On December 16, 2019 TEC’s Task Force on Liturgical and Prayer Book Revision launched a website regarding the revision and creation of new liturgical texts called for by Resolution A068 of the 2018 General Convention.
Here one can find The Episcopal Church’s most recent draft documents guiding liturgical texts now open for comment from throughout the church:
Priorities include the use of:
(1) Expansive Language: “Expansive language seeks to tell as much truth about God as we can, utilizing the full range of language available to us.”
(2) Inclusive Language: “By using inclusive language for humanity, we respect the dignity of every human being and we affirm our faith in “the communion of saints” as expressed in the Apostles’ Creed.”
(3) Metaphorical Language: “Language changes and grows as the church grows in its understanding and embrace of diverse groups of people.”
It will be interesting to see to what extent the process includes input from the English Language Liturgical Consultation, and like bodies, as more and more the possibility for, development, and use of common texts are abandoned across denominations.
As the Roman Catholic Church discovered in its own most recent translation process of the English Missal, it is an open question as to whether church-wide opinion is in favor of new translations, modifications, and additions. Or are such projects based upon the assumptions and desires of insiders? The Church of England modified the language of its baptismal services in 2014 desiring more approachable, and less ‘evil’ loaded, language. Subsequent studies carried out by the The Archbishops’ Council Project on the Ministry of Baptism found that subsequent ‘users’ (read, everyday families) of the service indicated that the words used were the least important, and least memorable, aspect of the occasion. The change in words had made no impact.
Irrespective of outcome, the inclusive and open nature of TEC’s consultation process is certainly commendable.