As Anglicans in NZ begin to prepare for this coming Sunday service, the NZ Lectionary for January 1, 2012 reads:

This is a principal feast and should not be displaced by any other celebration.

They are then provided with the readings for The Naming of Jesus, and the 1st Sunday after Christmas, and the readings for New Year’s Day!!! Possibly those responsible for our lectionary do not understand what “should not be displaced by any other celebration” means? In the Anglican Church of Or (previously known as the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia) I have regularly tagged my posts, on the myriad of options provided in NZ, under “humour”. Should this be so understood? Or is this now at the level of a self-mocking pisstake?

The formulary which moved the Naming of Jesus to be a Principal Feast was passed at General Synod/Te Hinota Whanui (GSTHW) in 2002, and, after synodical agreement by all episcopal units, confirmed at GSTHW in 2004. The Lord only knows why our official website dates it as 2009 (Liturgical Precedence), why recent editions of our Prayer Book have removed the previous Table to Regulate Observances (pp. 939-943), but made no attempt to update the list of Principal Feasts (p.7), nor to include the new regulations, nor why the official website, which claims to list all “Authorised Prayer Book Changes to 2010“, makes absolutely no mention of any of this.

There appears little point in letting those responsible know. I received neither acknowledgement nor explanation in response to my last email. One thing is certain – read my lips: if you want to be faithful to some sort of common prayer, the NZ resources are not a reliable place to begin.

Once again I reinforce with urgency: if there is any sense in which we will, without irony, be able to present ourselves as an Anglican province with some sort of commitment to common prayer, the motion I moved at our diocesan synod must be acted upon. This motion, which was passed unanimously with acclamation, has six points which includes that the Standing Committee of GSTHW be held to

urgently set in place a review of the labyrinthine liturgical rules of our province and produce a straightforward report which makes clear
1) what is required,
2) what is allowed, and
3) what is forbidden,
and that this review become the foundation for a renewal of the way we categorise our liturgical resources to a transparent, simple system.

ps. In preparing for this post I happened to compare the 2005 edition of our Prayer Book on Principal Feasts with previous editions. Most regulars here will know of my successful, originally-single-handed campaign to stop the printing of a Prayer Book revision that had not followed our agreed process. Now I find that the 2005 edition has made alterations, at least on page 7. Someone else may be able to point to where we all agreed to this? I cannot recall it. The issue is not whether the alteration is significant (Removing two sentences beginning with “Those in bold type…” and replacing these with other words). The issue is that we have an agreed process for such alterations – and this is not being followed. Or so it seems to me, until a comment corrects me. I will be happy to be wrong.

Is anybody reading this stuff (the Lectionary, the Prayer Book…)? Are dozens of emails and letters winging their way to offices? Are bishops consulting about this? Or is there only one issue that’s important now, and as long as we don’t do that we can still call ourselves Anglican…

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