The Eucharistic Rite of the Anglican Church of North America

The Anglican Church of North America, the other refuge for disaffected Episcopalians in North America, has released a “working text” of a modern language Eucharistic liturgy. It seems that when feedback is received from congregations actually using it then further revisions might be made (what a novel idea).

The approach of this liturgy seems to mirror that of the ACNA’s Ordinal, which I posted on a while back: a move away from some of the ecumenical texts (particularly “and also with you”) as well as a light modernization of the traditional Anglican liturgy rather than the rather more drastic revision found in the modern language services of the Episcopal Church’s 1979 Book of Common Prayer and the Anglican Church of Canada’s 1985 Book of Alternative Services.

One curiosity is the presence of the epiclesis in the Roman position, before the words of institution. While this was the position of the epiclesis in the first (1549) Book of Common Prayer and has re-appeared in this spot in some modern Anglican rites in other parts of the world, no North American Anglican liturgy has ever had an epiclesis here.

9 comments

  1. “One curiosity is the presence of the epiclesis in the Roman position, before the words of institution. While this was the position of the epiclesis in the first (1549) Book of Common Prayer and has re-appeared in this spot in some modern Anglican rites in other parts of the world, no North American Anglican liturgy has ever had an epiclesis here.”

    Actually, Eucharistic Prayer C in the 1979 Book of Common Prayer for The Episcopal Church does have an epiclesis (of the Spirit) before the Words of Institution.

  2. I found a FAQ page on the ACNA website: http://goo.gl/BOIvD8

    Here’s what it says:
    “Invocation: Why include the invocation of the Holy Spirit (epiclesis) in the prayer, and why in the placement represented here?

    “The prayer reflects the Trinitarian nature of the Deity, and acknowledges that all sanctifying action is by God’s Spirit. The invocation is upon both the elements and the people. The placement is true to Cranmerian form and the ancient Sarum usage.”

    That still, though, doesn’t fully explain why they put it before the Words of Institution instead of after, the way it’s been done in every Prayer Book for the US. Only 1549 and the failed 1637 Scottish Prayer Book put the invocation of Word and Spirit before the Institution. They could be trying to be more faithful to Cranmer’s original plan, but the rest of the liturgy is closer to more contemporary eucharistic liturgies. Maybe there are enough Anglo-Catholics in ACNA who agree with the Roman idea of a pre-Institution epiclesis that they were able to influence the placement. Just an idea.

  3. One rubric at the end provides that “And also with you” is still an option. But the fact that it is not normative speaks to your point.

  4. Note should be made that this article refers to the doings of the Anglican Church IN North America, a recent continuing church.

    The Anglican Church OF North America is a minute entity but devoted to her Orthodox, Catholic and Anglican roots. She was formed during the ritual wars of the thirties in Canada and predates the Continuing Church movement.

    A preposition can make a big difference.

  5. With all the talk here lately about Anglican and Anglicanish liturgy, it’s good that one of the most popular and informative BBC programs has taken up the subject seriously. While some of the talk early in the program is pure propaganda (e.g., the ridiculous idea that Gregory the Great wanted Augustine of Canterbury to give the English a liturgy in their own language), some of the discussion is of moment for English-speaking Catholics — especially, to me, the balance between easy comprehensibility and language that can not only bear but grow in richness as it is repeated thousands of times.

    But, in the end, the talk of intentional doctrinal ambiguity and the slipping in of undercurrents to undermine orthodox theology might well be troubling to Roman Catholics who find themselves using these texts.

    Here’s the link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03ct4n4

  6. The ACNA is, near as I can tell, influenced more by folks like the late Peter Toon and others who recall the 1662 BCP, rather than the Scottish non-juror origins of the Episcopal Church. It’s a subtle way of distancing themselves from TEC, I think.

  7. As i am the person who wrote the first drafts for all the ACNA Eucharists, i might be able to explain why the epiclesis is at the beginning of the Canon. The ACNA is made up of both Canadian and American congregations, and the initial charter determined that the 1662 BCP was the normative standard of both doctrine and worship. Within the ACNA are Anglo-Catholics [of which i am one], Evangelicals and some charismatics who have discovered their need for tradition and a set liturgy. The Canadian Evangelicals [mostly trained at Wycliffe Hall in Toronto] are comparable to their British brethren who are suspicious of ‘magic’ and ‘ritual’ and have an antipathy to things “american.” The use of the non-juror epiclesis brought to the newly-established Episcopal church by bishop Seabury was an affront to them, and an unknown entity to the charismatics. indeed most of the clergy who left from TEC are too young to know the 1928 BCP or the authentic BCP tradition. The Canadians would not allow the 1928 American canon to be the model for the new rites. The Church of England in Common Worship also had to deal with Evangelicals who wanted to avoid the epiclesis and resolved it by placing it where Cranmer had done in the 1549 Canon. If we were to have an epiclesis it could only go at the beginning–even so, some want to avoid it as they recite the liturgy. Arnold klukas, retired professor of liturgics at Nashotah House

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