Below is a list of some recommended resources for planning and use in liturgies for Anglican liturgy, as well as some other great historical references that may be helpful in understanding Anglican liturgical practices.  Since the release of the 2019 Book of Common Prayer, please understand that most of these books were made to compliment older Books of Common Prayer and others have not yet been developed for the 2019. 

The Big Five

These five books are all you need to plan virtually every liturgical event in a liturgical year.

#1 The Bible. Self explanatory.  It should be noted that from a symbolic and liturgical perspective, reading directly from a Bible or a liturgical book (such as a Gospel book, mentioned below) is much better than from a piece of paper or bulletin.  There are some large-print ESV Bibles that can be used, but there has yet to be any dedicated pulpit/lectern ESV Bibles (esp. with Apocrypha) developed. If needed, even printing out a verse an taping in large Bible still gives the appearance of actually reading directly from one.

#2 The Book of Common Prayer (BCP). As an Anglican principle, Books of Common Prayer generally do not prescribe exactly what vestments to wear, ritual to perform, liturgical colors, church decoration, etc. (though in some cases there are clear instruction). One must rely on knowledge of both historical use and local custom. The books listed below will be helpful. Nonetheless Clergy and laity should seek to abide by the rubrics (instructions) of the Prayer Book, which do provide much latitude. There are several version of the Prayer Book. The historic foundation for most Anglicans is the 1662. For ACNA the 2019, but also the former 1928 and 1979.

#3 The Hymnal. There are various Hymnals that are commended for use by Anglicans and were created to align with certain BCP versions. They are grouped by liturgical season and theme, making it much easier to select.  They also include service music settings. The 1982 Hymnal was made for the 1979 BCP and is likely the most widely used in the ACNA.  Though the 1982 altered many historic hymns to be more inclusive (Good Christian Men Rejoice to Good Christian Friends Rejoice), which many find too problematic to use.   The 1982 service music largely aligns with the text of the 2019 BCP.  However, the 1982 service music section was confusingly grouped by song (e.g. all the  Glorias together),  versus the older method (such as in the 1928 and 2017) of grouping together by setting and composer as they were meant to be used.  For example, most composers wrote a Kyrie, Gloria, and Sanctus that musically sound similar that are meant to be sung at the same service; in most hymnals they would all be listed together as a single “Communion Service” (or “Mass Setting”).   Its predessor, the 1940 is a great Hymnal with more traditional lyrics. However it leaves out some great 1982 editions such as various Negro spirituals (Where you there when they crucified my Lord?) and modern language service music. Further, it it does not contain music for Compline or Midday Prayer (since those were added to the BCP in 1979). The Reformed Episcopal Church (part of the ACNA) has produced a hymnal in 2017, Book of Common Praise and revised it as Magnifiy the Lord to accommodate the 2019 BCP. It includes some of the best of the 1940 and 1982, returns to traditional language, and has updated service music.

#4 Book of Occasional Services (BOC). This was developed by the Episcopal Church for services not in the 1979 Prayer Book.  It is still commonly used by the ACNA for services such as Lessons and Carols, House Blessings, Seating of a Bishop, and Reaffirmation of Ordination Vows.   It is recommended to use the 2003 version, not the 2018 as it added some more progressive services and language.   The ACNA plans to create their own in the future.

#5 Lesser Feasts and Fasts (LFF).  Rather than having unique prayers and lessons for each person on Commemoration Days (Black Letter Days) and fast days, the 2019 BCP prescribes use of “common” proper collects and lessons (eg for a Martyr, Pastor, Ecumenist, etc.) which can be found in the lectionary and collects. Biographies can be found online or in various resource books. However, many continue to use the unique prayers and biographies in the The Episcopal Church Lesser Feasts and Fasts. There are several versions: 1963, 1973, 1980, 1988, 1991, 1994, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2006. The dates and people will not line up exactly with the ACNA calendar, but enough to be regularly helpful. It is recommended to use the 2000 or older version, since many questionable additions were made in the later versions.  Used copies can be found on Ebay or used book stores.

Additional Books For Use During The Liturgy

These books are not necessary, but both traditional and helpful for use within the liturgy.

