Friday, May 30, 2003


Make sure the Paschal Candle is extinguished!

The Forty Days are accomplished. The Lord Jesus Christ has ascended into heaven. He is no longer appearing to His disciples in physical presence. The Church waits prayerfully for the Descent of His Paraclete, Advocate and Comforter, the Holy Spirit.

The Candle burned to signify that He had been raised from the dead, is appearing to His disciples as the resurrected Lord, and that as such He is the Light of the world.

The Candle was extinguished (a) to proclaim his Ascension into heaven, that He is no longer with his disciples in the mode of physical presence, and (b) to signify that He is to be with His people in and by the Spirit, his Paraclete, henceforth (and as such He is not located in any one place and time but is present to all everywhere).

The recent custom of allowing the Candle to burn for the "fifty days" until Pentecost brings confusion to the faithful and it causes over a thousand years of church symbolism to be set aside in favour of a symbolism that is not agreed and which differs from place to place, parish to parish - further, the new custom also strengthens the modern tendency to discount the importance of the Ascension and to dilute the reality of the Resurrection of its physical aspects.

Light the Candle again next year for the 40 days!

Watch and wait for the Descent of the Holy Spirit!

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon M.A., D.Phil. (Oxon.),
Christ Church, Biddulph Moor & St Anne's, Brown Edge; Vice-President and Emissary-at-Large of The Prayer Book Society of America.

Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Liturgy & the obsession with the Primitive Church of the 2nd and 3rd centuries A.D.

Thoughts to provoke better thoughts.

What would the public Liturgy of the Anglican Communion of Churches and of the Roman Catholic Church had been like had there not been in the 1960s & 1970s an over-rating or what seems like an obsession with aspects of the primitive Church accompanied, simultaneously, by a low estimation of the Church of the medieval period?

Before the public acceptance of Christianity in the Roman Empire from the reign of Constantine the Great, the Church of Jesus Christ often faced persecution and had to make apology for her Faith in a hostile environment. Her worship was often conducted in secret and her converts were adults, some of whom brought along their families. There was a lot of adaptation to necessity and experiment to find ways of pleasing the Lord and edifying the flock. The blood of the martyrs was the seed of the Church.

In this early period and well into the fourth century the Liturgy and Doctrine of the Church were subject to development and correction as the teaching of the Bible was proclaimed and explained. However, after AD 325 as the Church began to define dogma in councils, as she built houses of worship, as many more people flocked into her services, as she began to baptize many infants as well as adults, she adapted her developing Liturgies to incorporate the new situation with its positive and negative demands. By the fifth century or so we have fixed Liturgies in East and West.

As we look back, we can take the period before Constantine and see it as a golden age when the Church sought to proclaim the Gospel in a multi-racial, multi-cultural and multi-religious context, where She was not favoured by rulers. Then we can see a similarity to our position in a post-Christian western culture and think that if we take some of the exciting things that the Church did say in the third century than we can make our own liturgy and life authentic.

At the same time we can see the period beginning in the fourth century and leading on into the early Middle Ages, as a time of compromise with the world, of the adaptation of Greek techniques to doctrine to make dogma, of the use of these dogmas in Liturgy, making it over intellectual or cerebral, of the excessive use of ceremonial, of the rise of patriarchalism and sexism in church life, and so on.

So, as archaeologists in search of treasures, we can go on digging expeditions into the third century and find all kinds of things that seem to be authentic and attractive, as well as appealing to what we see as the needs of the modern world.

And this is what happened - in general terms - to liturgists in the 1960s & 1970s as they became archaeologists in search of treasures. What did they find - primitive liturgy in the works of Hippolytus (and thus the modern obsession with the correct Shape of the Liturgy and especially of the Eucharist); primitive doctrine of God as Trinity and Jesus as God's Son in the works of Hippolytus and earlier teachers, e.g., Irenaeus and Justin (and thus the bypassing of classic dogma in much modern liturgy); the kiss of peace as part of the Eucharist (and thus the modern fsacination with passing the peace); the unification of the Resurrection, Ascension and Descent of the Holy Ghost into one festival and kept for 50 days from Easter Day to Pentecost (and thus the modern commitment to "the great fifty days" and the calling of Sundays after Easter as Sundays of Easter); that Christians tended to stand to pray in normal Liturgy and especially in the Fifty Days (and thus the modern insistence on standing not kneeling in church); that "initiation" is complete in Baptism with chrismation (and thus the modern confusion over the worth and place of Confirmation and of children's Communion); that Easter Eve was a special time for Baptisms and for celebrating the Risen Lord (and thus the modern emphasis upon the recovery of a proper form of Good Friday, Holy Saturday and Easter Day Liturgy); and so on.

What we have not usually been ready to admit is that our knowledge of the third century and of all these supposed treasures therein is often minimal and we know little about what really went on and how and why - that is, in comparison with what we know of what went on in the fifth and sixth centuries for example.

But, despite our limited knowledge, these archaeological treasures have been brought into the modern Church and presented to us as absolutely necessary to receive and incorporate if we are to be authentic Christians in a post-Christian age. And with them has usually come the context of liberal theology of their finders and interpreters. So, for example, the rites and ceremonies are given a new interpretation (or at least a modified interpretation) in their being transported from the primitive Church to the modern western Church. For example, take the passing of the peace. In the ancient Church men and women usually sat in different parts of the house of worship. So movement between them was not easy or common. Further, the purpose was not a greeting but a getting right before God with anyone one might have offended before taking the Communion. Today in mixed congregations, with casual dress and loose public morals the passing of the peace is a different thing altogether!

To bring in these supposed treasures of the primitive Church, the modern Church has had to throw overboard many aspects of her inherited Liturgy, Dogma, Doctrine, Ritual, Ceremonial, Piety, Devotion and Discipline. Customs that had been in place for over a thousand years or more were abandoned in favour of the innovations.

It is true that the Church accumulates barnacles and dross as She passes through this evil age and it is also true that She needs regularly to be renewed and sometimes to be reformed. But to be asked to abandon much of her accumulated treasure and to replace it with a supposed new treasure from far off times is to ask a lot, too much in fact. It is not renewal or reformation as such but an obsession with novelty and supposed primitive forms. We need to be renewed by scriptural doctrine applied to our lives.

In the 1960s, because of the secular forces of Zeitgeist in culture and churches, because of the obsession with the idea that the primitive is always better than the developed form, and because of the low valuation of the achievements of the Middle Ages, as well as other factors, much that was precious, good, holy and true was set aside and abandoned in favour of the novelty of supposed ancient ways and customs. Roman Catholics are increasingly feeling this great loss and are calling for and seeing the return of the classic Latin Mass and other things with it. Likewise in the Anglican Churches Generation X is looking for something better than they have been given and there is fresh interest in classical liturgy, hymns, and the like.

But it is easier to pull down than to build up. It is easier to tear a cloth than to weave it. It will take time for the Church in the West to recover much of her heritage that she has lost, or left behind, or is too blind to see, or too secularised to appreciate.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Monday June 2nd, 50th anniversary of the Coronation of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth.

A Prayer to be prayed by the subjects of Queen Elizabeth II. Let us pray:

"Almighty God, who rulest over all the kingdoms of the world, and dost order them according to thy good pleasure: we give thee hearty thanks for that thou didst set thy servant our sovereign lady, Queen Elizabeth II, upon the throne of this realm fifty years ago. We thank thee that thy wisdom has been her guide and thine arm her strength; let truth and justice, holiness and righteousness, peace and charity, continue to abound in her days; continue to direct all her counsels and endeavours to thy glory, and the welfare of her subjects; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

(adapted from The Accession Service)

The Revd Dr Peter Toon

Sydney Diocese to invite bishops of the Anglican Communion to respond to plans for Lay and Diaconal Presidency


[Anglican Media Sydney] News stories that have appeared with suggestions that the Diocese of Sydney is about to commence the practice of lay and diaconal presidency are incorrect.

A Committee report will be debated at the June meeting of the diocesan Standing Committee. The report contains the suggestion that a process of consultation with the bishops of the Anglican Communion be set in train later this year before the matter is fully debated by the Sydney Synod in October 2004.

The Committee was set up by an October 2001 Synod resolution that requested an investigation as to whether there was a legal option for commencing the practice of lay and diaconal presidency in the Diocese of Sydney.

The Sydney Synod has been debating lay presidency (called in Sydney 'lay administration') since 1977, and there is now a strong commitment based on biblical and theological reasoning for the practice to be introduced into the ministry of the diocese. Yet it is also realised that this would become a matter of strong debate within the Anglican Communion, and the Synod Committee has appropriately recommended this process of careful consultation.

The recommendations of the Committee are that the report and draft legislation be sent to the 2003 Synod and also that the Synod should request the Archbishop [Dr Peter Jensen] "to write to the bishops of the Anglican Communion explaining the intention of the Synod to consider the bill at its 2004 session, and inviting comments to be forwarded to him by 1 June 2004."

The suggestion is also that Dr Jensen arrange for a report to be prepared on the responses that are received for the Synod session in October 2004.

"Clearly a firm intention to consult with the episcopal leadership of the entire Anglican Communion is central to the planned process for the Sydney Synod," said Dr Glenn Davies, Bishop of North Sydney and the Committee chairman.

The Report

The report deals with legal matters, without any theological reasoning. This is because the Synod in 2001 resolved that the Committee should investigate any options, consistent with church law, that would be available for the matter to proceed into practice within the Diocese.

