Dick Hunt's Blog

January 7, 2013

The Book of Common Prayer as a Teaching Guide.

Filed under: Current — Tags: — Dick Hunt's Blog @ 2:37 pm

The Book of Common Prayer as a Teaching Guide.
by Dick Hunt, January 7th, 2013.

When I began my Ministry in my first Parish in Alberta in May, 1957, The Women’s Auxilliary, then called the “W.A.” asked me to lead them in a regular study at each meeting. I was happy to do so and asked what they would like to study. They said they would leave that to me. The first meeting I attended, I placed two stacks of books on a table. One stack was Bibles, King James Version. The second was the Book of Common Prayer. I then asked them to choose. They firmly said that Bible Study was for the Baptists. I said, ‘that leaves the Prayer Book. Many of them said they had used the Prayer Book for years and knew all about it. But since the choice was still mine, I said, “then it is the Prayer Book”, and passed them out.

With some reluctance, including sighs, they received the Books. I asked them to open them at “The Contents of this Book”, Page v, Roman Numerals. That is when they began to see what a rich Book it is and we began to make our way through it. We moved from section to section, as I tried to explain to their satisfaction the flow of praise, prayer, confession and Biblical content from the originator of the Book we now have for our guidance and use, along with approximately 77 Million Anglicans throughout the world. It has been known as “The Bible arranged for Public Worship” actually made up of 80% contents straight from the Bible. The prime mover was Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, who for his efforts was burned on the Cross by order of Mary Queen of Scots. His memory lives on and the Prayer Book is not yet dead.
A few sessions on in the Study with the ladies, they were becoming more and more eager to continue and were gripped at the truths of the Gospel and the contents of the services which go to make up the Book. They were talking up the studies and in due course the younger Women of the Parish asked me to lead them in the same kind of study, which I was happy to do. The Parish came alive as a result and I was pleased to find that the Confirmation Classes for both Youth and Adults, men and women were responding strongly. I made full use of the Catechism and in doing so was recalling my own, too brief and sketchy Confirmation instruction at the age of 14. One of the tragedies of the Church over the ages is that the policy of teaching and worship has become far too trendy and sterile in the attempt to attract new people and ‘pay the bills’. The result has been that there is little to choose between much that passes for Christian worship and the fellowship of various clubs in the average Community.

There is some renewed interest in restoring the Catechism to regular use for all ages in the Anglican and some other Churches. I strongly approve! At our Annual Vestry Meeting in St. John’s last year, I offered to teach anyone in the Parish using the Catechism to become more fully aware of the meaning of being a Christian. I am still available. It appears to me very likely that deep teaching before Confirmation has been neglected. The result is that there are many adults in the Churches who are unable to share their faith in the effort to bring people to Conversion and New Birth and the deep commitment which alone will restore the vibrancy and zeal which will attract new members. Evangelism is not for specialists alone, but for every Baptized Member of The Church. We are all called to Minister the Faith as we serve.

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