SCLM Begins Work Collecting Liturgical Resources that Speak to Issues of Racial Injustice and Reconciliation

In response to Resolution A182, the SCLM is beginning the process of gathering liturgical resources to be suitable for inclusion for the prayers of the people that speak to issues of racial injustice and reconciliation.

The SCLM envisions this as a Church-wide project. We are eager to learn about the ways the Church has already been praying about racial reconciliation and hope to share online various prayers that can be used in The Prayers of the People as well as other resources that can help all of us continue to live into the mission of the church by being apart of Christ’s work of Reconciliation in the world.

We know there are many excellent prayers, liturgies, new music, and related resources already in local use. We would like to begin to collect these resources and connect with the people who developed them.

If you are aware of any prayers, liturgies, pieces of music, or other resources related to worship that have been used or developed within your local context that speak to racial reconciliation, please send these to us by contacting: Athena Hahn at athenahahn@hotmail.com by December 1st, 2016.

We also welcome you to contact us if you know of people in your diocese or parish who have written or are working on such materials, please send us their contact information and encourage them to share their work with us.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns in regards to this work on the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music I invite you to contact the chair of Racial Reconciliation and Justice, Christopher Decatur at cdecatur@trinitycleveland.org.

A Note Regarding the Episcopal Church’s Calendar of Commemorations

Since the 2015 General Convention the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music has received several requests for clarification concerning the calendar of commemorations. The confusion stems from the convention’s decision regarding A Great Cloud of Witnesses, which the commission had proposed as a new and expanded volume of optional commemorations of significant figures in the history of our church.

The commission intended A Great Cloud of Witnesses to replace Holy Women, Holy Men, the volume of optional commemorations that was authorized for trial use in 2009. The convention, however, declined to authorize A Great Cloud of Witnesses as an official liturgical resource, while at the same time allowing the authorization of Holy Women, Holy Men to lapse.

As a result of these actions, the volume Lesser Feasts and Fasts, last published in 2006, remains the Episcopal Church’s official calendar of optional commemorations, but without the trial-use commemorations that appear in brackets in the Calendar section in the 2006 edition.

However, in Resolution A056  the convention chose to make A Great Cloud of Witnesses “available” for “devotional or catechetical use, or use in public worship.” The volume, which will be available from Church Publishing in September, includes all of the commemorations in Holy Women, Holy Men, although some entries have been revised. A Great Cloud of Witnesses also includes commemorations added to the calendar at the 2015 General Convention.

In addition, local parishes retain significant discretion regarding optional commemorations. The Guidelines and Procedures for Continuing Alteration of the Calendar in the Episcopal Church (pages 491-493 in Lesser Feasts and Fasts), specify, “it should normatively be the case that significant commemoration of a particular person already exists at the local and regional levels before that person is included the Calendar of the Episcopal Church as a whole.” Therefore, commemorations made available in Holy Women, Holy Men and A Great Cloud of Witnesses may be observed by local parishes, just as commemorations arising from the experiences of particular communities may also be observed.

During this triennium you can contact the commission via email at sclminformation@gmail.com. Please direct questions about making additions to the calendar of commemorations to 

Bishops Accept “Statement of Clarification” about Marriage

The 78th General Convention approved two marriage liturgies for trial use, along with a revision of the marriage canon, allowing same-sex couples to be married in The Episcopal Church beginning on First Sunday of Advent 2015, when both resolutions take effect.

Episcopal News Service and the House of Deputies News carried the story.

The trial-use marriage services are to be used “under the direction and with the permission of the diocesan bishop.” While bishops can decide not to authorize use of the liturgy in their diocese, all bishops exercising ecclesiastical authority must “make provision for all couples asking to be married in this Church to have access to these liturgies.”

On July 2, 2015, the House of Bishops accepted the following “Statement of Clarification Regarding Marriage and Blessing Liturgies in The Episcopal Church”:

“The 78th General Convention (2015) authorized three liturgies for use beginning Advent I 2015.

1. ‘The Witnessing and Blessing of a Life-long Covenant,’ authorized for use under the direction and with the permission of the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority. This liturgy is only intended for use with same-sex couples in jurisdictions where same-sex marriage is not legal.
2. ‘The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage,’ authorized for trial use (per Article X of the Constitution and Canon II.3.6) under the direction and with the permission of the Diocesan Bishop. This liturgy is intended for use by all couples asking to be married in this church.
3. ‘The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2,’ authorized for trial use (per Article X of the Constitution and Canon II.3.6) under the direction and with the permission of the Diocesan Bishop. This liturgy is intended for use by all couples asking to be married in this church.