The Committee believes that there is a power for this to be allowed under Section 2(1) of the Anglican Church of Australia Constitutions Act 1902. This is a result of a 1976 amendment to this NSW 1902 Act.

The Anglican Church of Australia is essentially a federation of provinces and dioceses. While there is a Constitution for the Anglican Church of Australia that came into being in 1961, this does not remove the power of the 1902 NSW Act.

The Committee report says consideration was also given to the advisory opinions from the Appellate Tribunal of the Anglican Church of Australia on questions sent to it by the then Primate, Archbishop Keith Rayner, in 1995.

The Primate asked whether it is consistent with the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia for deacons and lay people 'to preside at, administer or celebrate the Holy Communion'? The Appellate Tribunal answered YES to this question with a 4/3 vote.

The Primate also asked, if the previous answer was YES, if it is consistent with the Constitution of the Church for a diocesan synod rather than a national Church General Synod 'to permit, authorise or make provision for the practices of lay and diaconal presidency'? The Appellate Tribunal answered NO with a 6/1 vote.

The Sydney Committee understood that the matter could proceed if a Canon was passed by the General Synod. However, it also understood that the General Synod was unlikely ever to pass such a Canon.

The Committee also recognised that lay and diaconal administration is widely regarded as not being authorised in the Church because of provisions of the 1662 Act of Uniformity, especially Section x.

This Act was repealed in England in 1974 but was still the law in the Church of England in 1961 when the Constitution of the Anglican Church of Australia was passed.

An opinion from a 1948 legal case in NSW relating to a prayer book in use in the Diocese of Bathurst was that though the Act of Uniformity was never a Public Act in NSW, it still [in 1948] determined the doctrine and ritual of the Church of England in NSW since it did so in the Church of England.

The Sydney Synod Committee therefore resolved that the way forward to ensure a legal power for lay and diaconal presidency would be to repeal any operation that the Act of Uniformity may still have in the Diocese of Sydney.

Notwithstanding an Appellate Tribunal Opinion in 1976 that the Act of Uniformity does not now apply to the Anglican Church of Australia, the Synod Committee recommends that this repeal of Section x of the Act of Uniformity would remove all doubt as to its application to the introduction of lay and diaconal presidency in the Diocese of Sydney.

If this was repealed then lay and diaconal presidency could be dealt with by way of regulation of the Archbishop at the request of Synod.

Draft Legislation

A proposed ordinance was attached to the Committee report. The recommendation was that this ordinance be tabled at the October 2003 session of the Synod with the Committee report and that the process of consultation be set in train with a view to full Synod debate on the matter in 2004.

What happens next?

The Synod Standing Committee will debate the matter on June 30 and decide whether or not it desires to print the report and draft bill for Synod in October, accompanied by the suggested process of Communion wide consultation.

Two Sydney Doctrine Commission Reports on Lay Administration may be found

Tuesday, May 27, 2003

Pastoral Letter from the Primates of the Anglican Communion


The Primates of the Anglican Communion send this pastoral letter to all bishops, clergy and people of our churches, with the desire that it be read or distributed at public worship on the Feast of Pentecost, 2003.

"I have called you friends." (John 15.15)

United in Common Prayer and Witness

To our sisters and brothers of the Anglican Communion: Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ and in the joy of the Holy Spirit.

We met as Primates of the Anglican Communion in Gramado, Southern Brazil from 19th to 26th May 2003, at the invitation of the Igreja Episcopal Anglicana do Brasil, to bring before God our common life as the Anglican Communion and to take counsel together on the life of our churches. Five Primates were unable to be with us, and we prayed especially for the Archbishop and people of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, facing the difficulties of the SARS situation.

We gathered first and foremost in a spirit of common prayer and worship, listening for the voice of God as revealed in the Holy Scriptures and manifested in the lives of our communities. We give thanks to God for what was shared among us - for the welcome of the Brazilian Church; for the music and worship led by local Christians; for the Bible studies led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams; for the theological reflections by Dr Esther Mombo and Professor David Ford; and for the stories of witness and Christian discipleship from across the Anglican Communion.

In particular, we listened to stories of the growth of our churches in mission, of the creation of new dioceses and provinces and of the fruits of discipleship. They reflect the richness of our diversity across the globe, and the abundant resources of the Gospel to address all people in all situations.

We heard accounts of how many people, including faithful Anglicans have faced extreme situations of natural disaster, disease, the threat of terrorism, social unrest, war and its aftermath. We were moved by stories of Christian witness:

- in Sudan, where the Episcopal Church faces the huge challenge of helping to transform a culture of war to a culture of peace;
- in other African nations, such as Burundi and the Congo, where despite war, death and disease, the Anglican Church is courageously expanding its mission in circumstances of deprivation and hardship;
- in the Holy Land, where we are saddened by the unbroken chain of violence but encouraged by some recent signs of progress towards a resolution of the Israel-Palestine conflict;
- in Afghanistan and Iraq, where the humanitarian crisis is in many ways worse than before the recent conflicts, and where we see a need for greater United Nations involvement in repairing the damage;
- in some island states in the Pacific, where the Anglican Church is playing a peacemaking role in conditions of great political instability and corruption.

We thank God for the courage and wisdom that he has given in these situations, and affirm our solidarity with all who face alienation, persecution or injustice. We are mindful of those who live out their Christian faith as small minorities within their societies.

We give thanks for our life together in the Anglican Communion, for the way in which churches of the Communion support one another and, in particular, for the contribution which the Episcopal Church (USA) continues to give to many provinces across our Communion. We send our brotherly greetings to George and Eileen Carey, with thanksgiving for all they achieved in their ministry among us.

We rejoice in the fellowship we share with other churches and denominations, at the same time recognising that any true ecumenical endeavour has to be built on the mutual recognition and respect which we must accord each other as fellow members of the Body of Christ.

Our Work Together

We take to heart the words of Dr Esther Mombo, who urged us to "talk to each other rather than about each other". We welcomed our brother in Christ, Rowan Williams, to his first meeting with us as Archbishop of Canterbury. We listened to him as he shared some of the priorities for his ministry. As reflected in the agenda of our meeting, these are:

- Theological education, which is facing different kinds of crisis in all provinces;
- The continuing engagement of our churches with HIV/AIDS;
- The nature of communion itself and, in particular, how we might be drawn together and renewed in an Anglican Gathering.

Theological Education

It is our conviction that all Anglican Christians should be theologically alert and sensitive to the call of God. We should all be thoughtful and prayerful in reading and hearing the Holy Scriptures, both in the light of the past and with an awareness of present and future needs.

We discussed what basic standards of theological education should be provided for and expected from all members of the Church. All regions face major challenges in this area, particularly in the provision of resources in non-English speaking provinces, and we considered how these should be met.

We recognise that there is a distinctive Anglican approach to theological study. This is reflected not only in the way our worship and liturgical life express our belief, and in our attention to Scripture read in the light of tradition, but also in our respect for exploration and experiment.

Theological education in the Anglican Communion honours each local context and, at the same time, calls us together into communion and mutual accountability. Therefore, though we wish to develop common standards of theological education worldwide, we value the uniqueness of the work of the Holy Spirit in each place.

Supportive of the Archbishop of Canterbury and, with him, convinced of this need, we affirm and encourage the work of the Anglican Communion Task Group on Theological Education.


We pondered the impact of the HIV/AIDS pandemic on our lives and in our communities and provinces as we shared our experiences and sorrows. HIV tears at the very fabric of our nations and homes. We admitted that the "Body of Christ has AIDS".

Adhering to the teachings of the Church, we determined to engage more deeply in challenging cultures and traditions which stifle the humanity of women and deprive them of equal rights. We agreed that our greatest challenge is to nurture and equip our children to protect themselves from HIV, so that we can fulfill the vision of building a generation without AIDS.

AIDS is not a punishment from God, for God does not visit disease and death upon his people: it is rather an effect of fallen creation and our broken humanity. We were reminded at our meeting that Christ calls us into community as friends so that we might befriend others in his name. In that spirit, we resolved to build on what has already been achieved and to re-commit our efforts, prayers and support for all who are living with, and dying from, the effects of HIV/AIDS.

Our Shared Communion in Christ

As Primates, we believe that the 38 provinces and united churches in the Anglican Communion are irrevocably called into a special relationship of fellowship with one another. We thank God for our common inheritance of faith, worship and discipleship - an inheritance which has sustained our journey as one Christian family, and in which we have been united in our proclamation of the Gospel.

We recognise that all churches, and not just Anglicans, face challenges in applying the Gospel to their specific situations and societies. These challenges raise questions for our traditional teaching and understanding - questions which require of the Church a careful process of thought and discussion in order to discover a way forward that is true to our inheritance of faith in Christ and to our duty as Christians to care for all people.

Recalling the Virginia Report's exhortation that we should strive for "the highest degree of communion possible with tolerance for deeply held differences of conviction and practice" (Report of the Inter-Anglican Theological and Doctrinal Commission, 1997, chapter 1), we are committed as Primates:
- to the recognition that in each province there is a sincere desire to be faithful disciples of Christ and of God's Word, in seeking to understand how the Gospel is to be applied in our generation;
- to respect the integrity of each other's provinces and dioceses, acknowledging the responsibility of Christian leaders to attend to the pastoral needs of minorities in their care;
- to work and pray that the communion between our churches is sustained and deepened; and to seek from God "a right judgement in all things" (Collect of Pentecost).

