LITURGY & MUSIC--New rites and prayers proposed (A077. A078, A080, A081)

FRIDAY, June 16 -

Resolution calls for 'pastoral plan' for possible revision of prayer book

THURSDAY, June 15 -

The dog didn't offer expert testimony but his brief presence during an early Friday hearing of the Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music Committee served as witness to the need to create a rite for loss of a companion animal (D041).
"Our animal companions provide a unique connection to creation and expand our sense of God's diverse gifts in creation. In many cases they also join us as partners in ministry, in such capacities as assistance animals, i.e. Seeing Eye dogs, etc. as well as therapy dogs and cats used in health care facilities and for pastoral care," according to the resolution, authored by the Rev. Lee Shaw of Utah.

The resolution asks the 75th General Convention to direct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to develop the rite for inclusion in the next edition of the "Book of Occasional Services" and to report its work to the 2009 Convention to be held in Anaheim, California.

"People grieve the death of an animal the same way they grieve the death of a parent. We need a liturgy to make that biblical passage. It's a matter of pastoral responsibility for what, in many people's lives, is one of the most important and painful moments to go through," - said the Rev. Stephanie Speller from Boston, Massachusetts


The House of Bishops voted to add a number of observances to the calendar of saints: Harriet Bedell, Anna Julia Heyward Cooper, James Theodore Holly, Oscar Romero, Tikhon, Vida Dutton Scudder, Frances Joseph-Gaudet, and for a revised rite for Celebration of a New Ministry; as well as additions to the burial rites. - Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori

WEDNESDAY, June 14 - Approval of 'Rites of Passage' publication delayed [ENS]

Bishop Katharine reported that the Bishops' Committee adoped the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL) as the official lectionary of the church, to be phased in over the next four years.

We also voted for interim eucharistic sharing with the United Methodist Church (this is the way we began to work toward our full communion agreement with the ELCA a number of years ago).

TUESDAY, June 13 - After lengthy and intense debate on Tuesday afternoon, members of the Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music Committee delayed approval of a Rites of Passage Publication resolution (A067). Instead, the committee created a subgroup for further work on a rite involving induction to military service.

The subcommittee will report back on June 14. The Very Rev. Ernesto Medina, a Los Angeles deputy and member of the Standing Commission on Music and Liturgy, said the collection includes rites for families for use during such life transitions as the Spanish language "Quincinera" or coming of age celebration, as well as for: adoption of children; for reproductive loss, and Asian ceremonies honoring elders and the anniversary of deaths.

Several people testified that the rites echo the 20/20 commitments by the church to being welcoming and reflecting diversity. Medina said the intent of the rites is to "include voices and experiences not reflected in the current prayer book."


TUESDAY, June 14 - Bishops vote to address Anti-Jewish Liturgy, Affirm Creation and Evolution [ENS]

During its first legislative day, the House of Bishops approved a resolution (C001) to address anti-Jewish prejudice "expressed in and stirred by portions of Christian scriptures and liturgical texts." The bishops directed the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music to collect and develop preaching, congregational education and lectionary materials, and to report back to the 76th General Convention in 2009 in Anaheim.

In other action, bishops also approved a resolution (A129) affirming both creation and evolution. While the theory of evolution provides a fruitful and unifying scientific explanation for the emergence of life on earth, the resolution said, "many theological interpretations of origins of life on earth can readily embrace an evolutionary outlook and that an acceptance of evolution is entirely compatible with an authentic and living Christian faith." The resolution also called upon dioceses and congregations to seek the assistance of scientists and science educators in understanding what constitutes reliable scientific knowledge.


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