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The ELLC Texts:
A Survey of Use and Variation


The Reims Statement

The ELLC Texts

The ELLC Texts: A Survey of Use and Variation

What is the Revised Common Lectionary

RCL Lectionary Tables

Alternative OT Readings for the Easter Season

Worldwide Usage of the Revised Common Lectionary

RCL - 2007 and onwards. Quo vadis?

Contact information

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Contents:

An Introductory note
Respondents
The Lord’s Prayer
Kyrie Eleison
Gloria in Excelsis
The Nicene Creed
The Apostles' Creed
Sursum Corda
Sanctus and Benedictus
Agnus Dei
Gloria Patri
Te Deum Laudamus
Benedictus
Magnificat
Nunc Dimitis
Magnificat
Conclusion
Appendix: The ELLC Questionnaire

AN INTRODUCTORY NOTE

In 1988, the English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC) published modern language versions of ancient texts of Christian liturgy. These formed a revision of the texts contained in Prayers We Have in Common, and were accompanied by introductory notes and commentary under the title Praying Together. The revised texts were offered to English-speaking Christian Churches to use as appropriate under their various jurisdictions.

After an initial period of some three or four years, ELLC sent out a questionnaire to member churches and associations inviting comment on how the texts were being received and used. A copy of the questionnaire is provided in an Appendix at the back of this report.

Over the following four or five years, churches and associations replied to the questionnaire. This document offers a summary report on the current status of the Consultation’s texts. It does not give a verbatim report of all the responses received to the ELLC questionnaire on the texts published in Praying Together. Instead, it records where there are concerns and difficulties with the ELLC texts among responding churches. It follows that this report highlights difference rather than congruence, and that it profiles critique rather than assent.

Members of ELLC are grateful to all those who responded, since the act of replying implies a commitment to the common task. Our particular thanks go to those who co-ordinated regional responses, and to those who took great care to record the theological and ecclesial concerns which informed the answers they gave.

This synopsis proceeds through each of the texts in turn, noting the comments made and trying to indicate where there is a regional or confessional consensus. It is derived from the original responses and, in some instances, from later specific information given to the compiler.

It is clear that in a number of cases, where liturgical texts are not sanctioned by Canon Law, inclusion of a text in a service book provides absolutely no indication of congregational use. The tables of use in this survey are evidence only of the appearance of texts in order, prayer, and service books.

Response to ELLC’s request for feedback has been incomplete for a variety of reasons. In some cases, responses to an earlier request were re-submitted; in other situations, the responses have had to be provisional because of current liturgical revision process which are as yet incomplete; in yet other cases, churches simply failed to respond.

The respondents answered in different ways to the questions. Some simply reported the current position; others answered the questions more directly and (in the case of the Australian Lutherans) with extended and detailed argument. This resumé forces this wide range of response into a straight-jacket, and is therefore probably unfair to almost everyone! Two things, however, do emerge quite clearly: adoption and reservation.

There has been a very widespread adoption of the ELLC texts. Often this has been in response to the ecumenical imperative: a desire to see as wide a convergence on common texts as is possible for the sake of the universal church. At the same there is considerable reservation about ELLC’s decision to avoid gender-exclusive language in reference to God. This is not an insensitivity to the language issue, but a concern about whether we can alter ancient texts to suit our own cultural inclinations.

It is not the place of this report to comment on either of these matters, but to draw them to the attention of members of ELLC and other readers for their further consideration.

Paul Sheppy
Pentecost 2001



RESPONDENTS

ELLC received responses from the following groups:

AUSTRALIAN CONSULTATION ON LITURGY (ACOL)
* Anglican
* Churches of Christ
* Lutheran
* Uniting Church

ASSOCIATION OF IRISH LITURGISTS (AIL)
* Anglican
* Lutheran
* Methodist
* Lutheran
* Orthodox
* Roman Catholic

CONSULTATION ON COMMON TEXTS (CCT)
* American Baptist Fellowship for Liturgical Renewal
* Anglican Church of Canada
* Christian Reformed
* Episcopal
* Evangelical Lutheran
* Lutheran (Missouri)
* Presbyterian
* Roman Catholic (United States and Canada)
* Unitarian Universalist
* United Church of Christ
* United Methodist

JOINT LITURGICAL GROUP OF GREAT BRITAIN (JLG)
* Anglican
     * Church of England
     * Church in Wales
     * Scottish Episcopal Church
* Baptist
* Independent Methodist
* Methodist
* Roman Catholic
* United Reformed

JOINT LITURGICAL GROUP OF NEW ZEALAND (JLGNZ)
* Anglican (Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia)
* Methodist
* Presbyterian
* Roman Catholic

SOUTHERN AFRICA (SA)
* Anglican

AIL reported knowledge of the ELLC texts in Ireland but no usage as yet. SA responded that the texts had not been in long enough use to produce feedback. These two groups are not included in any of the following notes and tables. CCT’s report included a response from the Anglican Church of Canada referring the Canadian Churches’ Coordinating Group on Worship letter to ELLC at Geneva (1995). The answers given did not yield information useful for this survey. CCT statistics do not include the Canadian response.

ICEL represents twenty-six bishops’ conferences. Specific responses were received from three: Canada (English sector); England and Wales; United States. In the cases of Canada and United States, the information is included in CCT responses. In the case of England and Wales, the data is included in the JLG material. Separate notes for ICEL do not therefore appear in any tables.

JLG’s report reflects major revision of liturgical texts among those Churches which use liturgical texts or which offer service books. One dissenting voice should particularly be noted: The Orthodox churches, who will not follow ELLC texts in any revisions they make.

THE LORD’S PRAYER

Text
1      Our Father in heaven,
2           hallowed be your name,
3           your kingdom come,
4           your will be done,
5                on earth as in heaven.
6      Give us today our daily bread.
7      Forgive us our sins
8           as we forgive those who sin against us.
9      Save us from the time of trial
10           and deliver us from evil.
11      For the kingdom the power, and the glory are yours
12           now and for ever. Amen.