Human Sexuality

We take seriously the duty laid upon us by the Lambeth Conference 1998 to monitor ongoing discussion of this matter and encourage continued study and reflection in the context of common prayer and worship. We are grateful to the Archbishop of the West Indies, Drexel Gomez, for taking forward our discussion on matters of sexuality by introducing the booklet "True Union in the Body?", which fruitfully illuminated our study. We are also grateful to Presiding Bishop Frank Griswold for drawing our attention to the Report of the Theology Committee of the House of Bishops of the Episcopal Church (USA) on this issue. We commend the study of both documents.

The question of public rites for the blessing of same sex unions is still a cause of potentially divisive controversy. The Archbishop of Canterbury spoke for us all when he said that it is through liturgy that we express what we believe, and that there is no theological consensus about same sex unions. Therefore, we as a body cannot support the authorisation of such rites.

This is distinct from the duty of pastoral care that is laid upon all Christians to respond with love and understanding to people of all sexual orientations. As recognised in the booklet "True Union", it is necessary to maintain a breadth of private response to situations of individual pastoral care.

Anglican Gathering

We discussed the proposal for an Anglican Gathering of lay and ordained people, drawn from all parts of our Communion, which could be held in association with the next Lambeth Conference.

There would be significant financial costs, but we firmly believe that such an event would offer the Communion an important opportunity to renew its life, witness and mission together. The Archbishop of Cape Town, Njongonkulu Ndungane, has offered to welcome a Gathering and the Lambeth Conference in Cape Town , which has the facilities for such events. We encouraged the Archbishop of Canterbury to move ahead with planning for the Gathering in 2008. This would be an occasion for celebration, learning and the deepening of our communion.

Invitation to Prayer

Having been renewed in the fellowship of our meeting, we invite Anglicans everywhere to pray with us. In his Bible studies, the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke of the joy we have as friends of God in Christ. "Jesus' joy is given to us", he said, "so that we might become nourishing to one another, nurturing and feeding one another in the Body of Christ." It is this vision of the rich blessings to be found in the fellowship of Christ's Body that inspires us.

Give thanks to God for the vibrant life of the Brazilian Church; for the diversity of the Anglican Communion, with its 75 million Christians, witnessing in 164 countries in a thousand languages; and for the faithful and courageous witness of Anglicans as they seek to bring God's love into situations of hardship, danger and despair. Pray that, by the power of the Holy Spirit, the Anglican Communion may everywhere be a faithful witness to what God has done in Christ, and to the abundant fullness of life to which he calls us.

The fire of love which binds together the Father and the Son be shed abroad in our hearts by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, and renew us in our lives and in our discipleship; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, be among you and remain with you always.

Monday, May 26, 2003

Sermon by the Archbishop of Canterbury in Brazil


The following is the text of the sermon preached by the Archbishop of Canterbury at a Celebration for the Unity of the People of God, which was held in Gramado, Brazil, on Saturday 24 May:

What is it that Jesus Christ gives us? And what is it that we are to give to the world? Jesus answers us in today's gospel, in the clearest possible way. He gives us glory; and what we are given, we must share. Certainly, he gives us forgiveness, life, confidence, the promise of eternal rest in God - but in this passage from John's gospel, he sums it all up in the word 'glory', because what he longs to give us is ultimately just what the Father gives him. It isn't a very easy word to translate or understand for many people these days. We associate glory with fame or success - and Jesus on his way to a humiliating and dreadful death is obviously not someone who possesses that kind of glory. Instead, he speaks, a few verses later, of a glory given by the Father before the world was made. And the picture conjured up for us is of a radiant light streaming from the Father, reflected without any loss or inequality in the face of the Son. The Son, who becomes human for us in Jesus,! never turns from the Father, and so never loses that radiant light; Jesus in his life on earth never loses it - though it is only for a moment, at the Transfiguration, that his face literally shows this eternal light. And if we keep ourselves turned to Jesus, then that same light is reflected in our faces, and it lights up the world around.

The relationship between Jesus and God his Father is the foundation for this radiance; and so, obviously, the relation between Jesus and us is what makes the light travel still further. But what is important in this gospel passage is that it is also the relationship between us as Christians that makes the light shine that causes the glory to radiate. When we are turned to Jesus, glory is reflected - St Paul says just this in II Corinthians. But when we are turned to each other the same is true. The glory given by Jesus is given so that we may become one; and this implies that it is when we are one with each other that the glory shines out for others.

To turn to Christ is in practice always to turn to each other. Conversion is always conversion to one another if it is truly and fully conversion to Jesus. And when we are 'turned around' like this, glory becomes visible. The Church is a place of glory when we see each other face to face and give thanks - like Jacob meeting Esau in the Genesis story: Esau welcomes and forgives his brother, and Jacob says, 'Truly, your face is like the face of God to me'. One of the great joys of belonging to a worldwide communion is that we can always encounter fresh and challenging contexts in which the Christian and Anglican tradition has come alive, and we find the glory of God in the face of the stranger. We have experienced it in our meeting as Primates; we experience it as we receive your welcome, dear friends. We trust that in these meetings and welcomes, glory will appear: the world will see how our faithful gazing at each other in gratitude and delight makes room for God's own light! to be reflected.

When that light is reflected, the landscape changes. Isaiah's prophecy speaks of the desert bursting into flower; the glory of the Lord appears in the glory of the actual physical surroundings - not difficult to understand in our surroundings here. When God's light shines on our world, it becomes infinitely more precious; we cannot in such a light believe that the world is there to exploit and ruin. This great country has had its share of tragedy in the exploitation both of the natural world and of human beings - sometimes both together as in the ravaging of the rain forests which has put so much life, human and non-human, at risk. And when God's light shines on the human faces around us, we cannot treat them as having no interest for us; wherever the light falls, there we see the possibility of a life reflecting God. So there we see yet another face which we must look at with gratitude and hope. This is the foundation of all the work done with those whom the world wants to ! forget; and it is a real proclamation of the gospel when we hear of the work done by your local churches with the forgotten and those without voices, the indigenous peoples and those who live in the favelas. The Brazilian Church , as we have learned, is one that has given to the poor a degree of loving support out of all proportion to its size, and we wish you every strength and blessing in this work. We pray that glory may dwell in this land, as the eighty fifth psalm puts it.

But we must return to what we do together as a communion, as Primates and people together. Jesus tells us in the gospel reading why our unity matters. Unless we are looking gladly and faithfully at each other, the glory we are given will fail to appear. That does not mean that we don't sometimes have the responsibility of calling each other to turn back to Jesus when it is difficult to see that the brother or sister is turning, to face the Lord, as fully as could be. And this is a service we must ask of each other: tell me when you see me turning from Jesus, when the glory that comes from looking at him has become invisible. Yet, even when we argue, rebuke and find ourselves in deep and painful division, the basic responsibility remains: to keep looking, to refuse to be turned away from the brother or sister for whom Christ died; to look in hope, until the radiance begins again to appear.

Our Christian calling is to renew the face of the earth, by the Spirit's power. By looking in love at the world and one another, we somehow allow glory to come to light - so that the non-believer may find their own awareness of the world mysteriously changed by the way the Christian neighbour looks at it. 'How can I learn to see what you see?' the neighbour asks, if we are living and looking as we should. God calls us to be at every level the agents of transformation - in a ruined and exploited natural environment, of deep divisions and much poverty, and in a Church whose communion can be undermined by fear or suspicion.

You cannot spend half a day in this country without realising that here the guitar is inseparable from the human voice! So I think of the poem by the American writer Wallace Stevens, about 'The Man with the Blue Guitar'-

They said, You have a blue guitar,
You do not play things as they are.

The man replied, Things as they are
Are changed upon the blue guitar.

Things as they are, with human beings left to themselves, so often seem shadowed by death and cruelty. But we have been given another song to sing, we, the ransomed of the Lord returning to Zion with singing. As we sing what we have learned from Jesus, things as they are changed. Glory dwells in our land, the glory that the Son shares with the Father in the Holy Spirit.


For version in Portuguese please visit:

Sunday, May 25, 2003


From the Washington Post: A Review by Jonathon Yardley
The Making of the King James Bible
By Adam Nicolson
HarperCollins. 281 pp. $24.95

The King James Bible, Adam Nicolson writes, "can lay claim to be the greatest work in prose ever written in English." True enough, so far as it goes, but it doesn't go far enough. The King James Bible is the greatest work ever written in English, period. That alone is quite enough to inspire awe, but there is more. The King James Bible is not the work of a single inspired genius -- a Shakespeare, a Milton, a Dickens -- but of a committee. Too many cooks made it the most splendid broth imaginable. Translated from the Hebrew and Greek in the early 17th century by order of the newly crowned James I, it is a work of such majesty, passion and literary power that even the greatest of Shakespeare's tragedies must bow before it.


Sunday, May 25. What do we call it?

If we open The Book of Common Prayer (1662 & 1928) then Sunday, May 25th 2003 is “The Fifth Sunday after Easter commonly called Rogation Sunday” but in Common Worship (2000) and the 1979 Prayer Book of the Episcopal Church USA it is called “The Sixth Sunday of Easter”. The next Sunday in the 1662 & 1928 Books is called “The Sunday after Ascension Day” because the Feast of the Ascension occurs on the previous Thursday. In contrast, in the American Prayer Book and the Common Worship it is called “The Seventh Sunday of Easter”.

Why this obvious difference?

The classic Book of Common Prayer in its Calendar follows the tradition of Western Europe from early medieval times of seeing the period from Easter Day to Ascension Day as a unity of 40 days, when the Lord Jesus appeared to his apostles & disciples. Of these days the last three are days of rogation and preparation, immediately before Ascension Day (thus the Sunday before the Feast is called Rogation Sunday). Then it sees the period from Ascension Day to Whit-Sunday as a further period of 10 days when the church prepares for the descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost (see Acts 2). So there is a 40 plus 10 arrangement to take account of the major festival of the Ascension of our Lord.

So why did the 1979 Prayer Book and then the Common Worship depart from this 1,000 year tradition? Because it became well known that in the very early Church (2nd & 3rd centuries) the period from Easter to Pentecost was seen as a unit and called “the Great Fifty Days”. Thus since liturgists have developed a near obsession with certain aspects of the primitive Church and sought to imitate them (e.g., the passing of the peace and the Easter Vigil) they also decided to import this idea, which meant not only changing the received names of the Sundays after Easter in the Calendar but also traditional western piety and practice. Thus all the Sundays beginning with Easter Day and ending with the Sunday before Pentecost (Whit-Sunday) became Sundays of Easter, for the 50 days were known as the Easter period. So there is one number and that is 50.

In doing this liturgists can claim the support of the Orthodox Churches who kept alive the tradition of “the fifty days” in contrast to the Western forty plus ten. However, various problems have arisen and remain where this “fifty day” unit has been taken seriously in Anglican churches by zealots. For example, the Feast of the Ascension (the feast which completes all the other feasts of the Lord Jesus) has been seriously neglected for it seems to interrupt the flow; congregations have been told that the public confession of sins in the Eucharist is banned as not appropriate for this is a time of rejoicing not penitence; and congregations have been forbidden to kneel for prayer since kneeling is seen as not related to celebration!

The chief architect of the 1979 Prayer Book, Massey Shepherd Jr., claimed that the primary principle behind its novel content and structure was imitation of the practices of the Early Church! And in saying this he reflected the mood of many western liturgists. More accurately, we may claim, what they were doing was a modernisation of certain practices of the Early Church, with other important practices (e.g., discipline & fasting) and all dogma not taken seriously at all!

Of course there was/ can be a profoundly rich piety associated with the early Church keeping of the 50 days and of course there was/can be also a rich piety associated with the later Western keeping of the 40 days plus 10. The problem today is that we have taken the structures, with some little knowledge of the piety and in a modern way to suit our secular context, and then we pretend that we keep the season aright!

So what we call Sunday May 25th and Sunday June lst does matter in the greater scheme of divine things!

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Saturday, May 24, 2003



In the Preface to the main volume of COMMON WORSHIP: SERVICES AND PRAYERS FOR THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND, the new Directory of Services for this ancient Church, we read this paragraph.

The services provided here are rich and varied. This reflects the multiplicity of contexts in which worship is offered today. They encourage an imaginative engagement in worship, opening the way for people in varied circumstances of their lives to experience the love of God in Jesus Christ in the life and power of the Holy Spirit. In the worship of God the full meaning and beauty of our humanity is consummated and our lives are opened to the promise God makes for all creation – to transform and renew it in love and goodness.

Here several claims are made and a theology of worship is briefly stated. One claim is that the services are “rich and varied”. They are certainly varied but whether they are rich in style and content is a matter of judgment. Another claim is that each and all of them, those in traditional and those in contemporary language “encourage an imaginative engagement in worship”. It is difficult to see why the imagination is particularly singled out, and not say human reason. Human beings are so different. Some are drawn into worship through the kindling of their emotions and affections, some through their imagination, some through the contemplation of their minds and some through the determination of their wills.

The theology of worship expressed here is stated in such a way that it is not easy to ascertain precisely what is in mind. And those who composed the sentences seem not themselves to know what it means (when I asked them).

At first sight – at least through the eyes of the orthodox Anglican – it appears to be pointing to the beatific vision of the age to come. However, on closer examination, it is referring to something less, some experience attainable in this life through the use of Common Worship services. It may be observed that for orthodox theology the “full meaning and beauty of our humanity” are only seen and known in the perfected humanity of the resurrected and exalted Incarnate Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ, through, by and in whom the faithful people of God approach the Father of glory in adoration and praise. Thus only as sanctified and redeemed by him and in union with him can sinful human beings begin to see the beauty of our humanity as it is shines forth in the One who is the new and glorified Adam, even Jesus the Christ.

Perhaps an attempt is being made here to relate a theology of creation (which has been a popular theme in recent times) to a theology of worship and because compressed into a few lines, the meaning intended is not conveyed clearly. It is certainly not an expression of the theology of worship of The Book of Common Prayer or of The Articles of Religion, the formularies of the Church. Why I say this is because it seems to be making positive assertions about the future of the present sinful world/creation and this runs contrary to the traditional doctrine of the last judgement and the passing away of the present world before the arrival of “the new creation” of “the new heavens and the new earth”.

“To consummate” is to bring to completion, to accomplish, to fulfil and to bring to perfection. It is surely only in the worship of heaven itself that what we are as human beings in relation to God, our Creator and Redeemer, is brought to perfection and completion.

In fact, one of the disappointing things about the multi-volume Common Worship is that it does not contain a coherent definition or consistent theology of worship. There are all kinds of hints and suggestions (emanating perhaps from the multiple hands and diverse sources of its origins and composition) but no overall clear statement. This is odd because one cannot but note that “the journey” is very much a dominating image underlying the structure and theme of many of the services. So much so that I have called my forthcoming [Sept 03] book, which examines this multi-volume provision, by the title, COMMON WORSHIP CONSIDERED. A LITURGICAL JOURNEY EXAMINED ( , isbn 0 907839 78 9)

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Heaven/the heavens and the Exaltation of Jesus Christ

This Ascension-tide let us reflect upon the beatific vision and its relation to the Ascension of Jesus the Christ.

"Heaven" in the singular or plural form has a variety of meanings in the Bible and in Christian discourse. And these can seem contradictory and confusing.

In the Apostles' Creed God is said to have created the "heaven and earth". "Heaven" here would seem to be all the cosmos apart from the earth. For ancients this was the sky and whatever was above and around it.

The word "heavens" (plural) also often refers to the sky and whatever is above, beyond and around it.

When the Nicene Creed speaks of God creating "all things, visible and invisible" the word "visible" has reference to the cosmos ( that which is seen as well as unseen by the naked eye), while "invisible" has reference to that sphere or invisible world wherein are those spiritual beings that we call angels, cherubim and seraphim and a sphere which we cannot see at all with physical, human eyes.

In the Old Testament, the invisible sphere of angels where God is more perfectly known and worshipped than He is or can be on earth is called "the heaven of heavens".

When the Creeds, summarising the New Testament teaching, speak of "heaven" as the place/sphere to which Jesus Christ "ascended" in order "to sit at the right hand of God the Father" then the reference is obviously not to anywhere in the vast, physical cosmos but to the "invisible sphere/world" inhabited by the angels, or even to a sphere "above" that of the angels.

In the Lord's Prayer, the children of God pray, "Our Father who art in heaven", and here the reference is to the sphere wherein God can be the most perfectly known and worshipped, and where his will is perfectly done. This is sphere into which Christ ascended.

The very centre and focus of the heaven of heavens is obviously the eternal, infinite, ineffable, Divine Spirit who is the Holy Trinity, Three Persons and One God. He has always been adored, worshipped, praised and served by the myriads of spiritual beings in the sphere of the heaven of heavens. Yet this heaven cannot contain this Deity, when though he is most fully known there.

With the Ascension & Exaltation of Jesus Christ, which is the entry of the eternal Son with his assumed, perfected and glorified human nature into the supreme heaven, the nature of the heaven of heavens itself was transformed for ever. That which was perfect already was given a higher degree of perfection and grace. By the presence of the Incarnate Son of God, there was now room for redeemed, sanctified and glorified humanity to exist - alongside the angels - in the closest possible relation to the Holy Trinity. Redeemed and perfected man, through and in Jesus Christ, now joined perfect angels in the holy service of the Holy Trinity.

The Second Person as the one and only Mediator between God and Man is both God and Man (One Person with two natures, divine and human) and through him and in him those who are united to him [enclosed, as it were within his glorified human nature by the action of the Holy Ghost] are also thereby united to the Holy Trinity. By abundant grace, they can behold the glory of the Father in the human face of Jesus Christ, who is the God-Man, and they can serve God with pure love and obedience.

Yet it is always the case that neither sinless spiritual beings nor redeemed and glorified human beings can look upon God as the Lord God directly for the intensity of the Beauty and Holiness of the Divine Nature is too gloriously dazzling and overpowering for their created natures to withstand. But through and in the Incarnate Son, as they are incorporated into his human nature, the beatific vision is granted unto them for in Christ they can see God the Father and be blessed.

The Book of Revelation gives us through apocalyptic imagery and evocative symbolism a picture of the new Order where the redeemed creation worships the Son and in the Son worships the Father, as guided and energised by the Holy Ghost.

