Tag Archives: SCLM

If it Ain’t Broke, Don’t Fix It – SCLM and the Daily Office


This will be my last post on the SCLM for a while. But, I can’t resist saying a few words about the proposed Daily Prayer for All Seasons.  These thoughts come from a few places: 1) as a personal who regularly prayers the Daily Office; 2) having experienced one of the forms from Daily Prayer for All Seasons; and 3) thinking that the SCLM is doing too much.  This third point is self explanatory and I’ve already written about it here.

A few weeks ago, the General Convention deputation from the Diocese of RI gathered with clergy of the diocese to talk about what would be coming to General Convention.  Our meeting started with one of the forms from the Daily Prayer for All Seasons.  We used the Wisdom (Terce) form from Ordinary Time: Creation.  At the end of the time of prayer, those gathered at my tab

le were rather unimpressed.  When it was mentioned that this is done as a way to provide a short form of prayer for folks, several member at my table retorted, “Right, because 15 minutes a day is too much for Jesus” and other such comments.  We found some of the language to be a bit hokey, and left the impression of “uh” that was “interesting.”

It seems to me that these liturgies are a combination of the Daily Devotions for Families and Individuals (BCP p. 136-140) and Phyllis Tickle’s The Divine Hours collection.  In regards to the Daily Devotions, the explanation to Resolution A055 states, “This new resource is intended as a complement to the Daily Offices and Daily Devotions for Individuals and Families in the 1979 BCP.”  I see nothing wrong with this hybrid of the Daily Devotions and Tickle’s The Divine Hours.  My problem, is that I see no reason why these need to be an authorized liturgy of the Church.  Lots of people publish their own devotional material and prayer books.  One example that I’m looking forward to picking up is Jenifer Gamber and Sharon Ely Pearson’s work Call on Me: A Prayer Book for Young People.  It would be easy enough for those folks who worked on the Daily Prayers for All Seasons to find a publisher like Church Publishing or Forward Movement and put out these resources.

ImageThe Daily Office has worked fine for centuries, and in today’s technological era it is so easily accessible with this app or that app and online resources.

Every liturgy the SCLM produces does not need to be an authorized liturgy. This is a great example of that.


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Put Down the Commemoration, and Step Away from the Calendar


There are two resolutions concerning Holy Women, Holy Men that the SCLM has put forward:

A051 Continue Trial Use of Holy Women, Holy Men

A052 Identify Additional Church Calendar Commemorations

My anticipated vote for both of these resolutions: NO!

While I’m tempted to leave my comments on HWHM there, I should probably explain my feelings.  My strong feelings against this work comes from my practice of using Lesser Feasts and Fasts (LFF) while practicing the daily office.  Here are some of my issues with HWHM:

1) There are too many people on the calendar.  One of the blessings of the current incarnation of our calendar (as expressed in LFF) is that there are numerous feria days on the calendar.  Feria days are free days – days with no commemorations.  These days are important because it serves, among other things, as a reminder to all of us that there is room for us in the calendar of saints – not that we have to be on the calendar of saints.

2) There is an apparent lack of criterion in putting someone on the calendar.  It didn’t seem like we had all that many requirement to begin with, but one of them was being dead for 50 years.  Resolution A052 looks to add the First Ordination of Women in The Episcopal Church.  Are they talking about the Philadelphia 11?  The first women ordained after the approval of General Convention?  I’m not sure, the explanation fails to explain The First Ordination of Women in The Episcopal Church as it does for the other 6 additional commemorations.  Besides the length of time since the person(s) to be commemorated died, it also seems that many of the folks in HWMW are there not for living particularly exemplary lives, but for being the first at something.  Just because you’re the first doesn’t mean you should be commemorated.  One example of this I remember from 2009 is Thurgood Marshall.  My undergraduate degree is in Political Science and I focused on the courts.  I enjoyed learning about Thurgood Marshall in class, but I do not want to be at a midweek Eucharist and hear my rector preaching on him.  I think in the attempt to be inclusive, the SCLM lost track of standards by which to judge folks.  I question why we have folks who are Jewish and (I believe) Atheists but don’t recognize John Henry Newman as a Cardinal.