Individual Responses

Lutheran Church of Australia (1995)
Line 9
We object to this translation, because it destroys the syntactical relationship between lines 9 and 10, disturbs the sequence of petition from protection to deliverance, and obscures the eschatological significance of the present temptations of Christians by the evil one. We therefore have not adopted the wording of this line but have officially adopted the rest of the translation.
Line 10
We have retained the traditional wording: “lead us not into temptation”.

Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia
The ELLC text is used, but there are “time warps” in using this text. At line 2, we had “holy be your Name” and at line 9 “Do not bring us to the test” from 1970-1984.

Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
There is still a sense of dissatisfaction with the present ELLC (ICET l975) text of the Lord’s Prayer (mainly with lines 2 and 9, and, for those who know it a decided preference for the 1970 Text). But those who have seriously discussed the matter realise that the trauma that was involved in the adoption and established use of this text (which had been delayed in some parts of New Zealand until only a few years ago) made questionable for several years any further change to this text.

New Zealand Methodist Church
The Lord’s Prayer has been used in all our official orders of service for some years, although some would still want to argue about “Save us from the time of trial”. However, in Sunday worship a number of congregations use other forms, mostly the traditional version or less frequently a modern paraphrase like the one in A New Zealand Prayer Book (Anglican).

The American Baptist Fellowship for Liturgical Renewal
Most Baptists continue to use the “traditional” texts based on the KJV language in Matthew. Probably more use “debts” than “trespasses” though a few congregations have begun using “sins” without changing the rest of the prayer. Since this prayer is one of the few liturgical texts recited together by whole congregations, there is small chance of this form changing in our denomination anytime soon. One way that new forms might be successfully introduced to Baptists and other Free Churches would be if someone could produce a quality singable version of this and other texts.

The Canadian Churches’ Coordinating Group on Worship
Line 9
Some Roman Catholics in Canada prefer, “Lead us not into temptation”.

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The traditional version of the Lord’s Prayer appears as an alternative text in a parallel column to the left of the ELLC text. No changes to ELLC text.

Presbyterian Church (USA)
The ELLC text appears without alteration throughout the Book of Common Worship. In each instance, the traditional text appears as an alternative text in a parallel column to the right of the ELLC text. <>p The ELLC text of the Lord’s Prayer also appears, without alteration, in a section of worship aids in The Presbyterian Hymnal. The traditional text is also included. In addition, The Presbyterian Hymnal provides one musical setting of the ELLC text.

The Psalter: Psalms and Canticles for Singing includes four musical settings of the ELLC text of the Lord’s Prayer.

United Methodist Church (USA)
Identical text to Praying Together except that it does not include a space between lines 10 and 11. Two alternative versions from former Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren usage (the denominations that formed the UMC in 1968) are included. There are two variant texts set to music. The United Methodist Book of Worship contains the common text.

Association of Irish Liturgists
Many versions of the Lord’s Prayer are found in the liturgical books of the Churches and in use.

Some still use the old form of the Book of Common Prayer but all are familiar with what is the most common version (Modified Traditional): Our Father, who art in heaven ... as we forgive those who trespass against us ....

The modified ICET version is in common use in Churches other than the Roman Catholic Church. It is found in the Alternative Service Book (Church of Ireland) and as an alternative in the Methodist Church’s Hymns and Psalms.

The 1970/71 ICET version (including the phrase: Do not bring us to the test) is included in the original edition of the Rite of Baptism for Children (Roman Catholic Church, 1970) as an alternative version.

The unmodified ICET or ELLC version is found as an alternative version in the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (Roman Catholic) as authorised for Ireland. This alternative version and the 1970/1971 ICET version are not, however, used.

Church of England
On Advent Sunday 2000 Common Worship, the Church of England’s revision of its liturgical texts was authorised for use.1

In November 1998, the General Synod voted against the ELLC text as its main modern language version of the Lord’s Prayer, preferring instead the ASB text with the Modified Traditional wording at lines 9 and 10. Subsequent argument before the Revision Committee strengthened this stance. ELLC is not represented on the General Synod, and was only able to offer written submissions to the Chair of the Revision Committee rather than direct evidence and argument to the Committee itself. The final decision was that the Lord’s Prayer be offered in the body of its newly revised liturgical texts in the Modified Traditional and ASB forms, while the ELLC text was to be printed separately for use in special circumstances. This was to allow for the use of the ELLC text in Local Ecumenical Partnerships where the Church of England has congregations. It will also permit the use of the ELLC text in other ecumenical contexts where the Church of England is present2. There is still unease about the decision among those ecumenically committed, but the die has been cast.

Baptist Union of Great Britain
1980 ASB and Modified Traditional versions stand side by side. The 1980 ASB text was used for “ecumenical” reasons, despite an earlier Baptist book having used the ELLC text. Liturgical experts were not consulted at the time of the revision. A recent request for guidance has resulted in advice that Baptists should revert to the ELLC text in future publications.

General Synopsis
The traditional forms of the Lord’s prayer are so well established, that in many cases where the ELLC text is used it appears as an alternative text.

There is widespread dissatisfaction with the ELLC text at lines 9 and 10. This is not bound by confessional or geographical boundaries, and therefore gives cause for reflection.

There is also some unease about the use of the archaic “hallowed” in line 2. This is less strongly marked and expressed than the concern raised about lines 9 and 10, but it does exist.

Despite the reservations expressed, the ELLC text has generally been adopted where a modern language text is required.

KYRIE ELEISON

Text
1 Lord, have mercy.
2 Christ, have mercy.
3 Lord, have mercy.

