Tuesday, 28 April 2015

The American 1928 Book of Common Prayer

For many American Anglicans, the 1928 edition of the Book of Common Prayer is the definitive edition of the prayer book. For them, it is central to their experience of Anglicanism. On the other hand, some Evangelical Anglicans dislike the 1928 BCP because of its more catholic rite of communion.

The current printing is beautifully bound and comes in a card slipcase. It has two page-markers, which are quite sufficient given the simplicity of the Book of Common Prayer structure.

While the language generally follows the 1662, some of the archaisms are updated (spare thou them becomes spare thou those). Oddly, the Benedicte, omnia opera Domini removes the line about Ananias, Azarias, and Misael. Did the compilers of the US 1928 prayer book really have a greater phobia about addressing saints than the 1662 bishops?

Unlike the 1662 book, this has introductory verses for the daily office that are seasonally themed. I like the fact that it offers the shorter Benedictus es, Domine as an alternative to the Te Deum and the Benedicte, omnia. I often find the latter too canticles frustratingly long if I am in a hurry in the morning. The Customary of Our Lady of Walsingham follows it in providing this option. I was surprised to find that it also offers the Nicene Creed as an alternative to the Apostles' Creed in morning and evening prayer. The Lord's prayer is said only once in morning and evening prayer. In evening prayer, an extra two psalms are offered as alternatives to the Magnificat and the Nunc Diminitas.

Unsurprisingly, prayers for the Sovereign and the Royal Family are replaced by prayers for the president and state governor. The General Thanksgiving and the Prayer for all Conditions of Men are included as part of the daily office, rather than in separate sections, as they are in the 1662 book. A much more comprehensive and useful set of occasional prayers are included in this than the ones in the 1662 prayer book.

One very interesting feature of this BCP edition is the inclusion of an order of prayer for family morning and evening prayer in the home. While the daily office is perfectly fine for private prayer, this family prayer order might be more convenient for busy families. An even shorter order of family prayer is included for those very pressed for time.

I think this is a very worthy member of the prayer book family.

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