The Episcopal Church is the representative of the Anglican Communion in the United States and several other countries. It has had its own Book of Common Prayer since the American Revolution. The most current American edition is the 1979 Edition. There have been four previous editions of the Episcopal Church's Book of Common Prayer, three of which were adopted and one edition which was not adopted (1786 [not adopted], 1789, 1892, and 1928). Prior to the American Revolution, the Episcopal Church was part of The Church of England, where the Book of Common Prayer was first introduced in the 16th century. Source: http://justus.anglican.org, 03/31/2012.
We have described each section in short form below for those who are new to our faith, members who are renewing their faith, visitors, and other guests. As a matter of reference, if you are away from home and have access to a computer or smart phone/tablet, the on-line version of The Book of Common Prayer is found at www.bcponline.org. If you would like to look up the Daily or Weekly Office Lectionaries or view the Church Calendar with clickable references, go to: http://satucket.com/lection/. We hope you find these resources helpful in your spiritual journey.
The Daily Office Section
This section of our prayer book contains morning and evening prayers, Compline, and daily devotions. The Compline was merged with Vespers to form Evening Prayer and represents the prayers of peace and contemplation practiced in the evening. If you would like to view the Calendar of Holy Days and the Weekly or Daily Lectionary, with references on-line, go to: http://satucket.com/lectionary/.
The Great Litany
A litany is a form of prayer (worship) commonly used in services and processions. It generally consists of a number of petitions also known as supplications. The Great Litany also often incorporates The Lord's Prayer and a Collect in addition to the supplications and petitions. The Litany is often sung or said, kneeling or standing, during the Season of Lent.
The Collects: Traditional and Contemporary
A Collect is both a liturgical action and a short, general prayer. In contemporary usage, a collect corresponds to an opening prayer that is sung or recited by the celebrant and follows the invocation "Let us pray" that occurs towards the beginning of the service. Certain collects are ascribed to holy days, seasons of the year, festivals of saints, and various occasions throughout the Church Year. The Traditional Collects are most commonly used in Rite I Services while the Contemporary Collects are used in Rite II Services.
Proper Liturgies for Special Days
These are the liturgies for Ash Wednesday, Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, Holy Saturday and the Great Vigil of Easter.
Holy Baptism & Holy Eucharist
Liturgies for services that do not fall on Lent or during Holy Week are found under The Holy Eucharist Section and a special liturgy is also found for Holy Baptism under its own section.
This section provides the liturgical services performed by priests within their parish community. Services include ones for: Confirmation, Commitment to Christian Service, Marriage, Birth or Adoption of a Child, Reconciliation of a Penitent, Ministration to the Sick, Ministration at the Time of Death, and Burial of the Dead. Certain portions of the services, as identified in the service, may be performed by an ordained deacon.
This section provided the liturgical service for ordinations of bishops, priests, and deacons, the celebration of a new ministry, or the consecration of a church or chapel.
The Psalter (Psalms of David)
A psalter is a volume containing the Book of Psalms. There are 150 psalms (songs and prayers) in the Psalter. The Psalms of David are an integral part of our liturgical services, worship, and prayer.
Prayers & Thanksgivings
This section represents a collection of prayers for the world, the church, national life, social order, natural order, family and personal life, and other prayers such as grace at meals. The thanksgivings include general thanksgivings, those for the church, for national life, for social order, for natural order, and thanksgivings for family and personal life.
Catechism (Outline of Faith)
This section is a wonderful reference for newcomers and those who simply wish to renew their understanding of our faith. The Catechism uses a question and answer format and is very helpful in developing a sense of connection with our history, our beliefs, and our sacraments.
Historical Documents of The Church
This section provides a reference to the many documents that have formed our faith.
Tables for Finding Holy Days
This section is a quick guide to the rules for determining the date of Easter, movable feasts and holy days.
The Common Lectionary
The Common Lectionary is comprised of a three year cycle of psalms and lessons for weekly worship services on Sundays and other major Holy Days.
The Daily Office Lectionary
This lectionary is arranged in a two year cycle for daily church services and for morning and evening prayer. Three readings are provided for each Sunday and weekday in each of the two years. Many parishioners follow the Daily Office Lectionary in their personal daily devotional reading and reflection. Because of the different cycles (two year vs. three year), the Daily Office includes Sunday readings that are different from the Common Lectionary's Sunday readings.