Home (1945).  Just in case one was especially livid and/or oblivious to disclaimers, the title page contained the phrase,

FOR VOLUNTARY AND OPTIONAL USE.

Meanwhile, the new Evangelical United Brethren Church published its first Book of Ritual in 1952.  Subsequent editions followed in 1955 and 1959.  And the church’s 1957 Hymnal contained prayers for various topics and occasions.  These special prayers did not replicate material from any edition of The Book of Ritual.  (I have copies of all four books, by the way.)

As the two denominations neared their 1968 merger The Methodist Church, with EUB input, prepared its 1965 Book of Worship for Church and Home (this time without any disclaimer on the title page) and Methodist Hymnal (later The Book of Hymns.)  [The United Methodist Church, by the way, had two official hymnals during its earliest years; the EUB Hymnal was only eleven years old in 1968.  And I have early 1970s official United Methodist magazines which refer to the two official hymnals.]  The 1965 Methodist Hymnal/Book of Hymns, like its 1905 and 1935 predecessors, contained communion rituals based on the one from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.  Any practicing Episcopalian of the time would have known, based on the 1928 Prayer Book in use at the time, what to do next.  I recall that, when I first encountered Holy Eucharist Rite I from the 1979 Prayer Book, I knew what to do next because of the old Methodist rituals.

All that said, I had the misfortune to grow up in United Methodist congregations which followed the old frontier pattern, including quarterly Holy Communion.  This did not satisfy me, for I was developing a form of piety centered on that sacrament.  By the time I had joined the See of Canterbury The United Methodist Church was trying to reclaim its

strong Wesleyan eucharistic tradition.

–Andy Langford, Blueprints for Worship:  A User’s Guide for United Methodist Congregations (Abingdon Press, 1993, page 42)

That word seems not to have reached the United Methodist congregations in the South Georgia Conference with which I had contact through late 2010, however.

The United Methodist Hymnal:  Book of United Methodist Worship (1989) and The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992) stress the centrality of Holy Communion, but the language of the modern rite is sadly uninspiring.  It has all the lack of appeal of too-old bread.  Although both volumes–companions, for the Book of Worship refers one to the Hymnal frequently–introduce forms for morning and evening prayer, the language there is likewise unsatisfactory.  And the less I write about the Compline analog in the Book of Worship, the better.  Modern English liturgies can be graceful; witness The Book of Common Prayer (1979) and A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989).  I also find the Irish Book of Common Prayer (2004) quite impressive and poetic.  So there is no excuse for the bad modern English of these United Methodist rituals.

On the other hand, the 1992 Book of Worship contains much that is useful.  One finds, for example, resources for Martin Luther King, Jr., Sunday and for a Quinceanara; the denomination has become more diverse and racially progressive since 1965.  The healing prayers seem as if they would be helpful in the presence of another person–such as a member of the clergy–or alone.  The topics of these prayers range from AIDS to divorce to addiction.  Of course, one would have to remove the Book of Worship from the church office for that to happen.

Therein lies the main problem:  the Book of Worship is not in the pews, except perhaps here and there.  Almost all United Methodists to whom I have mentioned the book learned of its existence from me.  Low Church inertia has been the rule in U.S. Methodism since the late 1700s, and I do not know that this fact will ever change.  When, in 1792, the General Conference all but threw away Wesley’s Sunday Service, it set a bad pattern into motion.  As Frederick A. Norwood wrote in The Story of American Methodism (Abingdon Press, 1974, page 229):

Although forms were later provided, the damage was done.

The editions of The Book of Worship and The Book of Ritual  have been noble attempts to do liturgy properly, but, if nobody follows one, one is not a leader; one is merely taking a walk.  And, if relatively few people follow….

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 28, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PLUTARCH, MARCELLA, POTANOMINAENA, AND BASILIDES OF ALEXANDRIA, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT IRANAEUS OF LYONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF RANDOLPH ROYALL CLAIBORNE, JR., EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ATLANTA

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Book of Common Worship (1993)   17 comments

Above:  Henry Van Dyke, 1920-1921

Image Source = Library of Congress

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Now, as Ordinary Time, the “Long Green Season,” is upon us and I wait until closer to Advent 2012 to add more Advent material to this blog, I have pondered what to put here.  Film reviews have come to mind, and I have done some of that.  And, given my interest in liturgy, reviews of contemporary books of worship seem like a good idea.  So I have decided to review at least three such volumes, which I list in order of publication:

  1. The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992), of The United Methodist Church;
  2. Book of Common Worship (1993), of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church; and
  3. Chalice Worship (1997), of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ).

Many active members of these denominations might not know that any of these books exists, although the clergy members do.  But I, an Episcopalian, have had a copy of each since its year of publication.  My ecumenical interests also come into my religious and spiritual life.