So on Ascension Day we celebrate not only the Exaltation of the Lord Jesus Christ to the supreme place of authority alongside the Father but also the raising of our human nature into the very centre of heaven. Where he has gone those who are united to him by faith and in love by the Holy Ghost will also go - in heart and mind now and in full bodily reality at the End time.

As St Augustine put it long ago - "All our activity will be Amen and Alleluia." For "There we shall rest, and we shall see; we shall see and we shall love; we shall love and we shall praise. Behold what shall be in the end and shall not end." [The Latin is most evocative - Vacabimus et videbimus, videbimus et amabimus, amabimus et laudabimus. Ecce quod erit in fine sine fine. (City of God, Book XXII,]

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

The Fifth Sunday after Easter Commonly called ROGATION SUNDAY


Thinking ahead to next week... please read:

O Lord, from whom all good things do come: Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that be good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
The Epistle: St James 1.22-27 The Gospel: St John 16:23-33

The Lord God who is our Creator and Sustainer provides us in the created order, in its water, heat and light and its fruit and vegetables, with "all good things" for our bodily and material needs. The Lord our God who is our Saviour and King provides for us in the ministries of holy, mother Church with "all good things" for our eternal salvation in a right relation with him. In the light of such plenteous provision for body and soul, it is the vocation of his creatures who are his adopted children to think and to do what pleases him. By the presence and inspiration of his Holy Spirit, and through the growth of the word of God in their hearts, baptized, faithful Christians are enabled to think not only that which is right but also that which is good. Further, by the merciful guidance of the same Spirit they are also able to perform good works, as faith works by love, to glorify their heavenly Father.

This Sunday is also called Rogation Sunday for the week following contains the Three Rogation Days, being the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Holy Thursday, or the Feast of the Ascension of our Lord.

If we follow the old tradition of the Ecclesia Anglicana (& the western Catholic Church) and of the reformed Church of England, then we receive the three days immediately before the Feast of the Ascension as both Rogation Days and as days of fasting and abstinence in preparation for this Festival, which crowns the other festivals of our Lord.

If we are going to have a Harvest Festival (Great Britain) or Thanksgiving Day (USA) in the Autumn/Fall then we should also have Rogationtide [supplication to God for fruitful seasons and a good harvest] in the Spring. And if we are to prepare rightly to celebrate the Ascension of our Lord we need to fast before the festival. So we ought to fast and pray on the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.

The origin of these Rogation Days seems to be an order by the Bishop of Vienne about AD 470 after an earthquake that special litanies be offered for God's care and protection, asking for provision by heaven of the fruit of the earth. The custom spread through Gaul, to England and to Rome. In England the custom was required by Canon 16 of the Council of Clovesho in 747.

It was continued through the Reformation in England so that we find Queen Elizabeth in 1559 by Royal Injunction requiring the restoration of a perambulation of the parish boundaries/fields to pray for a good harvest; and there appeared in the official [Second] Book of Homilies (1562) "An Homily for the Days of Rogation Week", divided into three parts for the 3 days of Rogation Week. And it is followed by "An exhortation to be spoken to such parishes where they use their perambulation in Rogation Week for the oversight and limits of their town." This was written by Archbishop Parker. When there was no walking around the boundaries of the parish, the Litany (from the BCP) was sung in church.

A serious proposal made by Bishop Cosin of Durham in 1661 to put a Collect, Epistle [James 5:13-18] & Gospel [Luke 11:1-10] for Rogation in the new edition of the BCP, that of 1662, was not followed through. However, the Collect he wrote provides an insight into how this period of intercession and abstinence was viewed by the faithful then:

"Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth, in whom we live, move and have our being, who does good unto all men, making thy sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sending rain on the just and the unjust; favourably behold us thy people, who do call upon thy name, and send us thy blessing from heaven, in giving us fruitful seasons, and filling our hearts with food and gladness; that both our hearts and mouths may be continually filled with thy praises, giving thanks to thee in thy holy Church, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

In the 1928 BCP of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the USA, provision of a Collect (based upon Cosin's), Epistle [Ezekiel 34:25ff.] and Gospel [Luke 11:5ff.] is provided for the Rogation Days. There are also two Collects "For Fruitful Seasons," provided to be used on Rogation Sunday and the Rogation Days, in the section of this Prayer Book called "Prayers and Thanksgivings".

Let us be full aware that the members of the Church militant on earth need to be fed both by the fruit of the earth [thus the need for supplication in Rogation and thanksgiving at Harvest] and by the gifts, graces, virtues and characteristics of the Lord Jesus Christ, who ascends into heaven to be our exalted Prophet, Priest and King. The week containing Holy Thursday and the three Rogation Days is thus very important.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

European Anglicans set common goals at Madrid consultation


Again an official report from a fascinating and attractive city where Anglicans are a tiny minority.

European Anglicans set common goals at Madrid consultation
by James M Rosenthal

Steps toward greater co-operation of the four Anglican jurisdictions were evident at the 16-18 May 2003 Partners in Mission consultation held in Spain. Building upon the progress to common mission and witness already experienced in parts of Europe, the group, complete with representatives of ecumenical partners and the wider Anglican Communion, set common goals in areas of theological education, engaging with youth and calling for a rotating presidency of the four diocesan bishops. The Roman Catholic Church, the Ecumenical Patriarchate, the Old Catholic Church and the Lutheran Church of Sweden all had representatives at the meeting, held in a Roman Catholic Retreat House in Central Madrid. The Dean of Gibraltar, the Very Revd Ken Robinson, chaired the meeting.

Host church, the Spanish Episcopal Church, welcomed the members of the consultation to its Sunday liturgy in the Cathedral of the Redeemer, Madrid, for a concelebrated Eucharist with Bishop Carlos Lozano Lopez preaching on the workings of the Holy Spirit in the church today.

The four jurisdictions, the Lusitanian Church of Portugal, the Spanish Episcopal Church, the Convocation of American (Episcopal) Churches in Europe and the Diocese in Europe (Church of England), were represented by their bishops, clergy and laity, as well as observers and staff from the Missions Agencies, the Anglican Consultative Council and Lambeth Palace. The Most Revd John Paterson, Presiding Bishop of Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia, shared insights into the way the church in his province ministers to its various distinctive constituencies.

The official report stated that the separations felt in the Anglican bodies "hindered their common mission in continental Europe and that reconciliation and trust, in the name and for the sake of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, be an immediate goal. It was clear that there was an openness to all people "who find their spiritual home on our churches" while at the same time upholding that any form of proselytism would be unacceptable.

The College of Anglican Bishops in Continental Europe (COABICE) and its new commission are key to the implementation of many of the "next steps" of the report. Needs to see the Anglican presence in a spirit on Common Prayer, Common Future, Common Life and Common Funds and Policies for certain projects were highlighted by the consultation members in the hopes that their churches have moved from "awareness to trust." It was noted that the different jurisdictions relate in different ways to some of the ecumenical partners in "binding agreements." The report made it clear the pluralism of the present age and indeed the perceived "secularised" environment often found people "alienated from organised religion."

The work of COABICE was, in part, a response to the call of the Lambeth Conferences of 1968 - 1998 on parallel jurisdictions. The need to move in a united way with each other and churches in communion when establishing new work was noted, as was the desire for the complete inter-changeability of ordained persons.

The common identity of being Anglican in faith and practice led to a call for the churches to be "servants churches." The report states that "Our experience as minority and small churches especially calls us to ministry among the vulnerable and marginalised in our countries and contexts, as also to the rich and powerful amidst the diversity of our congregations." Although there are "converging and diverging" understandings of the Anglican presence in Europe, the atmosphere of the meeting proved to be one of enthusiasm for embracing a common future, "building on our rich variety of God's gifts within our distinctive heritages; gifts which will enrich our common life, enhance our communion, even as we put behind us differences stemming from our separated histories."

Although the churches find themselves in environments subject to "powerful secular pressures," the consultation affirmed the need to be "a prophetic voice in an evolving Europe."

Photo available at:

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Tuesday, May 20, 2003



From the Anglican Communion Office. I hope that David Virtue has got there safely and that Bill Atwood has as well. I miss being with them, having been with them at these meetings in previous years.


Archbishop of Canterbury arrives in Brazil; Anglican leaders meet in Gramado

The chief archbishops of the Anglican Communion have arrived in Southern Brazil for their regular 'Primates Meeting', hosted by the Anglican Episcopal Church of Brasil. This is Archbishop Rowan Williams' first meeting as Archbishop of Canterbury, but he is no stranger to the Primates. He has attended the last three meetings as Archbishop of Wales. Other Archbishops of Canterbury have paid pastoral visits to Brazil, the first was the visit of Archbishop Michael Ramsey in 1974, then Archbishop Robert Runcie in 1990 and Archbishop Carey in 1999. This is, however, the first time the Primates as a group will be in Brazil and they have come in particular to honour the retiring Primate, the Most Revd Glauco Soares di Lima.

The Archbishop of Canterbury is the spiritual leader of the 70 million Anglicans worldwide, as well as Primate of All England and Bishop of the Diocese of Canterbury. He is president of the Anglican Consultative Council and is seen as 'first among equals' in the college of Primates. He also hosts the Lambeth Conference, the last of which was held in 1998. The Primates Meetings are always private. They are centred in prayer, study and Eucharist. Each primate brings to the table of discussion concerns in his province or beyond. Items identified to the Secretary General of the Anglican Communion in preparation for the time table include: AIDS initiatives in Africa, a document commissioned by the Primate of the West Indies on same-sex blessings, and theological education needs in various places.