Individual Responses

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
In the supplementary worship book With One Voice (1995 supplement to 1978 Lutheran Book of Worship) an extended Kyrie is set alongside the ELLC text. This extended Kyrie echoes eastern Orthodox forms.

United Methodist Church (USA)
The ELLC text is reproduced in the United Methodist Hymnal, but with a different layout.

General Synopsis
The text is almost universally acceptable to churches using liturgical texts, and is equally widely used. The only hesitation at the time of writing relates to usage in England by the Methodists and the Church of England, where final approval has to be given in the process of liturgical revision. At present in the Alternative Service Book (1980) of the Church of England the ELLC text is set out so that each line is said responsively in turn.

GLORIA IN EXCELSIS

Text
1      Glory to God in the highest
2      and peace to God’s people on earth.

3      Lord God, heavenly King,
4      almighty God and Father
5           we worship you, we give you thanks,
6           we praise you for your glory.

7      Lord Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father,
8      Lord God, Lamb of God,
9      you take away the sin of the world:
10           have mercy on us;
11      you are seated at the right hand of the Father:
12           receive our prayer.

13      For you alone are the Holy One,
14      you alone are the Lord,
15      you alone are the Most High,
16           Jesus Christ,
17           with the Holy Spirit,
18           in the glory of God the Father. Amen

Individual Responses

Lutheran Church of Australia (1995)
Line 2
We are unhappy with the undue repetition of “God” and the avoidance of “his” for feminist reasons. “People on earth” is an inadequate rendering of eudokiaV. We prefer “and peace to the people with whom he is pleased” or “and peace to those on whom his favour rests”.

This text is rated as “unsatisfactory, but will be used”.

Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
Although we are aware of the publication of Praying Together, the texts of ICET’s 1975 edition of Prayers We Have in Common which were incorporated into the ICEL Texts have continued to be used. In practice this means that the l975 text is used.

The Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the United States
Line 2
The Conference voted to retain the ICET version of the Gloria - “and peace to his people on earth”.

The Canadian Churches’ Coordinating Group on Worship
Line 2
The following alternatives are offered for consideration:

          “and peace to the faithful on earth”,
or
          “and peace to all people on earth”.

“God’s people” is not euphonious, nor is it a clear translation of the biblical reference.

United Church of Christ (USA)
In the Book of Worship of 1986, revisions were made in the Gloria in Excelsis. This was done to resolve repetitive masculine references to God and to reduce the male gender references to Christ.

The Gloria in Excelsis is rendered:

Glory to God in the highest, and peace to God’s people on earth.
Holy One, heavenly God, sovereign God and Creator, we worship you, we give you thanks, we praise you for your glory.
Lord Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten one, Lord God, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world: have mercy on us; you are seated at the right hand of Majesty: receive our prayer.
For you alone are the Messiah, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of the triune God. Amen.

The United Methodist Church (USA)
Identical text to Praying Together with slight variations in indentation and spacing. An old Scottish chant version and a traditional version of the text from the usage of the former Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren churches are also included.

General Synopsis
Line 2 has attracted criticism because of what is seen as an inadequate rendering of eulogetoV. A further difficulty arises from the attempt to avoid masculine pronouns referring to God.

THE NICENE CREED

Text
1      We believe in one God,
2           the Father, the Almighty,
3           maker of heaven and earth,
4           of all that is, seen and unseen.

5      we believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
6           the only Son of God,
7           eternally begotten of the Father,
8           God from God, Light from Light,
9           true God from true God,
10           begotten, not made,
11           of one Being with the Father;
12           through him all things were made.
13           For us and for our salvation
14                he came down from heaven,
15                was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
16                and became truly human.
17                For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
18                he suffered death and was buried.
19                On the third day he rose again
20                in accordance with the Scriptures;
21                he ascended into heaven
22                and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
23                He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
24                and his kingdom will have no end.

25      We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
26           who proceeds from the Father [and the Son],
27           who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
28           who has spoken through the prophets.
29           We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
30           We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
31           We look for the resurrection of the dead,
32                and the life of the world to come. Amen.

Individual Responses

Anglican Liturgical Consultation, Australia
Same as ELLC with filioque included and no use of brackets.

Lutheran Church of Australia (1995)
We have with some reluctance officially adopted this translation. We are, however, uneasy about the translation of “us” in line 13, since it could be take to confess that Christ became incarnate only for those who are Christians.

We object to the translation of line 16, since it could be taken to imply that God’s Son merely took on all human attributes without actually becoming a particular human being. We would prefer to have: “and became a human being”.

In addition, we have excised the bracket in line 26 because of the developments in the church since Toledo, where doctrinal ambiguity was eliminated from the credal statement by inserting the words “and the Son” (filioque).

Uniting Church in Australia
The UCA is committed to continue using the ELLC texts and finds unsatisfactory only one line in the Nicene Creed, line 15.

We are not certain that we would recommend that everyone should alter line 15. The UCA text reads:

was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary.

This change is definitive in the sense that it is the only version printed in Uniting in Worship (1988), which is the denomination’s approved book of worship.

Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
While the Vatican authorities may have questioned and delayed the adoption of lines 13-16 in the ELLC text, the greater number of New Zealand Roman Catholic clergy and laity would wish this text to be formally adopted for use, instead of continuing to use the 1975 ICET Text.

Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops
The English sector bishops voted again on the ELLC eucharistic texts in the first half of 1997 as part of their vote on the revised Sacramentary prepared by ICEL. ICEL proposed the 1975 ICET version of this line - “was made man”.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
With One Voice uses a variation of the ICET Nicene Creed, altering “for us men” to “for us” and eliminating the brackets around “and the Son”. With One Voice also includes the ELLC Nicene Creed (with the variation of eliminating the brackets around “and the Son”) in a separate ELLC text section of the book.