1979 Altar Book

#1 The Altar Book (aka Missal). This book is the Eucharistic portions of the Book of Common Prayer arranged for use by the celebrant at the Altar during a Eucharist.  It has additional instructions and pointed chant for sung services.  It is a little bit less user friendly than simply printing out a bulletin to put in a binder, as many do now. But over time it saves time, paper, and necessity to always custom create a service leaflet (especially helpful for smaller week-day services). It is also is designed for much simpler use (simpler and less page turns) than use of a standard BCP. Note that there will be no liturgies in these books that is not meant to be said from the Altar, such as Baptism or the Daily Office. TEC 1979 ACNA 2019 (online only, print version coming soon).

2019 Gospel Book

#2 The Gospel Book– This contains all the Gospel readings for Sunday and Holy Days by the liturgical calendar day.  This is particularly designed to process the Gospel into the Nave or to be read from in front of the altar.  This is much more seemly than reading from a print out and much easier than trying to find a passage and read from a large Bible.  TEC 1979 (NRSV- Revised Common Lectionary) ACNA 2019 (ESV) (online only, print version coming soon). Note: The 2019 will be designed to fit brass book covers (such as from Almy) designed for the 1979 books, but it will also come with a nice front cover as well as decorative pages.

Additional Planning Resources

Ashby Ordo Kalendar

#1 Liturgical Calendar. These annual calendars are created with the appropriate holy days, propers, liturgical colors, and take into account moveable feasts days.  It will make planning so much easier.  It will be the best resources for liturgical colors, since the Prayer Book does not stipulate. There versions for different BCPs. Some ACNA versions can be found with Ashby and an online version here.

#2 Hymnal Accompaniment Version. Many hymnals come with accompaniment versions that are made for organists and music directors. They are also have helpful extra tools for clergy. The 1982 has a two-binder version that consists of all the hymns of the 1982 Hymnal, plus hundreds of extra service music settings.  Its music is geared for an organist, but some hymns have guitar chords as well.  The best part for the non-musician is the appendices in the service music binder that aides in planning, such as recommended hymns for certain occasions and a list of scripture references in the hymns.  These are not available in the pew edition of the hymnal.  The REC has published accompanist editions for both of their hymnals.

#3 Psalters. There are many sources for sung Psalm settings.  There are four main styles of Psalm singing: Plainsong/Gregorian (single melodic line, easier for congregations); Anglican Chant (four-part, ideal for trained choirs); Responsitorial (choir or cantor with sung congregational response, a popular Roman Catholic custom); and paraphrased hymns or contemporary songs based on the Psalms. There are not many resources for the 2019 Psalter yet, but the ACNA Music site is helpful. Since it was was intentionally designed similar to the Coverdale version from the 1662 BCP, music written for the 1662 can be easily modified for the 2019. There are also many resources for the 1979 BCP Psalter available on the internet and in print.

#4 A Priests Handbook: The Ceremonies of the Church by Dennis Michno. This was created to primarily compliment the 1979 Book of Common Prayer, but it generally will translate well to the 2019.  It gives good instruction on a broad spectrum of churchmanship use of vestments, ceremony, ritual, etc. It attempts to follow historic Anglican custom across all churchmanship spectrums, while recognizing more modern American use and practice. It is available in print and on e-reader.

Percy Dearmer in outdoor dress. | Anglican, Catholic orders, Catholic  christian
The Rev Percy Dearmer

#5 The Parson’s Handbook, by Percy Dearmer. This is the gold standard for Anglican liturgist, many who might call themselves “Dearmerites”.  It is written in the early 20th Century in England, so without some historical context some of the context would be lost on the modern American reader.  However, Dearmer was arguably the biggest influencer on Anglican liturgy in the 20th Century.  His goal was to show the beauty and breadth of the English Prayer Book tradition (The “English Use”), and believed clergy should stay within the bounds of the English tradition without following post-reformation developments of the Roman Catholic Church (i.e. “Western Use”). It can be found online or in print.

#6 Commentary on the American Prayer Book, by Marion Hatchett. Written for the 1979, this extremely detailed page-by-page commentary on the history and composition of the liturgy, collects, and rubrics of the 1979 BCP can be very useful in other versions of the BCP as well.

#7 Ornaments of the Minister, by Percy Dearmer. Another great Dearmer publication. It explains more history of design and use for different vestments, including ones rarely used today or discussed in modern books such as the academic gown. It can be found online for free, or in print.

#8 The Alcuin Club. This early 20th Century society, which included Percy Dearmer, produced dozens of very detailed histories, manuals, and editorials on all aspects of the liturgy. Most are out of print. Some can be found on Ebay. Some of it of it is online here. A Directory of Ceremonial is a great resource.

Categories: LiturgyMusic


Leave a Reply