The bishop of the Southern Diocese, the Rt Revd Orlando Santos de Oliveira, was on hand to welcome Archbishop Williams and the other primates as they arrived in Brazil. He said, "On behalf of the clergy and the people of our diocese, I welcome warmly the participants for this first-ever Primates Meeting in a Latin American country. It is very important for our Diocese, the oldest one, to host such a gathering. It was a special honour to me to be asked to assist with the chaplain for the coming week."

The Episcopal Anglican Church of Brazil is one of the 38 Provinces of the Anglican Communion, and its work began in 1890 as a result of the missionary work of two north American missionaries in Porto Alegre: James Watson Morris and Lucien Lee Kinsolving. Its autonomy was established, with the blessing of the Episcopal Church of Unites States in 1965. With more than 100,000 baptised members and a team of more than two hundred clergy, among those 30 female priests, the Episcopal Church has today established communities and educational and social institutions in the main urban areas of Brazil. Today the Brazilian Province is composed by seven dioceses: Southern, Southwestern, Rio de Janeiro, Sao Paulo, Recife, Brasmlia and Pelotas; and two missionary districts: Amazon and West.

The meeting continues until the 25th.

A Communications Office is located on site:
Contact: James Rosenthal, Mobile +44 7803 894751 (UK based number) Local Diocesan Communications Officer: Claudio Oliveira Portuguese Version:
Photo available:

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Monday, May 19, 2003

A comprehensive Confession of Sin for honest Christians

The General Confession in The Book of Common Prayer

The General Confession, which follows the Exhortation and precedes the Absolution, of Morning and Evening Prayer (in the BCP 1662 and USA 1928) is of exceedingly high quality as a spoken prayer of God’s assembled people. In contains a remarkable union of simplicity and fervour of tone together with solidity and exactness of thought. It falls into three parts (a) the actual confession of sin; (b) the petition for pardon, and (c) the prayer for grace.

Let us examine these three parts:

Almighty and most merciful Father; We have erred, and strayed from they ways like lost sheep. We have followed too much the devices and desires of our own hearts. We have offended against thy holy laws. We have left undone those things which we ought to have done; And we have done those things which we ought not to have done; And there is no health in us.

The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ is most appropriately addressed as both omnipotent and also merciful. Because of these eternal attributes he is well able to forgive and cleanse sin in the whole of mankind through all space and time.

The essential character of evil before God is made clear in terms of its practical reality, straying from his ways and following our own desires and paths. Herein is the root of sin revealed, the self choosing of our own “devices” and the self-will of our own “desires”, which lead inevitably to acting contrary to God’s revealed law and commandments. This disobedience takes the form of sins both of commission and omission and its general effect is to destroy the health of the soul, making a healthy creaturely, relation to God in friendship and communion impossible. The image of God in man is defaced and immersed in sickness and needs to be restored and renewed. In such a condition – as seen by God - are all of us, whatever our education and good manners, and whatever our human achievements and successes.

But thou, O Lord, have mercy upon us, miserable offenders. Spare thou them, O God, which confess their faults. Restore thou them that are penitent; According to thy promises declared unto mankind in Christ Jesu our Lord.

The plea for pardon to the Father, who is the Lord, is not made glibly but earnestly and honestly. It is based wholly on the promise of absolution, remission and pardon declared in the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ and on the call for faith, penitence and confession of sins also contained in that same Gospel. What God has promised, his people are wise to desire and ask for.

And grant, O most merciful Father, for his sake; That we may hereafter live a godly, righteous, and sober life, To the glory of thy holy Name. Amen.

The verb “grant” is a strong form of petition and is common in Collects; and it is matched by a powerful emphasis upon the mercy of God, the Father, who is not only addressed as “most merciful” but is reminded of the Atonement and Heavenly Intercession of his Son (“for his sake”). The forgiven children of God recognize that they are to live in godliness (always remembering their duty to God), in righteousness (always doing their duty to their neighbour) and in soberness (not forgetting their duty to themselves), and all being done exclusively to God’s glory. Absolution, remission, forgiveness and pardon from God the Father for Jesus Christ’s sake should produce a thankful, obedient and faithful people. Such is the perfect will of God. The “Amen” or “So be it” is the final underlining of what is desired and asked for.

In summary it may be noted that this Confession is based on St Paul’s analysis of sin in Romans 7: 8-25 and verses cited or quoted in it are in this order: Isaiah 53:6; Psalm 119:176; 1 Peter 2:25; Proverbs 19:21; Jeremiah 18:12; 2 Chronicles 28:13; Matthew 23:23; Psalm 38:3; Luke 18:13; Psalm 51:1; Nehemiah 13:22; Psalm 51:12; Romans 15:8; 1 John 2:12; Titus 2:11-12 & John 14:13.

This Confession should be compared with that in the Order for Holy Communion: Almighty God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Maker of all things, Judge of all men; We acknowledge and bewail our manifold sins and wickedness, which we, from time to time, most grievously have committed, by thought, word and deed, against thy divine Majesty, provoking most justly thy wrath and indignation against us. We do earnestly repent, and are heartily sorry for these our misdoings; the remembrance of them is grievous unto us; the burden of them is intolerable. Have mercy upon us, have mercy upon us, most merciful Father; for thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, forgive us all that is past; and grant that we may ever hereafter serve and please thee in newness of life, to the honour and glory of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Absolution & Remission of Sins

The Declaration of Pardon & Forgiveness

Following the General Confession in the Services of Morning and Evening in The Book of Common Prayer (1662 & USA, 1928), there follows “The Absolution, or The Remission of sins.” It is pronounced by the priest alone, standing, as the people remain kneeling. This authoritative Declaration consists of three parts: (a) Preamble; (b) the Absolution itself, and (c) and Exhortation. It contains much godly wisdom and food for thought and action.

Let us take it part by part.

Almighty God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who desireth not the death of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live; and hath given power, and commandment to his Ministers, to declare and pronounce to his people, being penitent, the Absolution and Remission of their sins:
The source of forgiveness, pardon, absolution and remission of sins is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. In his Revelation, recorded in sacred Scripture, he has made very clear that he desires to have his creatures, made in his image, to be in friendship and communion with him not only in this age but in that to come. He does not wish that they be in a state of enmity and spiritual death. “As I live,” saith the Lord God, “I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked should turn from his way and live” (Ezekiel 33:11). Thus he sent his only-begotten Son into the world to save men from their sins and wickedness.

It is through the same Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to whom is given all authority in heaven and earth, that forgiveness of sins is made possible and that Ministers are commissioned and given authority by him to pronounce in his Name the absolution and remission of sins (see Matthew 16:19; 18:18; John 20:22,23). “To absolve” is to deliver from the bondage of sin and “to remit” is to take away the guilt of sin, and they both belong together as one action of Jesus Christ.

He pardoneth and absolveth all them that truly repent, and unfeignedly believe his holy Gospel.
These words stand out and are the very center of this Absolution. As the Catechism in The Book of Common Prayer makes clear the conditions for both Baptism and the Holy Communion are Repentance and Faith (a faith that works by love). In repentance we cease to trust in ourselves, and in faith we trust in God. The actual Forgiveness is from the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father, but pronounced by the Minister. These conditions of repentance and faith/trust are based upon the words of Jesus and his apostles – see Mark 1:14-15; Luke 24:47; Acts 2:38,

Wherefore let us beseech him to grant us true repentance and his Holy Spirit, that those things may please him which we do at this present, and that the rest of our life hereafter may be pure and holy ; so that at the last we may come to his eternal joy; through Jesus Christ our Lord.
The Minister calls upon all who have received the word of forgiveness to pray to God the Father in the Name of Jesus Christ for two necessities – a repentant heart & the gift of the Holy Spirit to indwell the heart – in order that this act of worship will be pleasing to God and that the church as a body, and each members thereof, will be pure and holy in daily living. Further, the Minister reminds the people of the End and Purpose of their Christian lives as repentant believers – the communion, peace and joy of the life of the age to come, where all, fully redeemed in soul and body, shall partake of the beatific vision, seeing the glory of the Father in the face of Jesus Christ, his Incarnate Son.

With this Declaration of Forgiveness should be compared the Absolution in The Order for Holy Communion: Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who of his great mercy hath promised forgiveness of sins to all them that with hearty repentance and true faith turn unto him; Have mercy upon you; pardon and deliver you from all your sins; confirm and strengthen you in all goodness; and bring you to everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

[When a Reader is taking the service of Morning/Evening Prayer it is customary for him to pray: “Grant, we beseech thee, merciful Lord, to thy faithful people pardon and peace, that they may be cleansed from all their sins, and serve thee with a quiet mind; through Jesus Christ our Lord.”]

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

TWO CD's of excellence


May I commend to you two CD's for your use.

You may call 1 800 PBS 1928 to obtain them.

Each of these CD's has on it a major book which can be read by Adobe.

The first is the WHOLE THREE VOLUMES of the 19th century edition of THE ECCLESIASTICAL POLITY by the great Anglican divine Richard Hooker. All the books of this multi-volume classic are on this CD. No Anglican worth his salt will fail to read this classic!

Please rush to obtain it!

The second is THE ANNOTATED BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER by Canon Blunt. This again is a 19th century classic and contains the text of the 1662 BCP along with profuse and learned explanations of everything that is in the BCP. It went through many editions and has over 700 large pages and costs $60.00 or more second hand. A fine reference book for understanding the traditional liturgy.