ICEL
Line 16
A number of English-speaking Catholic bishops had some doubts about this proposal, as expressed in a special consultation conducted by ICEL in the midst of completing its revision of the Sacramentary. Since there seemed no clear consensus on a possible solution among half a dozen possibilities, ICEL decided to remain with the 1975 ICET version of line 16: “and was made man.”

Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales
Line 16
This is amended to “and was made man”.

Church of England
The final text adopted for use in Common Worship reveals the following amendments to the ELLC text:

at lines 15 and 16 was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary, and was made man.

Scottish Episcopal Church
Line 11
The line “of one substance” is still in use; this was urged in the early eighties. It is hoped that “of one being” will be accepted in the next revision.

Line 13
Also in use is “for us men and our salvation”; the ELLC text will be proposed.

Line 16
Also in use is “and was made man”; the ELLC text, if proposed, is unlikely to prevail.

Church in Wales
Line 16
“and was made man” is used.

General Synopsis While there are some questions relating to the use of inclusive language (line 13) and one local (Evangelicals in the Church of England) difficulty with the status of Mary (line 15), the overwhelming area of controversy is line 16 and the translation of enanqrwphsanta. Many churches have amended the ELLC texts to read

      and was made man.

It is beyond the scope of this report to suggest any resolution. For the time being we should accept that the difficulty will be dealt with by “local” amendments.

As far as inclusive language is concerned, in this text and the Apostles’ Creed, the Anglicans in New Zealand report difficulties with the repeated use of the male pronoun. Their Prayer Book is committed to inclusive language, and the ELLC texts sit uneasily with this policy.

The importance of the Nicene Creed is seen in the weight of comment its attracts (like the other central texts, the Lord’s Prayer and the Apostles’ Creed). However, it alone led respondents to offer complete texts as alternative models.

THE APOSTLES’ CREED

Text
1     I believe in God, the Father almighty,
2          creator of heaven and earth.

3     I believe in Jesus Christ, God’s only Son, our Lord,
4          who was conceived by the Holy Spirit,
5          born of the Virgin Mary,
6          suffered under Pontius Pilate,
7          was crucified, died, and was buried;
8          he descended to the dead.
9          On the third day he rose again;
10          he ascended into heaven,
11          he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
12          and he will come to judge the living and the dead.

13     I believe in the Holy Spirit,
14          the holy catholic Church,
15          the communion of saints,
16          the forgiveness of sins,
17          the resurrection of the body,
18          and the life everlasting. Amen

Individual Responses

Anglican Liturgical Consultation, Australia
The following variations from ELLC:

Line 9
On the third day he rose from the dead

Line 11
and is seated at the right hand

Line 12
from there he will come

The reason for the amendments in lines 11 and 12 is to reduce the frequency of “he”.

Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
In practice the l975 ICET text is used.

US National Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Conference voted to retain the ICET version of the Apostles’ Creed but with the following amendment:

     “We believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son our Lord”.

Evangelical Lutheran Church in America
The following variants are offered:

Line 3
his only Son

Line 4
he was conceived

Line 5
and born

Line 6
He suffered

Line 8
he descended into hell

Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod
Line 3: God’s only Son, Lord
Since the masculine pronoun eius clearly refers back to God, the Father, the traditional translation, his, is preferred.3

Line 8: he descended to the dead
Our church is represented by the third position listed in the commentary, viz., that this line speaks of the “beginning of the resurrection sequence, with the Lord proclaiming his victory.” Therefore, the translation into is still preferred.

Line 9: from the dead
Though there is a stylistic problem in conjunction with line 8, we feel an accurate translation should include this phrase.

Line 11: right hand of the Father
The commentary suggests that a literal translation, “God, the Father almighty,” would “make the line unnecessarily heavy.” We would suggest that there is theological meaning in the repetition, viz., that the rule of the Father begun first at the creation has been restored in the work of Christ who now shares in the rule of the Father.

Line 12: and he will come to judge...
The Latin inde is not translated. An accurate translation would be: “from there he will come...”

Presbyterian Church (USA)
In The Presbyterian Hymnal the ELLC appears along with the traditional text in a section of worship aids.

Only the ELLC text is incorporated into the Book of Common Worship, and is used without alteration.

United Methodist Church (USA)
Identical text and spacing except for a double asterisk following the word “catholic” (line 14) pointing the user to the bottom note that offers “universal”. A traditional version of the Apostles’ Creed is also included.

The services of the baptismal covenant in both the United Methodist Hymnal and the United Methodist Hymnal Book of Worship use the common text of the Apostles’ Creed in a question and answer form.

General Synopsis
In this text the different views about inclusive language are very clearly marked. However, the major theological question is posed unanimously by the Lutherans, who want the descensus to have a clear reference to hell/Sheol.

SURSUM CORDA

Text
1      The Lord be with you.
2      And also with you.

3      Lift up your hearts.
4      We lift them to the Lord.

5      Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
6      It is right to give our thanks and praise.

Individual Responses

Lutheran Church of Australia (1995)
Line 6
The translation of “our” for “him” is misleading. The purpose of this line is to indicate to whom and with whom thanks should be given. It is quite obviously “ours”. In giving thanks we are privileged to join with Jesus, our chief liturgist, in his act of thanksgiving to his heavenly Father. We suggest either “to give him thanks and praise” or “to give thanks and praise”.

Methodist Faith and Order Committee, New Zealand
Lines 1 and 2
We have changed the first two lines of the Sursum Corda to read:

The Lord is here.
God’s Spirit is with us.

This is in line with the Communion liturgy in A New Zealand Prayer Book. We note that the first line is an alternative translation. However, the change was made not because of disagreement with the ELLC text, but because of its location in our liturgy, after the Peace and immediately preceding the Eucharistic Prayer. There is already a greeting at the beginning of the service and it did not seem appropriate to include another at this point. Instead, the Dominus vobiscum was changed into an affirmation of God’s presence.

Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
In practice the l975 text is used.

American Baptist Fellowship for Liturgical Renewal
Line 6
One variant seen is,

     “It is right to give God our thanks and

which addressed both the One who praised and those who do the praising. Continuing the use of “him” or of omitting references to the deity here are avoided. Including “our” is encouraged. This variation has some acceptance over

     “It is right to give thanks and praise”

which is seen in some modern versions.

Canadian Churches’ Coordinating Group on Worship
Line 4
Some members would prefer “up” to be restored:

     We lift them up to the Lord.

US National Conference of Catholic Bishops
Line 6
The Conference amended the preface dialogue to omit “our”:

     It is right to give thanks and praise.

Episcopal Church of USA
The present BCP reads:

     It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Our 1991-1996 supplemental texts read:

It is right to give our thanks and praise.

with the footnote:

The ELLC version of the last line reads “It is right to give our thanks and praise,” which is derived from the Canadian Book of Alternative Services. The commission’s preference at this point is to call attention to God, the object of the thanksgiving, rather than to the worshippers, at this point.

This phrase was to be carried into the 1997 texts.

Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod
Line 6: It is right to give our thanks and praise.
“Him” is still to be preferred over “our”. While “the context makes it clear that the thanks and praise are being given to God,” it still causes an undesired shift away from the One who is being thanked and praised to those who are doing the thanking and praising.

Presbyterian Church (USA)
The ELLC text appears throughout the Book of Common Worship without alteration. Some congregations in practice alter line 6 to

     It is right to give thanks and praise.

The reasoning is that such a change, by eliminating the word “our,” places the focus more fully upon God the object of thanks and praise, rather than upon our action.

The ELLC text appears in The Presbyterian Hymnal as part of a summary outline of the eucharistic prayer.

Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship
In the communion services published by the UUCF (which do not have any official status), line 4 of the Sursum Corda is rendered “We lift them up to the Lord.”

United Methodist Church (USA)
ELLC text is used in United Methodist Hymnal and United Methodist Book of Worship, and is printed in alternating plain and bold type face to indicate the lines for the leader and for the people in the dialogue.

An alternative traditional text from the rituals of the former Methodist and former Evangelical United Brethren churches is also included.

ICEL
Line 4
Since 1973 ICEL has amended this, for musical reasons, by adding “up”:

     We lift them up to the Lord.”

Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales
Line 6
Bishops of England and Wales prefer “to give him thanks and praise”.

Bishops of Scotland and Ireland prefer “to give our thanks and praise”

This will difference will need to be resolved prior to the publication of service books.

Church of England
Line 6
In the 1998 drafts of eucharistic prayers the Liturgical Commission is proposes the use of and amendment to the ELLC text:

     to give him thanks and praise.

Scottish Episcopal Church
The ELLC text will be proposed; it is uncertain how this will be decided.

General Synopsis

There are two main areas of amendment: line 4 and line 6.

Line 4
There is a number of supporters for “We lift them up to the Lord”.

Line 6
The area of controversy arises from ELLC’s use of “our”. In avoiding exclusive language, the text attracts theological criticism on the grounds that it deflects the worshippers’ attention from gazing upon God to a preoccupation with their own activity.

This objection comes from several church traditions and several geographical settings. It therefore represents a widespread and serious unease.

SANCTUS AND BENEDICTUS

Text
1      Holy, holy, holy, Lord, God of power and might,
2      heaven and earth are full of your glory.
3           Hosanna in the highest.

4      Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
5           Hosanna in the highest.

Individual Responses

Anglican Liturgical Consultation, Australia
The ELLC is used with the Benedictus set in square brackets.

Lutheran Church of Australia (1995)
Line 1
“God of power and might” is an inadequate expression for Sabaoth, which refers to the heavenly hosts or armies of God. We would prefer to have “Lord of heavenly hosts”.

Presbyterian Church, New Zealand
Line 4
Within a significant part of the church, this line would be viewed as unsatisfactory.

We suggest the following change:

     Blessed is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
In practice the l975 text is used.

American Baptist Fellowship for Liturgical Renewal
Line 4
“He” is frequently seen changed to “the one”. When sung or chanted, it becomes

     Blest (or Bless’d) is the one who comes in the name of the Lord.

in order to retain rhythm and stress.

Episcopal Church of USA
Line 4
There is a growing call for changing “he who comes” to “the one who comes”. As the explanatory note makes clear in Praying Together (page 24), the “he” is not referring to members of the congregation but to Jesus. At the same time not many people worshipping in our congregations make that distinction! It feels exclusive to the worshipper. (I am increasingly aware of the number of people who change the words to “the one” rather than complying with the “he” called for in the Prayer Book.) Some would say that though Jesus was obviously male, the risen Christ who is coming at the last day is neither male nor female. Again, both of these points may be questionable, but the concern is to gather the faithful in language that speaks to them - male and female - and their experience of being included in the joyful song of praise.

The Supplemental Liturgical Materials authorized for experimental use in ECUSA from 1991 through 1996 speak of “the one” with this footnote: ‘The ELLC version of this text reads “Blessed is he” in the fourth line. The text as printed follows the NRSV in translating Matthew 21.9 and Psalm 118.25 as “Blessed is the one ...” The Supplemental Liturgical Materials form a part of the continuing process of expanding the language we use to describe God in the worship of ECUSA.

The Standing Liturgical Commission approved texts for experimental use during the 1997-2000 triennium. Here “the one” will again be used.

Unitarian Universalist Christian Fellowship
The Sanctus is used without the Benedictus and is rendered

1 Holy, holy, holy, God of Power and Majesty:
2 heaven and earth are full of your glory.
3 Glory be to you, O Lord, most high.

United Church of Christ
The Sanctus and Benedictus in the Book of Worship are rendered:

1 Holy, holy, holy God of love and majesty,
2 the whole universe speaks of your glory,
3 O God Most High.

4 Blessed is the one who comes in the name of our God!
5 Hosanna in the highest!

United Methodist Church (USA)
The texts used in the United Methodist Hymnal and the United Methodist Book of Worship are identical to those in Praying Together except that there is no space between lines 3 and 4.