“In addition, Resolution A054 states that ‘Bishops exercising ecclesiastical authority or, where appropriate, ecclesiastical supervision will make provision for all couples asking to be married in this Church to have access to these liturgies.’ How provision is made for this is left to the discretion of the Bishop. Suggestions mentioned for dioceses where the bishop does not grant permission for the trial use of these liturgies include making arrangements with a neighboring diocese for clergy to officiate using these liturgies in the neighboring diocese, and/or inviting clergy from another diocese to officiate in the diocese using these liturgies either in church buildings or other venues. Other ways in which provision is made might be shared among the bishops.

“Prior to Advent I 2015, ‘The Witnessing and Blessing of a Life-long Covenant,’ authorized for provisional use by the 77th General Convention (Resolution A049, 2012) under the direction and subject to the permission of the bishop exercising ecclesiastical authority remains in force, along with the other provisions of A049, including that:

1. ‘Bishops, particularly those is dioceses within civil jurisdictions where same-sex marriage, civil unions, or domestic partnerships are legal, may provide generous pastoral response to meet the needs of members of this church.’ The Supreme Court expanded the number of dioceses in which this is now the case.
2. ‘Bishops may authorize adaptation of these materials to meet the needs of this church.’

“This is understood to mean that the liturgy authorized in 2012 for provisional use is still in effect until replaced by those authorized for use beginning Advent I, 2015, and that bishops may adapt that liturgy to meet the needs of this church, including adapting them for marriage, as many bishops have done during the past triennium. Some may wonder if the 2015 version ‘The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage’ can be considered an adaptation for marriage of the 2012 liturgy, and it would seem that the answer is yes. However, the 2015 liturgy ‘The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2′ would not be, since it is based on the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and not ‘The Witnessing and Blessing of a Life-long Covenant’ as authorized in 2012.

“The 1979 Book of Common Prayer ‘The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage,’ along with ‘The Blessing of a Civil Marriage‘ and ‘An Order for Marriage‘ from the 1979 Book of Common Prayer remain liturgies for use with different-sex couples.’The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2‘ as authorized for trial use by the 78th General Convention is available for use by all couples beginning Advent I, 2015.

“The House of Bishops received this document from Bishop Ely with appreciation and referred it to the members of the House of Bishops individually to be used by them in their respective dioceses with the provision that it may be used in its present form or modified as each determines is in the best pastoral interest of his or her diocese.”

Informe de Aclaración Concerniente al Matrimonio y las Liturgias para la Bendición en la Iglesia Episcopal

2 de julio de 2015

La 78.ª Convención General (2015) autorizó tres liturgias que se usarán a partir del Adviento I de 2015.

  1. “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” (Testimonio y bendición de un pacto de por vida) autorizado para usarse bajo la dirección y con el permiso del obispo que ejerce la autoridad eclesiástica. Esta liturgia está prevista para usarse solamente con parejas del mismo sexo en jurisdicciones donde el matrimonio entre personas del mismo sexo no es legal.
  2. “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage” (El testimonio y la bendición de un matrimonio) autorizada para usarse como ensayo (de conformidad con el artículo X de la Constitución y el Canon II.3.6.) bajo la dirección y con el permiso del Obispo Diocesano. Esta liturgia está prevista para usarse con todas las parejas que pidan casarse en esta iglesia.
  3. “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2” (La celebración y bendición de un matrimonio 2) autorizada para usarse como ensayo (de conformidad con el artículo X de la Constitución y el Canon II.3.6.) bajo la dirección y con el permiso del Obispo Diocesano. Esta liturgia está prevista para usarse con todas las parejas que pidan casarse en esta iglesia.

Además, la Resolución A054 dispone que “todos los obispos que ejerzan su autoridad eclesiástica o, cuando corresponda, su supervisión eclesiástica, dispondrán que todas las parejas que pidan casarse en esta Iglesia tengan acceso a estas liturgias”. Queda a discreción del Obispo la manera en que se ejecutará esta disposición. Entre las sugerencias que se han hecho sobre las diócesis en las que el obispo no otorgue permiso para el uso de ensayo de estas liturgias se incluye: hacer arreglos con una diócesis vecina para que los clérigos oficien estas liturgias en la diócesis vecina, y/o invitar a clérigos de otra diócesis para que oficien con estas liturgias ya sea en espacios religiosos o en otros recintos. Los obispos pueden intercambiar ideas de otras maneras en que pueda ejecutarse esta disposición.

