In the 1970s the Anglican Church Liturgical Commission was working towards the publication of a revision of the Book of Common Prayer. The Uniting Church was in process of formation (from the Methodist, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches) and was inaugurated in 1977, and was already working on interim liturgical texts. The Lutherans had an active liturgical committee. The Roman Catholic Bishops’ Conference was beginning some liturgical work.
At the invitation of the Anglicans a group met in Melbourne in October 1976. The Anglican Commission wished to consult the other churches on the wording of certain ‘common’ texts and the use of a common lectionary. This was an informal meeting to advise the Anglicans, but did resolve to continue meeting on an annual basis. At the 1976 meeting there were representatives of the Anglican, Baptist, Lutheran, Roman Catholic and Uniting Churches.
The agenda of the on-going group was dominated by common texts. When the Anglicans authorised An Australian Prayer Book in 1977/8 there were some deviations from the proposals as outlines in Prayers We Have in Common (1975), most notably the 9th line of the Lord’s Prayer. AAPB adopted “Lead us not into temptation”, a version which was also adopted by the Church of England a couple of years later in the Alternative Service Book (1980).
ACOL became officially recognised by its member churches very early on. It grew to include the continuing Presbyterian Church (after the union took place), the Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of Australia, the Church of Christ, as well as the Coptic Church (the emerging multicultural nature of Australian society has led to the establishment of a number of the small Eastern and Orthodox Churches). It must be said that not all of the churches use the agreed texts of ICET or ELLC (for reasons which are generally obvious).
ACOL became a founding member of ELLC and played an important part in the revision of the texts (through the work of the Revd Dr Evan Burge) and the testing of various revisions of the Revised Common Lectionary. In its own right ACOL has helped in the agreement of its members in recognising each others’ baptism by the provision of a common wording for baptismal certificates. ACOL has also given birth to an ecumenical church music committee.
ACOL has no permanent Chair, but shares this role around the representatives. There are currently representatives on ACOL from the Anglican, Roman Catholic, Uniting, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Baptist and Greek Orthodox Churches, Churches of Christ and Salvation Army.
29 Baynes Street
Tel.: +61 3 5484 1923
Nathan Nettleton Email: email@example.com