An alternative traditional text from the rituals of the former Methodist and Evangelical United Brethren churches is also provided.

Church of England
The Liturgical commission uses the ELLC text in the 1998 draft eucharistic prayers, but places the Benedictus in square brackets.

Baptist Union of Great Britain
The 1975 ICET texts are currently offered.

General Synopsis
Line 4 provides the major source of variation. Those who defend “Blessed is he” see a direct Christological reference. Those who advocate “Blessed is the one” see a referred Christology in which the congregation who come are the Body of Christ “neither male nor female”.

The Australian Lutheran argument for a stronger translation of Sabaoth (line 2) ought not to be lost in the debate about line 4.

AGNUS DEI

Text
1      Jesus, Lamb of God,
2           have mercy on us.
3      Jesus, bearer of or sins,
4           have mercy on us.
5      Jesus, redeemer of the world.
6           grant us peace.

Alternative version
1      Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world.
2           have mercy on us.
3      Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world.
4           have mercy on us.
5      Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world.
6           grant us peace.

Individual Responses

Lutheran Church of Australia (1995)
We prefer the inversion of the presentation of the two alternatives. The second is more the original and regular and should come first. The first one presented here is new and should be classified as the alternative.

Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
The 1975 Alternative Version is used.

Canadian Churches’ Coordinating Group on Worship
It should be made clear that the two versions have equal status.

US National Conference of Catholic Bishops
The Conference voted to retain the ICET version:

     you take away the sins of the world.

Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod
Only the alternative version of this text was included in Lutheran Worship (1982).

Church of England
There is some discussion about whether “sin” or “sins” is to be preferred as a translation, and in which context.

General Synopsis
This text seems to be widely accepted. The Church of England debate about “sin” and “sins” is nicely balanced. If one is preferred against the other, there will be those who are left dissatisfied - whatever the decision.

Similarly, the decision to print the more traditional version second raises the vexed question about the apparent importance which is accorded to the texts. Even placing versions side by side does not necessarily resolve the issue, since for some the left column will take precedence over the right.

GLORIA PATRI

Text

Layout 1
1      Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
2       as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Layout 2
1       Glory to the Father, and to the Son
2       and to the Holy Spirit:
3       as it was in the beginning, is now,
4       and will be for ever. Amen.

Layout 3
1      Glory to the Father,
2      and to the Son
3      and to the Holy Spirit:
4       as it was in the beginning,
5       is now,
6       and will be for ever. Amen.

Individual Responses

Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
While the ELLC text is approved and accepted, its use is matched by the use of the more traditional text

     Glory be to the Father...

so that the two texts seem to have become alternatives.

Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod
Line 1
The use of “be” was retained, chiefly for reasons of rhythm and metre.

Presbyterian Church (USA)
The ELLC text is included without alteration in the Book of Common Worship.

The Presbyterian Hymnal includes one musical setting of the ELLC text and three settings of the traditional text.

General Synopsis
While there is some continuing preference for the more traditional “Glory be ...”, the ELLC text seems to have been widely accepted.

TE DEUM LAUDAMUS

Text
1      We praise you, O God,
2      we acclaim you as Lord;
3      all creation worships you,
4      the Father everlasting.
5      To you all angels, all the powers of heaven
6      the cherubim and seraphim, sing in endless praise:
7          Holy, holy, holy Lord, God of power and might,
8          heaven and earth are full of your glory.
9      The glorious company of apostles praise you.
10      The noble fellowship of prophets praise you.
11      The white-robed army of martyrs praise you.
12      Throughout the world the holy Church acclaims you:
13           Father of majesty unbounded,
14       your true and only Son, worthy of all praise,
15           the Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

16      You, Christ, are the king of glory,
17      the eternal Son of the Father.
18       When you took our flesh to set us free
19       you humbly chose the Virgin’s womb.
20       You overcame the sting of death
21       and opened the kingdom of heaven to all believers.
22       You are seated at God’s right hand in glory.
23       We believe that you will come to be our judge.
24            Come then, Lord, and help your people,
25           bought with the price of your own blood,
26            and bring us with your saints
27           to glory everlasting.

Versicles and Responses after the Te Deum
1       V. Save your people, Lord, and bless your inheritance.
2       R. Govern and uphold them now and always.

3       V. Day by day we bless you.
4       R. We praise your name for ever.

5       V. Keep us today, Lord, from all sin.
6       R. Have mercy on us, Lord, have mercy.

7       V. Lord, show us your love and mercy,
8       R. for we have put our trust in you.

9       V. In you, Lord, is our hope:
10       R. let us never be put to shame

Individual Responses

Lutheran Church of Australia (1995)
Line 19
“You humbly choose” is not accurate. The choice of the Virgin’s womb was the Father’s; compliance with the Father’s will was the Son’s.

Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
While the ELLC text is approved and accepted, in practice it has become “optional” because most of the clergy and religious still use the Collins edition of The Divine Office.

Canadian Churches’ Coordinating Group on Worship
This text met with generally warm approval, although it was suggested that line 15 might be changed to read:

     and Holy Spirit, advocate and guide.

Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod
Line 2: we acclaim you as Lord
The word “acclaim” seems a weak translation for confitemur. The meaning here appears to be not so much that we are shouting praise to the Lord as that we are professing or confessing who the Lord is.

Lines 6 and 14: praise
The word “praise” is used to translate three different words: laudamus (line 1), proclamant (line 6), and venerandum (line 14). This tends to flatten the poetic imagery in the hymn.

The phrase “sing in endless praise” (line 6) fails to reflect the angels’ messenger-role of proclamation.

Likewise, “only Son, worthy of all praise” (line 14) limits the reverence due to the Son to only one form: praise.

Line 24: help your people
“People” is an interpretation of famulis which greatly softens the pleading nature of this verse. This plea is one which acknowledges both helplessness and complete reliance on the Christ who purchases us with his blood.

Presbyterian Church (USA)

The ELLC text is included without alteration in the Book of Common Worship.

The Psalter: Psalms and Canticles for Singing includes two musical settings of the ELLC text.

United Methodist Church (USA)
A careful comparison of the text in Praying Together reveals numerous variations in the United Methodist Hymnal version.

The significant variations in United Methodist Hymnal occur in lines 2, 6, 14, 15, 18, 19, and 8 of the versicles and responses and follow the 1986 preliminary revision of the text.

Church of Scotland
This is not found in Common Order. It is in the present hymnbook, but not in the ELLC text. However, in the revised hymnbook ELLC is likely to prevail.

General Synopsis
Several respondents had not begun work on the non-eucharistic texts in their liturgical revisions when the survey was held. So that in common with the responses on the canticles, there is less evidence available.

BENEDICTUS

Text
1      Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel,
2      who has come to his people and set them free.
3      The Lord has raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
4      born of the house of his servant David.
5      Through the holy prophets, God promised of old
6           to save us from our enemies,
7           from the hands of all who hate us,
8           to show mercy to our forebears,
9           and to remember his holy covenant.
10      This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham:
11           to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
12           free to worship him without fear,
13           holy and righteous before him,
14           all the days of our life.

15      And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
16      for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way,
17      to give his people the knowledge of salvation
18      by the forgiveness of their sins.
19      In the tender compassion of our God
20      the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
21      to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
22      and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Alternative Version
1       Blessed are you, Lord God of Israel,
2       you have come to your people and set them free.
3       You have raised up for us a mighty Saviour,
4       born of the house of your servant David.
5       Through your holy prophets, you promised of old
6            to save us from our enemies,
7            from the hands of all who hate us,
8            to show mercy to our forebears,
9            and to remember your holy covenant.
10       This was the oath God swore to our father Abraham:
11            to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
12            free to worship you without fear,
13            holy and righteous before you,
14            all the days of our life.

15       And you, child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
16       for you will go before the Lord to prepare the way,
17       to give God’s people the knowledge of salvation
18       by the forgiveness of their sins.
19       In the tender compassion of our God
20       the dawn from on high shall break upon us,
21       to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death,
22       and to guide our feet into the way of peace.

Individual Responses

Anglican Liturgical Consultation, Australia
Both forms of the ELLC text are provided.

Lutheran Church of Australia (1995)
We question the alternative version where the address to God changes the Benedictus from praise of God, that is, words about God proclaimed to the world, into a prayer to God.

Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
While the text is approved and accepted, in practice it has become “optional” because most of the clergy and religious still use the Collins edition of The Divine Office.

Canadian Churches’ Coordinating Group on Worship
Lines 15 and 16 - Alternative Version
CCCGOW suggests that these be changed to read:

     And this child shall be called the prophet of the Most High,
     who will go before the Lord to prepare the way,

CCCGOW also asks if “Alternative Version” could be changed to “Alternative Paraphrase.”

Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Book of Common Worship includes only the alternative version (unaltered). The reason for using only the alternative version is a preference for inclusive language.

Only metrical versions of the Benedictus are included in The Presbyterian Hymnal.

The Psalter: Psalms and Canticles for Singing includes three musical settings of the alternative version of the ELLC text.

United Methodist Church (USA)
In United Methodist Hymnal the Benedictus is printed in a responsorial form (alternating plain and bold face type).

The significant variations in United Methodist Hymnal occur in line 2, 4, 7, 8, 12, 13 and follow the 1986 preliminary text.

United Methodist Hymnal has a metrical paraphrase of the Benedictus.

General Synopsis
There is a difficulty which the second person singular form raises. In the avoidance of male language about God, the dramatic shift at line 15 is lost - “And you”. The Canadian Churches Coordinating Group on Worship has offered a means of regaining the shift by moving from the second person address to description in the third person - “And this child...” However, the difficulty remains. The biblical shift, in which Zachariah turns from the ecstatic recitation of the mighty acts of God in history to a priestly-prophetic blessing upon the child in his arms, is lost.

MAGNIFICAT

Text
1      My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
2      my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
3      who has looked with favour on his lowly servant.
4      From this day all generations will call me blessed:
5           the Almighty has done great things for me
6           and holy is his name.
7           God has mercy on those who fear him,
8           from generation to generation.
9      The Lord has shown strength with his arm
10      and scattered the proud in their conceit,
11      casting down the mighty from their thrones,
12      and lifting up the lowly.
13      God has filled the hungry with good things
14      and sent the rich away empty.
15      He has come to the aid of his servant Israel,
16      to remember the promise of mercy,
17      the promise made to our forebears,
18      to Abraham and his children for ever.

Alternative Version
1      My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
2      my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour,
3      for you, Lord, have looked with favour on your lowly servant.
4      From this day all generations will call me blessed:
5           you, the Almighty, have done great things for me
6           and holy is your name.
7           You have mercy on those who fear you,
8           from generation to generation.
9      You have shown strength with your arm
10      and scattered the proud in their conceit,
11      casting down the mighty from their thrones,
12      and lifting up the lowly.
13      You have filled the hungry with good things
14      and sent the rich away empty.
15      You have come to the aid of your servant Israel,
16      to remember the promise of mercy,
17      the promise made to our forebears,
18       to Abraham and his children for ever.

Individual Responses

Anglican Liturgical Consultation, Australia
Both forms of the ELLC text are provided.

Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
While the text is approved and accepted, in practice it has become “optional” because most of the clergy and religious still use the Collins edition of The Divine Office.

Canadian Churches’ Coordinating Group on Worship
In the alternative version lines 1 and 2 should read:

      My soul proclaims your greatness, Lord,
      my spirit rejoices in you, my Saviour.

