By far and away the most used Prayer Book in the Anglican Communion, and notably in Africa, is The Book of Common Prayer (edition 1662) either in its classic English language of prayer or in translation. The doctrinal foundation of most Anglican Provinces are the three Formularies which we know as this Prayer Book of 1662, together with the Ordinal and Articles of Religion normally bound up with it in its pew editions.
The doctrinal foundation of the AMiA are these Formularies but there is, regrettably and amazingly, very little use of the two sets of Liturgy (BCP & Ordinal) in this Mission. The Liturgy of 1979 which replaced the classical in The Episcopal Church and which has aided and abetted its notorious innovations in the last thirty years is the one most used! When asked why the classic is not used (in 1662 or 1928 form), the answer from clergy usually is that modern Americans do not easily make use of the traditional language of prayer and they desire the equivalent in prayer language of that which they use on the street and in the home.
So to build a bridge to the biblically-based Formularies of the Anglican Way, it was resolved to make available a contemporary equivalent of the major texts in the classic BCP & Ordinal, addressing God as YOU and using the recent English Standard Version of the Bible for biblical citations.
The initial work was done by Peter Toon. This was reviewed by a panel and then Peter Toon saw the resulting text into print as a paperback book and with a green cover. The services in it have been authorized for trial use by the House of Bishops of Rwanda and the preface to the book is signed by Bishops Murphy and Rodgers. It contains all the major services from the BCP and Ordinal with all the Collects and Prefaces. It is not a finished product but a product in trial use and to be perfected. The last point is most important—it is a start not the end of the product line.
What is does do is to bring into AMiA worship the same doctrines that have been the mainstay and foundation of the Anglican Way since the sixteenth century.
Nothing can ever replace the classic English prayer language of the BCP & KJV and the writings of seventeenth and eighteenth century divines and hymn-writers in terms of quality, style and character. All we can do is to make available a form in modern English which is acceptable and which does the work of enabling us to approach the Throne of Grace in spirit and in truth and in the beauty of holiness.
Copies of the book may be obtained from St John the Evangelist [AMiA] Church in Philadelphia (Phil Lyman rector) at 215 396 1970; or copies of the zipped file of all the services may be obtained from email@example.com
At the AMiA Conference on January 18 the green book was introduced by Phil Lyman and Peter Toon. The room was crowded and great interest shown. For a CD of this exciting session of 75 mins, contact Rhino Technologies and ask for T8 “Common Worship” – 270 753 0717. It is 7 dollars or less.
The Rev'd Dr. Peter Toon MA., D.Phil (Oxford)