Archive for the ‘Book of Worship for Church and Home (1965)’ Tag

All This I Steadfastly Believe: Baptismal Vows in Rites of The United Methodist Church and Predecessor Denominations, 1901-1992   6 comments

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Above:  Community Methodist Church, Half Moon Bay, California

Image Created by the Historic American Buildings Survey

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/ca0808.photos.017380p/)

Reproduction Number = HABS CAL,41-HAMOB,1–7

The Congregation’s Website:  http://cumc-hmb.org/

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All this I steadfastly believe.

The Methodist Hymnal:  Official Hymnal of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1905), page 87

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I.  MY PURPOSE

My purpose in this blog post is to write about baptismal vows in rituals of The United Methodist Church (UMC) and its predecessor bodies since circa 1901.  The UMC is the product of the union of two denominations, each of which was the result of other mergers.  UM roots in the United States sink back into the soil of the past as deeply as the 1700s.

This post and the immediately preceding one (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/solemn-promises-baptismal-vows-in-rites-of-the-presbyterian-church-u-s-a-and-predecessor-bodies-1906-1993/) are spin-offs from a post (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/27/and-all-his-works-u-s-lutheran-baptismal-vows-1917-2006/) about U.S. Lutheran baptismal vows from 1917 to 2006.  Yes, I am a liturgy geek.  Where is my Prayer Book pocket protector?

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II.  THE METHODIST PROTESTANT CHURCH HYMNAL (1901)

The Methodist Protestant Church Hymnal (1901) (http://archive.org/details/protest00meth) is an excellent, if arbitrary place to start.  My explorations at http://archive.org/ have yet to reveal a ritual for that denomination in a book prior to 1901.

In the ritual for the baptism of a child, the minister reminds the parents/guardians to

guide its feet in the paths of righteousness, and raise it up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

The parents/guardians promise to

by precept and example, to bring up this child [or these children] in the nurture and admonition of the Lord

and to pray earnestly

to God for the assistance of the Holy Spirit

in accomplishing this goal.

Those baptismal candidates able to speak for themselves affirm that they

believe in the existence of God, and that he is a rewarder of all those who diligently seek him,

that

the Lord Jesus Christ is the redeemer and Saviour of the world,

affirm that they are

now determined to forsake every evil way, to look to Christ as your only and and all-sufficient Saviour, and to walk in all the commandments of God

and vow to

endeavor to be faithful in the discharge

of certain duties:

to search the Holy Scriptures, and to attend on all the ordinances of the house of God.

Probationary members received into the church ratify the baptismal covenants others made for them, affirm the the resurrection of Jesus, repent of their sins, and affirm that they

rely only upon the atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ

for salvation and that they intend

to obey him

as their

Prince and to conform

their lives

to his teaching and example.

They also promise to attend church services,

co-operate with the pastor and members, and contribute

as able

to the religious enterprises of the church.

Full members received into the church agree to

all its rules of government; to contribute

as able

for the support of the gospel ministry of and the benevolent enterprises of the church; to seek earnestly its peace and purity; to walk with all its members in meekness and sobriety.

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III.  THE METHODIST HYMNAL (1905)

The Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939) and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1845-1939), separated because of a controversy over chattel slavery–a fact which does not place the Southern Church in a favorable historical or moral light.  The two denominations were, however, on sufficiently friendly terms as to produce a shared hymn book, The Methodist Hymnal (1905) (http://archive.org/details/methodisthymnalo00meth).

I have provided a hyperlink to an electronic file, although I worked from a physical copy in delicate condition.

The minister reminds the parents/guardians of their duties:

Dearly Beloved, forasmuch as this child is now presented by you for Christian Baptism, you must remember that it is your part and duty to see that he be taught, as soon as he shall be able to learn, the nature and end of this Holy Sacrament.  And that he may know these things the better, you shall call upon the appointed means of grace, such as the ministry of the word, and the public and private worship of God; and further, you shall provide that he shall read the Holy Scriptures, and learn the Lord’s Prayer, the Apostles’ Creed, the Catechism, and all other things which a Christian ought to know and believe to his soul’s health, in order that he may be brought up to lead a virtuous and holy life, remembering always that Baptism doth represent unto us that inward purity which disposeth us to follow the example of our Saviour Christ; that as he died and rose again for us, so should we, who are baptized, die unto sin and rise again unto righteousness, continually mortifying all corrupt affections, and daily proceeding in all virtue and godliness.

They

therefore solemnly engage to fulfill these duties, so far as is in

them

lies, the Lord being

their helper.

Those who can speak for themselves

renounce the devil and all this works, the vain pomp and glory of the glory of the world, with all covetous desires of the same, and the carnal desires of the flesh, so that thou wilt not follow nor be led by them.

That language comes verbatim from The Book of Common Prayer (1662).

Then the baptismal candidates affirm the Apostles’ Creed and vow to

obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments, and walk in the same all the days of thy life.