3) Current commemorations are moved around.  I know one colleague of mine is rather upset that the saint of his birth which has been Anskar (as Feb. 3rd is the day of his death and also the day that the Eastern Orthodox, Roman Catholics, and Lutherans remember him) has been move to February 4th and has been replaced on the 3rd by the Dorchester Chaplains.  With Anskar moving to the 4th, Cornelius the Centurion has been moved to Feb. 7th.  You get the picture.

4) The Process for which this is being carried out leaves us with an all or nothing choice.  In years past when folks have been added to the calendar it has been a handful each triennium.  That allows there to be time for productive conversation on each potential commemoration, without taking over the entire convention.  There is no way there can be suitable conversation on the commemorations of HWHM within the restraints of the upcoming General Convention.  While I’m sure there are wonderful people that the SCLM is trying to add, I’d rather not have them than take this entire lot.

Let me step back a moment and say, I don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to celebrate the lives of these individuals.  I think it would be lovely to find a publisher to publish a book of these notable people.  With a prayer for each person and some information on them.  But that book shouldn’t alter the official calendar of the Church.

For further reading on this subject I strongly recommend that you check out Derek Olsen’s work over at haligweorc

Call me conservative and old fashioned but I’m happy sticking with my faithful copy of Lesser Feasts and Fast.

Peace and Blessings to you dear reader on this feria night.

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Thoughts on the SCLM – Hymnal Revision

As I’ve been preparing for General Convention, I’ve been slowly – and sometimes painfully – making my way through the Blue Book.  The Blue Book (which is salmon thing time around) is the report to the General Convention.  It includes the reports of the Committees, Commissions, Agencies, and Boards of The General Convention of the Episcopal Church.  The longest report is the report of the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music – affectionately know as the SCLM. This seems to be one of the most talked about reports to the Convention.

Hymnal Revision Study

Throughout the past triennium, the SCLM has conducted a study to see if folks want a new hymnal.  Here’s the breakdown of how Congregation Members, Clergy, Music Directors, Bishops, and Seminarians feel about Hymnal revision.

The thing to note here is that the folks in the pews don’t want this.  Another assumption that folks seems to be making is that young adults want this.  WRONG!!  Robert Hendrickson has a great post over on his blog The Curate’s Desk.  I love the quote he picked out as a reference point:

“I think there is a huge assumption made that the younger generation wants guitar- and piano-based praise and worship music. …What we want to hear in a Sunday Eucharist are the classic hymns played on organ. And occasionally we want to chant. Church is the one place where our musical taste is not based upon fad, but instead links us with a much more important, more elegant tradition. If I wanted to listen to acoustic guitar and piano, I’d pick up Dave Matthews or Ben Folds. If I wanted rap, I’d listen to Lil Wayne. …For worship, I want music that connects to me a world outside of the in and out of my daily life.”

To that I say, “AMEN!”

The Resolution that accompanies this part of the SCLM report is resolution A048 Form Congregational Song Task Force.  They want to start yet another task force to establish resources, energize and empower leadership, etc.  I think this is all well and good, but I have some reservations.  Does the SCLM need another project to work on?  They already have so much going on that I think things are starting to suffer.  They are doing too much and I think it’s time to rein them in.  I have deep respect for those on the SCLM and consider several of them colleagues and friends.  But, when you take on too much things don’t get accomplished at the level we need them to be.

Sometimes I think we get too caught up in what we are doing and forget why we are doing things.  I’m all for revision and innovation, but not for the sake of revision and innovation.  Give me a solid reason, to make these changes.  At this point, I see no solid reason for hymnal revision.

You can read the entire Hymnal Revision Feasibility Study here.


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