Episcopalians are known as the "People of the Book." What happens when we crack open the Prayer Book and the Bible to discover new words, hidden gems, fresh readings of the traditional texts? What if we listen more attentively to ecumenical voices that complement and push our own? This could change everything.

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What's New

There's more to evening prayer than Evensong and Taize! In Creative Ideas for Evening Prayer, Jan Brind and Tessa Wilkinson offer dozens of simple outlines adaptable for liturgical seasons, special occasions, or particular concerns. Some are written especially for young people; some are quiet and meditative; some may be celebrated out of doors or at home. All are Bible-based and have the worship of God at their centre.These informal services, which may be led by lay people or clergy, include suggestions for visual imagery, music, light, and other symbols to inspire memorable and beautiful worship.

Speaking of Taize, though, Full Homely Divinity, a consortium of Anglican country churches, posts a lovely Liturgy of Reconciliation in memory of Brother Roger. The Taize site, of course, offers its own wealth of worship resources.

The CRI/Voice Institute makes available a variety of worship and theology resources, from lectionary readings and sermons to informational essays, primarily from a Wesleyan perspective. They have a small selection of offerings in Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, and Korean and are working to translate more. Note that to use the Russian and Korean texts you must configure your browsers and word processors accordingly.

Brian McGowan, a priest in Western Australia, regularly posts Breakthrough, "a weekly exploration based on the Revised Common Lectionary, suitable for use by home groups in parishes." He allows free use, with attribution.

Sunday Services is a contemporary liturgical resource made available by the Archbishop of Sydney (the Anglican Church of Australia). It makes the material in the book Sunday Services available in electronic form for use in overheads, PowerPoint, or service sheets. Much of the site is free, and they provide an option for purchasing the book itself.

Now you can see the word, not just hear it! Ann Dahlen has created a large-print Book of Common Prayer on CD, which can be used to prepare materials for the blind and visually-impaired. The CD also includes orders of service, a variety of prayers, and the entire Book of Psalms. The text is formatted in Word for Windows (18-point font) and laid out for letter-size pages. The CD is free, but she does welcome donations for the work. To order one, send her a self-addressed, stamped 6x9-inch envelope with three 39-cent stamps attached (four for a padded envelope) at:
Ann Dahlen
1900 6th Avenue, Apt. 513
Rock Island, IL 61201
You may also contact her here or here for more questions about this labor of love.  

As the saying goes, one ought to preach with the Bible in one hand and the morning paper in the other, especially in matters of social justice. Religion Link provides one-stop shopping for all your headlines with a religion angle. And if you want those same headlines with a smart (and sometimes cheeky) twist, make The Revealer your "daily review of religion and the press." As a joint project of New York University's Department of Journalism and the Center for Religion and Media, this site does an incredible job of keeping tabs on all kinds of religion blogs and news.

Here's a way to harness the spiritual wisdom of groups - large and small- as you prepare your sermons: the network Faith Voices for the Common Good draws on the power of technology combined with collective theological wisdom to strengthen religious organizations and progressive movements. Their newest service, Gather Heart, is an interfaith, nationwide online community of preachers committed to speaking prophetically on social justice issues. This initiative unites the forces of theologian Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, the Rev. Dr. James Forbes of The Riverside Church, the Rev. Rosemary Bray McNatt of the Fourth Universalist Society, Rabbi Arthur Waskow of the Shalom Center, and other renowned preachers with all who choose to participate. For religious leaders who are committed to speaking creatively and prophetically on social issues, Gather Heart enables you to learn from expert resources and creative thinking on major issues, share your best insights and ideas with other preachers and receive theirs, and maximize sermon prep time.


Fresh Liturgical Texts

What's old is new again: the Gild of Clerks recently reconstructed a medieval requiem mass according to the pre-Reformation use of York. The text, pictures, and sound clips are a great learning tool.

William Gartig of Cincinnati shares a setting of Eucharistic Prayer 1 with the Gregorian chant set in square note notation. It prints onto three pages and is formatted to fit the loose-leaf altar book.