Those who join the church affirm that they desire to be saved from their sins, that they endeavor to guard themselves

against all things contrary to the teaching of God’s word

and

to lead a holy life, following the commandments of God,

and are determined to

give reverent attendance upon the appointed means of grace in the ministry of the word, and the private and public worship of God.

That is one form of Reception of Members.  In the other rite the new member renews his or her baptismal covenant, states that he or she trusts he or she has

saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ,

affirms the doctrinal statements of the Methodist Episcopal Church,

cheerfully to be governed by the Rules of the Methodist Episcopal Church, hold sacred ordinances of God, and endeavor,

as able,

to promote the welfare

of the brethren

and the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom.

Then the new member promises to contribute, as able, of his or her

earthly sustenance

for the purpose of supporting

the Gospel and the various benevolent enterprises of the Church.

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IV.  THE METHODIST HYMNAL (1935) AND THE BOOK OF WORSHIP FOR CHURCH AND HOME (1945)

The Methodist Episcopal Church, the Methodist Protestant Church, and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South reunited in 1939 to create The Methodist Church.  First, however, they produced a common hymn book, The Methodist Hymnal (1935).  Ten years later the merged denomination published its Book of Worship for Church and Home (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/the-book-of-worship-for-church-and-home-1945/), the first volume of its kind in U.S. Methodism since John Wesley’s failed Sunday Service.

Much of the 1935-1945 baptismal ritual content looks familiar, for its primary foundation seems to be the Ritual from the 1905 Hymnal.  So I focus on elements which differ from that.

Children and youth answering for themselves vow to put away from themselves

every known sin, of thought, word, or deed, and accept and confess Jesus Christ

as Savior and Lord, to

diligently study the Bible as God’s Holy Word, and in all things to make it the rule

of life, and to

faithfully endeavor to live so as to be pleasing unto Him.

Adults baptized repent of their sins, confess Jesus as Saviour and Lord, and

earnestly endeavor to keep God’s Holy Will and commandments.

New members renew their baptismal covenants, confess Jesus as Saviour and Lord,

pledge allegiance to His kingdom,

receive

and profess the Christian faith as contained in the New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ,

and swear loyalty to the denomination, vowing to

uphold it

by their prayers, presence, gifts, and service.

Children and youth who join the the church affirm belief in God as their Heavenly Father, accept Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, state their belief

in the Bible as God’s Holy Word,

and swear loyalty to the denomination, vowing to

uphold it

with their prayers, presence, gifts, and service.

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V.  THE BOOK OF WORSHIP FOR CHURCH AND HOME (1965) AND THE METHODIST HYMNAL (1966)

The Methodist Church (1939-1968) published its hymnal and book of worship (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/the-book-of-worship-for-church-and-home-1965/), complete with revised rites of Christian initiation with echoes of and quotes from older forms.

The minister asks the parents/guardians if they accept their

bounden duty and privilege to live before this child a life that becomes the Gospel; to exercise all godly care that he be brought up in the Christian faith, that he be taught the Holy Scriptures, and that he learn to give reverent attendance upon the private and public worship of God

and to

endeavor to keep this child under the ministry and guidance of the Church until he by the power of God shall accept for himself the gift of salvation, and be confirmed as a full and responsible member of Christ’s holy Church.

Youth and adults repent of their sins, accept Jesus as Savior, and affirm belief in

God, the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth; and in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord; and in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life

before vowing to

obediently keep God’s holy will and commandments and walk in the same

all the days of their lives.

Those who join the church renew their baptismal covenant, confess Jesus Christ as Savior and pledge

allegiance to his kingdom

affirm that they

receive and profess the Christian faith as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments,

and promise

according to the grace given

them to

live a Christian life and always remain a faithful member of Christ’s holy Church.

They also promise, as in the 1935 rites, swear to be loyal to the denomination, and to uphold it with prayers, presence, gifts, and service.

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VI.  THE UNITED EVANGELICAL CHURCH, 1894-1922

The Evangelical United Brethren Church (1946-1968) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/rituals-of-the-evangelical-united-brethren-church-1946-1968/) united with The Methodist Church (1939-1968) to form The United Methodist Church.  The Evangelical United Brethren Church was the union of the Evangelical Church and the Church of the United Brethren in Christ.  The Evangelical Church was the reunion of the Evangelical Association and its offshoot, the United Evangelical Church.

My searches, including those at http://archive.org/, have not turned up any Evangelical Association ritual.  I have sought yet not found.  But I have located a copy of the ritual (ratified in 1894), of the United Evangelical Church in its Discipline (http://archive.org/details/doctrinesdiscipl00unit).

The minister reminds the parents/guardians of their duties to teach him or her

early fear of the Lord; to watch over

his or her education that he or she

be not led astray; to direct

his or her youthful mind to the Holy Scriptures, and his or her

feet to the house of God; to restrain from evil association and habits,

and, as able, to bring him or her

up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

The parents/guardians agree to do this.

