A Tour of the Prayer Book


A Tour of the Book of Common Prayer 1979

1.    Concerning the Service of the Church (p. 13 f.) Rubrics

Specifies the basic model of worship
Authorizes Bishop to provide forms not included in Book
Emphasizes the Orders taking their part: laity, bishops, priests and deacons
Language for any rite may be adjusted as appropriate: traditional contemporary

2.    Calendar of the Church Year (pp. 15-23) - Calendar

Assists in identifying Easter
Defines basic categories: Principal Feasts — Sundays — Holy Days — Special Devotion — Optional Observance
Sets out rules of precedence  

3.    The Daily Office (pp. 3 5-146) - Rites

Lay people may conduct Offices: MP and EP
    and may lead all that precedes the Offertory in Eucharist
There are two sets — Traditional and Contemporary
Traditionally, after the Suffrages (e.g., p. 55) the Collect of the Day is said, and two other collects are said
Prayer for mission required  
Order of Worship for the Evening: (pp. 108-114) — Vespers
Makes use of the Paschal Candle
May be used in place of or in addition to EP
May not be used in Holy Week  
Daily Devotions (pp. 136-140)   for use by individuals, families

4.    The Great Litany (pp. 147-154) — Rite

“Litany” means “prayer” n Greek and takes on the connotation of a solemn responsorial prayer in the Middle Ages
Great Litany has been a feature of all Prayer Books in Anglicanism
May be said or sung as a stand-alone service (especially in trying times)
May precede or follow MP, EP, Eucharist
Highly appropriate in Lent and Rogation days
The Supplication (pp. 154-155) may be used in connection with the Litany, separately, or with MP & EP — and times of “national anxiety”  

5.    Collects (pp. 158-261) — Prayers

Two complete sets of Collects for the Year and Special Days (traditional/contemporary)
The word “Collect” in reference to prayer means “sums up” or “collects” the prayers of the individuals in community
The Collect for a given Sunday is said on that Sunday and at every service in the following week — at MP, EP, and Eucharist (unless a Collect for a Special Day — Feast or Saint’s Day) is provided

Collects make a good instrument for teaching persons to pray — a pattern or model for prayer
There are Collects for major Saint’s Days
There is a Common of Saints for other general use in relation to minor saints (e.g., p. 246 ff.)
Need a Collect for a Special Occasion? See, e.g., p. 251 ff.
There are lectionary readings provided all the Collects and the days connected to them — in both the Eucharist and MP and EP
In the Various Occasions section (e.g., p. 251 ff.) proper Prefaces for the Eucharist are also provided

6.    Proper Liturgies for Special Days (pp. 264-295) - Rites

These provide special liturgies for Ash Wednesday and Holy Week
Includes the Great Vigil of Easter  

7.    Holy Baptism (pp. 297-3 14) —Rite

Baptism is “full initiation”
Should be administered at the chief service on Sunday
Bishop should be celebrant if present
Candidates are to be sponsored by baptized persons
Godparents: parents may be included among “godparents”
Both must be instructed in the meaning of baptism and their responsibilities
Chrismation recalls the original unity of baptism and confirmation
Baptism is especially appropriate on
    Easter Vigil
    Day of Pentecost
    All Saints’ Day
    Baptism of our Lord
Should be reserved for the Bishop’s visit
Renewal of Baptismal Covenant is appropriate on the days listed even without baptisms
Apostles’ Creed is used — not the Nicene Creed
The Paschal Candle should be used at Baptism and Confirmation
Newly Baptized (or parents or godparents) should present bread and wine at Eucharist  
Forms for Conditional Baptism and Emergency (Lay) Baptism are found on p. 313
Rubrics direct that these Baptism be reported to a Priest and recorded  

8.    Holy Eucharist (pp. 315-409) — Rites

Two complete rites — traditional and contemporary;
    Prayers of the People
    Collects at the Prayers of the People
    Proper Prefaces
    Communion under Special Circumstances (home, hospitals, etc.)
    Orders (not in Church) — with two forms of Great Thanksgiving
    An Exhortation (on the meaning and use of Eucharist — traditional)
    Decalogue (may used as a preparatory rite or included in service)
    Penitential Rites may precede the Eucharist, or stand alone  
Bishop’s prerogative to be Principal celebrant
Deacon’s role specified:
    Set Table,
If Litany is used — omit Prayers of People
“Necessary” announcements should be made before service, after Creed, before Offertory, at end of service
ONE CHALICE on the Table — not many — use a flagon for extra wine
Celebrant — ministers at the Table — then the People: communion in that order ONLY   
Lay people may assist in distributing the elements in the absence of sufficient clergy
Disciplinary Rubrics - Excommunication: p. 409
    Take Note Priest confronts individual PRIVATELY
    Priest informs BISHOP  

9.    Confirmation (pp. 412-419) —Rite

Definition: A “mature public affirmation of faith”
NOT completion of baptism
Apostles’ Creed (the Baptismal creed) — not Nicene Creed used
Prayers for Candidates (in Baptismal rite) takes place of Prayers of the People  

10.  Commitment to Christian Service (pp. 420-421) — Model

Needs careful attention if it is to be used Great opportunity for creative use  

11.    Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage (pp. 422-43 8) — Rites

Celebrant must observe Canons on Marriage as well as Rubrics
Deacons do not normally officiate — must have permission of Bishop to do so
Full names are used once — then Christian names  
The Marriage rite provides the first part of the Eucharist
Prayers for the couple substitute for Prayers of the People
Lord’s Prayer is said after the Great Thanksgiving only — not in printed location
Peace follows the Blessing — the first kiss is made here, not at pronouncement
Bride and groom present gifts at the Table (Their first act as husband and wife!)
Preface of Marriage is used and a special Post-communion is provided.  
Blessing of a Civil Marriage — p. 433-434 Rite  
Order for Marriage — pp. 435-436 — Rubrical directions  
    Provides for preparing a service in an appropriate way
    Scripture MUST be provided
    NOTE:    form of the vows MUST be followed  (not "creatively" re-written!)
Banns (announcement of impending wedding)
    MAY be published — not required
Form for the “giving” or “presentation” of either woman, man, or both
Apostles’ Creed is appropriate — it manifests the baptismal character of Marriage
Couple should receive communion after the ministers  
NB:  “Unity Candle” is NOT appropriate! (Not a rubric, but my direction - +JMS)  

12.    Thanksgiving for Birth or Adoption (pp. 439-445) — Rite

Special prayers concerning children — p. 444  

13.    Reconciliation of a Penitent (pp. 446-452) — Rite

Two forms provided
Confessions may be heard any time, any where
Only a Bishop or Priest may pronounce absolution
The method of seating is optional — may be face to face
Priest should give counsel — may assign an act of contrition  
NB:  Not all “sharing” is confession: MUST be in context of the rite — the basis for confidentiality of the confessional  

14.    Ministration to the Sick (pp. 453-46 1) — Rite

May be used as a stand-alone rite, or be used in public worship as part of the Eucharist
Made up of 3 parts:
1. Ministry of Word (lay or ordained) Note:  different circumstances or emphases, p. 453-454
2. Laying on of Hands and Anointing (Priest or Bishop only in form given; alternatives for deacons and lay persons)
3. Holy Communion (Optional; Ordained or LEM only)
If Sacrament cannot physically be consumed, assure benefits of “spiritual communion”
Prayers for the Sick and to be used by the Sick are provided — pp. 458-46 1  

15.    Ministration at Time of Death (pp. 462-467) — Rite

This is prayer in extremis
There is a form for keeping a Vigil after death — “Wake” pp. 465 f.
There is a form for receiving the body into the Church, p. 466 f.
    May be used if the body arrives for the Vigil
    Or on the day of the Burial
    Used only once, however.  

16.    Burial of the Dead (pp. 468-507) — Rite

Two Complete Forms provided and one “order”
Clergy should be present at the making of arrangements
Baptized are properly buried from the Church — not mortuaries
Coffin — not “casket” (a casket is a treasure chest!)
Prayer for the Consecration of a Grave — p. 503
Special notes on p. 507:
    Burial is an Easter liturgy — finds all its meaning in the resurrection
    Grief is not unchristian — mourning is natural, even healthy  
Special Order for burial to be used only for “pastoral reasons” p. 506  

17.    Episcopal Services (pp. 509-555 — Ordinations) — Rites

Includes Litany for Ordinations — p. 548 ff.  

18.    Celebration of a New Ministry (pp. 557-565) — Rite

Assumes the Bishop is celebrant
May be for congregations or other ministries
The Induction — p. 561 — can be altered in creative ways
Letter of Institution — form on p. 557
One of the great prayers of the Church — p. 562  

19.    Dedication and Consecration of a Church (pp. 566-579) — Rite

Bishop presides
Litany of Thanksgiving for a Church — p. 578 f.  

20.    The Psalter (pp. 58 1-808) — Text  

21.    Prayers and Thanksgiving (pp. 809-84 1) — Text  

22.    An Outline of the Faith (Catechism) (pp. 843-862) — Text

Primary use — an outline for instruction in the Faith
May be used as a “service” when supplemented by prayers and hymns  

23.    Historical Documents of the Church (pp. 863-878) — Text

The Chalcedon formula —451 — p. 864
Creed of Athanasius — p. 864-865
Preface to Book of Common Prayer 1549 — p. 866-867
Articles of Religion 1801 (American) — p. 867-876
Chicago-Lambeth Quadrilateral 1886/1888 — p. 876-878

24. Tables for Finding Holy Days (pp. 879-885) — Tables  

25.    The Lectionary (pp. 887-1001) — Tables  

The General Convention 2006 authorized the Revised Common Lectionary as the replacement for the Prayer Book Lectionary.
Provision was made for the Bishop to grant permission for the continued use of the BCP Lectionary until the First Sunday of Advent, 2010.