Book of Common Prayer
What is the Book of Common Prayer?
The Church of England was established in the American colonies in 1607. The Episcopal Church separated itself, somewhat, from the Church of England in 1789, which likely furnished the motivation to publish its own Book of Common Prayer (BCP). The Book of Common Prayer in America thus dates back to a version published in America in 1790 by the Episcopal Church, modeled very closely after the English Book of Common Prayer.
The origins of the Book of Common Prayer in England are very old. It was first composed in 1549 under the reign of Edward VI, associated with the English Reformation which coincided with England's break from the Roman Catholic Church. The Book of Common Prayer in the U.S. was revised in 1892, 1928, and 1979. The 1979 version is commonly used in the Anglican Church in North America (ACNA). It contains both traditional (Rite I) and contemporary (Rite II) forms of worship and both are used in the Anglican Church.
Since its 16th century origins, the Book of Common Prayer has been a profound guide to worship and remains so today. Our various forms of worship directly utilize the Prayer book itself; it also covers such occasions or sacraments as Holy Matrimony, burial ceremonies, etc. Traditional Lutheran, Methodist, and Presbyterian prayer books have borrowed from this influential Book.
The Book of Common Prayer at St. John's Anglican Church in Orinda
There are many Prayer books in use in the ACNA. When the ACNA launched in 2009, it was decided that any Prayer book in use by one of the member churches could remain in use. Our worship at St. John's Anglican Church in Orinda is based on the 2013 Texts for Common Prayer, adapted from Thomas Cranmer's 1549 Book of Common Prayer by the ACNA. We provide a printed service booklet with the complete liturgy.