Adult baptismal candidates affirm the Apostles’ Creed and, in the words of the 1662 Prayer Book and the Methodist Ritual,

renounce the devil and all his works, the vain pomp and glory of the world….

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VII.  THE CHURCH OF THE UNITED BRETHREN IN CHRIST

I have confirmed the existence of a consistent ritual of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ since at least its 1897 Discipline (http://archive.org/details/origindoctrineco1897unit).

The minister, in language almost identical to that quoted in the previous section, reminds the parents of their duties.

Baptismal candidates able to speak for themselves consecrate themselves

to Christ and his service

and vow to

endeavor henceforth to keep God’s holy commandments and to walk in the same

all the days of their lives, a passage which the 1965 Methodist rite echoes.

New members swear that they

believe the Bible to be the Word of God, and that therein only is revealed the way of salvation,

take

this Word

as the

rule of faith and conduct,

affirm belief

that Jesus Christ is the Son of God,

and as their

personal Savior,

state their determination

by the grace of God to follow Christ, renouncing the world and all ungodliness, seeking to lead a life of holiness and devotion to God and his cause,

affirm their willingness

to be governed by our church rules as laid down in the Discipline,

and to

attend the various means of grace and the services of the church whenever practicable,

vow to

prayerfully study to know

their duty

as a Christian steward,

and to contribute

to the support of the local church and the benevolent interests of the church

as God enables them to do so.

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VIII.  THE EVANGELICAL UNITED BRETHREN CHURCH, 1946-1968

The Evangelical United Brethren Church published the Book of Ritual, a separately bound portion of its Discipline, in 1952, 1955, and 1959, each time with slight revisions, but not in the baptismal rites.

The minister instructs the parents (chiefly via the Apostles’ Creed) of their duties, which are to

set before this child the example of a godly life, instruct him in the elements of the Christian faith, seek to lead him to acceptance of Jesus Christ as Savior, nurture him in the Christian life, and endeavor to bring him into the membership of the church.

The parents vow to do these things.

The minister, addressing baptismal candidates able to speak for themselves, recites the Apostles’ Creed then asks them to

acknowledge and profess the Christian faith as taught in the Holy Scriptures,

to

repent from sin,

and acknowledge Jesus as Savior and Lord, and to be

determined by the grace of God to live the Christian life.

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IX.  THE UNITED METHODIST HYMNAL (1989) AND THE UNITED METHODIST BOOK OF WORSHIP (1992)

The United Methodist Church has four Services of the Baptismal Covenant in its hymnal and book of worship (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/the-united-methodist-book-of-worship-1992/):

  • I is for Holy Baptism, Confirmation, Reaffirmation of Faith, and Reception of Members.
  • II is Baptism of Children, based on the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren rites.  The Book of Worship, unlike the Hymnal, divides this into II, II-A (the Brief Order), and II-B.
  • III is Baptism of Adults, based on the Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren rites.
  • IV is for Congregational Reaffirmation.

There is little left to write which is different except that, having read the preceding rites in the last few hours, these look very familiar relative to the older rites.  I note that the first three questions and answers are very good and indicate a social conscience and a sound theology of the Image of God:

Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness, reject the evil powers of this world, and repent of your sin?

I do.

Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you to resist evil, injustice, and oppression in whatever forms they present themselves?

I do.

Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior, put your whole trust in his grace, and promise to serve him as your Lord, in union with the Church which Christ has opened to people of all ages, nations, and races?

I do.

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X.  CONCLUSION

As I wrote in the corresponding Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) baptismal vows post,

There is no single correct way to cover the serious theological work of baptismal vows.

The denominations of which I have written in this post have done that job well and in a variety of ways.  Such variety is the spice of liturgical life.

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KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 30, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT WILLIAM PINCHON, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF HORATIUS BONAR, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF RUDOLF BULTMANN, BIBLICAL SCHOLAR

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM WILBERFORCE, ABOLITIONIST

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First I acknowledge my brain, given the years I grew up in United Methodist parsonages and have spent studying U.S. Methodist history.  Citing my brain is quicker and easier than seeking print sources for certain details.

I consider any document to which I have provided a hyperlink cited properly already.

I also used certain books while drafting this post.  Those credits follow:

Book of Common Prayer, The.  The Church of England, 1662.

Book of Ritual of The Evangelical United Brethren Church, The.  Dayton, OH:  Otterbein Press, 1952.

Book of Ritual of The Evangelical United Brethren Church, The.  Dayton, OH:  Otterbein Press, 1955.

Book of Ritual of The Evangelical United Brethren Church, The.  Dayton, OH:  Otterbein Press, 1959.

Book of Worship for Church and Home, The.  Nashville, TN:  Methodist Publishing House, 1945.

Book of Worship for Church and Home, The.  Nashville, TN:  Methodist Publishing House, 1965.