Douglas Briggs of the Episcopal Church of the Advent in Crestwood, Missouri, contributes a Eucharistic prayer that allows for more active participation by the people and a unique statement of faith upon reception of the Eucharist.

Jabez Van Cleef shares these updates of his poetic paraphrased versions of the four gospels: the Song of Matthew, the Song of Mark, the Song of Luke, and the Song of John. These pieces work especially well for musical settings or anytime you'd like a lyric rendering of the gospel. MP3 recordings of all four verse gospels are also available for free playback or downloading from iSound.

The Diocese of Massachusetts' Liturgy and Music Committee has compiled this annotated bibliography of liturgy-planning resources, including a broad range of suggested materials for inclusive language, liturgy planning, liturgical leadership training, worship in multiethnic communities and with young people, and much more.

The website for the Church of England's newest prayer book, Common Worship features a full, contemporary Eucharistic Rite, with all the text options built-in as links from a single document. You will also find a host of supplementary texts, including penitential material, gospel acclamations, intercessions, collects, post-communion prayers, and blessings.

The Reformed Church in America has created some beautiful litanies covering such themes as racial justice, peace, supplication, and Christmas.

Ronald Clingenpeel composed this Eucharistic Prayer for use at Christ Church Cathedral in St. Louis, where he serves as the Dean.

Ormonde Plater, the archdeacon of the Diocese of Louisiana, has created a full set of prayers of the people for Sundays and feast days throughout the church year.

The feminist community at St. Clare's Episcopal Mission in Brevard, North Carolina, has contributed several resources, many of them penned by theologian Carter Heyward, who serves as the community's priest and liturgical coordinator: Order of Service, Eucharistic Rite 1, Eucharistic Rite 2, Eucharistic Rite 5, and an adaptation of the BCP Rite 2 Holy Eucharist.

An inclusive translation of The Lord's Prayer and two Eucharistic Prayers (composed for Maundy Thursday and Ascension but also more widely applicable) come via Richard McCall, Associate Professor of Liturgical Studies at Episcopal Divinity School in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Looking for liturgical resources related to peace? Several denominations have joined forces to create this set of worship resources for peace. The Episcopal Peace Fellowship has created a Peace Packet with suggestions on how your congregation can work for peace in Israel/Palestine. It includes these Worship Suggestions for Peace.

The Seekers Church is an intentional, inclusive Christian community in Washington, DC. Their community life and liturgies are patterned after the Church of the Savior, also based in Washington. The Seekers Church website features a rich sampling of their creative liturgical work, all of it available for downloading, usage, and adaptation.

If you appreciate the Seekers Church liturgies but want to see what they would look like in an Episcopal context, check this Epiphany-themed Eucharistic rite, adapted by Stephanie Spellers, Cox Fellow and Minister for Radical Welcome at St. Paul’s Cathedral in Boston. It includes Prayers of the People adapted from materials from the United Church of Canada's Book of Services.

R.C. Laird, a liturgist and musician on the staff of the Cathedral of St. Mark in Minneapolis and a member of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music, shares this Litany to Celebrate Lay Ministries.

The Anglican Liturgical Library : A broad collection of liturgical texts used throughout the Anglican Communion and beyond.

New Patterns for Worship: Here are the freshest resources from the Church of England's Common Worship project. Find a comprehensive collection arranged under these headings: Gathering and Greetings, Penitence, Liturgy of the Word, Psalms and Canticles, Creeds and Authorized Affirmations of Faith, Prayers, Praise and Thanksgiving, Peace, Action and Movement, Conclusion. Some may seem familiar, but scroll through each section fully (including the stories and notes for usage) and you're sure to find a gem.

An Order for Holy Communion: More from the Church of England's Common Worship files. Take special note of Order One and its eight Eucharistic prayers, and the various Supplementary Texts.

Renewing Worship Project: As part of its church-wide liturgical renewal process, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America has posted a large selection of new resources online for public use in worship. They welcome participation and reflection from Episcopalian friends.

Sermons, stories and intercessory prayers written by English priest Janice Scott.

Prayers of the People: intercessions for Sundays and feasts, keyed to the three-year lectionary. Written by Ormonde Plater, Archdeacon of the Diocese of Louisiana.

