A Report on the Work of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music of the Episcopal Church

Members of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music

The following report was written for inclusion in The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians, (AAM). The Center for Liturgy and Music is sharing this article as a means of de-mystifying issues around the process for possible revision of the Book of Common Prayer and Hymnal 1982. The report also sheds some light on the various duties of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music of the Episcopal Church. This report is reprinted with permission from The Journal of the Association of Anglican Musicians.

 

The Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music gathered in Chaska, Minnesota, October 5-8 for a full meeting. Fruitful and collegial, the meeting was centered on developing processes for each subcommittee to complete work for the remainder of this triennium, beginning with each subcommittee meeting with professional project managers to help design their work.

To remove some of the mystery surrounding the SCLM and its work, it may be helpful for AAM members to read the mandate, that reads in part:

  • Discharge such duties as shall be assigned to it by the General Convention as to policies and strategies concerning the common worship of this Church.
  • Collect, collate, and catalogue material bearing upon possible future revisions of the Book of Common Prayer.
  • Cause to be prepared and to present to the General Convention recommendations concerning the Lectionary, Psalter, and offices for special occasions as authorized or directed by the General Convention or Convocation of Bishops.
  • Recommend to the General Convention authorized translations of the Holy Scripture from which the Lessons prescribed in the Book of Common Prayer are to be read.
  • Receive and evaluate requests for consideration of individuals or groups to be included in the Calendar of the Church year and make recommendations thereon to the General Convention for acceptance or rejection.
  • Collect, collate, and catalogue material bearing upon possible future revisions of The Hymnal 1982 and other musical publications regularly in use in this Church, and encourage the composition of new musical materials.
  • Cause to be prepared and present to the General Convention recommendations concerning the musical settings of liturgical texts and rubrics, and norms as to liturgical music and the manner of its rendition.
  • At the direction of the General Convention, to serve the Church in matters pertaining to policies and strategies concerning Church music.

The General Convention resolutions passed in 2015 that were referred to the SCLM ask for us to design a process for the possible revision of the prayerbook and hymnal. (N.B., We have not been instructed to revise the prayerbook and hymnal.) The resolution passed along to the Subcommittee on Congregational Song, A060, asks us to “further the mission of The Episcopal Church by enlivening and invigorating congregational song through the development of a variety of musical resources; and. . . develop and expand the work begun in the World Music Project[1]. . .” The subcommittee on Congregational Song is exploring ideas for a project that will both respond to A060 and be consistent with the SCLM mandate.

AAM members are encouraged to stay abreast of SCLM activities by reaching out to the members of AAM who serve on the SCLM and especially by reading the published minutes of the SCLM, which can be found at the link referenced above.

 

Jessica Nelson is Organist and Choirmaster at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Tupelo, MS, and is a member of the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music of the Episcopal Church.

[1] The World Music Project is geared towards gathering resources for congregational song especially for parishes in Province IX of the Episcopal Church, comprised of the 7 dioceses of the Episcopal Church in the Caribbean and Latin America.

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