Church of England Introduces New Liturgies

Anglican Journal, December 1997 | Go to article overview

Church of England Introduces New Liturgies


Parishes across Britain are being asked to participate in a trial of new liturgies for marriages and funerals. These draft rites will be tested prior to a vote on them at a next year's general synod.

The proposed new marriage service is restructured one, eucharistic in nature, whether or not eucharist is celebrated at the time of the wedding. The option of "giving away the bride" is voluntary and brides are no longer required to promise to "obey." There is a new rubric stating "it is the custom and practice of the Church of England" to offer marriage preparation and to be "available for counseling and support in the years that follow."

"Those whom God has joined together let no one put asunder" is included in its almost-original Prayer Book form.

The draft of the funeral rites includes prayers for various stages of death and mourning, including prayers to be used at home, in the church at the funeral, and at the home afterwards. Prayers are also tailored to the circumstances of the death, including a short life, a violent death and a suicide.

The draft service also incorporates some elements that have not been traditionally part of the Church of England funeral service. The church's Liturgical Commission said this is an attempt to pick up on, and make use of, people's memories of the Prayer Book.

Test parishes are being asked for their feedback by January 1, 1998.

Church Times

English like Canadian, U.S. divorce services

Divorce liturgies developed in Canadian and the U.S. are being praised by two British authors as a way to offer "liturgical expression marking the end of a relationship (and/or one stage of parenting) and the opportunity of a new start."

Roger Smith and Rev. John Bradford, authors of a new book called Children and Divorce, acknowledge that few people in Britain would "appear to opt for a public or private service of this sort."

The liturgies, say the authors could be used "slowly and thoughtfully" and in the context of a pastoral relationship. The Canadian liturgy, At the Ending of a Marriage, is from Occasional Celebrations of the Anglican Church of Canada (Anglican Book Centre, Toronto).

Church Times

Parcel bombers called to testify

Three men believed to be behind the 1990 parcel bombing that nearly killed Michael Lapsley, an Anglican cleric who opposed South African apartheid, appeared before the country's Truth and Reconciliation Commission this summer.

The three, Joe Verster, Abraham "Slag" Van Zyl and Wouter Basson held positions with the Civil Co-operation Bureau (CCB), a paramilitary organization. While each was allowed to testify secretly, none would answer questions concerning the CCB's foreign operations. The commission is preparing to lay criminal charges against the men for failing to co-operate.

Meanwhile, Mr. Lapsley is recovering from brain surgery in Australia. He lost both hands and a eye in the bombing, and doctors had to repair holes in the outer lining of his brain. …

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