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Trinitarian Collects


The Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia is trialing a new set of collects. The church provides them in Word format (91.50 kB).

Regulars here will have followed that a revised Prayer Book was on the verge of being printed without the required “twice round” process of altering our formularies being followed (General Synod Te Hinota Whanui; diocesan synods & hui amorangi; General Synod Te Hinota Whanui again; wait a year). I queried this and the printing was stopped.

I also sought that the traditional structure of a collect be (readily) available for each celebration (at least as one of the options in each proper the church provides). That desire gained momentum and was passed at General Synod Te Hinota Whanui.

The Common Life Liturgical Commission has invited six people to produce collects in this traditional format (two a year). The Commission is now sharing the first year completed. I had not seen any in this year’s collection and have not had a close look at this first set.

I was invited to be one of the drafters, and I am working on Ordinary Time for Year C. As soon as I have a collection I am happy with I will put them up here for your comments, critique, and improvement.

I continue to be committed to also completing my work on my Book of Prayers in Common.

Meanwhile, if you have comments on individual collects in the Commission’s draft (or generally) please send them to the Common Life Liturgical Commission, c/- the Anglican General Synod Office, PO Box 87188, Meadowbank, Auckland 1742, ph 09-5214439, email: gensec@anglicanchurch.org.nz

Comment (also) here by all means, but know that any comments about them placed on this site are not assured to be seen by the Commission (although Commission members, of course, might spot them here).

You are free to use these collects with the following citation:

‘© The Anglican Church in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia, 2013 – used with permission’

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18 thoughts on “Trinitarian Collects”

  1. The exquisite photo in your post is a perfect example of how a picture can be worth a thousand words. Indeed it is a prayer. It lifts up the heart! And can there be any prayer which would truly express the unspoken Mystery it unfolds?

  2. Thanks for the link Bosco. It’s a shame so many if these Collects fall into the same overly wordy hole many of the Australian ones do. Do we really need such a long bad rambling ending? It looks like I will continue to mostly look elsewhere for someone who understands that less is almost always more.

    1. Thanks, Brian, I’m too busy currently to review these collects. I’m a less-is-more person usually also. I think you would need to quote what you think is the rambling ending & then what you might cut it back to so that people are not talking past each other on this. The option of looking elsewhere I would understand as continuing for all. There are “collects” I encounter people using in worship that are really mini sermons, and at the end of them I often haven’t the slightest idea what that was all about – often with the community reciting it together in a dull monotone, never having rehearsed it together, and using a text that is designed for one voice after some rehearsing. Blessings.

    2. Gillian Trewinnard

      I don’t want to be part of a string of complainers about these collects; it is good to have a Trinitarian option available. However, I will send comments along about a few of these. I agree that quite a few are too wordy. Take New Year’s Day: ‘…you challenge us to make the choice to care for the needy and vulnerable.’ Why not, ‘you challenge us to care for the needy and vulnerable’ ? I can’t make sense of the collect for the Fifth Sunday in Lent, and I don’t believe it is a matter of punctuation only. However, some are fresh and simple and include the Trinitarian essence without labouring it at the end – see Fourth Sunday in Lent. More like that, please.

  3. It is an interesting idea. I know the Swedish prayerbook, where they have two sets of collects: one traditional (of the local Roman rite, which go back to the Gregorian sacramentary), and one contemporary. Sometimes, the new one may be theologically more appropriate.

    I looked at those your collects in PDF. I have three remarks.

    First. They don’t really bring up anything refreshing. For example, let’s take the Whitsunday. It would have been interesting that the collect be addressed to the Holy Spirit, with the doxology: «who livest and reignst with the Father and the Son: God world without end». Thus is it in the alternative modern Swedish collect; thus also for each day of the Pentecost octave in the Mozarabic rite.

