From the history of ISSUES: The First BCP

  September 20, 1976, Minneapolis

We celebrated the passage on first reading of the draft BCP.  At a theological level, the shift of emphasis contained in the book is more radical (i.e. goes more to the root of the matter) than any call to people the barricades.  Those who complain that the book downgrades the sense of individual sin which marked earlier Anglican books fail to consider how guilty this generation is and how guilty it feels.  The book centers on the Resurrection, the ground and means of our Christian hope.  In the community of that hope, individually and as a body, Christians find the freedom to be.  What has caused many to back off from the social activism of the ‘60’s is not less concern for the misery of mankind, but the emptiness in themselves. Adoption of new liturgical texts will no more guarantee lively Christian community and renewed faith than GCSP achieved faithfulness in the social realm.

Both, however, may be taken as signs of the Spirit in the renewal of the Episcopal Church. The juxtaposition on the same day of an appeal to conscience and the adoption of a new liturgy is worth nothing.  As the appeal says, “the Church’s institutional reality and social witness and personal piety are indivisible in the Gospel.”  A community which lives in the hope of the Resurrection and celebrates that fact in its corporate liturgical life is one which can speak with power to the individual human heart… and to the misery of the world.


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