Please rush to get a copy.

Each will cost you $12.00 plus post.

Order on line if you wish at

you can use a credit card.

Then there are also available CD's which contain my recordings of the primary homilies in the BOOK OF HOMILIES which is one of the Formularies of the Church of England and the Anglican Way.

Ask about these on 1 800 727 1928 also or look at their description at the site given above.

Happy reading and thanks.

I would like to say that these CD's are produced by two ladies who are disabled who work at the computers from their wheel chairs and who laboriously copy digitally thousands of pages to produce these ADOBE based CD's for our use or do similar hard work to produce the speaking CD's. I thank them.

Peter Toon

Tuesday, May 13, 2003

The Fourth Sunday After Easter

O Almighty God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men: Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Epistle: James 1, 17-21 The Gospel: John 16: 5-15

This Latin prayer originated in the Gelasian Sacramentary and passed into the Sarum Missal before being translated into English for the 1549 Prayer Book. Finally it was revised for the 1662 Prayer Book. As it stands it is as near a perfect specimen of a Collect form of prayer as one could wish to see.

There is the Address or Invocation – to Almighty God; then there is the Recital of a doctrine concerning God’s power in relation to man, achieved grammatically by means of the relative clause; this is followed by the long petition, beginning “Grant…”, which is wholly based upon the foundation of the doctrine already remembered and rehearsed; and in turn the petition is followed by the Aspiration – “that so… our hearts may surely there be fixed” – and finally by the Pleading in the Name of Jesus Christ the Lord.

The foundation for the petition recalls before God and recites the biblical teaching that he alone, and only he, canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men. These words of the initial relative clause balance perfectly with the two clauses of the petition that follows. That is, “the unruly wills” corresponds to the love of that which God commands, while “the unruly affections” corresponds to the desire of that which God promises.

We know from sacred Scripture and the experience of the saints that God the Father brings the wills and emotions/affections of sinful persons out of disorder into order by the secret and hidden operations of the Holy Ghost. In this way minds, hearts and wills are transformed and the change wrought in them is of such a nature that those persons in whom the Holy Ghost has so worked can only say with certainty that they know and feel that a change has taken place. They cannot tell how it occurred.

The true Christian is one who delights in and loves what God commands and also one who seeks to obey God’s holy law, simply because he loves God and wants to do what God declares to be good and true and right. So the petition is “that thy people may love the thing which thou commandest.”

But it is also important that the Christian loves God and his law as he also at the same time also desires what God promises to his elect people. That is his affections are to be set upon the heavenly realm where Christ rules at the Father’s right hand and where the society of angels and saints adore and praise Jesus Christ as Lord of lords and King of kings in all his authority and beauty.

The Christian who loves God’s law and desires to be with Christ in heaven will find that in the varied and many changing circumstances of life his central focus will be not in this world as such but on Christ Jesus in heaven, the center of all true and lasting joy. And the more he is focused on Christ the more will he be desirous and able to love God and his law and readily and happily obey him. He will rejoice with exceeding great joy as he loves the Lord and does his will, with his eyes of faith looking above where Christ is in all his glory.

It is by making men loyal to his will and to the hope of glory which he holds out to them in the Gospel that God joins them together in the same mind and the same judgment. His precept and promise are the magnetic power which draw them into union one with another, and they are also the cement which hold them there, beginning in this age and being fulfilled in the glorious age to come.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

The Naked Public Square & the Autonomous Self


I submit this for your perusal and as a possible discussion starter.

Richard John Neuhaus has written (First Things, Feb. 2003):

"More than by recent scandals [child abuse & homosexuality, for example] Catholicism [in America] in the public square is weakened by its gradual but certain sociological accommodation to a Protestant ethos. that construes religion in terms of consumer preference, and voluntary associations in support of those preferences."

Anyone who looks at the supermarket of religions evident in Americans town, cities and suburbia sees how much consumer preference dominates not only the external advertising by the religions/churches but also the nature and content of the worship services and the related midweek activities. A competitive situation, where each group desires to keep whom it has and attract more potential members, has to pay attention to what people like and dislike, what attracts and what repels them, and what they will pay for. Of course, there are degrees of conditioning and compromise and within it all there are (by the grace of God alone) examples of genuine Christian worship, witness and work.

Fr Neuhaus also wrote: Catholicism "is weakened also by what is aptly called the totalitarian impulse of the modern state - including democratic states - to monopolize public space and consign religion to the private sphere."

For a long time sociologists have written about and assumed that a chief characteristic of American religious practice is "privatisation", the keeping of religion primarily in the domestic sphere, and not taking its morality and ethos into the workplace or schoolroom or courtroom. Fr Neuhaus has called the result of this privatisation of religion "the naked public square." Observers from overseas often note that while the word "God" is much invoked by American Presidents and other national leaders, and while millions go to churches, the moral content of Christianity seems not to penetrate the public sphere, where secular "values" rule but are interestingly and conveniently allied to the mantra, "God bless America".

Reflecting on this situation of consumer choice and privatization as a Protestant, whose [Anglican] churches are part of the supermarket of religions, I cannot see any easy or simple way out of these gigantically real problems. Where at the local level a parish/congregation seeks to be faithful to its best reading & interpretation of the Scriptures and the Christian Tradition, it runs into serious problems: it makes demands upon members that run contrary to the expectations of the consumer society and of the privatisation of religion. Members are tempted to go elsewhere where the going is easier, or they feel obliged to seek to persuade the leadership to take it easy and go with the flow and not pursue what they see as idealism.

Fr Neuhaus (in the same essay) calls for an obedience by Catholics within Christian freedom to the Truth, who is Christ Jesus - a willing commitment to submit to the truth from Jesus Christ as taught in the Catholic Church. That is, a readiness to put aside the claims of the autonomous self (which of course is the foundation of much American talk of rights and freedoms) and to submit one's whole self to the Lord our God as he is made known to us in Christ Jesus and within his Church, which is his Body. In Roman Catholic terms this means both outward and inward submission in freedom to the teaching and hierarchy of the Church. And Neuhaus sees the present Bishop of Rome as providing authentic teaching as to what this submission to the Truth is all about.

The autonomous self, so celebrated within European culture for so long, exists virtually unchallenged in its essential nature in the supermarket of religions, in the consumer definition of religion and in the privatisation of religion, for in a sense each of these exists in order to conform to the doctrine of the autonomous self and its supposed rights and freedoms, as defined by modern secularism.

For Roman Catholics to submit wholly to the Lord Jesus Christ within the Church in freedom is no doubt most demanding and nearly impossible in the conditions of modern America. But for Protestants (Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists, Baptists and so on) it is even more difficult for there is within these traditions and jurisdictions a long-time acceptance of private judgment in the reading and interpreting of Scripture; and this private judgment is so easily married to the modern doctrine of the autonomous self (without this being recognized) in the reality of the local church and the practice of the faith outside the home and church. So pervasive is the assumption and doctrine of the autonomous self that it comes into translations of the Bible and of the Christian classics as well as being a common premise of many sermons and popular books.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Canadian Primate announces retirement

ACNS 3440 | CANADA | 13 MAY 2003

[Anglican Church of Canada] Archbishop Michael Peers, Primate of the Anglican Church of Canada since 1986, has announced that he will resign on 1 February 2004. A letter announcing his intention was read to the church's governing council meeting in Calgary on Sunday 11 May. The mandatory age of retirement for Anglican bishops in Canada is 70. Archbishop Peers was born in 1934.

His resignation will clear the way for the election of a new Anglican Primate by General Synod at its next meeting in St Catharines, Ontario, in June 2004. General Synod is the chief legislative body of the Anglican Church and meets every three years. It is made up of representatives from across the country and includes bishops, priests and lay people.

Archbishop Peers' letter was read to the Council of General Synod by Archbishop David Crawley, Metropolitan of the ecclesiastical province of British Columbia. Archbishop Crawley is the church's senior Archbishop and will serve as acting Primate between Archbishop Peers' resignation and the election of a successor.

As Primate of the Anglican Church, Archbishop Peers is the church's chief pastor and chief executive officer. The Primate is president of General Synod, chair of the Council of General Synod, which governs the church in years when General Synod does not meet, and chair of the House of Bishops, a national gathering of Anglican bishops that meets twice a year. He is also the voice of the Anglican Church of Canada on the international stage and with the worldwide Anglican Communion.

He also serves as President of the Metropolitan Council of Cuba, providing a personal link between the Cuban Episcopal Church and the rest of the Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Peers was born in Vancouver, ordained priest in the diocese of Ottawa in 1960 and elected Bishop of the diocese of Qu'Appelle in 1977. Between 1982 and his election as Primate in 1986, Archbishop Peers was Metropolitan or Archbishop of the ecclesiastical province of Rupert's Land.

He is fluent in several languages and, before turning to the study of theology, obtained a German-English interpreter's certificate from the University of Heidelberg. He has received many honorary degrees, including a doctorate of theology from the Vancouver School of Theology earlier this month.

Archbishop Peers and his wife, Dorothy, have three grown children and two grandchildren.

Monday, May 12, 2003


The older a Christian gets and the more he experiences public & private prayer the more he learns to appreciate some of the spiritual gems that are in the Christian tradition, often ignored or neglected by churches today in their worship. There is a collection of prayers in the reformed Catholic or Anglican tradition that seem to me to fit this description of gems.