    Secondly. Every Sunday is the very feast of the Resurrection. It is the weekly Easter. The old collects of the Roman rite have failed to put it right. (Indeed, the good thing to do would be to add, after the collect of the day, one of the collects of the Easter week too. But, obviously, I saw no Westerner to do that.) Now, if you wish new set of collects, the proper thing would have been at least to insert the idea of the resurrection, eventually btw brackets, to be used on Sundays and omitted on weekdays. For example: «through our incarnate Saviour Jesus Christ, [who has risen from the dead , and] who lives and reigns with…»

    Thirdly. Almost all the collects are addressed to the Father. Why not address some of the collects to Jesus, others to the Holy Spirit (and not only on Whitsunday)? And other collects could follow the Byzantine pattern: addressed to the triune God, with a conclusion as such: «for thou art our God, and unto thee do we send up glory: to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost, now and ever, world without end».

    If you wish to do something new, do something fresh.

    1. Thanks, Georges.

      I’m sorry but you have come in late on this conversation. The the links in this post, and the first few paragraphs, pointed to the history behind this collection. All that you describe is already happening and is part of the text of our Prayer Book for decades. Pretty much what you describe is what the intention of the texts actually is. In particular the link in my third paragraph leads to the motion passed by General Synod Te Hinota Whanui:

      that in any revision of A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa every celebration be provided, in the text, with at least one collect which follows the taonga/treasure of Trinitarian collects (that is, addressed to God, the First Person of the Trinity, through Christ, in the Spirit); and that, as far as possible, such a collect be provided in Te Reo Maori as well as English.

      In essence, the revision would be as you describe the Swedish Prayer Book to be. That is also akin to our current Prayer Book which provides a one year series – and the thought was to have a three year series. But I am really repeating, now, history which I provide in detail if you follow the links.


  4. This is my redaction of the collect for Advent 2. I felt there were too many long phrases for it to work well in worship today. (That is, my redaction is not a comment on whether the proposed draft faithfully reflects the style of ‘traditional’ Trinitarian collects).

    “Loving God,
    you send prophets to warn, disturb and revive your people.
    Help us listen to those who prepare us for your kingdom.
    Give us courage to remove the chaff from our lives
    so that we may be ready to meet the Lord.
    We ask this through him whose coming draws near,
    our Lord Jesus Christ,
    who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen”

    (I won’t send individual collects to the GS office but I may find time to go through the whole lot, and then send).

  5. Michael Godfrey

    I defend the Australian Anglican collect format from accusations or “rambling”. While hardly minimalist, the ending immerses us, mantra-like, in the triune mystery. Delivery of course is everything – I am assuming here that the banal aberration of “let’s all just read the collect together” is ruled out of liturgical court! Delivery of the collect then dwells in the larynx, as it were, of the presider, and he or she should ensure these profound words are saturate with the awe and mystery of God (not, I should add, by pontificated over-dramatization, but by gentle conveyance of the awe they serve to deliver “through Jesus Christ our Lord – who loves and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.” Read thus they become a vehicle to the mysteries of God.

    1. Thanks, Michael. As Brian has not responded to my question, I’m not sure if you are replying to what he actually thinks or what you think he thinks. I would need to check the Australian collects to see if the ending is any different from the classical form that I and others would instinctively always follow.

      As to reading the collect together – surely that doesn’t happen anywhere?! Not after this linked post. Surely! That would be like the whole cast reciting a single person’s lines…


  6. Hi Bosco,

    My reference was to such as this (the first of the new offerings):

    Almighty God,
    you give us this season to make ourselves ready for the coming of your Son.
    In this time of waiting and hoping,
    assist us to order our lives
    so that we may be ready to welcome Jesus in the flesh.
    We ask this through him whose coming draws near,
    our Lord Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you
    and the Holy Spirit, one God now and for ever. Amen

    What is already a fairly wordy prayer is lengthen even further by the addition of the common (in the Australian collects) ending with its living AND reigning AND now AND for ever …

    My preference would be: “…through him whose coming draws near, in the power of the Spirit. Amen.”

