General Synod Te Hinota Whanui (GSTHW) of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia has passed a statute and sent it round the diocesan synods and hui amorangi for assent. If it passes a majority of these, it will return to GSTHW next year for confirmation and then become a formulary of our Church.
But what has been sent round is sloppy and nonsensical. And diocesan synods and hui amorangi are unable to alter it – we can only pass it or not.
It is intended to change A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (NZPB/HKMA). At the moment, on page 549, our Prayer Book provides some options for endings to collects:
At the end of a Collect, when needed, the minister may add…
The new statute suggests different endings, but, for some totally inexplicable reason changes the rubric to:
At the end of a Collect, when needed, the minister may substitute one of the following
“Substitute” for what, exactly?!
Often there is nothing provided in the collect that can be substituted instead of!
The intention, of making collects more Trinitarian, I find laudable (although there is no critique of addressing collects to the Second or Third person of the Trinity). There has been some disparagement of the length of the endings – the RC tradition of a longer, Trinitarian ending for the Opening Prayer at the Eucharist, and a briefer ending (for even the same collect) on all other occasions, has much to commend it. There has also been criticism of the gender-specific content of the suggested endings. Both of these issues are addressed by the optional nature of the instruction – “may”.
But the “substitute” instruction, if passed, will take its place with other errors in NZPB/HKMA. I initiated the baptismal order of creed before baptism (rather than the initial Prayer Book approach of: pour water on them and see if they believe anything). Option D, page 397 (creed before baptism) left out one and a half pages of the service (“The Presentation for Baptism pages 384-5“)
The “post-baptismal questions and exhortations” (including to care for the child and share our faith with the child) have also explicitly been removed. The Commitment to Christian Service, a part of the confirmation rite rather than of baptism, and in the formulary requiring a Bishop, has suddenly been added!
When I pointed out these issues I was told, don’t worry Bosco, section A (page 396) is similarly defective – it doesn’t have a Presentation either!
I have emailed this current collect issue to the General Secretary of our Church, to our General Synod representatives, and to our representatives on liturgical bodies.
I would understand a statute like this goes through the Church’s formal liturgical groups and commissions and then it is debated at GSTHW. At the end, however, it is yet another example of the sloppy liturgical decisions that make the liturgical life of the Anglican Church of Or so confused and confusing. A proper review is long overdue.