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Prayer Book Revision in Canada


HE work of revising the Prayer Book for the use of the Church of England in Canada is still in process of completion. The exact situation at the present time is this. General synod completed the work of Revision in 1915 so far as it could. The next step was the submitting of the Revised Book to the four Provincial Synods for their acceptance. This has been done and already three of these Synods have pronounced their verdict and in no case has the Book as it stands been accepted. Therefore the Book must go back again to General Synod in 1918 and be further amended before it can win the approval of each Provincial Synod, otherwise it cannot be authorized. The earliest date at which the Book can be finally approved is 1921.

However, this does not mean that portions of the Book are not now being used. Each diocesan bishop has the right to authorize the permissive use of parts of the Book in his own diocese and this has largely been done. Therefore the Book is now actually in use in many dioceses and it becomes consequently a matter of interest to Church people in general to know something of the character of the changes. In dealing with the subject, it will simplify matters to consider the changes under these two headings: (1) the changes passed by both General and Provincial Synods and (2) the changes asked for by Provincial Synods. It will be seen that the changes (No. 1) are now practically final and the changes (No. 2) may or may not be finally adopted.

I. The alterations agreed upon both by General Synod and the three Provincial Synods are very varied but on the whole are not of a bold character, rather changes that might have been expected by anyone following the trend of Revision in the English and Scottish Episcopal Churches. Certain features have also been borrowed from the American Church. The new matter is useful, the new Book is more conveniently arranged and in a measure contains liturgical improvements, though falling far short of the ideals of many Canadian Churchmen in this respect. To come to details, the lectionary is made

much fuller and more serviceable. In the use of the Psalter selections of Psalms and additional proper Psalms are provided. In the Kalendar twelve new names of great Doctors and Martyrs have been added and fifteen names of obscure saints omitted. In the Daily Offices additional sentences for the Seasons of the Church have been added. In the Litany petitions for present day needs have been added and permission given for omitting all the prayers after the "Our Father" under certain circumstances. Many new prayers for various special occasions have been added from American, Irish and Scottish sources. The Transfiguration has been given a Collect, Epistle and Gospel. In the Eucharist the summary of the law with Kyries has been added to be used as a substitute for the Decalogue, permission given to use both the prayers of Oblation and Thanksgiving before the Gloria in Excelsis as in the Irish Revision, and a Proper Preface added for Epiphany. In Holy Baptism, permission is granted to delay the christening of a child till the fifth Sunday and to allow parents to be sponsors. The Confirmation Service has a new Address, three passages of Scripture and new questions to Candidates based on Vows. In the Marriage Service a new rubric absolutely forbids the remarriage of divorced persons and in the place of the second prayer before the Blessing an alternative collect is provided. New prayers, for healing and for submission, a thanksgiving, and the De Profundis are added to the Visitation Service. In the Burial Office the twenty-third Psalm, new Lessons, and several additional prayers (none definitely for the departed) have been added. In the Commination Service the words "The Wrath of God is upon " replaces the scriptural phraseology" Cursed is he." At the end of the book five very complete Orders of Service for Harvest, Missions, Induction, Consecration of Church and Cemetery are added.

II. The recommendations and exceptions of the three Provincial Synods are fairly numerous and of considerable importance. The main points passed by one or more of the Provincial Synods are the following:

1. The Lectionary: The adoption of the ecclesiastical year in the arrangement of the lessons instead of the civil year as at present; a two-year cycle of Lessons.

2. The Psalter: A separate course for week-days. Selections of Psalms for Sundays.

3. Tables: The provision of a complete Table of Occurrences. 4. Combinations of Services: The preservation of the Scriptural portions and the liturgical structure of all offices, when shortening of services is allowed.

5. The Athanasian Creed: Rejection of the compromise agreed upon by General Synod whereby each priest should decide whether or not to use the warning clauses.

6. Prayers: New prayers, for "Those in temptation" and a Thanksgiving for Missions and Return of Sailors.

7. The Holy Eucharist: Collects, Epistles and Gospels are provided for the Black-Letter Saints' Days, for Ember Days, Rogation Days, Dedication Festival and for Burial and Marriage.

