Book of Occasional Services faces changes

By Sharon Tillman
Posted Jul 5, 2018

[Episcopal News Service – Austin, Texas] The Committee on Prayer Book, Liturgy and Music heard testimony July 5 on General Convention Resolution A064, which calls for the authorization of the use of the Book of Occasional Services 2018. It has been 39 years since the supplement was first published and 15 years since its last revision. These revisions have been underway since the 2012 General Convention A056 called for them.

It was the consensus of the two who testified today that the resolution to move forward with BOS, 2018 should be adopted. The Rev. Jared Cramer, who has studied the revisions extensively in his blog, Care with the Cure, said in his testimony, “There is so much good in the book we need in the Church now.”

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Even with all the positive accolades offered for the work done by the Standing Committee on Liturgy and Music over the last two trienniums to make revisions, edits, additions and even deletions to the 2003 edition, BOS 2018 is still a work in progress.

The committee is submitting three resolutions out of its subcommittee for the revisions to the Book of Occasional Services. The first one recommends that BOS 2018 be made available as a resource to the church, allowing for a digital posting of the book for use over the next triennium, with a review by SCLM ready for General Convention in 2021, before going to press with a hardcover book.

Deputy Jack Zamboni of New Jersey added, “It may be the time that the church no longer needs a [physical] ‘book’ of occasional services, but a digital resource. Not something with a cover.”

The committee is also submitting a resolution to review and revise specific liturgies, and one to create a position for a digital resources manager who would curate liturgical resources for the church. The second resolution contains a budget request of $325,000 over the next triennium.

Dean Benjamin Shambaugh, a deputy from Maine, said of the latter submission, “This position shows the need to move the church forward in its use of digital resources – creation, curation. The Anglican Communion does this very well already.”

– Sharon Tillman is a freelance writer with Episcopal News Service.