web analytics
New Zealand Prayer Book

General Synod liturgy – vote no

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.

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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:

19 thoughts on “General Synod liturgy – vote no”

  1. Some of the Collects you use for examples aren’t actually Collects at all, and sometimes are rather vague, and not very nourishing spiritually.

    I often wonder about clergy who prefer such things.

    1. Thanks for affirming my position, Ignatz. These little prayers I inserted throughout my post are, as I indicate, the only ones that will be provided in the Prayer Book text for that particular celebration should this formulary pass. Like you, I do not categorise them as collects. Hence, I have used scare quotes around “collects” in the post. I am urging people to vote against having these as the only options provided in the text. At the very least I think a traditional-shape collect should be provided as an option in the actual printed text. Blessings.

  2. Peter Carrell

    There is another way, Bosco, than voting “no.”

    An amendment such as “and expresses its disapproval of the current political regime of Fiji, in line with intercessions in NZPB concerning ‘justice and peace’,” would do the trick. The soldiers present will shut down GS and send everyone home!

    1. Excellent question, thanks, Brian.

      I think as a backdrop I would paint several broad brush-strokes and they would include:

      * poor communication within a very small church (this point includes there being no commentary or systematic introduction to our Prayer Book or church’s liturgical life; nor the GSTHW material online with the introductions one would expect for a Bill publicly readily available;…)

      *a weak liturgical and theological training, formation, and study in many places

      *a Prayer Book which included many liturgically “thinner” ideas and texts as alternative options – resulting in a choice in most celebrations of three different little prayers for use as a “collect”

      *a church liturgical life addicted to variety – from community to community, and from year to year

      *the usefulness of providing for our fourth concurrent Sunday lectionary option, the RCL; and rather than starting from first principles merely redistributing the above-mentioned three different little prayers, one for each year of RCL so that now the sort of “thin” little prayer that we didn’t have the heart to remove in the production of our Prayer Book becomes the normative one in a revised Prayer Book printing.

      Just say “No”. And encourage others to vote “No”.

  3. Isn’t there a process to change anything in the Prayer book.
    IE, if this bill passes at General Synod does it then come before each of the diocesan synods for a final vote in General Synod before the chages can be applied.
    Or is this bill bypassing that process.

    1. Thanks for your comment, Iain. You are correct. If you follow back some of the links you will find that GSTHW had forgotten this and thought it could change the Prayer Book simply by a motion at GSTHW. The illegal revised Prayer Book was ready to go at the publishers and it was I who stopped that printing, reminding the church of our agreed process. That was unanimously reinforced by our diocesan synod in a motion I moved.

      There tends to be little serious liturgical debate at GSTHW and, once passed there, probably even less at many diocesan synods (I cannot speak for Hui Amorangi). “Ashes to Fire” passed all diocesan synods except ours where I questioned the process. I think that if we are not working together for this GSTHW meeting there will be less chance once the Bill is passed there. But, of course, should the Bill pass (and I am hopeful it will not) we will continue through the next stages of the process.


  4. … and there was me thinking the idea of ‘Common Prayer’ was that we all prayed the same thing.

    … or is this yet another attempt to draw Australia and New Zealand closer together, by sharing the APBA? :0)

    1. DaveB, you may not realise, but APBA is allowed in the NZ Anglican Church for the Eucharist, as is any Prayer Book from the Communion – completely bypassing ANZPHKMA. This Bill is unusual in actually naming a specific Prayer Book as an alternative. Blessings.

  5. Hi Bosco,
    Recently, when explaining to our liturgical asistants how to construct Prayers Of The Faithful, I said the following, “To the Creator through the Son in the Spirit. Always check that you have done that and you will be fine, it is really easy. Praying isn’t hard!”.
    Clearly,if this Bill passes, we will have to throw away such simple and long followed rules. Rules that have helped the Faithful (including me)understand what we are doing and what we believe. The Bill must not pass. Keep rallying the troops Bosco!

  6. Bosco, can you please send all this material to me at my email address so I can read it more thoroughly and understand it more clearly? I’d appreciate it.

    Naku nei, Turi

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Notify me of followup comments via e-mail. You can also subscribe without commenting.