Texts for Common Prayer

Texts for Common Prayer, or the TCP for short, is the collection of liturgical documents that make up what is becoming the official Prayer Book for the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA).  Some of these documents are more finalized than others, many of them still being open for feedback.  Everything is available for free online on the ACNA’s official liturgy page.  The reason I’ve put this page together is to help you make sense of what the ACNA liturgical task force has put together, and how it is becoming our new Prayer Book.  Thus I will list everything that has been made  as if it were an index for a Prayer Book, and also provide links to specific blog posts about various parts of these texts (as I write them).

I am passionate about making the liturgy understandable to everyone in the pews, because liturgy (literally meaning “the work of the people” or a “public work”) is meant to be a corporate action by all of the faithful, not just a geeky interest for the priests.  The better you understand the liturgy, the more meaningfully you can participate in it, and enter into the power and presence of God the Spirit more deeply.  I pray for this knowledge and closeness among God’s people frequently.

Also note that whenever the ACNA website updates any of its liturgy files, the links I provide below will probably break and I’ll need to update it.  If you find that any of my links below don’t lead to a PDF, leave a comment so I know to correct it.  Thanks in advance!

Texts for Common Prayer, or, “the Bible arranged for worship”

Introduction to the Calendar (text) – An overview of the Christian liturgical year

The Calendar of the Church Year (text) – This lists the holidays that are on fixed dates, classified into three categories:

  1. Red Letter Days = major feast days like Christmas, St. Matthew’s Day, etc.
  2. Black Letter Days (Anglican) = minor saints or commemorations of great Anglicans
  3. Black Letter Days (Ecumenical) = minor saints or great Christians beyond the Anglican tradition

Part 1: Daily Prayers

The Daily Office Lectionary (text) – the Psalms & Readings for the Daily Office below

The Daily Office of Morning Prayer (text) – a staple of the diet of Anglican worship

The Daily Office of Evening Prayer (text) – a staple of the diet of Anglican worship

Supplemental Canticles (text) – extra bits to diversify the Daily Office

Midday Prayer (text) – a short devotion for worship at noon

Compline (text) – a short devotion for worship at bedtime

Family Prayer (text) – drastically shortened & simplified versions of the above, written with families with small children in mind

Part 2: Collects & Lessons

Sunday & Red-Letter Day Lectionary (text) – These are the readings, following a 3-year cycle, for every Sunday and major holiday in the Church year.

Collects of the Christian Year (text) – A Collect is a short stylized prayer intended to set the theme or tone of a particular commemoration.  They are appointed for the Communion service, but are also repeated in the Daily Office throughout the week.

Part 3: The Service of Holy Communion
(We have three mostly-identical options.)

Holy Communion Standard Text (text) – the the most historically Anglican version

Holy Communion Common Text (text) – a few parts have been shortened

Holy Communion Ancient Text (text) – the Communion prayers are based on a 2nd century document

Commemoration Proper Prefaces (text) – One sentence of the Communion prayers, called the preface, is changeable according to the proper occasion (hence “Proper Preface”).  This document adds a few more Proper Prefaces to what’s provided in the three versions of the liturgy above.

Part 4: Pastoral Offices
(services for occasions in the life of the congregation)

Holy Baptism (text) – the baptism service and its basic requirements

Confirmation & Reception & Reaffirmation (text) – recognition of adult faith & commitment to the Church

Baptism with Confirmation (text) – if you have both celebrations in the same worship service

Holy Matrimony (text) – the wedding service and its lead-up material!

The Burial of the Dead (text) – this is our funeral service

Part 5: The Ordinal (text)
for the ordination of a deacon, priest, or bishop

Part 6: Proper Liturgies for Special Days

Renewal of Baptismal Vows (text) – for the Easter Vigil or other occasions

Expect to see some more in January 2017.

Part 7: The Psalter

A liturgically-appropriate translation is estimated to be ready by 2019.

Appendix 1: Translations

Chinese volume 1 (text) – the Office & Communion liturgies for Chinese churches in the ACNA

Chinese volume 2 (text) – the Baptism & Confirmation services in Chinese

Holy Eucharist Spanish: Common Text (text) – the short Communion liturgy for Spanish-speaking churches in the ACNA

Appendix 2: Explanatory documents

Guiding Principles of Christian Worship (text) – the “theological lens” for how these liturgies are produced

Baptism & Regeneration (text) – the Rev. Dr. J. I. Packer’s explanation of an Anglican view of what goes on in Holy Baptism

The Three Blessed Oils (text) – explanation of why we use holy oils in certain services

Commentary on the Daily Office Lectionary (text) – why it is the way it is

Interview with Archbishop Duncan (text) – more on the lectionaries

Daily Office Lectionary Bible Insert (text) – print out to keep the lectionary in your Bible!

Reverse (Sunday) Lectionary (text) – if you want to see what readings are in the lectionary in biblical order

Holy Matrimony Explained (text) – a thorough explanation and commentary on the Marriage Service