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A statement by the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music concerning inconsistencies in Holy Week liturgies

March 24, 2011

The Episcopal Church Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM), has issued the following statement concerning inconsistencies between the Revised Common Lectionary and the Holy Week Liturgies of the Book of Common Prayer.

The statement was prepared during the SCLM meeting in March in Atlanta, GA.

SCLM members and their dioceses are: the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, chair, Chicago; the Rev. Dr. Jennifer Phillips, vice-chair, Rhode Island; John Repulski, secretary, Michigan; Martha Baker, Missouri; Dent Davidson, Chicago; Bishop Thomas Ely, Vermont; Br. Christopher Hamlett, O.P, Southern Virginia; Sandra Montes, Texas; Jeannine Otis, New York; Bishop John McKee Sloan, Alabama; the Rev. Dr. Louis Weil, California; and Bishop Pierre Whalon, Convocation of Episcopal Churches in Europe.


The 2006 General Convention resolved that “the Revised Common Lectionary shall be the Lectionary of this Church, amending the Lectionary on pp. 889-921 of the Book of Common Prayer,” but did not deal with the resultant inconsistencies of pages within the Book of Common Prayer itself.

In anticipation of Holy Week 2011, the first year that the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) is required for use in The Episcopal Church, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music recommends that congregations use the RCL lections during Holy Week 2011. In our report to the 77th General Convention, the SCLM will formally propose a resolution to remove the inconsistencies between the RCL and BCP.

The RCL lections for Holy Week 2011 follow:


Palm Sunday, BCP pp. 270-273

Liturgy of the Palms: Matthew 21:1-11

Processional Psalm 118: 1-2,19-29

Liturgy of the Word:

Isaiah 50:4-9a

Psalm 31:9-16

Philippians 2:5-11

Matthew 26:14â€"27:66 or Matthew 27:11-54


Maundy Thursday, BCP p. 274

Exodus 12:1-4,(5-10),11-14

Psalm 116:1,10-17

1 Corinthians 11:23-26

John 13:1-17,31b-35

The Commission strongly recommends omitting the “Hallelujah!” at the end of Psalm 116 (v. 17).


Good Friday, BCP pp. 276-277

Isaiah 52:13â€"53:12

Psalm 22

Hebrews 10:16-25

or Hebrews 4:14-16; 5:7-9

John 18:1â€"19:42


Holy Saturday, BCP p. 283

Job 14:1-14

or Lamentations 3:1-9,19-24

Psalm 31:1-4,15-16

1 Peter 4:1-8

Matthew 27:57-66

or John 19:38-42


Easter Vigil, BCP pp. 288-295

The story of Creation:

Genesis 1:1â€"2:4a

Psalm 136:1-9,23-26

The Flood:

Genesis 7:1-5,11-18;8:6-18,9:8-13

Psalm 46

Abraham’s sacrifice of Isaac:

Genesis 22:1-18

Psalm 16

Israel’s deliverance at the Red Sea:

Exodus 14:10-31; 15:20-21

Canticle 8

God’s Presence in a renewed Israel:

Baruch 3:9-15,32---4:4 or

Proverbs 8:1-8,19-21;9:4b-6

Psalm 19

Salvation offered freely to all:

Isaiah 55:1-11

Canticle 9

A new heart and a new spirit:

Ezekiel 36:24-28

Psalms 42 and 43

The valley of dry bones:

Ezekiel 37:1-14

Psalm 143

The gathering of God’s people:

Zephaniah 3:14-20

Psalm 98

At the Eucharist:

Romans 6:3-11

Psalm 114

Matthew 28:1-10


Atlanta, Georgia, March 2011


Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music:


The Episcopal Church:



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Nancy Cox Davidge
Public Affairs Officer