Liturgies for church plantings: Convention to consider strategies for continuing revision

June 30, 2003

NEW LITURGIES FOR church plantings and new strategies for continuing worship renewal and enrichment will be considered by bishops and deputies at General Convention.

The commission is requesting $100,000 per year to add staff to the Office of Liturgy and Music to implement convention's program initiatives more effectively.

This includes proposals from the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to develop curricula and resources for a church-wide program of liturgical education and training; establish a website to collect and disseminate locally developed materials; facilitate enriching worship with an evangelism focus; and develop culturally sensitive rites such as "Quinceaneras" for use in a wide range of settings.

The commission is requesting $100,000 per year to add staff to the Office of Liturgy and Music to implement convention's program initiatives more effectively.

"I think what [the commission] tries to set out is sort of a map of where the church might go in terms of liturgical renewal, and I think it's up to the church whether it wants to embark on this," said Sister Jean Campbell, OSH, commission member and Episcopal priest. 

Liturgical revision already occurs throughout the church, she said. The goal is to gather the best of those materials and to provide support, training and resources for those involved in liturgical renewal.

"The question is whether we're going to have a mechanism to share the richness of liturgical revisions, which mostly is non-textural right now," she said. "It's much more so in the matter of how people are doing the liturgy. ... It has to do more with music, it has to do with movement, it has to do with space."

In a church that worships in more than 58 languages every Sunday, creating liturgies at the national level won't meet all the needs of the local churches, she noted. The hope is to provide the framework, resources and education for services such as a "Quinceaneras liturgy" that people in different traditions can adapt to their needs.

Liturgical education would try "to help especially clergy to understand what it means to ritualize life," she said. "Right now, we've sent people to books. But they need some skills on taking all these things that are available and putting it together and making it live for their local community."

The proposed liturgies, which will be printed in English and Spanish, also include a litany for the church's mission, various prayers and hymn suggestions.

If General Convention approves them, communities will have available new liturgies for church plantings -- addressing the steps from discerning a new church mission to commissioning a church planter, missioner or mission team to opening a new congregation and sanctifying secular space for sacred use. The proposed liturgies, which will be printed in English and Spanish, also include a litany for the church's mission, various prayers and hymn suggestions.

"It's the first time we've actually published rites in two languages simultaneously," noted the Rev. Clayton Morris, the church's liturgical officer.

Conventioneers also can see the first volume of "Enriching Our Music," which includes supplemental music for the revised Eucharistic prayers and new canticles in "Enriching Our Worship I."

Volume I will include through-composed Mass settings and canticles A-K, said commission member and professional musician Monte Mason. Volume II will include single settings and canticles L-S, Volume III music for children's worship, new hymns and the rest of the canticles.

Drawing on more than 700 submissions, a reading committee tried to choose quality music representing a wide variety of styles, from Gregorian chant to gospel music, Monte said. 

In trying to include more culturally diverse music, the task force encountered a problem -- conversations between a minority and the dominant culture tended to get filtered through the dominant culture, it reported to convention. The report suggested a more useful model would be nonlinear and look more like a hexagram, with different constituencies -- such as Hispanics, Native Americans and Whites -- at separate points. Lines drawn between points represent dialogue between the constituencies.

The idea would be to have a reading committee at each point, Monte explained, "getting those people who are well-versed in their respective cultural and artistic wisdom ... and then having them to present materials to the people in the center." Final decisions would be by consensus.

The idea for a new model for intercultural dialogue on worship issues marked "a serious step forward" for the commission, Morris said. 

According to the report to convention, the commission has "embraced this standard with enthusiasm, urging that its work now be informed through this new model."
Other SCLM resolutions to General Convention propose:

Final approval of commemorations of Enmegahbowh, the first Indian ordained in the Epicopal Church, Florence Nightingale and Philip the Deacon in the Calendar of the Church Year;

Starting dialogue on the relation between local liturgical initiatives and ordered authority, and developing frameworks to resolve issues involved in creating new rites;

Revising Lesser Feasts and Fasts 2000;
Final approval of commemorations of Enmegahbowh, the first Indian ordained in the Epicopal Church, Florence Nightingale and Philip the Deacon in the Calendar of the Church Year;

Trial commemorations of Janani Luwum, archbishop of Uganda and martyr; William Temple, archbishop of Canterbury; Clive Stapels Lewis, apologist and spiritual writer; Philander Chase, bishop of Ohio and Illinois; and Florence Li Tim-Oi, first female priest in the Anglican Communion; and

Appropriating $25,000 to support the church's participation in and support of the International Anglican Liturgical Consultation.

Sharon Sheridan of Flanders, N.J., is a freelance writer and editor and frequent contributor to Episcopal Life. She will write for the Convention Daily at General Convention.