This avoids a confusing switch to the vocative in line 3.

Line 16
This should be changed to read:

     remembering your promise of mercy

“Alternative Version” could be changed to “Alternative Paraphrase” here as well.

Presbyterian Church (USA)
The Book of Common Worship includes only the alternative version (unaltered). The reason is a preference for inclusive language.

Only a metrical version of the Magnificat is included in The Presbyterian Hymnal.

The Psalter: Psalms and Canticles for Singing includes three musical settings of the alternative version of the ELLC text.

United Methodist Church (USA)
The common liturgical text in Praying Together appears with the following variations.

Line 4
United Methodist Hymnal uses “shall” instead of “will.”

Lines 6, 7, 9, 10
United Methodist Hymnal follows the 1986 preliminary text.

Line 14
United Methodist Hymnal uses “empty away” instead of the ELLC text’s “away empty.”

The United Methodist Hymnal has two metrical paraphrases of the Magnificat.

The common liturgical text in Praying Together was followed with two exceptions.

NUNC DIMITTIS

Text
1      Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace:
2      your word has been fulfilled.
3      My own eyes have seen the salvation
4      which you have prepared in the sight of every people:
5      a light to reveal you to the nations
6      and the glory of your people Israel.

Individual Responses

Roman Catholic Church in New Zealand
While the text is approved and accepted, in practice it has become “optional” because most of the clergy and religious still use the Collins edition of The Divine Office.

Presbyterian Church (USA)
The ELLC text is included without alteration in the Book of Common Worship.

Only metrical versions of the Nunc Dimittis are included in The Presbyterian Hymnal.

The Psalter: Psalms and Canticles for Singing includes three musical settings of the ELLC text. One is altered in lines 1-3 as follows:

     1      Now, Lord, you have kept your word:
     2      let your servant go in peace.
     3      With my own eyes I have seen the salvation

The other two settings are without alteration.

United Methodist Church (USA)
Line 1
United Methodist Hymnal reads “Lord, now let your servant go in peace;” rather than “Now, Lord, you let...”

Line 4
United Methodist Hymnal reads “which you have prepared in the presence of all people,” rather than “which you have prepared in the sight of every people.” There is no evidence, based on comparison, that the 1986 preliminary revision influenced the wording used in the Nunc Dimittis.

General Synopsis
The respondents who want to amend line 3 seem to be responding to the fact that the original texts links the dismissal with what Simeon sees.

The ELLC text separates lines 1 and 2 from the remainder of the canticle by beginning a new sentence in line 3. Perhaps the link needs to be restored and the reason for Simeon’s readiness to depart made more explicit.

CONCLUSION

Praying Together sets out to provide common versions of the great prayers of the Church for English-speaking congregations.

While most of the comments appear to reflect theological concerns, there is an underlying question of linguistic norms. English, it is clear, is not simply one language, and what works well in one milieu grates in another.

Inclusive language is a particular instance of this unevenness. The battle about language as applied to human beings, is largely (though not completely) over. Inclusive language about God is still widely problematic. Texts in Praying Together which have sought to avoid male language of God by using the second person in direct address have raised almost as many problems as they sought to solve.

Proponents of inclusive language about God may be tempted to see questioners as ostriches hiding their heads in the sociological and theological sand. However, it is almost certainly not that simple.

The responses from the Southern hemisphere indicate that what for some is a huge struggle is for others not even an issue. Numerically, the congregations of Oceania are small compared with those of North America, but their comments indicate a massive contribution to the development of English as an international set of languages.

Alongside this developmental question about where there is one English language upon which we can build common texts, there are theological and ecclesiological issues. The questions we raise about the texts reveal the traditions from which we come.

As they read this report churches will be encouraged and challenged to see how tradition is developed, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, by the witness and authority of the scripture inspired by that same Holy Spirit.

This report is offered by the members of English Language Liturgical Consultation to those who will follow them with thanks to those who have preceded them. It is offered to the world-wide Church as a record of one stage in the struggle to make our worship “a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God” [Romans 12.1].

“Now to him who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen [Ephesians 3.20-21].

APPENDIX: THE ELLC QUESTIONNAIRE

1 Is your church (body) agreed that the provision of common liturgical texts is a benefit in the present ecumenical climate?

2 Are there parts of texts in Praying Together which your church (body) finds unsatisfactory but which you would continue to used because of their ecumenical status?

3 Does your church (body) have suggestions for the improvement of such texts?

4 Are there parts of these common texts that are unacceptable to your church (body)?

5 What are your church’s (body’s) recommendations for changes in such texts that would render them acceptable.

6 Are there parts of these texts which your church (body) has already changed? If so, please give full details.

7 If your church (body) has made such changes, please indicate whether these changes are experimental, alternative, or definitive.


FOOTNOTES

1 - The Pastoral Offices were published in a separate book. Work continued on Common Worship supplementary material, including the Ordinal (the ASB form was re-authorised until 2005), seasonal material, a new edition of Patterns for Worship and the Daily Office. It was hoped to publish an interim form of the Daily Office, for use and feedback, later in 2001.

2 - I wrote to a number of members of the House of Bishops urging the ecumenical importance of the ELLC. I hoped in this way to ensure that in the final debate the Bishops would make clear support for the ELLC text and encourage the clergy (where much resistance lay) to vote in favour in sufficient numbers.

It is worth reporting, by contrast, that in The Methodist Worship Book (published in January 1999) the ELLC text of the Lord’s Prayer is used in parallel with the modified traditional form, with the ELLC text appearing in the left column.

3 - REPORT COMPILER’S NOTE: eius is not simply the genitive of the masculine pronoun, but of all genders! The argument would have been better from the Greek, since autoV (while being masculine or neuter) could only be translated “his” in the context - unless God becomes “it”.



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