    I’m looking ultimately for less of the presider’s larynx (it gets a good enough workout in some of our other endless prayers) and more silence and symbol!

    Preference, of course, is personal, and I do not begrudge Michael and his cathedral the whole kaboodle, just not my cup of tea.



    1. Thanks for the clarification, Brian.

      Are you saying that whenever you say “… in the power of the Spirit.” your community knows to come in with a resounding “Amen”? And does so? Because that is part of the purpose of the “ending” – to not disenfranchise the community in their praying. The “Amen” is the community’s pressing of the “send” button.

      For myself, leading a community of teenagers, the collect always has the “…now and for ever.” ending.

      My query would be around your advocation of each ending with “…through him…” Is your masculine pronoun really necessary?

      I am not going to agree with your personal-cup-of-tea model of liturgy, sorry. That way we all continue to be at the mercy of the leader’s whim (sorry – personal cup of tea), with a disenfranchised, passive, pew-sitting audience.

      If I’ve counted correctly, yours shorten the prayer by 14 words. Did I time that correctly as 3 seconds shorter? The silence IMO comes between the bidding and the collect – how long is the timing of that silence in your community? May the silence in my community be 3 seconds shorter, with a resounding Amen, and we will still end the service at the same time as you do 🙂


  7. Hi again Bosco

    OK, first the confession: in my faith community we all say the Collect together (pause for gasps of disbelief and horror!).

    I’ve actually never been in a parish that has done otherwise, and while I understand and appreciate (and even potentially agree with) all the reasons why this is liturgical heresy, it has just never been a ditch I choose to die in. I believe it can be done well as a corporate exercise, and it can be done badly. That’s just how it is.

    So, obviously in my context having a trigger for the communal ‘Amen’ isn’t such an issue.
    The “through him” was merely a reference to the original prayer I used as an example. Our most common usage would be “through Jesus the Christ …” or simply “through Christ”. As you might imagine, we are not huge on masculine pronouns in my patch:)

    I’m not sure of your point about personal choices. We all make them??

    It’s not the 3 seconds that is my point! We already have incredibly wordy liturgies, especially words spoken by the presider. I’m not looking for one or two silences, I’m looking for lots! And fewer words!

    One of the things I enjoyed when I was in the US in June was the complete lack of a confession/absolution in every TEC service I attended (in three different dioceses and vastly different contexts). Ridding the gathering rite of what is two pages plus (depending on the liturgy) of words in our prayer book was lovely!

    For me, less is more, and I’m happy to grab that less wherever I can find it!



    1. I’m a little confused now, Brian. Your argument to abbreviate the collect by 3 seconds was “ultimately for less of the presider’s larynx” – now you are saying that you have never used the presider’s larynx singly for this? I know parishes and communities that recite the whole or major tracts of the Eucharistic Prayer together as well. Have your communities? And if not, why not?

      We could get distracted by discussing the number and length of silences – I think there is more potency to few and longer. But let’s leave that to one side.

      If you look at today’s post you will see there is no requirement whatsoever of confession/absolution in NZ. But that, also, is a discussion better to be had on that thread rather than diluting on this one.


  8. I have no interest in debating who says the Collect – I know the arguments, and I’m just not that worried.

    My point was and is simply less is more. To be clear, FEWER WORDS.

  9. Michael Godfrey

    I certainly share Brian’s love of silence, and incorporate much larynx-sabbatical amidst the beauty of the words of liturgy, not least in the formation of the collect itself. I use the “let us pray that we … [summarize the soon to be narrsted prayer and indeed entire liturgical theme] costruct, allowing the space for silent-scattered thought-prayers before they are gathered in and as one voice … with Trinitarian (which my phone wants to correct to “Trinidadian”!) poetics in the end to maintain that sacred focus.

      1. Haven’t poked around too much from across the Tasman, I’m afraid, but have known and applauded from afar, and suspect we read (both tenses) the same books (and share what might be called an examining-granting alma mater)!

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