Synod says ‘not now’ to a unified prayer book

Published June 1, 2004

Rev. Stephen Andrews asked synod to “have mercy” on committee.

St. Catharines, Ont.

Faced with a tongue-in-cheek threat by one delegate to launch a “BAS Society of Canada,” General Synod accepted Rev. Stephen Andrews’ advice to “let sleeping dogs lie” and defeated a motion calling for work to start on a unified Book of Common Prayer.

(Created after the release of the Book of Alternative Services, or BAS, the Prayer Book Society of Canada is dedicated to the preservation and continued use of the Book of Common Prayer.)

The call for a new book came from the synod of the diocese of New Westminster and was moved by Rev. Richard Leggett and Bishop Michael Ingham. Mr. Andrews, the outgoing chair of the faith, worship and ministry committee, asked synod to “have mercy” as the committee already has a heavy workload until the next meeting of General Synod in 2007.

Authorization for the once-controversial 1985 BAS was extended indefinitely by the 2001 meeting of General Synod. Supplementary worship materials were issued in 1990 and 2001, and the faith, worship and ministry committee has launched a project to revise the BAS collects to fit the Revised Common Lectionary. The 1959 Book of Common Prayer retains its status as the only worship book authorized by church canon, or law.

A problem for some parishes is that their copies of the BAS, intended as an interim measure, are wearing out and need to be replaced. Anglican Book Centre reports a spike in BAS sales in 1996, about 10 years after the first copies were delivered.

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