Sydney Anglicanism would describe itself as conservative evangelical. It is often a place that points where others who so describe themselves are looking. Sydney’s diocesan synod recently opposed adoption of the “Anglican Covenant”.
Liturgically it continues fighting nineteenth-century style battles putting energy where most have even forgotten that there was once controversy.
Priests “ministers” are not to wear chasubles, water may not be mixed with the wine (grape juice?),… A Prayer Book for Australia (1995) is not used.
So the diocese has now launched “Common Prayer”– “Resources for gospel-shaped gatherings” (translation: “gatherings” is Sydney-speak for “services”; “gospel-shaped” means…). You can find the text here and download it here. You can put in your feedback here.
At first glance, these are some of the things that leap out at me. How little the resurrection is mentioned! In
a Eucharist The Lord’s Supper, the resurrection appears to be mentioned only in the creed and if it is Easter or Ascension!
It is very clergy focused (am I allowed to use the word “clergy”?) There are few of the normal, biblical greetings that we have taken for granted for 2,000 years going back to Jesus, and through Jesus into our Jewish roots. What is left is in danger of being awfully “hip”:
“Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
Yes! He is worthy of our praise.”
One version of The Lord’s Supper they proudly declare “it requires no verbal responses from the congregation other than amen.” (sic)
Liturgy is – the work of the people. We have a word for work for the people – it is “magic”.
Forget about looking for the sign of peace. And they continue what everyone has long ago abandoned: breaking the bread in the middle of the Last Supper story. If you are going to treat the Last Supper story as a re-enactment, a play, why stop at merely mimicking at one point? We follow Jesus’ example in taking bread and wine, giving thanks, breaking the bread, and sharing bread and wine!
In the baptism service there is no blessing of water – the minister stresses aloud that “ordinary water is used”. No oil or candle (explain to me why the sign of the cross is used). In marriage the man will “love and cherish her as Christ loved the church”, the woman will “respect and submit to him, as the church submits to Christ”
If this is “Common Prayer” they mean just in common with Anglicans in Sydney. Internationally and ecumenically there is little in common. There is little indication of even following a lectionary. Even within Australian Anglicanism what is presented here is not “common”.
Thanks to Andrew Reid who let me know about this.