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Lectionary confusion


I am the guest preacher at the Patronal Festival of Saint Mark.

I want to know what the readings will be. Should be straightforward enough. Would be straightforward in other Anglican Churches. But not in the Anglican Church of Or

Anyone with parish leadership experience will know the networking around the readings: they get printed a week ahead in the pew sheet; different readers prepare for their proclamation; the cantor and musicians look at options and prepare for the psalm; study groups and individuals reflect on them and pray about them… the preacher prepares the sermon with the readings in mind… we need to be sure we are all on the same page

A New Zealand Prayer Book – He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (ANZPB/HKMA) has two options for Saint Mark:

Isaiah 52:7-10
Ephesians 6:10-20 or Acts 15:36-40
Mark 13:9-13

Isaiah 62:6-12
Psalm 89:1-9
Ephesians 4:7-16 or 1 Peter 5:5b-14
Mark 16:15-20

OK. So those are the formularies of our church. Those are what we promise and sign we will use. This is the agreement that our church and Act of Parliament says “may not be diminished”…

So what does our NZ Lectionary give us? Well under the heading ANZPB/HKMA, which it clearly isn’t (see image above), it has:

Proverbs 15:28-33 or
Acts 15:35-41
Psalm 119:9-16
Ephesians 4:7-16
Mark 13:5-13

The added irony is that I’ve just received information from the General Secretary of our church. Our diocese, regulars here will remember, passed the following at our synod unanimously and with acclaim:

asks the Standing Committee of the General Synod/ te Hinota Whanui 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;

The response from the General Secretary I received this week is:

The liturgical rules of this Church are already transparent, simple and clear if one reads the Canons and Standing Resolutions of the General Synod, and these were explained to the Rev’d Peters at the above meeting, but to aid understanding CLLC has commissioned a one-page simple guide to where and how to find what is ‘authorized’ liturgy in this church. This guide will be presented to the Bishops’ meeting this month and then reported to GSTHW 2012.

Clearly no one in my diocese, from the bishop down, is reading the transparent, simple and clear Canons and Standing Resolutions of the General Synod. And nor is the drafter of our Lectionary.

I look forward to the one-page simple guide.

I do wonder why ‘authorized’ is in scare quotes…

[For a while I had to be careful this didn’t become a regular weekly post. See here, here, here, here, here,…]

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3 thoughts on “Lectionary confusion”

  1. Steve Benjamin

    So for the Holy Communion on St Mark’s Day you have three OT readings to choose from, 3 ‘Epistles’, 2 Psalms and 2 Gospel readings for the one feast in the one ‘national’ church? What’s the problem?

    This is called unity in diversity or the ‘holy muddle’ which some Anglicans like to think we specialise in. [The Aussies add Mark 16:16-20 as an alternative Gospel to the Three Year Series.]

    I’m impressed that 3 of the Lectionary readings almost ‘overlap’ with the 9 on offer in the 1989 Prayer Book. In the Church of Or that’s quite a high correlation. The lectionary readings seem to be from the C of E’s Common Worship lectionary which is a touching ‘gesture’ of loyalty to the mother church of our beloved Communion, especially when other gestures of a more ‘substantive’ nature are not forthcoming…

    What’s interesting with 25 April (St Mark’s Day) is the ‘tension’ between the feast of the evangelist and the civic dimension of the day and how to hold them in focus without the one ‘obliterating’ the other.

    But I suppose you’re observing St Mark on Sunday as an ‘external solemnity’ so ANZAC Day can be a civic observance or a hybrid. I hear the Australasian RC’s can transfer St Mark to 26 April which is one solution to the St Mark/ANZAC Day ‘clash’.

  2. The community celebrating its patronal is to be commended for its preacher selection and also for ‘marking’ the day on the day so to speak.

    In my experience most parishes seem to transfer to the nearest Sunday or simply ignore.

    ANZAC Day does not take precedence over St Mark’s Day for Australian Anglicans but both are commemorated on the same day. It’s odd given the huge emphasis given to ANZAC Day in national life.

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