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Canadian Anglican Collects

Anglican Church of Canada

The Anglican Church in Canada is working on collects for the three-year cycle of
Sundays and Feast Days. It has put online a set of collects, for the Sundays and Feast Days in 2014 (Year A), providing two choices of alternate collects, based on the lectionary readings for the day.

These, for example, are the two for next Sunday and the week following:

O God, in the flaming bush
you promised deliverance to your people.
In the cross of Jesus
you embraced our suffering and pain.
As we take up the cross,
show us the transforming power of your love,
so that we may know the hope of your glory.
Amen.

Or

O God,
whose word burns like a fire within us:
grant us a bold and faithful spirit,
so that in your strength we may be unafraid to speak
your word and follow where you lead;
through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen.

In seeking feedback the following are questions suggested:

4.1 Do the prayers “pray well” whether led by a single voice or recited by the entire community, do the prayers have clarity and good cadence?
4.2 How well do the prayers draw out a biblical theme within the day’s Proper?
4.3 Do you note any stumbling blocks? What are they?
4.4 Do the prayers invite you to pray for what you and your community need?
Do you want to pray for what they invite you to pray for?

I would add other questions such as:
Do the prayers bear the weight of repeated use? Unless replaced for a particular feast, Anglicans pray the same collect throughout the week, at Morning and Evening Prayer and daily Eucharist. Does the prayer wear thin by about Wednesday?
Is the prayer general enough? Part of the purpose of the prayer is to “collect” us all. We need to all feel embraced by its intention. Generally, then, the prayer should not immediately point back to a single gospel reading, constricting that reading and the service into some tight-fitting theme.

The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is also working on new collects. Here are the Year A trial collects.

Here, for example, is the one for next Sunday and the week following:

Eternal and everliving God,
our beginning and our end,
you give us strength in the face of suffering and death.
Set our minds on divine, not worldly things.
Give us courage to take up our cross and follow you.
Help us to trust and live in the power of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit one God now and for ever. Amen

I have been asked to write collects, with another person, for Year C. I am working on the ones for Ordinary Time and will put them on this site for your comments in due course.

I have a particular passionate interest in the collect. The collect has a particular structure. I normally teach this by the mnemonic you-who-do-to-through:

(i) You (Address or Invocation) an address to God “Almighty God,”
(ii) Who (Attribution or Amplification) referring to some attribute of God, or to one of God’s saving acts “to whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden;”
(iii) Do (Petition) “cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit,”
(iv) To (Consequence or Purpose or Motive) the reason for which we ask “so that we may truly love you and worthily praise your holy name;”
(v) Through (Mediation or Conclusion) “through our Saviour, Jesus Christ.”

Not every part need be present in every collect, but (i), (iii), and (v) are indispensable.

You can read more about the Collect of the Day in my (free) book Celebrating Eucharist.

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11 Responses to Canadian Anglican Collects

  1. Thank you for sharing this post. Looking at the examples of the Canada collects for this coming Sunday, I was drawn to the second example much more than the first. My initial reaction was that “in the flaming bush” is problematic; too overt and un-subtle. By contrast, I like the imagery and language in the second collect: “Whose word burns like a fire within us…,” and, “grant us a bold and faithful spirit…”

    I could pray that collect every morning for a week, and still be thinking about it long after.

    • Now that I have my copy of A Prayer Book for Australia in front of me, here is the rubric that governs the collects (from pgs. 462-3)

      “The collects… are set out for each Sunday as a prayer of the week (or, in Advent and Lent, of the season) and as three prayers of the day. THe prayers of the day are generally chosen to fit the readings for the three-year cycle of the Revised Common Lectionary for years A, B and C. The prayers of the week are more general in content and are intended mainly for use at services when those readings are not used. The prayers of the week may, however, be used at the discretion of the presiding minister when the readings from the three-year cycle are used.”

      For this coming Sunday, which is the 22nd Sunday of the Year in APBA, the prayer of the week is:

      Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: graft in our hearts the love of your name, increase in us true religion, nourish us with all goodness, and of your great mercy keep us in the same; through Jesus CHrist our Lord.

      The collect for Sunday A is:
      O God, whose Son has shown the way of the cross to be the way of life: transform and renew our minds that we may not be conformed to this world but may offer ourselves wholly to you as a living sacrifice through Jesus Christ our Saviour; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.

  2. Hi Bosco+

    Two comments from me in two days…

    A few observations. First, concerning the prayers getting stale when used at the Office… I like the option offered by A Prayer Book for Australia where collects are offered that are scripture specific, but with a general collect that can be used all week. The general collects seem to be translations of traditional collects from the BCP (though reordered at times). I say that, but my copy is on my desk at the hospital, and I am at home now.

    Second, many different sets of collects are available which are superb. First and foremost, the proposed collects from the aborted 1998 Sacramentary are, at least in my opinion, uniformly good. I make use of them often. I also really like the three volume set “Celebrating the Christian Year” published by Canterbury Press. Fr. Alan Griffiths is the compiler. His work provides collects for the 3 years, and a general collect (the one provided in the Roman Missal), as well as another 3 year set in Ordinary Time for the alternate mode of reading the RCL.

    I have seen the actual RCL compliation of collects. They’re pretty lousy, in my opinion. Very dated. The ELCA in the USA has a 3 year series of collects in their most recent worship book, and they are hit and miss in quality.

    Finally, for those looking for historic prayers, the Ancient Christian Devotional books tied into the 3 year lectionary provide classical collects (from the various ancient Sacramentaries) which relate to the RCL readings.

    All that said, I am always glad to see people attempting to compose collects that fit the Lectionary for the Sunday Eucharist.

    Rob+

  3. Hmm, I was quite glad when the Church of England chose to separate collects from lectionary themes. This is most obvious in Ordinary Time, when collects are chosen from a cycle based on distance from Easter and the lectionary is based on calendar weeks. I think too much focus on a theme can make for a rather narrow expression of the divine in worship.

  4. Just when I thought we were safe…

    Here’s one of the options for Proper 30A (Matt. 22:34-46, i.e. “Greatest Commandment” and “How can the Messiah be David’s son when David calls him Lord?”):

    Lord of the teasing riddle,
    whose questions undo our certainty
    and set us on a different path:
    give us a heart of passion,
    a searching mind,
    gentle strength of body
    and unseen depths of soul,
    so that we might love you wholly
    and our neighbour as ourselves;
    through Jesus Christ, the law of grace. Amen.

    I suggest that a further test could be added to the questionnaire: “Do you think this would ‘pray well’ if you were in, say, Mosul and Proper 30A was probably going to be the last Eucharist of your earthly life?”

    The mistake wasn’t that we only provided one set of collects for three years of lessons. It’s that we wrongly assume that the collects ought to reflect the “themes” of the lessons. Expensive solutions to imaginary problems. >:(

  5. It is, time and again, the same swallowing of the camel, while straining at a gnat.

    The most essential thing for EACH Sunday is the resurrection. Even when it is Christmas, the resurrection is the final straw of the liturgy.

    Along with a collect of the day or of the week, there should be plenty of collects for the resurrection, which should be said every Sunday, with no exceptions.

    (And, needless to say, they should all have a trinitary doxology.)

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Rev. Bosco Peters

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