In The Book of Common Prayer (1662) there are provided at the end of The Order for Holy Communion six collects. They are prefaced by this rubric: “Collects to be said after the Offertory, when there is no Communion, every such day one or more; and the same may be said also, as often as occasion shall serve, after the Collects either of Morning or Evening Prayer, Communion or Litany, by the discretion of the Minister.” This is a fairly broad permission and so it in not surprising that in the American Book of Common Prayer (1928) five of the six together with a further one were placed among the occasional prayers, printed after Evening Prayer, under the heading, “Collects.” And here the rubric is: “To be used after the Collects of Morning or Evening Prayer, or Communion, at the discretion of the Minister.” So it seems that the use of these Collects in England or America is wholly dependent upon the judgment of the parish priest and if he does not decide to use them they do not get used.

The first collect in the BCP of 1662 (and the second in the BCP of 1928) is: Assist us mercifully, O Lord, in these our supplications and prayers, and dispose the way of thy servants towards the attaining of everlasting salvation; that, among all the changes and chances of this mortal life, they may ever be defended by thy most gracious and ready help; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In its Latin original this first appeared in the Sacramentary of Gelasius under the general heading, “Prayers for one going on a journey.” In the Sarum Use of medieval England it has become a prayer for pilgrims. In the BCP it has become a prayer for all of us who journey through life. What we know from experience is that real prayer is not natural to the heart. To pray aright we need divine assistance. Further, to travel aright through life towards the goal of everlasting life, we need divine guidance and help. There are many changes in the situations in which we live and further we meet expected occurrences and incidents. Thus at all times we need to be within the care and defence of our heavenly Father for the sake of his Son, our Saviour Jesus Christ.

The second collect in the BCP of 1662 (and found in the Communion Service in the BCP of 1928 after the Commandments) is: O Almighty Lord, and everlasting God, vouchsafe, we beseech thee, to direct, sanctify, and govern, both out hearts and bodies, in the ways of thy laws, and in the works of thy commandments; that through thy most mighty protection, both here and ever, we may be preserved in body and soul; through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Amen.

In the Sarum Use this prayer comes at the end of Prime, the first devotions of the day. In the BCP (1662 & 1928) it is not only found in this collection but also as the last prayer of the Confirmation Service. The prayer focuses on the whole person as being both soul and body and looks for sanctification of both in this life in anticipation of the perfection of both soul/heart and body in the resurrected, glorified and immortalised spiritual body of the life of the age to come. Practical holiness in this life is obeying and being conformed to the ways and works of God’s law and commandments as these are fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

The third collect in both the BCP of 1662 and of 1928) is: Grant, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that the words, which we have heard this day with out outward ears, may through thy grace be so grafted inwardly in our hearts, that they may bring forth in us the fruit of good living, to the honour and praise of thy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This prayer made its appearance in the BCP of 1549 and reflects the new religious situation where the Bible is printed in English and generally available to be read not only in church but by the heads of households at family prayers and by teachers in schools. Not only the reading of the Old and New Testaments but also the practical exposition of them in sermons and catechism is in mind. The petition is that the word of God will enter via the senses into the heart and soul and there find a home wherein to grow and bear fruit. (Compare with this collect that for the Second Sunday in Advent: “Blessed Lord, who hast caused all holy Scriptures…”)

The fourth collect in the BCP of 1662 (and the fourth, but slightly amended in the BCP of 1928) is: Prevent us, O Lord [Direct us, O Lord], in all our doings with thy most gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works, begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally by thy mercy obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

In the Sarum Use this prayer is to be said by the priest in the sacristy, when he has taken off the eucharistic vestments, and thus refers to his vocation in the Ministry. In the BCP it is adapted for use by all the people of God. The verb “prevent” is found also in the Easter Collect ( “as by thy special grace preventing us…”) and carries the meaning of “anticipate,” suggesting that we need God’s grace to go before us, preparing the way for us, just as much as we need grace be with us in the present and to follow us on our path. The American rendering of “direct” makes good sense but introduces a different meaning into the collect. Perhaps the best commentary on “further us with thy continual help” is the content of the Tenth Article of Religion. “We have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God without the grace of God by Christ preventing us, that we may have a good will, and working with us, when we have that good will.” Our vocation is to glorify God on earth by our good works that proceed from faith working by love and in hope of life everlasting.

The fifth collect in both the BCP of 1662 and of 1928 is: Almighty God, the fountain of all wisdom, who knowest our necessities before we ask, and our ignorance in asking: We beseech thee to have compassion upon our infirmities; and those things, which for our unworthiness we dare not, and for our blindness we cannot ask, vouchsafe to give us for the worthiness of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This collect first appeared in the BCP of 1549 and it has been well described as “A Prayer to supply the defects of our other devotions”. The prayer supposes not only that we are finite and mortal but also sinful, spiritually blind and unworthy of divine blessing. It also supposes that God is omniscient, wise, compassionate and gracious who for the sake of his Incarnate Son delights to save and bless sinful creatures who turn to him. When these two lines of thought come together we have such a prayer as this which is a good prayer to offer at the end of our prayers.

The sixth collect in both in the BCP of 1662 and of 1928 is: Almighty God, who hast promised to hear the petitions of them that ask in thy Son’s Name: We beseech thee mercifully to incline thine ears to us that have made now our prayers and supplications unto thee; and grant that those things, which we have faithfully asked according to thy will, may effectually be obtained, to the relief of our necessity, and to the setting forth of thy glory, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is a prayer to be used as a concluding prayer for it refers to supplications and prayers already offered to the Father. To ask in the Name of the Son is more than using a verbal formula, it is also living in union with the Son, abiding in him. Also this collect suggests two further conditions of genuine prayer – importunate and persevering (suggested by the word “supplications”, earnest prayer), and also faithful (proceeding from faith and out of faithfulness to God’s known will). God answers such prayer in order to meet our genuine needs and necessity as also to enhance his own glory through us his servants.

What is left now is the first collect in the BCP of 1928: O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto thine apostles, Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; Regard not our sins, but the faith of thy Church; and grant to it that peace and unity which is according to thy will, who livest and reignest with the Father and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

This is addressed to the Lord Jesus Christ as the Second Person of the Blessed, Holy and Undivided Trinity and it ends with a doxology to the same Trinity. In origin it was a prayer used by the priest as he prepared to take the Eucharist and had reference to the conveying in this service the Pax, the gift of peace. As adapted to general use, the petition presupposes the merits and life-giving words of the Lord Jesus and his presence in his Body, the catholic Church, and asks that what is in the Head of the Body may also be in the Body itself – peace and unity.

Do make use of these prayers!

thank you.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon

Sunday, May 11, 2003



What is usually called "The Prayer of Consecration" in The Order for Holy Communion in The Book of Common Prayer (1662) is shorter than its predecessor in the BCP of 1549 as well as its successor in the American BCP of 1928.

The Prayer of 1662 consists of four parts. First of all, there is a long and striking preamble, bringing out with great clarity and emphasis the once-for-all nature of the Death of Jesus Christ upon the Cross and its being a total Sacrifice, a perfect Oblation and an all-sufficient Satisfaction for the sins of mankind. Secondly, there is a recital of Christ 's command for his disciples to continue a perpetual memory of his precious death until he come again in glory. Thirdly, there is the actual prayer that "we may be partakers of his most blessed body and blood"; and fourthly and finally there is the recital of the Institution of the Lord's Supper as a Sacrament of the Church (following the biblical accounts in 1 Corinthians 11:23-25 & Luke 22:19-20).

The required manual acts to accompany the words have the priest do what Jesus did at the Last Supper (to take & break the bread and lay his hand upon it & to lay his hand upon the chalice).

Communion of the priest/bishop, ministers and congregation then follows immediately after the recital of the Institution.

The reception of the consecrated bread and wine is by "all meekly kneeling". The words spoken by the officiating ministers in the administration of both the body and blood of Christ point both to God's part and man's part in this Sacrament. There is first and foremost God's gift and then there is conscious reception through faith. Both are necessary and belong together.

Thus (God's gift) "The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life." And (man's reception) "Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving."

Likewise (God's gift) "The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life." And (man's reception) "Drink this in remembrance that Christ's blood was shed for thee, and be thankful."

That which is sacramentally received is the body and blood of the ascended, exalted Christ, who died for us on the Cross. The remembering of the death of Jesus on the Cross is done in his presence as the resurrected Lord and one Mediator between God and man.

Immediately following the administration of the Sacrament there is the Lord' s Prayer, the prayer which is truly only to be prayed by those who are the adopted children of God, who have been fed at the heavenly banquet with the food of eternal life.

It is important that any who use this Prayer (and millions still do in many languages) do not come to it (as some with minimal theological training or spiritual insight do), saying that it is deficient since it does not have this and that (an oblation and epiclesis, for example). What it does have is ALL that is truly necessary to be a genuine prayer of consecration. Thus it should be used with reverence and awe. The Prayer of 1549 may be richer and that of 1928 may be more in line with patristic models, but this Prayer (in an age when attention spans get shorter not longer) is surprisingly "modern" in its controlled brevity. Further, it is most effectual, moving the faithful directly from the Institution by our Lord to the reception of his sacramental body and blood, and thereby the link between his command and our receiving is carefully preserved and experienced.

The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon