Why is the Prayer Book Being Revised?
By Cynthia Botha, Publishing Secretary
Liturgies do not only offer comfort, they also serve to challenge our present context, our assumptions and presuppositions about the world, about others, God and ourselves, as we look forward to Christ’s coming again. Our understanding of God, ourselves and the world change, and with it the way we express ourselves.
Do we have a Prayer Book today which is truly African in form and context? Does it represent the local Southern African situation? To be honest, one would say no. An Anglican Prayer Book, 1989 has been with us more than 25 years now and one may ask – does it really bear witness to the African context? In some areas it is more successful than others.
The process to revise APB 1989 was first proposed by the Synod of Bishops in 2012. The Bishops called for a revision that would deal with the masculine and patriarchal nature of the text, in particular with the masculine pronouns for God and for people that are used throughout APB 1989.
This proposal was taken to Provincial Standing Committee, who amended the proposal to include a thoroughgoing revision of the whole book in order to make it more relevant to and expressive of our Southern African context. This task was given to the ACSA Liturgical Committee. Together with a Prayer Book Revision sub-committee, the process of revision has started.
The first publication in the series of revisions is titled Celebrating Sunday with a sub-title Under Southern Skies in an African Voice and the idea of producing liturgy that is African in the southern hemisphere will govern the process going forward. Who we are and what we are in this Province of the Anglican Communion is important.
The whole revision project is expected to take about 10 years or more to complete.
See Provincial Notices on this website for regular updates on the revision of the Prayer Book