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Lectionary 2013

2013 NZ Lectionary

Lectionary 2013It’s that time of year again; when we receive The Lectionary Te Māramataka 2013 for the Anglican Church of Or.

This year, the four pages of “How to use the Lectionary” are followed by two new pages “Understanding the Lectionary”. These six pages notwithstanding, someone like me still finds this publication an annual enigma.

I warned last year that especially in this digital age, an error from one year, if not corrected, can so easily be there again next year. As I said, I emailed those responsible for the Lectionary letting them know of errors. Clearly that was a waste of good electrons, because, once again (as it did for 2012), on page 2 it reads

The RCL has been adapted for use in a revision of ANZPB/HKMOA, replacing the exiting printed pages 549 to 723.

There may have been an excuse last year (as I never received a reply, I am just generously surmising this), that the alteration of A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (ANZPB/HKMOA) was mistakenly anticipated. But this year General Synod Te Hinota Whanui (GSTHW) explicitly voted against the revision that this states has now happened! So much for our Lectionary expressing decisions of our GSTHW.

On January 1 we are told that THE NAMING OF JESUS “is a principal feast and should not be displaced by any other celebration”. In that very same entry New Year’s Day and its propers are provided as an alternative! The same happens for February 2 and 3…

From January 13 to February 3, Sundays are titled the 1st to 4th Sunday after Epiphany. The next Sunday, February 10, suddenly gets a new type of title completely: “5th Sunday in Ordinary Time”!

There’s a (good) note (thanks!) with Trinity Sunday that reads, “Note that White is the colour for the Sunday only, and not for the following week” (well excepting Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday of course!) Why is there no similar note with the Day of Pentecost, Christ the King, etc.?

Sunday November 10 the Lectionary for the Anglican Church of Or assigns Green, Red, White, or Violet!

The 33rd Sunday in Ordinary Time this year, 2012 (18 November) was White (with Red for those who didn’t like White). Next year, 2013 (17 November) it is Green (as, obviously, it should be), with Red still for those who really like dressing up in red!

Jesus FacepalmThis year, 2012, Christ the King (25 November, 34th Sunday in Ordinary Time) was Green (and obviously Red again for those ruberphiles addicted to red). This coming year, 24 November 2013, Christ the King will be White (quite rightly!), or Red for the ruberphiles. But there is also a new colour on 24 November 2013: “A”! I’m struggling to work out what the liturgical colour “A” is in the Anglican Church of Or. Is it Amber, Amethyst, Aqua, or Arsenic, or, for our ruberphiles, Amaranth or Alizarin? [Or does “A” just stand for Any Colour?]

Seriously! I would not be able to make this stuff up (ambiguity intended!)!

It is worthy, as I indicate in the paragraph above, of the extremely-hard-to-get Jesus Facepalm award!

These are just a few things I immediately spotted as I opened the Lectionary. No doubt there will be more details revealed for our amusement (or irritation – depending on one’s mood and confidence in the Anglican Church of Or) as the year progresses. I have asked that a digital version of the Lectionary be put online. As soon as it is available I will link to it from here.

[Update 4 December 2011: The Lectionary 2013 PDF has just been made available (262KB)]

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40 thoughts on “2013 NZ Lectionary”

  1. Hi Bosco

    I am looking for an online NZ Anglican Lectionary for 2013 or would you have a list of important liturgical dates for the next year?
    -thanks R.

    1. Thanks, Rosemary. As you read in my blog post, I am looking for this too. I have no idea what might be regarded as “important liturgical dates” in the Anglican Church of Or. One significant community celebrated the feast of Christ the King with a “Seafarers’ Service”. Blessings.

  2. I look forward to some rationale for all these oddities being published … by someone. In the meantime, I shall keep reading here!

  3. Oh wow! TEC does not publish an annual lectionary, which may be a blessing. There are calendars, including pocket sized ones that carry this sort of information, but they are not in any way official.

    Our canons say we are RCL unless the bishop grants specific permission for use of the 1976 lectionary.

    Were I making any call, I would argue that the complete lack of any collects accompanying the RCL renders it useless. When I made that case to my rector, she smiled, sighed, agreed and then explained that there was exactly zero chance that the bishop would issue the relevant authorization.

    Ah well.


    1. Thanks, Jim.

      I am a bit at a loss about your suggestion that the RCL is useless in your context. As I understand it TEC’s BCP collects continue to be the ones assigned in your church. I do not see why changing from your 1976 lectionary to RCL has altered the appropriateness of those collects.


  4. Fr. Bosco,

    No effort was made to coordinate the collects and the new readings. So the two actions, the collect and the readings, are completely discrete, which might work better if the collects were not as they are, really anticipating the readings.


    1. I’m sorry, Jim, we are completely at odds here.

      I would challenge you to demonstrate the coordination (as you call it) of the collects and your 1976 lectionary. The very nature of the lectionary means that this is not possible. And wherever you did manage to find a connection between TEC’s BCP collects and the 1976 lectionary, I assure you you would find the same connection with RCL. You (and according to you, your rector) misunderstand the construction of the lectionary, and the nature and purpose of the collects. It is a common misunderstanding and is one that leads to confusion in NZ also.

