Our time was somewhat more limited than in some years – owing to having to begin on January 1st I suspect. We gathered at noon-ish in the Minnehaha room. Neither of our co-conveners could be present, but The Rev. Dr. Elise Feyerherm ably kept us unruly Anglicans on track.
We began with the short office from Daily Prayer for All Seasons for Sext (Noon), singing “Of the Father’s Love Begotten” along the way, which was enjoyable. About 15 people were present, a lower number than usual. Several members of this colloquium arrived after the pre-meeting concluded.
Our primary conversation was regarding proposals for General Convention 2015 from the outgoing chair of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers.
She discussed the work of the preceding triennium, including the publication of the aforementioned Daily Prayer for All Seasons and also the process of gathering responses to the “Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Relationship” (part of “I Will Bless you and You Will Be a Blessing“) through a survey and live consultations.
The SCLM will be offering revisions to this resource including a revision of the rite previously included to clarify how to include language of marriage. They will also propose including an adaptation of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer marriage rite using gender neutral terminology and an adaptation of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer marriage rite. These changes are intended to address the concern that the initial rite was a form of “separate but equal” for those who desired a marriage rite. They also are proposing that the Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Relationship be directly authorized in all dioceses by General Convention and that the other materials be provisionally authorized, depending on the local Bishop Diocesan.
This text also includes supporting resources, pastoral, theological canonical, which have been revised. The theological resource now includes six response essays from a variety of perspectives. The canonical resource has been removed and replaced with a discussion of the history of the marriage canon as an appendix.
The SCLM also intends to recommend that the divorce canons apply to relationships established by these materials. Additionally, the Task Force on Marriage, established by General Convention 2012, has put together responses and materials based on their own work, including some possible revisions to the marriage canon.
Other proposals include a further revision of the kalendar, which is a further step in response to Holy Women, Holy Men. The chair of the subcommitte, Derek Olsen, has written about this at some length, including here. Primarily, the existing Weekday Eucharistic Lectionary will be published in a separate volume, along with the Various Occasions, and the kalendar commemorations will be published in a volume called A Great Cloud of Witnesses. This volume will have resources for commemorations, including collects, biographies, and an expanded set of common propers to provide readings. Additionally, the lesser feasts would be removed from the kalendar printed in The Book of Common Prayer, leaving only the so-called red letter days (Major Feasts, Feasts of Our Lord) on that kalendar. This new approach would also delete 16 commemorations from Holy Women, Holy Men and begin a process of expanding the number of women commemorated. Some 55 names have been generated, historical and more recent, as possible additions.
The SCLM will be proposing creating a resource for materials related to creation, including special rites for rogation days, animal blessings (approved in 2012), thematic Prayers of the People and Confession of Sin texts, and a Litany for the Planet.
An overhaul of the Book of Occasional Services will be requested and criteria for determining what rites to include have been proposed. The task force on music in the Episcopal Church has been working on ways to simplify the introduction of new music into Episcopal Churches. Additionally, they hope to provide some financial support for the Leadership Program for Musicians in Small Churches, which has been a very helpful program. Addressing Christian Anti-Judaism is a continuing project and resources can be found for that here. The SCLM has also developed criteria for authorizing biblical translations in an attempt to clarify that process of approval.
Looking ahead, the SCLM hopes to develop a new volume of resources for Christian Initiation, including background material and draft rites. Additionally, they hope to see new translations of the Book of Common Prayer in French, Creole, and Spanish, all of which need improvement. A clarifying revision to the Constitution is necessary to continue to authorize additional liturgical resources, which will take two conventions to approve. There may also be some impact from the TREC report, which suggests adding “Theology” to the name of the SCLM and the elimination of almost all other standing commissions.
We also had a report from Canadian members about ongoing work in the Anglican Church of Canada. Principles of revision are beginning to shift the work there from production of texts to liturgical formation. A recent set of proper prayers to follow the lectionary has been produced. An engagement with catechumenal instruction has found a new form in “Becoming the Story we Tell”.
Our session closed with the Nones (3 pm) brief service from Daily Prayer for All Seasons.