Antes del Adviento I de 2015, The Witnessing and Blessing of a Lifelong Covenant” (Testimonio y bendición de un pacto de por vida), autorizada para uso provisional por la 77.ª Convención General (Resolución A049, 2012) bajo la dirección y sujeta al permiso del obispo que ejerza la autoridad eclesiástica permanece vigente, así como las demás disposiciones de la A049, lo que incluye:

  1. “Los obispos, en particular los que se encuentran en diócesis dentro de jurisdicciones civiles en las que el matrimonio, unión civil o arreglo doméstico entre personas del mismo sexo es lícito, que ofrezcan una respuesta pastoral abundante para satisfacer las necesidades de los miembros de esta Iglesia.” La Corte Suprema amplió la cantidad de diócesis en las que ahora esto aplica.
  2. “Los obispos pueden autorizar la adaptación de estos materiales para satisfacer las necesidades de esta iglesia.”

Se entiende que esto implica que la liturgia autorizada en 2012 para uso provisional sigue vigente hasta que sea reemplazada por las nuevas liturgias autorizadas para su uso a partir del Adviento I de 2015, y que los obispos pueden adaptar dicha liturgia para satisfacer las necesidades de esta iglesia, lo que abarca adaptarlas para el matrimonio, tal como lo han hecho muchos obispos en el último trienio. Algunos se han preguntado si la versión de 2015 de “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Marriage” (El testimonio y la bendición de un matrimonio)puede considerarse como una adaptación para el matrimonio de la liturgia de 2012, y todo parece indicar que en efecto sería así. Sin embargo, la liturgia de 2015 “The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2” (La celebración y la bendición de un matrimonio 2) no lo sería, puesto que está basada en el Libro de Oración Común 1979 y no en “The Witnessing and Blessing of a Life-long Covenant” (Testimonio y bendición de un pacto de por vida) como fue autorizada en 2012.

“The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage” (La celebración y la bendición de un matrimonio) del Libro de Oración Común de 1979, junto con “The Blessing of a Civil Marriage” (La bendición de un matrimonio civil) y “An Order for Marriage” (Una orden de matrimonio) del Libro de Oración Común de 1979 siguen siendo las liturgias que deben usarse con parejas de sexo diferente.“The Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage 2” (La Celebración y la Bendición de un Matrimonio 2), según quedó autorizada para uso de ensayo por la 78.ª Convención General se puede usar con todas las parejas a partir del Adviento I de 2015.

*La Cámara de Obispos recibió este documento de la Obispo Ely con aprecio y lo remitió a los miembros de la Cámara de Obispos individualmente para que lo usen en sus respectivas diócesis con la disposición de que lo usen en su forma actual o lo modifiquen según lo consideren necesario en aras del interés pastoral de su diócesis.

Advancing Inter-Religious Relations

As we approach the Jewish feast of Passover, which begins this year on the evening of April 3, the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music encourages congregations to remember our Jewish sisters and brothers in prayer.

Certain hymns and passages from the New Testament can mislead Christians into believing that the Church has replaced Judaism. Islam, on the other hand, may arouse fear. These responses are not in line with church teaching.

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, following the urging of Paul that “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings should be made for everyone” (1 Timothy 2.1), offers the following prayers for our Jewish and Muslim sisters and brothers, who also call on the God of Abraham as their hope and salvation. These collects may be included in the Prayers of the People.

A collect for each Jewish and Islamic holy day is provided below in two separate lists. As in many ancient faith traditions, the Jewish and Islamic faiths observe their holy days according to the lunar calendar. Due to the complexity of calculating where these days from the lunar calendar fall in our common solar calendar, a web-link has been provided to help parishes or individuals using these collects find the appropriate day for using these collects in any given year. Along with each collect, a brief explanation has been provided, which may be read prior to the reading of the collect.

You can download the file here: Inter-faith Prayers

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Prayers for Islamic holy days

To find when these holy days fall within the year: http://www.moonsighting.com/important.html

Muslims celebrate the Birthday of the Prophet Muhammad.

Prayer

O God, whose glory the speechless skies proclaim and whose wisdom we discern in the words of the prophets, bless all faithful Muslims as they celebrate the birth of Muhammad. Grant us grace so to hear your voice at all times and in all places and teach us to follow its promptings. Amen.

In Ramadan, Muslims take on the discipline of fasting for a month.

Prayer

O God of abundance, bless those who keep the fast of Ramadan and all holy fasts that they may learn to put their trust in your abundant mercy and providence. Amen.

In Laylat al-Qadr, the Night of Power, Muslims commemorate the night in which the Qur’an was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

Eid Al Fitr, the end of Ramadan, marks the end of month-long fast, Muslims, therefore, thank God for sustaining them through the season of self-denial.

Prayer

Eternal God, who through the mouth of prophets has revealed wisdom to all peoples, we praise you for your many revelations. May those who celebrate the giving of sacred writings, who observe the fasts and offer you their prayers, be filled with your wisdom and peace. Amen.

Eid Al Adha, also known as the Feast of Sacrifice, commemorates Ibrahim’s (that is, Abraham’s) willingness to sacrifice his son to God. This festival also marks the end of the Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca.

Prayer

Faithful God, in whose providence Abraham trusted even beyond his own understanding, may all who celebrate his faithfulness come to know your saving mercy. Amen.

As Muslims welcome the New Year of their calendar they also commemorate the migration of Mohammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina.

Prayer

O Almighty God, by whose will the world turns and seasons and years come in their time, as Muslims welcome the New Year and remember the journey of the faithful to Medina, make us all mindful that you do not fail to provide for those whom you call. Amen.

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Prayers for Jewish holy days

To find when these holy days fall within the year: http://www.hebcal.com/holidays/

In the festival of Purim, Jews commemorate their salvation from a Persian plot “to destroy, kill and annihilate all the Jews, young and old, infants and women, in a single day” (Esther 3:13).

Prayer  

O God, who rescued your people from the hand of the Persians, bless this holy festival of Purim and all who observe it. Teach us to trust in your faithfulness, for you do not forget those who put their trust in you. Amen.

In the eight-day festival of Passover, the emancipation of the Israelites from slavery in ancient Egypt is celebrated.

Prayer

Gracious God, fill with your joy and hope those who keep the feast of Passover. May all who turn to you for liberation likewise show forth your redeeming love. Amen.

Every year on the holiday of Shavuot, which means “oaths,” Jews commemorate God’s gift of the Torah and renew their acceptance of God’s teaching. On this day God swore eternal devotion to them, and they in turn pledged everlasting loyalty.

Prayer

Ever-faithful God, we bless your holy name for the Prophet Moses, through whom the Law was given. Free, defend, and nurture those who trust in your everlasting covenant; make them ever faithful to your commandments. Amen.

The festival of Rosh Hashanah, meaning, “Head of the Year,” celebrates the creation of Adam and Eve and the special relationship between God and humanity.

Prayer

O God of all creation, this festival of Rosh Hashanah, when Jews lift up their praise to you for the gift of the New Year. May all creation come to glorify you, our creator and sustainer. Amen.

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the Jewish year; it is the Day of Atonement, for as it says in Leviticus, “For on this day He will forgive you, to purify you, that you be cleansed from all your sins before God” (Leviticus 16:30).

Prayer

God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, hear the prayers of your people who come before you in fasting and repentance. May their offerings this Day of Atonement be pleasing in your sight. Instill in our hearts true repentance and amendment of life that we, too, may show forth your saving love. Amen.

The eight-day festival of Chanukah celebrates the triumph of light over darkness. It commemorates the re-dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem after a group of Jewish warriors defeated the occupying Greek armies.

Prayer

Bless those, O God, who keep this Festival of Lights. May all who live by faith show forth your light in the world and, by your grace, triumph over sin and darkness. Amen.

SCLM Report to General Convention Published

The commission’s report to the 2015 General Convention is now published online, on the General Convention website. Still to come are the appendices, which include a proposed revision and expansion of Liturgical Resources 1, the resources for blessing same-sex relationships that the 2012 General Convention approved; a proposed new resource for commemorations, replacing Holy Women, Holy Men; and  liturgical materials for honoring God in creation.