By the Book

Scottish Liturgies: The American church has long been connected liturgically to Scotland, and there is plenty to appreciate in the 1982 Scottish Eucharistic Liturgy. Take special note of the Confessions, the five different Eucharistic Prayers, the Post-Communion Prayers, and the various forms for Intercessions. In addition, the simple and lovely Scottish Daily Prayer is ideal for individuals and groups.

Book of Common Prayer (1979)

Common Worship (Church of England)

The Anglican Liturgical Library : A broad collection of liturgical texts used throughout the Anglican Communion and beyond.

To use the following textual resources, you'll have to order them :

Scripture and Preaching Resources

Church Publishing makes Spanish-language resources available in electronic form as part of the upgrade Rite Stuff 1.5. The BCP in Spanish is also included in the Rite Brain 2004.

Crossings, an international ecumenical group with Lutheran roots and aimed at weaving faith and work life together, posts their Sabbatheology lectionary text studies. Note that pages are listed in reverse chronological order, with Advent at the bottom of the page. A listserv is also available.

Sermons that Work showcases sermons from around the Episcopal Church and the greater Anglican world. They are available for download.

Episcopal lectionary by calendar

Episcopal lectionary with resources

Revised Common Lectionary

The Text This Week Lectionaries and resources for preaching and worship planning

All-In-One Bible Versions and Translations: This database gives users direct access to the major Bible search engines on the Web. For the Revised Standard Version (RSV) and New Revised Standard Version (NRSV), you'll need the Bible Study Tools on Crosswalk engine. For various modern, ancient, and biblical languages -- including Spanish, Haitian-Creole, French, Portuguese, Swahili, Korean, Chinese, Arabic, Vietnamese, and dozens more -- check out The Unbound Bible, produced by Biola University.

SAMUEL (Scripture and Memory: A Universal Ecumenical Library) A popular, comprehensive resource for worship, Bible study, and sermon preparation, developed by the United Church of Christ and keyed to the Revised Common Lectionary.

Servicios Koinonia: This popular site features Spanish-language preaching resources and Bible commentary, much of it from a liberation theology-informed perspective.

Sermons and Sermon-Lectionary Resources is an exhaustive collection of liturgical resources of all sorts, based on the Revised Common Lectionary and compiled by Richard Fairchild of Golden, British Columbia.

Dramatic Presentations of Scripture

"New Voices/Ancient Words" - a CD helping congregations to create dramatic presentations of scripture

The creative folks at Children at Worship-Congregations in Bloom are dedicated to helping congregations to become fully inclusive, chiefly by welcoming children. They've shared a number of resources storytelling, dramas, scripture conversations based on the lectionary readings in This Season. Read this brief essay for more information about their method for creating dramas and presentations from lectionary readings.

Beulah Enterprises: A unique Christian toy store dedicated to "opening the world of imaginative spiritual play."

The Village Shepherd: is the home for Janice Scott’s sermons, stories and intercessory prayers.

General Ecumenical Resources

Do the Rite Thing: Ecumenism is about being good neighbors in faith, but it doesn't mean "anything goes" liturgically. Section G of the 2002 Handbook for Ecumenism outlines the road rules for shared worship across denominational lines.

Stepping Stones is a project of the Uniting Church of Australia. John Maynard has compiled there a wealth of lectionary-based resources for worship and preaching.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America is the home page for the Lutheran effort to reform their liturgy for the twenty-first century.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada: This is probably one of the single most comprehensive (and well-organized) sites for liturgical resources on the Web.

United Methodist Church is a strong site for liturgical resources of all sorts, including music and images.

United Church of Christ is another comprehensive site for liturgical resources, including the UCC Book of Worship, SAMUEL (see under "Scripture and Preaching Resources") and Worship Ways, a great, lectionary-based worship resource center.

Presbyterian Church USA: This is the home page for the Presbyterian effort to create liturgy that speaks to a new generation.

Reformed Church in America: An excellent resource, particularly for work in drama and the visual arts. Be sure to see their beautiful litanies covering such themes as racial justice, peace, supplication, and Pentecost.