Church Hymnal:  The Official Hymnal of the Church of the United Brethren in Christ, The.  Dayton, OH:  United Brethren Publishing House, 1935.  Reprint, 1943.

Methodist Hymnal:  Official Hymnal of The Methodist Church, The.  Nashville, TN:  Methodist Publishing House, 1935, 1939.

Methodist Hymnal:  Official Hymnal of The Methodist Church, The.  Nashville, TN:  Methodist Publishing House, 1966.

Methodist Hymnal:  Official Hymnal of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, The.  New York, NY:  Eaton & Mains, 1905.

United Methodist Book of Worship, The.  Nashville, TN:  United Methodist Publishing House, 1992.

United Methodist Hymnal:  Book of United Methodist Worship, The.  Nashville, TN:  United Methodist Publishing House, 1989.

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The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972)–Services   17 comments

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Above:  My Copy of The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns (1972)

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This post follows these:

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/

Reading them first will enhance one’s comprehension of this post.

THE AUTHOR

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INTRODUCTION

Philip H. Pfatteicher wrote:

…the new is not always found in opposition to the old but arises from the old as natural growth and development.  Stability and continuity are essential elements of catholic Christianity.

Commentary on the Lutheran Book of Worship:  Lutheran Liturgy in Its Ecumenical Context (Minneapolis, MN:  Augsburg Fortress, 1990, page 10)

Sometimes that which is new is really a recovery of something older than the status quo ante yet lost.  Thus innovation can incorporate deep respect for tradition.  The best of the liturgical renewal of the the 1960s and the 1970s (such as The Book of Common Prayer of 1979) demonstrates this principle.  Its embrace of pre-Reformation (even ancient) liturgies as foundations for new ones (in modern English, fortunately) was a positive development.

The Worshipbook, a remarkable achievement in some respects, fell far short of liturgical greatness.  It, the first major U.S. Protestant book of worship in contemporary English, followed the Methodist Book of Worship for Church and Home (1965) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/the-book-of-worship-for-church-and-home-1965/), written in Elizabethan English, by just a few years.  Both books became dated very quickly, but for different reasons.  The 1965 volume’s olden-style language made it a relic of a bygone era by the early 1970s.  But The Worshipbook (Services, 1970 + Hymns, 1972) became dated because of the presentist nature of its language.  The liturgical failure of the volume helped the shapers of the Book of Common Worship (1993) (https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2012/06/28/book-of-common-worship-1993/) learn vital lessons as they created a modern service book with lovely modern English.

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BODY

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Above:  My Copy of the 1963-1964 UPCUSA Constitution

The Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (PCUSA) merged with the United Presbyterian Church of North America (UPCNA) to form The United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (UPCUSA) in 1958.  The pre-merger bodies and the mostly Southern Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS) had already collaborated on The Hymnbook (1955), successor to The Presbyterian Hymnal (PCUS, 1927) and The Hymnal (PCUSA, 1933).

The UPCUSA replaced its amended version of the 1788 Directory for Worship with the new Directory for the Worship of God in 1961.  This Neo-orthodox document established the Holy Communion as the normative Sunday service:

It is fitting that it be observed as frequently as on each Lord’s Day, and it ought to be observed frequently and regularly enough that it is seen as a proper part of, and not an addition to, the worship of God by his people.

The Constitution of The United Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (Philadelphia, PA:  The Office of the General Assembly, 1963, page 108)

The 1961 UPCUSA Directory rejected Jure Divino and embraced a combination of Scripture and Christian history.  It also established two readings (from the Old and New Testaments) as the norm in public worship and favored the unity of word and sacrament, making that union normative.

The PCUS replaced its 1894 Directory for Worship (amended in 1929) with the new Directory of Worship and Work, a vaguer and more conservative document which stressed the proper relationship of worship to the rest of life, in 1963.  This document, unlike its UPCUSA counterpart, contained some rituals–for Holy Communion, baptism, and confirmation.

These developments and the changes in the Roman Catholic Church and in mainline Protestant denominations during the 1960s influenced the shape of The Worshipbook.  Ecumenical and liturgical convergence also came to bear on the fourth volume in the Book of Common Worship series.  The Worshipbook–Services (1970) was bound two years later as the front part of The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns.  Thus the 1972 volume was the successor to both The Book of Common Worship (1946) and The Hymnbook (1955).  This was an ecumenical effort, being an official publication of the UPCUSA, the PCUS, and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church.

Of the 1972 hymnal I choose to make only one statement, which speaks for itself:  The organizational structure is alphabetical order.  In contrast, The Presbyterian Hymnal:  Hymns, Psalms, and Spiritual Songs (1990), its immediate successor, follows a different system for hymns:

  • Christian Year;
  • Psalms; and
  • Topical Hymns.

As I type these words I await the release of Glory to God:  The Presbyterian Hymnal (2013).