Re-arrangement of the Prayers after the Sanctus according to the American or Scottish Model. A new Preface for All Saints' and other Saints' Days.

8. Holy Baptism: Directions that children be brought at the earliest possible moment after birth to be baptized, and for Lay Baptism.

9. The Church Catechism: The phrasing of questions and answers on educational lines.

10. Matrimony: The substitution of other words for the clause, " for a protection against sin."

11. Visitation of the sick: Rejection of the proposed rubric making this office a permissive one.

12. Burial: Provision for a form of committal to be used in case of Cremation.

13. Commination: Omission of the entire Comminatory part and change of name to "Penitential office."

14. The Psalter: Re-pointing to assist the congregation in reciting the Psalms.

15. Extra Services: Provision of a Form of Family Prayer. 16. Removal of the Act of Uniformity from the Book. The situation is therefore at present uncertain. General Synod has a splendid opportunity of giving to the Church a

revision that will be a real enrichment of our present standards of worship by adopting the best of the recommendations of the Provincial Synods. All eyes will be turned on the meeting of General Synod to be held in Winnipeg in September 1918. Inasmuch as a good deal depends on the locality in which the Synod is held and as the Middle West is on the whole impatient of liturgical matters and chiefly anxious that the services shall meet the needs of the people, the prayers of Churchmen everywhere are asked that the Winnipeg Synod may be guided by the Holy Spirit and led to maintain the balance between adaptation to meet the real needs of the people and loyalty to the Faith and Discipline of the Catholic Church. The question of Prayers for the Departed was brought up at the recent session of the Provincial Synod of Eastern Canada and the conclusion was reached that General Synod be memorialized to authorize for use two prayers for the Departed taken from the Scottish Prayer Book. Owing to the fact that General Synod is extremely cautious, it is not likely that these prayers will be inserted in the new book. The Revision of the Prayer Book was undertaken on condition that there should be "no change in text or rubric implying any change in doctrine or principle." As it is felt that explicit prayers for the Departed would be a change of this nature in the view of many members of General Synod, the Provincial Synod of Eastern Canada contented itself with asking that these prayers be "authorized for use " instead of incorporated in the Revised Book.

It is nevertheless a great gain to have a Synod consisting of a Metropolitan Archbishop and three other diocesan bishops and priests and laymen representing all the dioceses of the Province pass a resolution recommending the fuller restoration of a portion of the Church's heritage too long kept in abeyance during past centuries. Reviewing the Revision movement in the Canadian Church, the outstanding feature of the situation at the present moment is the strong attitude adopted by the Provincial Synod of Eastern Canada on the subject of dealing with the great blemish of the "dislocated Canon." To have won back some of the matchless beauty of the Prayer of

Consecration as it existed in the First English Prayer Book or as it exists to-day in the Scottish and American Liturgies, is indeed a consummation devoutly to be hoped and prayed for and the Canadian Church may well defer its Revision for a longer period in order that the desire for the restoration of this priceless treasure may become more widespread.

Arthur R. Kelley.

The Use and Abuse of Church History


The Church in England

ORE than twenty years ago, when the writer had been



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out of the Seminary but three years, on his first visit to England, he got into conversation with an English working-man on a June evening, near Winchester. The Englishman inquired with interest about the Church in the United States and how its situation differed from that of the Church of England. "Of course," he said, "I know that the President is not the head of your Church.” No," the writer replied fervently and thankfully, "he is not.' "Well," continued the other," in England the Queen (Her Majesty Victoria was then on the throne) is the head of the English Church." The occasion was not propitious nor the speaker probably prepared for a lecture on the subject of the relations between the Church and the Sovereign in England, and the matter could not be carried further. A vivid impression has, however, lingered in the writer's mind of the persistency of this erroneous idea in the minds of many to the present day, many documents and much historical writing to the contrary notwithstanding.

A series of assumptions have become interwoven in the consciousness of people of the present day regarding the Church

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