New Zealand Prayer BookCurrently, for each celebration, the NZ Prayer Book provides a number of options for the collect. Communities that wish to use a collect in the great tradition of praying to God, the First Person of the Trinity, through Christ, in the Spirit can always find one like that.

I have been informed that a Bill will be presented next month to General Synod Te Hinota Whanui to revise the NZ Prayer Book with only one “collect” for each celebration. This “collect” will be addressed to any randomly-chosen member of the Trinity. Spin the liturgical bottle and pray to the member of the Trinity it points to.

My strong plea: vote against this Bill. If you are not a member of General Synod Te Hinota Whanui – contact such a member and urge them to vote against the Bill.

Our great liturgical prayers have deep theology and clear structure. This is true of eucharistic prayers, prayers over baptismal water, ordination prayers. It is true of collects.

Jesus,
you saw the world through the eyes of a child.
Save us from the pride
that would refuse your command to live like you
in simplicity and joy.
Hear this prayer for your love’s sake.
Amen
The only collect provided in the Bill for Christmas 1A

The great collect tradition, with a history now lost in the mists of the early church, prays to God through Christ in the Spirit. Through the Book of Common Prayer, and the craftsmanship of Cranmer, Anglicans share with Roman Catholics and others in the treasury of collects which, like well-worn pebbles, are pithy summaries of spiritual insight known by heart by generations.

Living Christ, you are risen from the dead!
Love reigns!
You are life stronger than death;
raise our eyes to see you
as the new day dawns;
for the glory of your holy name.
Amen
The only collect provided in the Bill for Easter Day B

This was the revised printing that we stopped because it was illegal as well as liturgically devastating. The process now will be legal – but just as destructive.

After my invitation to share my concerns with the Common Life Liturgical Commission (CLLC), I had understood that there would be a significant pause, a reworking of the options so that there would always be a collect addressed to God, the First Person of the Trinity, through Christ, in the Spirit. This would give time, too, to complete work on Maori collects which would, I thought, be incorporated in a revised NZ Prayer Book printing. Either I misunderstood what seemed a very exciting way forward, or the CLLC in its next two meetings changed their mind and are pressing on with trying to get General Synod to agree to the original revised printing plan.

Jesus, we believe you;
all we heard is true.
You break the bread, we recognise you,
you are the fire that burns within us;
use us to light the world.
Hear this prayer for your love’s sake.
Amen
The only collect provided in the Bill for Easter 3A

There is a change to the previous attempted printing because of my visit to CLLC. The following words will be added:

The minister chooses one, or more, of the Collects set down for the Day for use in the service, and selects the Sentence, Psalms, and Set Readings from pages 550-723, or selects the alternatives set down in A Prayer Book for Australia, or in Revised Common Lectionary Prayers.”

  • I think this is grossly insufficient. Common prayer should be inherently simple to use. Every celebration should have, readily available, a collect addressed to God, the First Person of the Trinity, through Christ, in the Spirit.

Jesus, you turned death into life,
turned defeat into victory.
Grant that with your help
we may raise our expectations
and achieve what is yet impossible.
Hear this prayer for your name’s sake.
Amen
The only collect provided in the Bill for Ordinary Week 10C

  • I accept that the liturgical dynamic of being drawn into God the Holy Trinity through Christ in the power of the Spirit is now so little understood by many that seeking that as the form of the sole collect provided is going to be a battle too far. But I think there are still sufficient orthodox (“right worship”) to have such a traditional-style collect as a printed option on every occasion. The recent motions passed in Christchurch and Dunedin diocesan synods bear testimony to the hopes of these regular worshippers.

Open the heavens, Holy Spirit,
for us to see Jesus intercede for us;
may we be strengthened to share his cup
and ready to serve him for ever.
This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen
The only collect provided in the Bill for Baptism of the Lord A

  • I do not think there is any other current formulary (agreed/binding teaching or practice) that directly passes the buck to another Anglican Church, in this case A Prayer Book for Australia (APBA).
  • If this Bill is passed and a formulary ultimately follows, the older formulary (current NZ Prayer Book pages 549-723) will be replaced in the printed Prayer Book but will remain in force as an option. Currently, if you use the Three Year Series (TYS), you can choose a collect “from any source” (page 691). Eg. if you like the one in Common Worship (CofE), BCP(TEC), or the new RC one, or any in NZPB/HKMA – you can use that. In the planned formulary I am against can you still select “from any source” or must you use either the one assigned in that formulary, or the one assigned in APBA or RCLP*?. I have written to the General Secretary of our church asking about this. He shouldn’t need to consult about this as our church says our liturgical rules are “transparent, simple, clear”. I think the latter – the flexibility we had for the TYS will not be ours for the RCL should this new formulary come into effect. I will print the General Secretary’s response here when I receive it. [Update: The General Secretary agrees with my point and suggests an amendment to the above rubric by adding words so that the rubric concludes “…or in Revised Common Lectionary Prayers; however, a collect or collects appropriate to the readings of the day may be selected from any source.” Such an action, of course, can only be done by a member of GSTHW.]

Holy Spirit,
grant us who serve your Church
to mend what is spoiled,
to strengthen what is sound,
and to follow you
wherever and however you may lead.
This we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen
The only collect provided in the Bill for Ordinary Week 8C

  • Let me stress again, as I have in other places, and hope I do not need to: there is nothing against praying to Jesus, or even the Holy Spirit – good on you if and when you do! – but the collects, like other great liturgical prayers, have a particular theology and a particular structure. Collects are not just nice little prayers – tragically this is what they are degenerating to in this Bill.

*RCLP = Revised Common Lectionary Prayers: Proposed by the Consultation on Common Texts (Preaching the Revised Common Lectionary)

NZ collects – worse than we thought?

NZ illicit Prayer Book printing?

Similar Posts: