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From Diocesan Resource Center Director, Sue Tait

Physical Resources

Welcome to the Book of Common Prayer  by Vicki K. Black, 2005 (264 Bla)
The series, “Welcome to…”, provides an overview and introduction to aspects of Episcopal worship.  Here The Rev Vicki Black looks briefly at prayer book history, the various parts of the current prayer book and offers a concluding section on “Tools for Prayer and Study : the lectionary, prayers, catechism, and historical documents.”  Also included are questions for reflection and discussion as well as suggestions for further reading (the Resource Center has them all).  Other titles in the series deal with the Church year, The Hymnal and Church music, and what to expect at a Sunday service.

Opening the Prayer Book by Jeffrey D. Lee. 1999. (264.03 Lee)
Lee contends that The Book of Common Prayer is an important part of our self-understanding and it not only affects who we are as a church but shapes our own lives of faith.  He traces the development of the patterns of liturgy through the ages, then specifically looks at the American Prayer Book (chapter 4).  He speaks of liturgical fundamentals, of pastoral liturgy, and the future of the church.   Although the Enriching our Worship materials had not yet been produced when this book was published, Lee anticipates future publication as he looks toward the future (chapter 8) and what it might bring.  A list of resources which Lee himself has found helpful is appended (we have most of them in the Resource Center) as are questions for discussion.

A Theology of Worship by Louis Weil, 2002 (264.03 Wei)
This book, as well as Opening the Prayer Book, are volumes in “The New Church’s Teaching Series,” and is addressed to newcomers, but also to clergy and laity who want to better understand the thinking of many of those who contributed to the 1979 Book of Common Prayer.  Weil looks at baptismal ecclesiology, what it means to be a multicultural church, liturgy as the work of the people, music in the church, and sacraments.

Inwardly digest: The Prayer Book as guide to a spiritual life by Derek Olsen, 2016. (264.03 Ols)
Olsen looks at the sections of the prayer book such as Daily Office and Eucharist, but also comments on principles and disciplines for liturgical worship and sees it as a framework and pathway to the development of a richer spiritual life.  The more recent supplementary materials, produced by General Conventions, are not discussed.

Praying shapes believing: a theological commentary on The Book of Common Prayer by Leonel L. Mitchell and updated by Ruth A. Meyers.1985,2016 (264.03 Mit rev)
This standard text, first published in 1985, reflects on the [then new] 1979 Book of Common Prayer, and Chapter 9 specifically addresses its theology.  The revision by professor Ruth Meyers acknowledges the changes in scholarship and by General Convention since its publication, and includes the newer liturgical resources now available.

Prayer Book through the ages by William Sydnor. 1997 revised edition. (264.03 Syd)
The Book of Common Prayer has a rich history since the first English prayer books of 1549 and 1552, here detailed through the ages and including the adoption of our own current Book of Common Prayer in 1979.  Through the ages we can see what was always retained, as well as what was changed, added and omitted and in chapter 12 Sydnor imagines what lies ahead.

Commentary on the American Prayer Book by Marion J. Hatchett. 1981. (264.03 Hat)
Designed as a companion to the Book of Common Prayer, Hatchett “traces and comments upon the sources, history and development of each of the rites and formularies of the 1979 book from the earliest known forms to the present.”  Do you wonder where the prayers and collects came from?  This reference work will tell you!

Living faithfully as a Prayer Book people by John H. Westerhoff. 2004. (264.03 Wes)
As Episcopalians, our lives are shaped by The Book of Common Prayer and here the well-known educator and priest walks us beyond the part we typically use on Sunday mornings.  He says, “The purpose of this book is to take a journey through The Book of Common Prayer 1979”, looking at the content but also how it connects with our daily lives.”

The Oxford Guide to The Book of Common Prayer : a worldwide survey. Edited by Charles Hefling and Cynthia Shattuck. 2006. (264 Oxf)
This very large volume looks at The Book of Common Prayer but also its descendants around the world.  Contributions are from every part of Anglicanism, as well as from the Lutheran, Roman Catholic, Methodist, and Unitarian traditions.  It looks at how Anglican liturgies have been adapted to local culture, and offers a speculative look at the future.

Great Cloud of Witnesses : a calendar of commemorations by the Standing Liturgical Committee, 2016 (264.03 GCW)
There is considerable diversity in the theology of sainthood in the Episcopal Church, and so two calendars have been established. This is the second of those calendars, providing a broader calendar that “reflects the lively experience of holiness” and “represents a wider family history” [quotes from the Introduction].   This volume replaces Holy Women, Holy Men, but Lesser Feasts and Fasts remains the Episcopal Church’s official calendar of optional commemorations.

Enriching Our Worship Books 1-5 (265 SLC)
The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music offers worship and liturgical resources, published by General Convention(s) since the first volume in 1998. Available in print from the Resource Center Library or available for download at

Electronic and Digital Resources

Discovery series : a Christian journey. 2002. (DVD 025 and in Spanish DVD 025S
Although no segment is deals comprehensively with The Book of Common Prayer, several sections deal with specific parts, such as the Eucharist and the Baptismal Covenant.

Introduction to The Book of Common Prayer . 1998. (DVD 018 and also available as part of the Newcomer Collection, DVD 067)
This short (approximately 11 minutes) introduction provides an overview of the history and content of the prayer book. is a source of many presentations on The Book of Common Prayer, of varying length, approach and quality.  The materials identified as part of the ChurchNext catalog are worthwhile  They, in fact, have an eight-part track on the Book of Common Prayer (fee involved) which you can view at

A four-minute overview is provided by Fr. Matthew, his post-it notes and his puppet at

Lenten Book Selection: Book of Common Prayer Resources

One thought on “Lenten Book Selection: Book of Common Prayer Resources

  • January 19, 2018 at 3:25 pm

    David A. DeSilva, Sacramental Life: Spiritual Formation through the Book of Common Prayer IVP, 2008)


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