The Preface of The Worshipbook explains the rationale for the name change from Book of Common Worship:

The Worshipbook is a new book with a new name, offered in the hope that it will serve a new age in the church.  The old and well-beloved title of the former book, The Book of Common Worship, has been sacrificed because the word common is no longer used as it was in times gone by.  The change in title is symbolic of the attempt to help Christians, and those who may become Christians, to hear God’s word, to worship him, in the language of their needs and aspirations today.

–Page 9

O that the language could have been poetic!  Alas, it was not!

Yet The Worshipbook, consistent with the 1961 UPCUSA Directory, makes the Holy Communion part of the order of worship, not an addition to it.  That relative liturgical innovation was really a return to a long-abandoned (by the Presbyterians) practice, one which John Calvin favored in the 1500s.  He, in turn, took it from fifteen centuries of Christian practice.

Most of the types of rituals in The Worshipbook are boiler-plate material for such a volume–baptism, confirmation, weddings, funerals, Holy Communion, ordination, installation, and recognition.  There are also litanies and many prayers and a plethora of resources for Sundays and holy days of the Christian Year, according to the revised Roman Catholic calendar introduced in Advent 1969.  That is all very good.  And the language is contemporary.  That is also fine, for I prefer modern English.  Furthermore, the desire to speak to the people of the time was noble, but there is such a thing as poetic contemporary English, which is lacking in The Worshipbook.

One element of The Worshipbook does delight me most of all.  The church adopted a slightly modified Roman Catholic lectionary.  My active imagination creates a scene in which Dr. Robert L. Dabney (see the Introduction to this post:  https://blogatheologica.wordpress.com/2013/07/02/the-book-of-common-worship-1906/) kvetches endlessly.  O bliss!

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CONCLUSION

The Worshipbook is an odd blend of the wonderful and the bland.  Unfortunately, the latter taints the effort for me.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 3, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF HENRY THOMAS SMART, ENGLISH ORGANIST AND COMPOSER

THE FEAST OF ELIZABETH FERRARD, ANGLICAN DEACONESS

THE FEAST OF SAINT ELIZABETH OF PORTUGAL, QUEEN

THE FEAST OF JOHN CENNICK, BRITISH MORAVIAN EVANGELIST AND HYMN WRITER

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Rituals of the Evangelical United Brethren Church (1946-1968)   8 comments

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Above:  Otterbein United Brethren Church, Baltimore, Maryland, July 1936

Photograph by E. H. Pickering

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = HABS MD,4-BALT,54–4

In 2013 this is Old Otterbein United Methodist Church, Baltimore, Maryland.

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Hoyt L. Hickman, writing of increasing levels of formality among U.S. Methodists (particularly the forebears of The United Methodist Church), wrote:

A few Methodist choirs had begun to vest as early as the 1890s, and by the mid-twentieth century one could expect to find vested choirs in medium-sized and larger congregations.  Black clergy robes were already appearing in Methodist services in the 1920s and became commonplace by the 195os.  By the 1950s and 60s a stole in the seasonal color might be worn with the robe, and the robe might be white in the summer.

Worshiping with United Methodists:  A Guide for Pastors and Church Leaders (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1996, page 59)

George Washington Barrett (1873-1956), one of my great-grandfathers, was a minister of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (extant 1845-1939), then of The Methodist Church, into which his original denomination merged.  He had no use for what he described as “externals”, such as

emphasizing…the manner of religious ceremony.

He was a product of his time and subculture, having become clergy in the North Georgia Conference in 1899.  (http://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/spiritual-religion-and-ritualism/ and http://taylorfamilypoems.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/family-tree-of-george-washington-barrett/)

The United Methodist Church (1968-) is the result of the merger of two denominations with roots in 1700s America.  The Methodist Church (1939-1968) was immediate successor of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939) and two of its offshoots, with which it reunited.  Hoyt L. Hickman, in the portion of his book which I quoted, described liturgical and ritualistic developments on that side of the denominational family tree.  I would be surprised if the other side of the family tree advanced faster.  That other side of the denominational family tree was The Evangelical United Brethren Church (1946-1968) (abbreviated as E.U.B.), the combination of the former Church of the United Brethren in Christ (1816-1946) and the Evangelical Church (1922-1946).  The latter body formed by means of the reunion of the Evangelical Association (1800-1922) and the United Evangelical Church (1894-1922).

The Order of Worship from the Methodist Book of Worship for Church and Home (1945) provided for one reading of Scripture, as did the “Aids to Worship” section of The Church Hymnal (United Brethren in Christ, 1935).  Yet the Order of Worship from the Methodist Book of Worship for Church and Home (1965) provided for readings from the Bible, specifically,

…one from the Old Testament, and one from the Epistles or Gospels.”

–page 5

The Hymnal of The Evangelical Brethren Church (1957) contained two orders of worship.  The second (page 10) provided for “Reading of the Scriptures,” and the first (page 9) specified an Epistle reading and a Gospel reading.

Of Communion rituals I have slightly less information than I prefer.  The Evangelical Hymnal (1921) contained no such ritual.  Mainly it offered hymns, indices, and responsive readings.  But The Church Hymnal (United Brethren in Christ, 1935) contained two versions of “An Order for Service for the Holy Communion,” both based on and reduced greatly from The Book of Common Prayer (1662) and

revised in accordance with the usage of non-liturgical churches and adapted to meet the needs of our own Communion.

–page 418

“The Ritual of the Holy Communion, or the Lord’s Supper,” from the E.U.B. Hymnal (1957), came also from the 1662 Prayer Book, with reductions and other modifications.  The E.U.B. Book of Ritual (1952, 1955, and 1959) contained two Communion rituals.  The Longer Form was the one printed in The Hymnal (1957).  The Briefer form was reduced from the Longer Form.  The 1950s Briefer Form was different from the 1935 abbreviated rite.

The Church Hymnal (United Brethren in Christ, 1935) contained a section entitled “Aids to Worship.”  There were Orders of Service, occasional services (such as confirmation and baptism), responsive readings (from the Bible), “Responsive Hymn Services” (which used hymn verses in lieu of responsive readings), and litanies for opening and for closing worship.

Likewise the E.U.B. Hymnal (1957) contained an “Aids to Worship” section, which, the book said,

…may be supplemented by the rich resources, ancient and modern, which are available in the Bible and in other books of worship.

–page not numbered

In this section were calls to worship, invocations, offertory sentences, suggested Bible readings specified by topic, the Decalogue, Old Testament Beatitudes (from various Psalms), New Testament Beatitudes (from Matthew 5:3-12, Revised Standard Version), and responsive readings (from the Bible).

The Book of Ritual of The Evangelical United Brethren Church (1952, 1955, and 1959) was a separately bound portion of the denominational Discipline.  All editions of The Book of Ritual contained the following rites:

  • Baptism of Infants;
  • Baptism of Adults;
  • Dedication of Infants (in lieu of Baptism of Infants);
  • Holy Communion (the Longer Form and the Briefer Form);
  • Reception of Members;
  • Holy Matrimony (with identical vows for the bride and the groom);
  • Burial of the Dead (a Christian form and a General form);
  • Ordination of Elders;
  • Breaking Ground;
  • Laying a Cornerstone;
  • Dedication of a Church;
  • Rededication of a Church;
  • Dedication of an Educational Building;
  • Dedication of an Organ;
  • Dedication of a Home;
  • Dedication of a Parsonage;
  • Mortgage or Note Burning;
  • Installation of a Conference Superintendent;
  • Installation of General Church Officials;
  • Installation of a Bishop; and
  • Retirement of Elders.

The 1955 Book of Ritual added a separate rite for receiving children as members and dropped the General Installation service from 1952.

The 1959 Book of Ritual replaced the 1952 rite for the Commissioning of Missionaries with a new ritual for the Recognition of Missionary Commitment.

As The Book of Ritual (1952) said,

Divine worship is the inestimable privilege of man who, in the presence of Deity, bows in humility and adoration.  Worship in its deepest and purest sense is the response of the human to the Divine.  The object of a worship service is to lead souls to an act of pure adoration and self-dedication.  A profound and wide-spread desire for enriched worship services marks the age in which we are living.

The true object of worship ever lies beyond the full comprehension of man; therefore he bridges that gap by the use of symbol and ritual.  Great liturgies are of slow growth, and are the product of an ever-enlarging spiritual experience.  They gather up that which has been the most helpful and noble in the faith and devotion of the ages.  The church has a rich literature of worship, which is stimulating and uplifting, and by its use, worship is given concrete expression.

The ultimate value of rituals and formulas depends largely upon the devotional spirit of the Minister in the leadership of worship.  Orderliness in procedure commends itself to all who understand the meaning of true worship….

Now, of course, The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992) (abbreviated as UMBOW) is the official collection of United Methodist liturgies, some duplicated from The United Methodist Hymnal (1989).  Both volumes contain the following, “A Service of Word and Table IV,” which borrows from Methodist and E.U.B. service books.  The Hymnal (1989) contains the former Methodist and E.U.B. versions of the Lord’s Prayer (identical except for some punctuation and the debts vs. trespasses issue).  The UMBOW (1992) offers the following:

  • The Baptismal Covenant II-B (for children and based on former Methodist and E.U.B. rites),
  • The Baptismal Covenant III (for adults and based on former Methodist and E.U.B. rites), and
  • A Service of Christian Marriage II (based on former Methodist and E.U.B. rites).

The Hymnal (1989) also contains The Baptismal Covenant III and offers the following:

  • The Congregational Pledge 1 (for use with the former E.U.B. rite) and
  • The Congregational Pledge 2 (for use with the former Methodist rite).

Both of these are for use with The Baptismal Covenant II.  The UMBOW (1992) contains not only the text of The Baptismal Covenant II but The Baptismal Covenant II-A and The Baptismal Covenant II-B, the latter two of which are briefer than the former.  II-A in The UMBOW (1992) incorporates The Congregational Pledge 2 and II-B features The Congregational Pledge II-A.  But the Hymnal (1989), for the sake of  simplicity, has simply The Baptismal Covenant II, followed by the two options for The Congregational Pledge.  The wording of both Congregational pledges changed slightly between the Hymnal (1989) and The UMBOW (1992), but with no theological importance I can discern.

There is no rite for the Dedication of Infants anywhere in The UMBOW (1992).  Neither was there one in the 1945 or the 1965 Book of Worship for Church and Home.

The Evangelical United Brethren Church offered a Book of Ritual with a narrower range of options than the Methodist Book of Worship for Church and Home.  Yet the 1957 E.U.B. Hymnal, with its worship aids, compensated somewhat for that fact.  A review of E.U.B. Church rituals reveals a growing sense of the importance of more congregational involvement in worship as the twentieth century progressed.  That was already evident in The Church Hymnal (United Brethren in Christ, 1935).  The E.U.B. Church, for a “non-liturgical” denomination, seemed, officially at least, aware of the need for more ritual as they approached union with the Methodists, their ecclesiastical cousins.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 31, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF THE VISITATION OF MARY TO ELIZABETH

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The Book of Worship for Church and Home (1965)   8 comments

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Above:  Lawrence Street Methodist Episcopal Church, Denver, Colorado, Between 1868 and 1882

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-USZ62-117988

Trinity United Methodist Church, Denver, Colorado, is the spiritual heir of this congregation.

Thanks to Cyclopedia of Methodism (1882) for giving me the church name (Lawrence Street) and an engraving to match the photograph from the Library of Congress!

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The 1956 General Conference of The Methodist Church (1939-1968) approved a revision of the 1945 Book of Worship for Church and Home.  The ultimate result was the 1965 Book of Worship for Church and Home (BOW), this time without the redundant title page disclaimer:

FOR VOLUNTARY AND OPTIONAL USE.

Yet church politics of formal liturgy were not entirely amicable.  Hence the last paragraph of the Preface reads:

The Book of Worship is designed  to provide significant structure for the worship of the Church.  It is not intended in any way to fetter the spontaneity or reject the reliance upon the Holy Spirit which have characterized Methodist worship throughout its history.  Rather The Book of Worship seeks to claim for the Church and its people the total Methodist heritage in worship.  John Wesley himself, by his devotion to the Book of Common Prayer and his ordering of the “Sunday Service of the Methodists in America,” has made us heirs of the deeply meaningful historic forms of devotion of the universal Church.  As we make these our own we shall find that the Holy Spirit will move among us with mighty power.

The 1965 BOW mostly expands upon the foundation laid by its 1945 predecessor.

  • The Order of Worship provides for reading more Scripture than before.
  • The volume includes a new (in 1965) lectionary, one which is outmoded in 2013.  Pentecost Season runs through late August then Kingdomtime follows, ending on the eve of Advent.  In contrast, The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992), this volume’s successor, follows the modern custom of one’s enormous Season after Pentecost, ranging from May or June to late November or early December.
  • There are more prayers (and sometimes different ones on the same topics) than in the 1945 BOW.
  • The section of daily readings for a month is absent.
  • The Psalter is now present.
  • There are more occasional services.
  • There is a greater wealth of seasonal prayers than in either the 1945 BOW or the 1992 United Methodist Book of Worship.

I have two copies of the 1965 BOW–one from before the 1968 merger of The Methodist Church (1939-1968) and the Evangelical United Brethren Church (1946-1968) which forged The United Methodist Church and the other from after that occasion.  So the covers are slightly different, for one has the cross-and-M logo of the former Methodist Church and the other bears the cross-and-flame logo of The United Methodist Church.  And the post-1968 copy inserts the word “United” in front of “Methodist” inside.

I grew up in United Methodist parsonages in the South Georgia Conference in the 1980s.  There was not a copy of the 1965 BOW at home or in the church office.  In fact, I first saw a copy at a family friend’s home.  What use is a good book of worship if people do not use it or know that it exists?

As with the 1945 BOW, I find the widespread use of archaic language annoying.  Is calling God “you” instead of “thee” really so bad?

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 30, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA, HISTORIAN AND ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF APOLO KIVEBULAYA, ANGLICAN EVANGELIST

THE FEAST OF JOACHIM NEANDER, GERMAN REFORMED MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPHINE BUTLER, WORKER AMONG WOMEN

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Change and Tradition   4 comments

Above:  Light Bulbs

Labels interest me.  More to the point, the relative nature of many of them intrigues me.  Thus “conservative,” derived from “conserve,” indicates an opposition to change, at least according to the denotation.  Liberals favor change within the system, revolutionaries propose to create a new system, and reactionaries prefer a previous system.  Pundits and politicians confuse matters by using these terms inaccurately, but I proceed from the notion that words ought to mean what they mean, not what is convenient for us.  And one can hold a fairly consistent set of opinions over time and receive a variety of labels.  In pre-Revolutionary France, for example, support for a constitutional monarchy was a revolutionary idea.  It became conservative in 1789 and reactionary by 1792.  Some labels are so relative as to be of limited value.

Here is an old joke:

Q:  How many fundamentalists does it take to change a light bulb?

A:  CHANGE????

One of the Episcopal Church variations on the

How many ____________s does it take to change a light bulb?

joke tells me that between 200 and 300 of us are necessary.  There must be service with a special liturgy and choir anthem.  And some traditionalists will march out in protest, found their own Anglican church, and join the Society for the Preservation of the Light Bulb.  That answer hits close to home in many Episcopal Church circles.

Just as change for its own sake is bad, so is opposing change reflexively.  An organism which does not change is dead.  And the trademark words of a dying church are

We’ve never done it that way before.

Change is part of life, so how we handle change matters greatly.

In church circles change pertains usually to theological/social and liturgical issues.  I recognize no clear distinction between theological and social matters.  So, if I say that I affirm the image of God in every person and am honest, I obligate myself to support a variety of causes.  In my mind, this list of causes comes down to civil rights and liberties, which extend properly to matters of race, ethnicity, gender, economics, and education.  Such a stance requires me to oppose discrimination against anyone.  So, in the love of Christ, I support homosexual rights.  Today such a statement proves controversial.  So be it.

In many ways I am a liberal or a revolutionary.  Parts of the Church used to justify slavery in the United States by quoting the Bible.  Then their heirs recycled those arguments and added new ones to justify racial segregation.  (This has been a field of extensive research on my part.  I still have all my notes.)  Two generations ago, when the Presbyterian Church in the United States (PCUS), the old Southern Presbyterian Church, began to affirm civil rights for African Americans, that denomination’s right wing protested vehemently.  One generation ago, part of that right wing founded the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) over that and other issues.  (This has been a field of extensive research on my part.  I still have all my notes.)  Now, of course, civil rights for African Americans prompt little or no negative reaction or response and the PCA has rejected the racism of many of its founders.  Much change is good.

Liturgically I am slightly left of center with a conservative streak, I suppose.  The Book of Common Prayer (1979) is a spectacular resource, but subsequent Prayer Books (notably New Zealand from 1979 and Ireland from 2004) have surpassed it.  I refuse to worship from the 1928 Prayer Book, an artifact for me and an idol to many others.  Liturgical renewal did occur; we ought to get with and/or remain with the program.  And many of the alleged innovations of the 1979 Prayer Book were actually returns to pre-Reformation patterns; they were reactionary.

I, as a student of liturgy, collect liturgical books.  Among my favorite volumes is Companion to The Book of Worship, a 1970 explanation of the 1965 Methodist (later United Methodist) Book of Worship.  Lance Webb, Chairman of the General Commission on Worship of The United Methodist Church in 1970, wrote,

Some persons think all liturgies considered valuable in the past should be disregarded today in favor of completely new creative or contemporary liturgies.–page 8

He disagreed.  Neither did he oppose all new liturgies.  Webb affirmed that new rites must emerge from an appreciation for older ones, the liturgical wealth of the Church.  And he was correct on all counts.

Old prayers used to be new.  Western Christians did not always say or sing the Agnus Dei.  Change can revitalize worship or impoverish it, reducing it to a lowest common denominator of excessive emotionalism and praise choruses with seven words one sings eleven times.  (I keep thinking of the youth pastor from Saved! (2004):

All right! All right! Who’s down with G-O-D?

Worship should not resemble cheerleading.)  A proper mix of tradition and change is necessary to maintain an equilibrium.  So “thee” becomes “you” and a litany from the 1500s looks in its modern form very much like its original shape while a new Eucharistic rite in the 1979 Prayer Book speaks of

…the vast expanse of interstellar space, galaxies, suns, the planets in their courses, and this fragile earth, our island home.–page 370

The English Language changes; why not pronouns in prayers?

Neither theology nor liturgy should become as museum pieces or fossilized insects frozen in amber.  No, they ought to be living traditions–rooted in the past and changing to meet the needs of the present day while retaining the best which the past has to offer.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 17, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF BENNETT J. SIMS, EPISCOPAL BISHOP OF ATLANTA

THE FEAST OF THE MARTYRS OF COMPIEGNE

THE FEAST OF SAINT NERSES LAMPRONATS, ARMENIAN APOSTOLIC ARCHBISHOP OF TARSUS

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM WHITE, PRESIDING BISHOP OF THE EPISCOPAL CHURCH

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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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