      I look forward to your exemplars.


      1. Here in England the collects between Trinity and All Saints* are definitely detached from the readings, as the latter follow RCL (but adapted, and with “Proper n” instead of Sundays of teh Year) while the collects are attached to the Sundays numbered after Trinity.

        * After All Saints (approximately) we have four Sundays numbered before Advent, of which the last is Christ the King.

        1. Yes, Chris. It is not the way I would organise things – but there is nothing wrong with the principle of a general collect as part of the gathering of the community. There are no “themes” for the RCL readings in that period. I still get people asking me what the “theme” of a particular collection of readings is. It is this confusion that lies behind the search for a “particular set of collects linked to the RCL readings”.


          1. Does the RCL itself have two alternative “tracks” of OT readings through the period – one lectio continuo and one linked to the Gospel – or is that a CofE peculiarity? Either way, of course, the Epistle is still “in course” and not linked.

          2. Yes, Chris, the provision of two Hebrew Bible tracks as you describe, is part of RCL. CofE does make some adaptations to RCL – my approach would be to, as much as possible, stay with international, ecumenical agreements. Blessings.

  5. I’m praying for the raising up of a new Archdeacon Witty.

    Given that understanding the liturgical calendar is kind of complex – especially given the many options and ideas like precedence and praetermission – one wonders, I have to say, why you’re not given the job of editing the lectionary, Fr Bosco. There can’t be too many people with your level of understanding of it all.

    1. Thanks, Robert.

      When I was producing my book Celebrating Eucharist, I was required by the then provincial liturgical commission to remove the word “should” whenever it occurred, or it could not be officially published by our church. Providing “flexibility”, choice, options, and variety (rather than any common prayer) is now deep in the DNA of this Anglican Church of Or.

      Step 1 would be for General Synod Te Hinota Whanui to get our liturgical house in order. Actually, the step before that would be to publicly admit the chaos…

      [ps. I also have quite a “day job” 😉 … and this website…]


        1. Yes, Robert, God and my credit card call me to have the majority and focus of my ministry energy devoted to those in the non-virtual world that I have been entrusted to serve. 🙂 And thanks for the encouragement. Blessings.

  6. Just a quick note that there is a set of Collects prepared especially for use with the RCL (hence we call them RCL Collects in Living Liturgy). They were prepared by the Consultation on Common Texts and published in the volume ‘Praying Together’ details here http://www.commontexts.org/publications/index.html
    And don’t get me started on the 2013 lectionary ….

    1. Thanks, Brian. There is also the ICEL set of collects. And several other collections…

      And please, pretty please with a cherry on top, do get started on the 2013 Lectionary. Here I was thinking it must be me…


  7. Well there’s the dozens of hours (so far) spent changing coding to try to get the tables to match the print edition (it really should be the other way round), which has only come after the six months waiting for a copy while no fewer than three people checked it, only to find more errors (cf the already infamous A colour – for Albatross I believe) – there has to be a better way!
    Also, I have no idea why the PDF version isn’t on the General Synod site yet – it’s been available for months.
    Finally , as you know the red option between All Saints and Advent is following the Kingdom Season, just one of numerous CoE innovations our lectionary is having to suffer. Perhaps a positive result of recent events might be a rethink of whether we really want to keep aligning ourselves with the Mother Country!

    1. Thanks, Brian.

      The Anglican Church of Or is well known (at least on this site) for not making information available easily digitally – those of us with more cynical minds see it as the only way to retain old-style power in the information age and a world where overt power is eschewed and deprecated. So from the perspective of this site it is perfectly understandable why the PDF version isn’t on the General Synod site – as you indicated yourself, it has only been available for months.

      Our lectionary makes much of the liturgical colours being descriptive of what actually happens in the majority of our communities, rather than prescriptive. So to speak of it “having to suffer” anything that the majority is not actually doing is calling the editor a liar.


      1. At least the Anglican Church of Or has it (eventually) uploaded to the website. Not so for the Anglican Church of Oz.

        1. The annual lectionary is, I think it’s fair to say, a weak spot in CofE online provision – all the texts are there (and that’s a lot, Common Worship comes in, I think, 8 main books), but for lectionary provisions you have to buy it on paper (or, I suppose, work it out yourself…)

          1. Thanks, Chris. I haven’t tried looking for what Common Worship makes available online in terms of annual lectionary, and so I’m interested in what you say. I provide the ability to pray the daily office from Common Prayer in the Chapel here so that is one wonderful provision. The NZ Lectionary follows mother England in the daily office. Blessings.

  8. It’s so good – no longer being the parish priest – responsible for actually organising which readings, etc., have to go with each Daily Mass. I just turn up and do what i’m told – mid-week, that is – unless: one of my favourite Saints Days happens to have been ‘rolled over’. Then I might rebel!

    Seriously, though, ACANZP needs to get its act together on this important mission front. Why don’t you offer, Bosco, to be on the Liturgical Commission? Better still – get someone on General Synod to propose you!

    1. Thanks, Fr Ron. Responding to your serious point: IMO the problem(s) is much bigger than our Liturgical Commission. A good place to start would be for General Synod Te Hinota Whanui (or its standing committee) to agree that there is a mess. This needs IMO an independent assessor [there was a motion to this effect, as you may know, originating here, to GSTHW – they chose not to address it. Who knows if/when Standing Committee will]. There are issues of (lack of) training and formation, inability to do any serious liturgical study here, total chaos of our agreements,… There are two pakeha on our Liturgical Commission – it is good that from our diocese that is our bishop. Bishops trump bloggers. Blessings.

    1. Year by year, Tim, it seems our lectionary is sourced from whatever is someone’s current flavour. There appears to be an underlying belief that incessant change is good. Liturgy, especially the church year, IMO is about going deeper into what changes little. Blessings.

      1. My feelings exactly, Bosco. I agree with C.S. Lewis; for me excessive variety is a distraction, not a help. It’s like constantly having today attention to your new shoes rather than forgetting them and enjoying the walk!

  9. Bishop only trumps bloggers if bishop attends meeting!
    General Synod Standing Committee is meeting / has met this week to wade through the many, many items that GSTHW didn’t get to (that was a reality rather than a choice). There was a clear acceptance in the midst of discussions at GSTHW that there are problems so I think they will be addressed, although that’s likely to involve referring it back to the Liturgical Commission, which raises two important points.
    1) That’s the Commission’s job. We might not like that, but that’s why the Commission exists. Are the right people on it? The reality is there are two high profile, influential people from tikanga pakeha as reps (at least one of whom has many other demands on their time, so IMO really needs to be asked whether the Commission is a priority), plus the General Secretary, plus a retired bishop acting as consultant. They’re the people to lobby for change.
    2) The issues being discussed (apart from the stray A) are not mistakes, they are deliberate decisions. The people putting the lectionary together are skilled and knowledgeable about things liturgical. They are also working within parameters that have been set which are based on certain understandings and philosophical and sometimes theological positions. Among those is a deliberate opting for variety rather than uniformity, another is the desire to align our lectionary with CoE practices rather than, for example, those of the Episcopal Church. For the most part this isn’t about having people in place who don’t know what they’re doing, it’s about having people who have different views than some others. It is the Liturgical Commission that signs off on the lectionary, and ultimately it’s General Synod that signs off on the Commission and the work of the Commission. Our General Synod (put in place by our regional and local structures) has consistently opted for the more choice and variety pattern for many years (our NZ Prayer Book mirrors that very clearly).
    Postscript: I should also confess that I used the variety argument very blatantly at GSTHW to argue for the retention of traditional, trinitarian Collects in the prayer book – an argument that the Liturgical Commission’s consultant was happy to agree with!

    1. Thanks, as always, Brian.

      GSTHW following a particular style of meeting, having individuals read aloud from reports, etc. means that whether it was choice or not, that so much on the agenda was not discussed, will rapidly degenerate to points of semantics…

      I again repeat, (a) the mess in our province is too big for a 6-8 (busy) person Liturgical Commission to fix. (b) The Liturgical Commission, clearly, has not been uninvolved in the aggregation of the mess, so “referring it back to the Liturgical Commission” is in effect denying “that there are problems”!

      It is difficult for me to imagine, and really I am not interested in an explanation, how the “stray A” was inserted into what for 2012 was a G option R, but to say that the rest of the points in my post “are deliberate decisions” by people “skilled and knowledgeable about things liturgical” would, frankly, be disturbing about our formal decisions, skills, and knowledge. In the five minutes of flicking through the Lectionary after receiving it in the post I spotted

      • the assertion that our Prayer Book had been revised
      • the 4th Sunday after Epiphany followed by the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
      • alternatives provided for feasts that we are told at the very same point in bold italics – should not be displaced by any other celebration
      • etc. (see above). I haven’t even had a longer look yet…

      Please do not paint me into a straw man corner, as if good common prayer is about cloning/cooker-cutter rigid identical replication being what is desired. Far from it! But our province is now at the directly opposite position. Anything goes. I was recently at a gathering of our top liturgical experts from the dioceses. The only thing they could come up with that we, as a province, clearly agree on – is that we don’t use little cups for communion. An agreement that we all know is broken. May little cups not distract us either, other than to illustrate that, in fact, no one, not even our top experts, can point to what is left in common when we use the phrase “common prayer”.


  10. Partially useful. Unfortunately I don’t always have internet access when I’m wanting to pray. Last year I downloaded the NZ legionary as a PDF which was useful to refer to, and I was hoping for the same this year.

    1. Claudia, as soon as the PDF becomes available (and as I have noted above, I have asked for it, and also noted in the comments – it seems it has been available for months…) I will place a link on this post (and possibly elsewhere). Can you be specific about which parts of the lectionary you find most useful (Sunday RCL, weekday 1st column, or 2nd & third column) and I will try & see if there is another PDF around that would cover that you could download. Blessings.

    1. Claudia, I had a quick look around for you (I’m stretched for time currently). The best I could find was this page. I haven’t tried any of it yet – but if you do, I would really appreciate your telling us here how you found it. I also found this; but it is currently out of print. Blessings.

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