A Church of One

I’ve never quite understood the psychology of those who have splintered off from the Episcopal Church in recent years. Some didn’t like the new Prayer Book, some didn’t like the notion of ordaining women, some objected to the Bishop of New Hampshire. None of these are in the Creed so it seemed odd to leave the church over such matters.

But I’m beginning to understand.

I promised years ago to obey the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the Episcopal Church and that means particularly the Book of Common Prayer. But what do you do when you find increasing evidence that the current Book of Common Prayer is a corrupted document and, to cap it off, that the leadership of the church has no notion of what the Prayer Book says?

It all began several years ago when I noticed that the baptismal service prints the word “Godparent” sometimes with a capital G and sometimes without. Omitting the times when the word comes first in a sentence, I believe there are four capital G’s and five small g’s in the Baptismal Service text including the rubrics. Is that clumsiness or carelessness – or evidence of a disagreement in committee over whether God is God or a god? There was a day when every jot and tittle in the Prayer Book was clear and purposeful. But what was this all about? I mused on the matter but let it pass.

But then my wife and I were saying Morning Prayer one day recently when she noticed that there was an open quote in Psalm 55:6 (“) that never closed: not in that verse, not in any verse! Now that’s really dumb. Any competent proofreader would catch that sort of thing. Isn’t the Book of Common Prayer important enough to be carefully proofread? I began to wonder whether we are still serious about the Prayer Book and, if not, what might be the consequences.

What capped it off, however. was the recent day when I was working on the annual statistical report form and came to the box in which I am asked to fill in the attendance for “Easter Sunday.” What’s that? There’s no such day in my Prayer Book. There is “Easter Day,” but that’s different. It’s the central feast of the Christian Year and the Sundays are all celebrations of Easter. But Easter itself is The Day, not just a Sunday. Shouldn’t the people in the central office of the Church know that?

So I’m out of here. I’m going to start me a church where we get it right every time. No typos in the Prayer Book, no ignoramuses in the church office, no split infinitives in the Parish Bulletin. We’re dealing with God here, after all, and we’d better get it right.

Send me your applications for membership, but remember I’m starting a church here that has everything absolutely right, more right than the pope, more right than Archbishop Akinola or former Bishop Duncan. And if you can’t do it my way – God’s way – start your own church!

Leave a comment

Your comment