Joint Liturgical Study 87/88
From 1662 to 1966 the Church of England’s sole eucharistic rite was the communion service within the Book of Common Prayer imposed by the Act of Uniformity of 1662. With the coming of procedures whereby alternative rites could be authorized, the last 60 years have seen enormous labours and debates within the Liturgical Commission, the House of Bishops, the General Synod and its Revision Committees. Tudor language has given way to contemporary forms, and these forms in turn have in turn been made inclusive. Traditional language texts have continued alongside the contemporary ones. The rites have been brought to a new ‘shape’, congregational participation has been vastly increased, the range of options within the rites has been greatly extended, and provision has been made for celebrations when children are present.
The processes by which these changes came about are patiently laid out here by two Anglican liturgists who have themselves lived for over 50 years within those processes. They chart the different rounds of Commission creativity, synodical assimilation, and experimental use; they explain theological tensions that emerged on the way and show how they were resolved; and they give firsthand colour to it all, not only by drawing upon the Church of England’s primary sources, but also by use of their own memoranda and memories. The complexity of the whole story has meant that the Joint Editorial Board has, for the convenience of the readers, allocated both the Studies due in 2019 to be published here as a single double-size volume.
The two authors have been colleagues with each other for 60 years. Colin Buchanan was on the Liturgical Commission from 1964 to 1986; Trevor Lloyd from 1980 to 2002. They have both been members of GROW from 1964, and have been two of the GROW representatives on the Alcuin/GROW Joint Editorial Board since its inauguration in 1986, and Colin Buchanan chairs the Board. Both have written extensively on liturgical revision as it has developed in those years, and they have shared together in editing Anglican Worship Today (1980) and in sponsoring Common Worship Today (2001). They have been keen to write an account of this sort while they, as actual participants, are still alive, and are glad, when both are in their 80s, now to have had the opportunity.