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Eight new Eucharistic Prayers

Eight new Eucharistic Prayers/Great Thanksgiving Prayers have been added to this website:

Alternative Great Thanksgiving A
alternative to Thanksgiving of the People of God
Alternative Great Thanksgiving B
alternative to Celebrating the Grace of God
Alternative Great Thanksgiving C
alternative to Thanksgiving for Creation and Redemption
Alternative Great Thanksgiving D
alternative to Thanksgiving and Praise
Alternative Great Thanksgiving E
alternative to Form for Ordering the Eucharist
Alternative Great Thanksgiving F
alternative to Service of Holy Communion
Alternative Great Thanksgiving for use with Children A
Alternative Great Thanksgiving for use with Children B

Six of these began as revisions by Rev Ken Booth with the following rationale:

  • To shorten New Zealand Prayer Book Great Thanksgiving prayers which some found too long and were sometimes pruning ill advisedly. This was achieved by omitting any doublets or “expansions” of key events in the narrative, resulting in up to a sixth reduction. In one case, the Great Thanksgiving for use with the sick (NZPB page 732) was expanded to make it more appropriate for use in contexts beyond the sick.
  • To standardise responses to allow communities to be less book-bound and use regular sung responses – in line with international ecumenically agreed texts.

(The drafting before the revision which was passed at General Synod)

I was asked for my opinion about them as these texts were heading for General Synod. In the brief time I had available prior to their General Synod submission I suggested that

  • Seasonal and festal variants could be inserted
  • The people’s acclamation be moved from directly after the Last Supper story to the more natural break between the remembering/proclaiming/anamnetic material of the prayer and the asking/epicletic material. I also suggested a more appropriate, consistent clear cue.
  • Minor alternations – adding “sing” to “say” where appropriate. Changing “Your [God’s] body” to “Christ’s body”, simplifying the children’s final acclamation to be consistent with all other final acclamations.

All my alterations (in red or blue) were accepted by all involved with these prayers.

Some will notice that some of the original intentions of the Prayer Book versions have been diluted. Celebrating the Grace of God, originating with Bishop Brian Carrel, eschewed the use of “Blessed is he…” (words unpopular for some in the Eucharistic Prayer). Those two lines have now been restored. The intention of Rev. Richard Easton in his work resulting in Thanksgiving and Praise was to not merely have the congregation echo the priest, but have the congregation move the eucharistic prayer forward in ways that more traditionally would have been left to the presider. Those parts have been returned to the priest. Those who have especially strong convictions along these two lines still have the full use of the original prayer book versions.

A weakness in practice is that congregations used to a particular prayer can sometimes start on remembered responses that have either been removed, altered, or moved in these new prayers.

I am not as convinced about the Alternative Great Thanksgiving for use with Children A in which children have to learn a new responses (without a consistent cue) [and hence prefer the Alternative Great Thanksgiving for use with Children B or my own Eucharistic Prayer 2]

On balance, however, I am highly enthusiastic about the opportunities provided by these new resources.

In the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia these only needed a majority of synods of the episcopal units to assent to General Synod’s approval. If you are reading this in another context, you will know your own requirements for eucharistic prayers.

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