The 1662 Option

Prayer book wars have been a notable and time-consuming art for Anglicans since the mid-to-late 20th Century. However, less than a hundred years ago, Anglicans across the globe were united by a single prayer book for their respective provinces, and the vast majority of Anglicans globally were united by a single prayer book – the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (BCP). The timelessness and popularity of this classic standard have been demonstrated by the high sales of the 1662 International Edition of the Book of Common Prayer, which hovers in the Top Five Anglican books sold on Amazon. Even prior to the “International Edition” slight revision, the classic 1662 BCP has been rediscovered and appealed to as the standard for Anglicans globally – even those with their own unique BCP adapted for local provincial use.

For example, the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) (representing a majority of Anglicans) claims to “uphold the 1662 Book of Common Prayer as a true and authoritative standard of worship and prayer, to be translated and locally adapted for each culture.” See Point 6, Jerusalem Declaration. The Global South Fellowship of Anglican Churches (GSFA) (also representing a majority of Anglicans) likewise professes “the doctrine of their Churches is grounded in the Holy Scriptures, and in such teachings of the ancient Fathers and Councils of the Church as are agreeable to the said Scriptures. In particular, such doctrine is to be found in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer (1662), and The Form and Manner of Making, Ordaining, and Consecrating of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons, annexed to The Book of Common Prayer, and commonly known as the Ordinal.” See Section 1.1(a), A Covenantal Structure of the GSFA.  Finally, the North American province belonging to GAFCON and GSFA claims in her Fundamental Declarations, “We receive The Book of Common Prayer as set forth by the Church of England in 1662, together with the Ordinal attached to the same, as a standard for Anglican doctrine and discipline, and, with the Books which preceded it, as the standard for the Anglican tradition of worship.” See Point 6, Fundamental Declarations of the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).

Since the 1662 BCP is upheld as a source of doctrine and worship by the majority of Anglicans (Lex orandi. Lex credendi. Lex vivendi. “As we pray, so we believe, so we live.”), it should not surprise us to see the ACNA Liturgy Task Force provide an option in the ACNA 2019 BCP to order its Holy Communion service according to the 1662 BCP. The 2019 BCP Preface states, “At the beginning of the 21st century, global reassessment of the Book of Common Prayer of 1662 as ‘the standard for doctrine, discipline, and worship’ shapes the present volume, now presented on the bedrock of its predecessors.” See ACNA 2019 BCP, p. 4. True to their word and high praise, the framers of the 2019 ACNA BCP include the 1662 Preface (p. 798) and instruct curates how to order the 2019 Holy Communion service according to the 1662 rite in the Additional Directions section (p. 142). Unfortunately, this ordering was not included in the final form of the ACNA 2019 BCP, therefore I have reordered the 2019 Anglican Standard Text according to the 1662 ordering and am publishing it courtesy of The North American Anglican for your use.

Additionally, I have organized a version of the ACNA 2019 BCP with the 1662 ordering with minor edits and additions utilizing the existing language of the 2019 BCP and prayers. This version more closely matches the 1662 Holy Communion service than merely reordering the existing text. For example, the opening Lord’s Prayer omits the doxology (as in the 1662 BCP) and a prayer for our elected officials is included after the Decalogue – mirroring the 1662 BCP. Note, there are suggestions for replacing this prayer from the Occasional Prayer section of the ACNA 2019 BCP with another Occasional Prayer better suited for those residing in Commonwealth nations or Canada. It may be found here:

Finally, I have utilized (for the first time, as far as I am aware) the instruction in the ACNA 2019 BCP that “The Anglican Standard Text may be conformed to its original content and ordering, as in the 1662 or subsequent books.” See Concerning the Holy Eucharist, p. 104, ACNA 2019 BCP (emphasis added). This rubric allows not only the ordering but also the wording to be altered to conform to the 1662 BCP. Therefore, I have imported the 1662 rubrics into the reordered 2019 Anglican Standard Text and returned or slightly altered the language (in italics) to most completely conform the 2019 service to the 1662 BCP Holy Communion. Any language added from the 1662 BCP is also modernized to match the language used in the ACNA 2019 BCP. After all, if one completely imported the traditional language, then one might as well simply use the 1662 BCP.

One may ask “why engage in such a project?” It brings awareness to the standard of our doctrine by honoring the rubrics and flexibility of the ACNA 2019 BCP and directing us to our formulary, the 1662 BCP. Additionally, a curate could use the familiar language of the ACNA 2019 BCP they are already using in order to direct and gently guide his flock without the jarring change that a new prayer book brings. Finally, as we approach Lent, what better way to draw our attention to repentance than using the wording and order of the classic prayer book? Archbishop Cranmer’s gift in reforming the English liturgy is multifaceted, but one of the chief benefits of his work is how it emphasizes a three-fold pattern of “first, the detecting and confessing of sin; second, the announcing of grace, in God’s promise to pardon and restore the penitent through Christ; third, the exercising of faith, first in believing God’s promise and trusting him for pardon, and then in acts of praise, testimony, intercession, and obeying instruction, all based on the prior restoring of fellowship with God through forgiveness.” The Gospel in the Prayer Book, J.I. Packer, at p. 4-5.

