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A late motion for GSTHW

crossA week out from the meeting of General Synod Te Hinota Whanui (GSTHW) members received a new motion (motions are to be in 7 weeks earlier). The explanation with this motion (number 31) is that it is required on the passing of Bill 4. Bill 4 is the last stage towards making Ashes to Fire a formulary of our church. Ashes to Fire is a collection of resources for Lent and Easter. All that is contained in Ashes to Fire can be used without any authorisation. I am against making Ashes to Fire a formulary, my diocese is against making Ashes to Fire a formulary, until we are clear what that entails.

  • If we use ashes on Ash Wednesday, just as one example, will we have to follow the wording etc. from Ashes to Fire and no longer be able to use the prayers and wording from other resources we have been using up until now?
  • Will the other languages in our church now no longer be allowed to be used for the services provided for in Ashes to Fire, eg Te Reo Maori? There are no such provisions in Ashes to Fire.

Now to Motion 31. The motion, if passed, places Ashes to Fire in the second schedule of Title G Canon VI, as being experimental, until the end of General Synod 2014. But Bill 4, if passed, already inserts Ashes to Fire into the “schedules of Title G, Canon VI” [someone else will have to explain why the Bill uses the plural “schedules”. There are three schedules, I have never seen an authorised service placed in more than one!]

If Motion 31 is “required on the passing of Bill 4”, this would be a regular event whenever the church has authorised a service in this manner (Bill 4 concludes the process of a Bill at a previous meeting of GSTHW, voting on it in every Episcopal Unit of our Church, and returning it for this Bill concluding the process). There should be lots of examples where this was required previously. If so, is this very late arrival of this motion another sign that our church lost its institutional memory on how to proceed with the process of making liturgical decisions?

There was a recent discovery that An Alternative Form for Ordering the Eucharist, A Form for Ordering a Service of the Word, and the latest Great Thanksgiving Prayers were in the wrong schedule (Title G Canon VI)!

But, then, I’m not the one saying that the liturgical rules of our church are “transparent, simple, clear“.

If you have struggled to understand this post, I assure you I have done my very, very best to make it as clear as possible. You are not the problem. The decision-making processes and the resulting “rules” in relation to liturgy in our church are now so tangled, confused, and confusing that I do not think anyone has an agreed understanding of them. Our church desperately needs the called-for Standing Committee review.

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14 thoughts on “A late motion for GSTHW”

  1. Sandy Williams

    I think you make it very clear. I’m with you. It would be a shame to put yet another barrier to us using some of the great resources available when preparing our liturgies.

  2. Dear Bosco,

    Your knowledge of process within the rules of ACANZP General Synod is way beyond that of many who actually attend G.S. I have little doubt that your knowledge of the liturgical niceties scheduled for debate at G.S.2012 surpasses that of many of those elected to that gathering. I can only hope that the gathering will make due note of your critical recommendations.

    How can we get G.S. to take advantage of your valuable knowledge of Liturgical Process? By co-opting you onto its Liturgical Commission perhaps?

    Agape, Fr. Ron

  3. Tony Fitchett

    Dear Bosco,

    The “twice round” process for authorising a service does not (repeat not) conclude with its confirmation by the GS/THW. It only concludes when a year has elapsed after its confirmation and there has been no appeal, or any appeal has been dismissed. So, to use it in the meantime a Resolution of the GW/THW is required, which can authorize it to be used experimentally for a period up to the end of the next Session ( so previous authorization expires on Thursday next). See Church of England Empowering Act 1928.

    Regards from Auckland Airport, waiting for the plane delayed by fog,


    1. Yes, Tony, thanks for your comment. I’m very aware of the year required after the Bill’s passing etc. & even argued that point with a liturgically-aware bishop.

      That being the case
      1) Why is the authorisation for two years and not one?! Surely if it loses in an appeal as, for example, being unorthodox, it should cease to be an authorised service from that point on – experiment failed! If there is no appeal or the appeal has been dismissed – Ashes to Fire doesn’t need the second year the motion asks for – in fact in year 2 it ceases to be experimental and the motion contradicts that…
      2) Why did this motion arrive so much later than the deadline? If this is the normal procedure.
      3) Please point to a single thing in Ashes to Fire that is not allowed to be used in our church even if it was not “authorised experimentally”.
      4) I have just checked the 2010 GSTHW Proceedings. Statute 693 (page S15) is the same format as Bill 4 this time. Please point me to the motion passed in 2010 that is equivalent to this time’s motion 31. I cannot see one!

      God bless your discussions at GSTHW.

  4. Is the new motion just a matter of tidying up – since the Bill just says “the schedules” someone has concluded that a late measure is the best way to specify which schedule, which surely is necessary. Still sounds like sloppy drafting, though.

    1. Yep, I’m convinced Chris 😉 Don’t admit to the error in the drafting of the Bill and amend it; bring in an extra motion after the due date to fix it and hope no one notices… Blessings.

  5. Florence Chambers

    Thank you Bosco. I opened up this not knowing what to expect. It has been good to know what is being planned and, as you say, not being planned very well.
    Thank you for your liturgical expertise

    1. Thanks, Florence. For all I know it may be being planned very well – but no one has yet been able to show me how that is so. And all the evidence appears to point the other way. Blessings.

  6. Amy (Afaaisa) Blizzard

    Talofa Rev. Peters,

    And what would this mean then for those of us in the Polynesian Dioceses? It would be a shame if we could not worship in our native languages such as Samoan or Tongan.



  7. And I thought worship was simple… never realised God would worry about the words we use or choose- or the language for that matter.
    I wonder if we knew all the rules and regulations if the world would be a better place? 😉

    1. IMO, the words we use and choose are powerful, significant, and important, Titia. And if we are going to have rules I think they should be transparent, simple, and clear. How hard can it be to do that? Blessings.

  8. It was a tongue in cheek comment Bosco. I agree that the words we choose are powerful, that worhip in mother tongue is meaningful and often touches us deeply.
    I suppose my comment was expressing a concern about the rules and regulations of worship – I am sure there are so many beautiful prayers and liturgies written, which could be included. Would changing the rubrics, even clarifying them not be easier? Just a thought. I am the first to admit I don’t know about liturgy rules etc (yet). Please keep up the good work, you write stimulating and thought provoking articles!

    1. Thanks for your encouragement, Titia. Yes, I’m all in favour of simple, clear, transparent rules/rubrics and hope that a process of clarification will follow. [And please other readers newer here – don’t see me as being obsessed by the rules… 🙂 ] Blessings.

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