By Desmond Scotchmer
As you know, 2012 represents the anniversary of two auspicious occasions: the introduction of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer (still the official prayer book of the Church of England, and the doctrinal standard of Anglican worship throughout the world), and the introduction of the 1962 Canadian revision of the Prayer Book. Canadians have been celebrating both events throughout the year, and will continue to do. This issue reports two of those events, from differing perspectives. Other members write and tell us of news related to these anniversaries across the country. Here is just a sampling:
· Christ Church Cathedral, Victoria held a re-creation of the 1662 Order of Service of Holy Communion on September 8th, followed by a celebration of Holy Communion according to the1962 Canadian Order of Service on the following Sunday, with a Festive Choral Service of Thanksgiving with Readings and Music associated with the Book of Common Prayer in the afternoon.
· The PBSC Ottawa Branch has held a national essay competition for the best essay on the relevance of the Book of Common Prayer in the 21st century, with submissions from writers aged 17 to 30, and prizes of $2,500, $1,500, and $1,000. The competition closed on June 30, 2012 with a number of interesting essays. Prizes are expected to be awarded before the end of the year.
· In the Diocese of Huron, the Lambton Deanery held a special service at Canon Davis Memorial Church, Sarnia for the 350th Anniversary of the 1662 BCP on May 2, the same day observed in England, with excellent attendance, with hymns and music from the 16th and 17th centuries. The liturgy, the 1662 Communion, was based on one used at St. Thomas’ Church, Toronto, earlier in the year for their celebration. Canon Davis Memorial Church previously hosted the St. Paul's Cathedral Choir, from London, Ontario, for a BCP Evensong attended by 80 people, part of a series of touring evensongs by the choir which travels frequently throughout the diocese for this purpose.
· The Cranmer Conference was once again held in North Bay, Ontario in August of this year, where young people were able to enjoy glorious music, splendid food, and great speakers. The keynote speaker was Fr. Tim Perry of Sudbury, Ontario who outlined the implications of the martyrdom of Thomas Cranmer for Christians everywhere, and Anglicans in particular. Fr. Tim Connor of London, Ontario was the chaplain, Fr. George Kwari of Callander, Ontario was the banquet speaker, and Mr. Aaron James of Rochester, New York was the choir director and organist. A new kind of conference is being planned for next year: the Cranmer Theological Conference will be held during a week in May and it will be open to people of all ages with a special component for younger adults. For more information, check out www.stjohndivine.ca/ctc/
· The Archbishop of Toronto, the Most Rev’d Colin Johnson, has sent a letter to all of the diocesan clergy commending celebration of the two anniversaries, calling the Book of Common Prayer “one of the most powerful symbols of Anglican unity”. “The piety … of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer” he notes, “has provided the underpinnings of Anglican expression of worship worldwide”.
Towards the end of the year, more celebrations are planned, to celebrate the actual introduction of the 1962 Canadian Book on Advent Sunday of that year. All this reflects a continuing – indeed, growing – interest in the Prayer Book, which mirrors a revival in traditional liturgies taking place around the world. It also reflects a profound sea-change from attitudes of twenty-five years ago, when the PBSC was accused of “disloyalty” (and many far worse things) due to its stand on the Prayer Book. Let’s hope that this year is a harbinger of even better things! In the meantime, if your parish or diocese is holding a special celebration for the Prayer Book, do write and tell us.
On another note, did you know that the Ottawa Branch of the PBSC produces its own PBSC Christmas cards and hasty-notes: a package of 10 costs $20.00, or $15.00 per pack for orders of 5 sets or more. For further information, or to place orders, please contact Frances Macdonnell at (613) 726-7984, or by email at
And don’t forget your Classical Anglican Calendar based on the BCP lectionary, with reproductions of original paintings of parish churches by Peter Bresnen of Halifax. A must for any Prayer Book Anglican, and a wonderful Christmas gift. (From St Peter Publications, PO Box 713, Charlottetown, PEI C1A 7L3. Telephone: 902.368.8442. E-mail: