Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Liturgy and Music Blog

The Episcopal Church’s Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (SCLM) has established a new blog and is looking for your input on their current projects.

The first is major revision of "Lesser Feasts and Fasts," the official worship book which includes biographies of saints who are commemorated in the calendar of The Episcopal Church, along with the collects and scripture readings appointed for these observances. "Holy Women, Holy Men" will contain over one hundred new commemorations approved at General Convention 2009.

The second project also arises from GC 2009. Resolution C056 directs SCLM to collect and develop theological, liturgical and pastoral resources for blessing same-sex relationships. The Commission has formed several task groups to fulfill this mandate.

Please bookmark SCLM’s blog, follow their progress, and offer your responses and reflections.

The blog can be found at http://liturgyandmusic.wordpress.com/

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Statement from APLM Council on the Archbishop of Canterbury's Pentecost Letter

The Convent Station Statement on the changing ethos of the Anglican Communion
Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Council of The Associated Parishes for Liturgy and Mission (APLM), meeting in New Jersey, expresses its grave concern at the distressing news of the dismissal of the Episcopal Church´s members of Anglican international ecumenical dialogues on the basis of the Archbishop of Canterbury´s Pentecost letter. Our alarm, however, goes much deeper than the presenting issues.

It should now be clear to all that the result of the proposed “Covenant” is not only to control those Churches that ordain openly gay and lesbian persons.  Rather, the Archbishop has finally come out about the ramifications of the proposed “Covenant:” reshaping the structure of the Anglican Communion into a hierarchically-centralized Communion.

As an association historically dedicated to renewing the liturgy and mission of the Church, APLM is amazed by the Archbishop´s lack of respect for the Constitution and worship of the Episcopal Church, a duly constituted member province of the Communion.  Other member Churches should take note.

The Episcopal Church’s Constitution and Book of Common Prayer (which is itself part of the Constitution) are founded upon a baptismal theology of the Church more Orthodox than Roman and certainly more Anglican than the vision of the Church which seems to guide the Archbishop.  For we understand ourselves as a community of the baptized, governing ourselves by the consent of the governed not by the will of any hierarch. The punitive actions referenced are more to be expected from a Church with unitary hierarchical control, such as the Church of Rome.

Additionally we lament this disregard for the tradition of English law, penalizing persons who are not the perpetrators of the alleged offense and scapegoating the innocent.  The dismissal has also betrayed our shared tradition of equal protection under the law by targeting the Episcopal Church first, without punishing simultaneously those member Churches of the Communion which have failed to engage in the promised listening process and have further fractured the Communion. 

We applaud the response of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church and join her in decrying this latest assault upon its polity and the Baptismal theology of the Book of Common Prayer.

Convent Station, NJ, June 13 2010

Saturday, June 12, 2010

An Update from Council

Your APLM Council's annual meeting continues to be rich and productive. On Friday, we heard from a number of doctoral students from Drew and GTS. Their research demonstrated APLM's important contribution to liturgical renewal in the past. Their presentations also added to our current conversation and work as an organization. Some of their material will appear as online videos or articles in our online journal, OPEN. When these are posted, you will be notified where to find them.

We also heard presentations from Melissa Hartley and John Hill addressing the theological and ecclesiological issues that must be addressed in considering the practice of "Open Communion." John's brief talk will be posted online and his article is planned for a future issue of Liturgy Canada. We will post this, too, when a final copy is available.

Today, Council is outlining a schedule of meetings and conferences leading to, and following up on the upcoming meeting of General Convention (TEC, 2012) and General Synod (Anglican Church of Canada, 2013).

We appreciate your continued interest, and your emails, postings, and other forms of feedback.

Please check your APLM group page and respond to the question posted about Open Communion.

Many thanks,

Friday, June 11, 2010

Robust Baptismal Theology

When the recent economic crisis struck North America, having an extra impact on the already struggling people of Allentown, The Rev Dr. Patrick Malloy and the congregation of Grace Church decided to renovate their building’s liturgical space. This was not the action of a parish out of touch with the surrounding community. Rather, it flowed from Grace’s normal pattern of worship doing justice doing worship.

Grace, AllentownAs APLM Council devoted its first day of the 2010 meeting to exploring the implications of a robust baptismal theology in worship and in the overall Missional life of the church, Patrick Malloy, Professor of Liturgics at General Theological Seminary in New York, spoke from his rich experience as Rector of Grace Church, Allentown, PA. Throughout the afternoon session, he offered a series of talks, video and slideshow presentations, and times of discussion which demonstrated how liturgy can do and spark justice.

For a number of years, Grace has navigated the treacherous waters of economic downturn and social instability which have been characteristic of Allentown since long before the recent crisis. At one time on the verge of closing, the congregation decided not to follow in the footsteps of other churches and flee the core of the city. Instead, it found renewed vitality by engaging in ministry in/with/to the area in which its building stood. Over time, this congregation of only 55 people has developed an active food bank, a Montessori school, an AIDS services center, an employment agency, free legal counseling service, a rehab program for young offenders and a shelter for chronically homeless people.

What is telling is that all of this missional activity fuels and is fueled by the liturgical life of the church. As one member of the congregation put the matter, “In liturgy, we don’t just sit around here and watch somebody do something; we do it. So during the week we do it, too.” It’s not so much the words of the liturgy that form the parish, then, but enacted rites. The Christian life is not something passive; it’s about doing something. The congregation finds that there is no need to import texts focused on an economic-justice agenda to form people in and for God’s Reign. Instead, Grace has discovered that the 1979 Prayer Book liturgy has the capacity to “sustain and compel a Church as it confronts an inequitable economy…the layering upon them of justice-themed texts from outside the BCP tradition is, at best, unnecessary and, at worst, a distraction from the real business of enacting in ritual form life in God’s Reign.”

One key element in all of this was the liturgical renovation of the church building. Not only has this proved formative to the congregation through liturgical enactment, it has also provided purpose, economic stimulus and a show of stability to the surrounding area.

APLM plans to post further reflections and video clips of Patrick’s inspiring and enlightening presentation on our website and Facebook pages over the coming weeks and months. Please stay tuned…

We also encourage you to visit Grace Church’s website: www.graceallentown.org

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Council Meeting

Your APLM Council meets this week, June 9-13, at Convent Station, NJ. The bulk of our work will focus on the recent Baptismal Consultation held in Shreveport, LA, and administered by APLM. We are excited about the excellent work accomplished by that gathering and look forward to building on its efforts.

During our time together this week, in addition to hearing from Consultation participants and following up on its reports and recommendations, Council will welcome a number of speakers.

Patrick Malloy of General Theological Seminary (GTS) will draw on his experience in Allentown, PA as he leads Council's ongoing reflection on the dynamic relationship that exists between vital sacramental worship and the baptismal call to do justice.

John Hill will speak to us on the relation of Baptism and Eucharist, the grammar of the sacraments and our changing experience of these celebrations.

Doctoral students from GTS and Drew University will share their research with us on topics such as the recent history of Holy Week in the Episcopal Church, the development and current state of catechumenal practice in the church, changing perspectives and patterns of funeral practice over the last 100 years, and the ongoing question of “Open Table" and the sharing in Communion by those who are not baptized.

And, as stated above, participants in the recent Baptismal Consultation will make presentations and lead us in discussion as we set about our work of supporting and following up on their efforts in anticipation of General Convention 2012.

Most of these talks will be recorded for later posting on web and Facebook pages.

You will receive regular updates on these sessions and other items of our Council agenda. We invite you to post comments on the listserv or on our Facebook group page. We ask for your prayers during the coming days.


Jay Koyle,