What is the Book of Common Prayer?
The Book of Common Prayer is not a book of prayers, but contain the structured (or liturgical) services of worship used in the Anglican Church. It includes Morning and Evening Prayer, Holy Communion, and orders for baptism, confirmation, marriage,and for funerals. It also contains prayers for a variety of occasions and lists the Bible readings to be used in the various services throughout the year. Within the services (especially the baptism and confirmation) and elsewhere, the Book of Common Prayer contains a statement of faith of the Anglican Church.
Origins pf the Book of Common Prayer
The origins of the Book of Common Prayer go back to the early days of the Church of England. It was first composed in 1549 under the reign of Edward VI, associated with the English Reformation which coincided with England's break from the Roman Catholic Church. The Book of Common Prayer in the U.S. was revised in 1892, 1928, and 1979. The 1979 version is commonly used in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). It contains both traditional (Rite I) and contemporary (Rite II) forms of worship and both are used in the Anglican Church. Since its 16th century origins, the Book of Common Prayer has been a profound guide to worship and remains so today. Our various forms of worship directly utilize the Prayer book itself; it also covers such occasions or sacraments as Holy Matrimony, burial ceremonies, baptisms, etc. Traditional Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian prayer books have borrowed from this influential Book.
The Book of Common Prayer at Trinity
There are many Prayer books in use in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). When the ACNA launched in 2009, it was decided that any Prayer book in use by one of the member churches could remain in use. Trinity Anglican follows services from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and we provide a printed order of worship each Sunday that makes it a little easier for those not familiar with the Book of Common Prayer to follow the service. In the future, it is expected that the ACNA will publish a revised Book of Common Prayer, which Trinity will consider adopting.