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The ‘Prayer Book tradition’: back to the liturgical future

Sherlock, Charles H. (2018) The ‘Prayer Book tradition’: back to the liturgical future. In: The Future of the Prayer Book Tradition, May 2018, Trinity College, Melbourne. (Submitted to be assessed for publication)

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For four centuries from 1549 the ‘Anglican’ form of the Christian tradition centred on ‘prayer books’. Socially, it reflected the political situation of the British Isles. Technologically, it was made possible by the coming of printing. Theologically, it arose from the impact of Reformation ideals on England. The greatness of the ‘prayer book’ tradition is its sustaining of the heritage of Christian ‘common prayer’ in English cultures. Its weakness was the accompanying ‘principle of uniformity’, which brought oppression, rigidity and internal doctrinal conflict. This paper explores the interaction of this contrast in looking towards the ‘future of the Prayer Book tradition’.
In the midst of a near bewildering variety in ‘Anglican’ liturgical life today, it is argued that we do well by going ‘back to the future’, continuing three distinctive aspects of ‘the Prayer Book tradition’:
- the lectionary and scriptures as the liturgical foundation of each Book of Common Prayer;
- rites being publically accessible, expressing an implicit covenant between clergy and people;
- a commitment to graced, reverent truth in public prayer, sensitive to spiritual well-being, both communal and personal.
This paper argues that these features, set in a common structure that reflects the mission of God (gather / listen / pray / do / go), filled out with classical shapes for intercession and Lord’s Supper, is the ecumenical ‘future of the prayer book tradition’, replacing ‘uniformity’ with disciplined flexibility.

Item Type: Conference Papers (Lecture)
Repository Version: Author's Final Manuscript
Keywords: Prayer Book; APBA; BCP; Uniformity; Liturgical revision
Fields of Research: 22 Philosophy and Religious Studies > 2204 Religion and Religious Studies > 220401 Christian Studies (incl. Biblical Studies and Church History)
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970122 Expanding Knowledge in Philosophy and Religious Studies
Type of Activity: Experimental Development
Subjects: D - Liturgy
College/Association with University of Divinity: Trinity College Theological School
Depositing User: Rev Dr Charles Sherlock
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2019 05:04
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2019 05:04
URI: http://repository.divinity.edu.au/id/eprint/3392

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