Archive for the ‘John Wesley’ Tag

Prelude to the Liturgy in the Moravian Church in America Series   8 comments

Moravian Hymnals July 13, 2014

Above:  Some of the Moravian Hymnals I Own:  1923, 1942, 1961, 1969, 1995, and 2013

Image Source = Kenneth Randolph Taylor

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Last Summer I wrote about U.S. Lutheran liturgy.  This Summer I wrote about U.S. Dutch Reformed liturgy and left that series in such a state that I will be able to resume it and write about narrowly defined topics in subsequent posts.  Now, however, I turn to the Moravians, but I choose not to call the series “U.S. Moravian Liturgy.”  There are excellent reasons for this decision.

The Moravian Church consists of the global Moravian Unity (the Unitas Fratrum) and related denominations outside the worldwide church.  The Unitas Fratrum (Latin for “Unity of the Brethren”), with its Unity Board, consists of, as of May 2014, twenty-one unity provinces (those with voting rights on the Unity Board), six mission provinces, and thirteen mission areas (most, but not all, under the supervision of a unity province).  Four of these provinces are in North America.

  1. The Moravian Church in America consists of the Southern Province (1753), headquartered in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, and the U.S. congregations of the Northern Province (1741), headquartered in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
  2. The Moravian Church in Canada consists of the Northern Province congregations in Alberta and Ontario.
  3. The Northern and Southern Provinces constitute the Moravian Church in North America.
  4. The Alaska Moravian Church (1885), a.k.a. the Alaska Province, headquartered in Bethel, Alaska, has been working with indigenous peoples for almost 130 years.  Its founders were missionaries from the Northern Province.  It uses hymnals, songbooks, and rituals in indigenous languages as well as in English.
  5. The Moravian Church in Newfoundland and Labrador (1771), or the Labrador Mission Province, ministers among the Inuit people there.
  6. The Northern Province has 93 congregations, excluding fellowships.  Eight of these are in Alberta and one is in Ontario, for a total of nine churches in Canada.  The other churches are scattered across twelve states and the District of Columbia–from California to Maryland–with the greatest concentration (twenty-three) in Pennsylvania.
  7. The Southern Province has fifty-seven congregations, excluding fellowships.  These exist in four states, with North Carolina having the greatest concentration (forty-eight).  There is one Moravian congregation in my state of Georgia–to my southwest, in the metropolitan Atlanta area.
  8. The Labrador Mission Province has four congregations.
  9. The Alaska Moravian Church has twenty-four congregations.

Newfoundland and Labrador Flag

Above:  The Flag of Newfoundland and Labrador

Image in the Public Domain

The Unity of the Brethren, which Czech immigrants to Texas founded in 1903, does not belong to the Unitas Fratrum, but does relate ecumenically to the Northern and Southern Provinces and support the seminary in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  This denomination has twenty-seven congregations–twenty-six in Texas and one in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Texas Flag

Above:  Flag of Texas

Image in the Public Domain

My study so far of the Moravian Unity has revealed diversity in worship styles–from traditional liturgies and trombone choirs on the classical end of the spectrum to Southern Gospel hymnody to Charismatic services.  The Charismatic movement has become quite popular with parts of the Unitas Fratrum and divided three provinces.  Thus there are a unity province and mission province each in Honduras and the Czech Republic, for example.  And Alaska has had, since 2012, its province and a “ministry group” (not quite a mission province).

Before I proceed I feel the need to make a few points clear:

  1. I am a staid, orderly Episcopalian.  On the head-heart spectrum of Christianity I give more priority to the former than to the latter.  I, unlike John Wesley, who founded the Methodist Church, to which I belonged as a youth, have never felt my heart strangely warmed.  I have never had a “born again” experience, but I have known God for as long as I can remember.  Experiential Christianity, which the Moravian Church emphasizes, is not my cup of tea.  I was born to be an Episcopalian.
  2. I have no interest in designating any person or party in the Alaska dispute a hero, villain, or anything else.  My goal relative to it is to summarize reality accurately while avoiding becoming lost in details.
  3. My Internet-based research via official Moravian websites has answered many questions and created others.  The latter category is unimportant to me, for I choose not to pursue many details unrelated to my primary interest here–the analysis of liturgies and hymnals in the Northern and Southern Provinces of the Unitas Fratrum.

Alaska Flag

Above:  Flag of Alaska

Image in the Public Domain

The “ministry group,” as the Unitas Fratrum‘s Unity Board defines it, is the United Alaska Moravian Ministry (UAMM), which broke away from the Alaska Moravian Church in 2011.  As best as I can determine, UAMM consists of four churches, one or two fellowships, and a preaching station in the southern part of the state.  The flagship congregation is Anchorage Moravian Church (old website here; current website here), a fellowship of the Alaska Province from 1973 to 2001.  Since the church left the Alaska Moravian Church for UAMM in 2011, the Alaska Province planted a new congregation, First Moravian Church of Anchorage, in 2012.  The Senior Pastor of Anchorage Moravian Church and Bishop of UAMM is the Right Reverend William Nicholson (born in Dillingham, Alaska, in 1951, and raised in the Russian Orthodox Church).  He has served as Senior Pastor of that congregation (with an interruption in his tenure) since 2001.

A Moravian bishop is a spiritual leader, not an administrator per se.  Often a Moravian bishop serves as President of the Provincial Board and is therefore an administrator in that capacity, but the episcopal office is a spiritual one.  The first indigenous Bishop of the Alaska Moravian Church was the Right Reverend Jacob Nelson, who served from 1983 to 2013.  The Synod elected Nicholson to serve as a bishop in 2008, and thus the Province had two bishops.  The Synodical records from 2009 spoke of the two bishops.  Then, in 2010, something happened, for the Alaska Provincial Board removed Bishop Nicholson from his post as Senior Pastor.  Church bulletins from the time listed the position of Senior Pastor as vacant (until an Interim Pastor was present) and Nicholson as the Church Administrator.  Synodical records from 2011 referred a resolution to endorse the Provincial Board’s decision to terminate Nicholson’s ministerial duties in the Alaska Moravian Church to that Board.  The UAMM, with Nicholson restored as Senior Pastor of Anchorage Moravian Church, started its existence apart from the Alaska Synod in 2011.  As of January of that year, however, Anchorage Moravian Church was still part of the Alaska Moravian Church.

The Unity Board of the Unitas Fratrum met in 2012 and rendered a decision relative to UAMM.  The new group, now under the supervision of the Unity Board, became a “ministry group.”  The Unity Board also encouraged reconciliation between UAMM and the Alaska Moravian Church, requested that Nicholson seek guidance from other Moravian bishops, instructed him to refrain from ordaining anyone until a province commissions that act, and forbade him to compete with the Alaska Province in villages.  The Unity Board also deferred a decision regarding mission province status for UAMM.

My research into the Alaska dispute indicates at least two major factors–the Charismatic movement and rural-urban differences–in the schism.  Official records of the Alaska Moravian Church indicate the presence of the Charismatic movement as well as opposition to it in that province.  The dispute had been brewing for a period of some years in 2010, when the Synod rejected, by a vote of 21 to 39, a resolution affirming both traditional and contemporary worship as “vital to bring life, retain the younger generation, and possibly bring revival to the Alaska Province.”  And, since 2006, some congregations had been celebrating Spiritual Feasts, informal gatherings of people for the Holy Spirit-led praise of God consisting of testimonies, songs, and brief sermons then a potluck meal.  Revivalism was nothing new to the Alaska Province, whose Book of Order permits revivals, but the Charismatic movement made many people uncomfortable.

The Anchorage Moravian Church (abbreviated as AncMC online) websites (former and current) have proven especially helpful to me, for they have, among things, included many bulletins.  Detective work has led me to identify (by matching hymns to hymn numbers) two of the hymnals that congregation uses.  They are The Celebration Hymnal (1997), a hymnbook for blended worship, and the Hymnal and Liturgies of the Moravian Church (1969), a resource of the Northern and Southern Provinces.  These bulletins also reveal a combination of Moravian liturgies (used in the Sunday morning service) and the absence of them (in the Sunday evening service).  And further evidence of the Charismatic nature of the congregation and UAMM is the ministry group’s covenant relationship the Honduras unity province, the Charismatic Moravian province in that country.  (The mission province is the traditional group.)

The rural-urban thread comes from the current website of Anchorage Moravian Church.  As Bishop Nicholson wrote:

In November 2012 because of being far removed from rural Alaska and its “Spirit-filled” Missions emphasis, the AncMC is now recognized as a member Church of United Alaska Moravian Ministry (UAMM), a Moravian Group recognized by the Moravian Unity Board. UAMM is seeking Mission Province status with the Moravian Unity Board. UAMM is made up of growing Moravian Fellowships and Churches in Manokotak, Big Lake, Kenai and Anchorage. UAMM’s mission is to “Further the Gospel” on the Alaska highway system and to other non-Moravian areas of Alaska and the world.

So ends that thread of this post.

I choose to focus the upcoming series of Moravian-related blog posts to the Northern and Southern Provinces because, in so doing, I contain the content to material I can cover well.  If I cannot do something well, I prefer not to do it at all.  Researching and writing that series will require time, more reading, and much concentration, all of which will be good for my mind and my spirit, especially as I analyze liturgical materials, one of my favorite activities.  Such tasks constitute a form of prayer for me.

Until later, O reader…A bientot.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JULY 13, 2014 COMMON ERA

PROPER 10–THE FIFTH SUNDAY AFTER PENTECOST

THE FEAST OF CLIFFORD BAX, PLAYWRIGHT AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF SAINT EUGENIUS OF CARTHAGE, ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF SAINT FRANCIS SOLANO, “THE APOSTLE OF AMERICA”

THE FEAST OF ORANGE SCOTT, ABOLITIONIST

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UPDATE:

On February 24, 2018 Bishop Williamson of the United Alaska Moravian Ministry Group (not affiliated with the Worldwide Moravian Unity, the website says prominently) joined with other Moravian churches to form the Global Fellowship of Moravian Revival Churches (GFMRC) at a ceremony in Kenya.  The GMF describes itself as an “undefiled and evangelical movement.

KRT

April 24, 2018

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

017380pv

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 Book of Worship for Church and Home (1945)   12 comments

4a09249v

Above:  Methodist Church, Streator, Illinois, Circa 1900

Image Source = Library of Congress

Reproduction Number = LC-D4-13897

In 2013 the congregation bears the name “First United Methodist Church of Streator” and has a different yet still graceful structure.

(http://www.igrc.org/churches/detail/755)

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Last Summer I began to write reviews of current worship books for denominations.  Among those reviews was one of The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992). Now, with this post, I commence a series of reviews of superceded worship books.

Cyclopedia of Methodism (Fifth Revised Edition), edited by Bishop Matthew Simpson and published in 1882, contains an article on John Wesley’s Sunday Service, an abridgment of The Book of Common Prayer (1662) of The Church of England.   The article (on page 842) concludes:

The general feeling of the American people was averse to these forms and ceremonies which were being used in the English Church, and especially to the wearing of gowns and bands, and the liturgical services.  In addition to this, many of the congregations were gathered in sparsely-settled sections of the country, where the people had no books, and where the long travels of the minister prevented his being able to supply them.

Yet much of U.S. Methodism became more formal–genteel even–in the late 1800s and early 1900s.  Thus a widespread acceptance of more structured worship emerged.  The Methodist Episcopal Church (1784-1939) and the Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1845-1939), each having reprinted Wesley’s Sunday Service and increasingly elaborate orders of worship, produced jointly The Methodist Hymnal (1905), the first U.S. Methodist hymnal to feature a psalter structured for responsive readings.

Enough support for even more formal worship existed in 1940, when the General Conference of the reunited Methodist Church (1939-1968) approved the creation of the Commission on Ritual and Orders of Worship, mandated to provide liturgies which would

draw upon richer and wider sources than those that have been available up to the present time.

Four years later the General Conference approved the first Book of Worship for Church and Home (BOW), published in 1945.

The focus of the 1945 BOW is daily devotion, for much opposition to any Prayer Book remained widespread, hence the redundant disclaimer on the title page:

FOR VOLUNTARY AND OPTIONAL USE.

Nevertheless, the book provides orders of worship for the Morning (three of them), the Evening (three of them), and the Morning or the Evening (four of them), as well as major festivals and seasons in the Church Year:  Advent, Christmas Sunday, Lent, Good Friday, Easter Day, Pentecost, et cetera.  There are also services for other occasions, such as Kingdomtide (since absorbed into Ordinary Time), agricultural observances, Thanksgiving Day, and an ecumenical service.

The 1945 BOW includes many other features, such as the extant Methodist Ritual, hence rites baptism, confirmation, marriage, and burial services, plus a variety of truly occasional rites, such as the dedication of a home or a cornerstone.  The extensive collection of prayers and graces draws upon a variety of sources, including the 1906 and 1932 editions of the U.S. Presbyterian Book of Common Worship and the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (1928).  There is also a section of Daily Readings and Prayers for a Month (pages 286-323).

The 1945 BOW was a good start, but I find it uncomfortable to use.  The volume was not meant for me, an Episcopalian accustomed to more elaborate rites, so the 1945 BOW seems deficient according to my sensibilities.  And I, as one born late in the twentieth century and used to contemporary language in worship, dislike using the archaic language in which the book is written.

In 2013 The United Methodist Church is on the third book (The United Methodist Book of Worship, 1992).  That volume, like its 1945 predecessor, seems to have made no great impact on United Methodism, for most United Methodists do not even know that it exists.

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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Regarding Devotions   2 comments

Old First United Methodist Church, Seattle, Washington

Image Source = Joe Mabel

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Seattle_First_Methodist_14.jpg)

Confirmation of This Identification Available from The Seattle Times

(http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/thearts/2008895369_zart23daniels.html)

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Methodism began as a revival movement in The Church of England.  Along the way it abandoned The Book of Common Prayer, even though U.S. Methodist Communion rituals prior to the 1989 United Methodist Hymnal were based on the English Prayer Book tradition.  My point is this:  I, raised a United Methodist, converted to The Episcopal Church in 1991 and embraced the Prayer Book.  Yes, as a friend of an acquaintance stated the case a few months ago, I left the church John Wesley made for the church that made John Wesley.  Now, when I say “Prayer Book” to most United Methodists I encounter, I receive mostly confused looks.

The Methodist Church (1939-1968), a predecessor of The United Methodist Church (1968-present), issued its first Book of Worship in 1945 and the second BOW twenty years later.  Each volume was for public and private use, much like the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.  Yet Methodism’s character was already forged; it did not become a Prayer Book tradition.  So the Book of Worship lived in church offices, not pews.  The United Methodist Book of Worship (1992) is likewise a mystery to many, if not most, United Methodists.

Among my many prized thrift-store book section finds is the Companion of The Book of Worship, Edited for the Commission on Worship for The United Methodist Church by William F. Dunkle, Jr., and Joseph D. Quillian, Jr. (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 1970).  M. Lawrence Snow, then pastor at Community United Methodist Church, Poughkeepsie, New York, contributed the chapter about using the BOW with home and small groups.  Yes, Rev. Snow was a ritualist.  During Internet searches I discovered his fondness for Ash Wednesday ashes here (http://www.nytimes.com/1993/02/24/nyregion/for-more-protestants-new-rite-for-lent-growing-number-congregations-accept-use.html) and his 2009 obituary here (http://www.nyac.com/obituaries/detail/12).   In four paragraphs on page 181 of the Companion Snow analyzed what he considered “Problems of Methodist Worship.”  He wrote:

Methodists especially should not ignore the public implications of their private devotions.  (As already indicated, “public” means both the services of the church and the affairs of the world.)

On one hand, the end of the class meeting and the decline of the prayer meeting in Methodism have further loosed the ties of intimate discipline and personal devotion from the public services (work and worship) of the church.  On the other hand, pivotal events, such as the “wet-dry controversy destroyed in the minds of many supporters of Prohibition any sense of the proportionate importance of social [i.e., public, worldly] issues” other than pietistic ones like abstinence.

One of the consequences in recent times has been a dilution of Methodist notions of worship and particularly “devotions.”  Our devotional literature is deprived; our devotional practices are in a state of disrepair.  They are individualistic, subjective, and faintly effeminate.  They tend to be overly moralistic, “psychological”; sometimes an acrostic of mystical classics.  They seem artificial because they are not public; they are unchurchly and unworldly.  They are private to the point of unreality.

Interestingly, the sermon, which Protestants have come to regard as the most important part of public worship, often mirrors the congregation’s deprived spirituality.  Widely popular preaching deals with how persons can “get along” and “be good.”   These themes narrow the responsibilities of worship and the humanity of the worshiper.  They make God and his world too small.

I am not certain how Methodist worship in 1969-1970 was “faintly effeminate,” according to Snow, nor do I find “faintly effeminate” worship bothersome or offensive.  As for the rest, I conclude that Snow did not find the rise of contemporary worship and “seven-eleven” praise choruses (ones with seven words one sings eleven times) comforting.  I consider them even worse than annoying; they are theological tide pools.

Snow did grasp correctly the shortcomings of pietism and Jesus-and-meism.  The world, you see, is not the enemy camp, the damned domain of Satan for which you and I have no responsibility.  No, the world is our neighborhood.  We and our forebears, by our actions and inactions, have made it what it is, for better and for worse.  We are supposed to be lights to the nations, as well as our neighbors and coworkers and friends and acquaintances, et cetera.  Do we put our lamps under a bushels, or do we let them shine?  Do we focus so much on pietistic obsessions, such as alcohol and sex, that we excuse, actively or passively, economic and racial injustice?  When we say that we love God fully and our neighbors as ourselves, do we try to act accordingly?  Or do we content ourselves with mere words?

I have begun a multi-year practice of writing devotional blog posts, according to lectionaries.  Many of these posts flow from the conviction that we will transform the world, or at least our corner of it, by our actions or inactions, and that we ought to do this for the good.  These devotions exist at three blogs, which, together, cover the church year:  ADVENT, CHRISTMAS AND EPIPHANY DEVOTIONS (http://adventchristmasepiphany.wordpress.com/), LENTEN AND EASTER DEVOTIONS (http://lenteaster.wordpress.com/), and ORDINARY TIME DEVOTIONS (http://ordinarytimedevotions.wordpress.com/).  Pondering texts and writing devotions is a great spiritual exercise for me as I try, with more success on some days than on others, not, in the words of Rev. Snow, to “make God and his world too small.”

As for the current state of United Methodist devotional life, I defer to the judgment of those better informed than I am.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

JUNE 9, 2011 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT COLUMBA OF IONA, ROMAN CATHOLIC MISSIONARY AND ABBOT

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Published originally at SUNDRY THOUGHTS OF KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR