The Year the 1928 Book of Common Prayer Ran Out of Gas

The release of the ACNA’s new prayer book this past year doesn’t change the fact that not everyone is happy with it, even in the ACNA.  One competitor in the field–especially amongst churches that most would classify as High Church in one form or another–is the venerable 1928 Book of Common Prayer, kept in front of everyone with the help of the 1928 Prayer Book Alliance.

As mellifluous and delightful as this book is, I think we need to admit that, in one respect at least, it ran out of gas a few years ago.  Let’s start by looking at the front matter, pp. lii-liii, reproduced below.

Pages-from-bcp-1928_lii-liii

On the left is a method of finding Easter Day.  The compilers of the Prayer Book were mindful that most parishioners–to say nothing of the clergy–would not delve into the complexities of computing Easter every year.  (Today computer languages such as PHP will do the job for you, the basis of much of the Anglican Calendar Script.)  So on the right were Easter days from 1786 (just before our Constitution was ratified and the Episcopal Church was founded) to 1899, when my great-grandfather sailed Lake Michigan.

They continued the table, and added an other one to find the other Holy Days.

Pages-from-bcp-1928_liv-lv

Note carefully in this table and the last that 1800 and 1900, although divisible by four, were not leap years, but 2000 was, another unusual aspect of the beginning of this millennium.

Alas, however, all things must come to an end, and the table ends in 2013.  That’s the year that the 1928 BCP, so to speak, runs out of gas.

I doubt seriously that the compilers of the 1928 BCP saw the tumult that was to flow through the years listed on this page, much of which is documented on this site.  I also would have been amazed if you had told me when I was growing up on this that I would be working on my PhD in 2013, let alone pursuing a PhD at all!

While were on the subject of this book, let’s consider a couple of covers, at least for this site.

No matter which prayer book you’re using–and I know, Pentecostals, that you’re sneaking to Episcopal and Anglican churches to see what it’s all about–I would like to end with the closing benediction (based on 2 Cor. 13:14) from Morning Prayer:

The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost, be with us all evermore. Amen.

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