Lent is traditionally the period for catechism. What better way to catechize the flock than using the 1662 BCP ordering and wording, as allowed by the ACNA 2019 BCP? This effort is of course using contemporary language and I know it will ruffle the feathers of traditionalists who prefer using the traditional (and beautifully magnificent!) language that Cranmer bequeathed us. However, I think this is shortsighted and ignores the opportunity the ACNA 2019 BCP rubric provides us to catechize those who have only known the 1979 BCP, those who are new Anglicans, or recent Anglicans who would see the classic language as a roadblock.

My prayer is simple. I pray for converted hearts, sanctified lives, and a revival in Anglican piety, tradition, and above all: adherence to our faith in Christ. There is no better package of Christian discipleship, doctrine, and worship in the English language than through our common prayer book, the 1662 BCP. May this contribution bless those who use it and spur you to continue worshipping and following after our first love, the Lord Jesus Christ: King of Kings, and Lord of Lords.

Keep the fast, and have a blessed and holy Lent.


Rev. Andrew Brashier

Rev. Andrew Brashier serves as the Rector of Anglican Church of the Good Shepherd in Pelham, Alabama. and is an Archdeacon overseeing the Parish and Missions Deanery in the Jurisdiction of the Armed Forces and Chaplaincy. He writes regularly about ministry, family worship, daily prayer, book reviews, family oratories and the impact they can have in reigniting Anglicanism, and the occasional poem at www.thruamirrordarkly.wordpress.com. He recently republished Bishop John Jewel's Treatises on the Holy Scriptures and Sacraments (https://a.co/d/ikWCXG4). The second edition of his first book, A Faith for Generations, is now available at Amazon (https://a.co/d/3iVgwdJ) and focuses on family devotions and private prayer in the Anglican tradition.


'The 1662 Option' have 5 comments

  1. February 21, 2023 @ 9:51 am Cindy Larsen+

    Has this publication been approved and authorized by the ACNA College of Bishops? Please note that the bishop of each diocese may or may not approve the use and distribution of a new liturgy and/or Prayer Book in his diocese. Have you consulted with all the bishops on this Alternate Liturgy?

    Reply

    • The Venerable Andrew Brashier

      February 21, 2023 @ 11:12 am The Venerable Andrew Brashier

      As quoted and cited in the column above from the 2019 Book of Common Prayer, “approved by the College of Bishops at
      Epiphany in the Year of our Lord 2019” (Certificate, 2019 BCP):

      “The Anglican Standard Text may be conformed to its original content and ordering, as in the 1662 or subsequent books; the
      Additional Directions give clear guidance on how this is to be accomplished.” 2019 BCP, page 104.

      “The Order of Holy Communion according to the Book of Common Prayer 1662
      The Anglican Standard Text may be re-arranged to reflect the 1662 ordering as follows:
      The Lord’s Prayer
      The Collect for Purity
      The Decalogue
      The Collect of the Day
      The Lessons
      The Nicene Creed
      The Sermon
      The Offertory
      The Prayers of the People
      The Exhortation
      The Confession and Absolution of Sin
      The Comfortable Words
      The Sursum Corda
      The Sanctus
      The Prayer of Humble Access
      The Prayer of Consecration and the
      Ministration of Communion
      (ordered according to the footnote)
      The Lord’s Prayer
      The Post Communion Prayer
      The Gloria in Excelsis
      The Blessing”
      2019 BCP, pages 142-143.

      Therefore, if the 2019 is allowed in your diocese then one may reorder and use this rubric. There is also yet another form allowed in the 2019 BCP, called a “Penitential Order” and can be found on page 139. It states:

      “A Penitential Order, for use at the opening of the liturgy, or for use on other occasions, may be arranged as follows:
      The Acclamation
      The Collect for Purity
      Then kneeling as able:
      The Decalogue or The Summary of the Law
      [The Exhortation]
      The Confession and Absolution [and Comfortable Words]
      The Kyrie
      The Collect of the Day”
      2019 BCP, page 139.

      I have occasionally used this ordering for the past two years with my bishop present without objection, likely because it derives from the rubrics adopted by the College of Bishops.

      Reply

      • February 22, 2023 @ 9:03 am Brandon Hughes

        It can also be noted at the bottom of pg 7 that “the ordering of Communion rites may be conformed to a historic Prayer Book ordering.”

        So the ordering may also conform to the 1549, 1552, 1559, 1637, etc. all the way up to the Canadian 1962, according to the provisions provided in the 2019. The production of the TLE really provides an “all stop shop” for traditional-language liturgies as well.

        Reply

  2. February 22, 2023 @ 4:11 am Terence Camua

    Instead of going through all this trouble, why not just promote the use of the 1662-IE, especially that a 2019-TLE has also been produced?

    Reply

  3. The Venerable Andrew Brashier

    February 22, 2023 @ 9:54 am The Venerable Andrew Brashier

    By all means, please use the traditional prayer books as one is able.

    However, not all traditional prayer books (nor the 1662-IE) are authorized for every diocese within ACNA. Additionally, a substantial number of parishes are using the 2019 BCP (for three-plus years), therefore making the purchase of new prayer books or switching liturgies costly, “jarring,” or pastorally unwise for a rector. However, this is a solution for a minister who would like to exercise the 2019 BCP within its rubrics or utilize it as an “on-ramp” toward the 1662 BCP in the future. While I personally prefer the traditional prayer book language, this work is for the curate who perhaps did not realize they can continue using the 2019 BCP (now familiar to his flock) but in the form, ordering, and content of the classic prayer books.

    Reply


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