Thursday, October 19, 2006

Interesting C of E phenomenon

I sat in on a particular service here in Cambridge of an extremely evangelical C of E church, and I would have mistaken it for an Assembly of God service or something. There wasn't speaking in tongues, but there was a 45 minute sermon with drums and electric guitars in front of the altar. There was no liturgical structure in any way that I could see. The priest was wearing a tie.
I have been amazed during my time here in England that there is a sizable stand of mostly Evangelical folks in the Church of England that will absolutely refuse to use the Book of Common Prayer in any way, shape, or form. Granted, the Elizabethan 1662 BCP is not language that is everybody's cup of tea, so to speak. But coming from an American perspective where if you ask Jane and Joe Pewpotato what defines Episcopal liturgy, they will likely answer, "The BCP, silly!"

Since it takes an act of Parliament to authorize a new BCP over here, the C of E is largely using what is called Common Worship, which I like. But the problem is that it is so loose, that there is nothing now that binds together worship from parish to parish. I don't see how the C of E is holding it all together, as it seems that Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi has largely evaporated into this amorphous comsumer-like liturgical culture .


Kyle said...

Talk more about CW being "loose?" Is it not sufficient that everyone uses the same basic liturgy? Do you mean that there are too many Eucharistic prayers to choose from, or what?

Haha, they tried to revise the BCP in 1929, but it was defeated in Parliment. Prince Charles is head of the Prayer Book Society, which lobbies to make sure any other changes are defeated, and to promote the use of the 1662 in parishes. The 1980 Alternative Service Book was used for twenty years before CW was released.

There's your trivia, just in case you didn't know it already. :0)

The Archer of the Forest said...

C of E clergy are not even bound to use CW. If you read the rubrics and commentary on CW, the CW phenomenon is more of a choose-your-own-adventure. My point is that the CW caters completely to the culture of rampant individualism. The priest picks and chooses whatever he wants, and is encouraged to omit whatever he wants.

There really is no text in common in the Church of England as I see it. You've spent more time here than I have, Kyle. Maybe I am misreading what is going on, but these are all views that come up in the liturgy class I have here at Westcott.

Stephen Newell said...

That wouldn't happen to have been Adrian Warnock's church, would it?

The Archer of the Forest said...

I don't believe so, Steve. That is if you are referring to the priest. If he was a congregant, then it might have been.

Stephen Newell said...

Yeah, Warnie is a congregant. He's one of those who claim to be "Reformed charismatic." Weird.

The Archer of the Forest said...

Yeah, I don't remember meeting anyone by that name. Oh course, being a good Anglo-catholic, I was sort of horrified at the liturgy (or lack thereof). Even in the days before I went over to the darkside and was a low church Anglican, I was still on the formal end of low-churchmanship. Electric guitars and "shine, Jesus, shine" just don't do anything for me.