The Book of Common Worship (1993) is the fifth in a line of volumes dating back to 1906.  The Reverend Henry Van Dyke (1852-1933) was chiefly responsible for the 1906 and 1932 editions.  His hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” proved more popular than his liturgical books in a denomination (the old Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, 1870-1958 incarnation) with a historical resistance to formality in worship yet an equally historical insistence on worshiping “decently and in order.”  The third BCW (1946), which drew heavily from The Book of Common Prayer (1928), was too Episcopalian for many Presbyterians.  Then came the fourth in the series, The Worshipbook–Services (1970), folded two years later into the new hymnal, The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns.  The 1970/1972 book was an unfortunate product of its time.

In my library I have copies of the 1906, 1932, 1946, 1972, and 1993 books.  I have studied them, and have the notecards to prove it.  I have two copies of the 1946 book; one belonged to my grandmother and grandfather, good Southern Presbyterians.  My grandmother, Nell Taylor, became a member of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) when it formed via a merger in 1983, and served on the session of Summerville Presbyterian Church, Summerville, Georgia.  My grandfather (lived 1905-1976) was a lifelong Southern Presbyterian.  So I write from knowledge and family history.  Harold M. Daniels, editor of the 1993 BCW, has expanded my knowledge of this topic with his insider account in To God Alone Be the Glory (2003), which I have placed on a shelf next to the 1993 book.

To pick up a dangling thread, I first encountered The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972) in the Summer of 1992, at Valdosta, Georgia.  One day I read a night prayer service out of the book and found it lacking.  Actually, “clunky and uninspiring” is a more accurate description.  But the service came from a time of liturgical transitions.  The 1970/1972 book, unlike its 1946 predecessor, used modern English, which I like, but the committee had yet to find graceful modern English.  And the language was, as I wrote, “clunky and uninspiring.”  And, every time I read from that volume, I have an urge to pick up a soft drink, stand on a hill with many other people, and sing,

I’d like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony….

So the 1993 Book of Common Worship is a welcome improvement.  Written in graceful modern English, it borrows heavily from the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (1979), the New Zealand Anglican New Zealand Prayer Book (1989), and the Canadian Anglican Book of Alternative Services (1985), which owes much to the 1979 BCP.  The 1993 BCW also preserves the best of the 1970/1972 Worshipbook by bringing its language up to date.  The current volume is a wonderful resource for personal and corporate prayer and worship.  I know about the personal use of the book.  And, as a good Episcopalian who also uses A New Zealand Prayer Book, I recognize many of the services, sometimes in slightly altered forms.

I can tell that those who prepared the 1993 Book of Common Worship took their efforts seriously.  One measure of this is volume thickness.  Consider the following facts, O reader:

  1. The Book of Common Worship (1906)–263 pages
  2. The Book of Common Worship (Revised) (1932)–353 pages
  3. The Book of Common Worship (1946)–388 pages
  4. The Worshipbook–Services (1970)–the first 206 pages of The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972)
  5. Book of Common Worship (1993)–1,108 pages

By means of comparison, the 1970 Book of Common Prayer, a fine volume in its own right, weighs in at 1,101 pages in my late 1990s copy bound with The Hymnal 1982.  My 2007 copy (bound without the hymnal), which dates to after The Episcopal Church adopted the Revised Common Lectionary, includes the old 1979 lectionary as an appendix yet has 1,049 pages.  So the 1993 BCW is about the same size as the the 1979 BCP.

The 1993 Book of Common Worship, like the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and the 1970/1972 Worshipbook, emphasizes the centrality of the Holy Communion.  I like that.  Unfortunately, this does not seem to have become the normative pattern among Presbyterians in the United States of America.

My experience of the 1993 BCW has been mainly devotional.  Each psalm comes with an appropriate psalm prayer.  The prayer services appeal to my liturgical tastes, creating a proper atmosphere in which I can encounter God in beauty.  And I have used the wide selection of prayers–those for preparation for worship as well as those for a variety of topics–privately and mined them liberally for inclusion on my GATHERED PRAYERS blog–with credit given, of course.

As one who admires the 1979 Book of Common Prayer greatly, I praise the 1993 Book of Common Worship highly.  The latter is superior to the former in some ways, as in the wider selection of prayers for various topics.  I know that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) has produced a great treasure.  It would be better, though, for more members of that denomination to know of the BCW‘s existence and to admire the volume at least as much as I do.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 28, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS PLUTARCH, MARCELLA, POTANOMINAENA, AND BASILIDES OF ALEXANDRIA, MARTYRS

THE FEAST OF SAINT IRANAEUS OF LYONS, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF RANDOLPH ROYALL CLAIBORNE, JR., EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ATLANTA

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Some Related Posts:

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/01/a-brief-history-of-u-s-presbyterian-worship-to-1905/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-book-of-common-worship-1906/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-revised-1932/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-book-of-common-worship-1946/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/the-worshipbook-services-and-hymns-1972-services/

https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/an-incomplete-recovery-of-the-holy-eucharist/

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