Essay: A New Zealand Prayer Book

CHC 2051 Anglican Studies Essay 3

Felicity O’Brien


What seem to you to be the most significant features of A New Zealand Prayer Book /He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa as an expression of Anglican worship, especially when compared with the Book of Common Prayer (1662)?

This essay seeks to discover the significant features of ANZPB/HKMOA, looking first at the BCP and the developing needs of the Anglican Communion to find appropriate ways to worship in a changing world. It notes the similarities of the two prayer books both in intention and in content, and some of the challenges of developing ANZPB/HKMOA. Major features of note are changing theology around initiation rites, changing use of gendered language both in regard to human beings and how to address God, and the very ‘New Zealand’ language, both in use of Maori and Pacific languages and in local imagery and poetry.

In many ways ANZPB/HKMOA stands in continuity with the BCP, which had been used continuously since 1662, and for a further century before that since Cranmer’s book of 1549 with little change. It followed the traditional Roman Mass quite closely, with a change of emphasis to the “sacrifice of Christ ‘once offered’ on the cross”.[1] The services, while lengthy,[2] were in simple, accessible[3] language and the BCP has been vital in forming not only the worship but the whole sense of belonging of the Anglican Communion.[4] It is “the voice of a praying community, not a manual for private devotions. It is written from and for the collective life.” [5] However, even from the 17th century there were variations in liturgical usage[6] as new emphases such as the Evangelical Revival of the 18th century[7] and the development of Anglo-Catholicism from Tractarianism[8] in the 19th century developed. It became obvious to Bishop Selwyn in New Zealand that the BCP did not meet every pastoral need.[9] In 1928 a new prayer book was proposed, driven by division between the Tractarians and the Evangelicals, and a ‘fear of Rome’.[10] It did not receive support from the leading bishops so was not officially adopted, although it was used.[11] In the 1930s the Liturgical Movement sought to involve people in more participatory worship,[12] and this development is obvious in ANZPB/HKMOA. Dom Gregory Dix’s The Shape of Liturgy (1945) was influential in presenting a case for liturgical revision. By 1958’s Lambeth Conference it was obvious that it was time to address the issue.[13] Brian Carrell would pick this up in New Zealand, urging “Anglicans in New Zealand of an evangelical persuasion to take seriously global concern to rewrite the Book of Common Prayer so that Anglican worship around the world could more adequately reflect local circumstances and cultures.” [14] Anglican worship had always used one set form, and there was reluctance to depart from an ‘authorized’ prayer book. The proposal was that a new prayer book would be a ‘child’ of the BCP, yet adapted to current needs.[15] The new prayer book would develop in stages from 1964-1989. The project would grow enormously: “What began as mild tampering with the language of received Anglican worship ended with the creation of a slate of virtually new services, and an almost unrecognizable reformation of others,”[16] rather than just a modern translation of 1662,[17] as some had wanted.

Archbishop Brian Davis in his preface to ANZPB/HKMOA cited the preface to the BCP, as the purposes had not changed. They were: to reduce liturgical confusion, to encourage reverence in public worship and to reduce the opportunity for division and dissension.[18] There has been an ongoing emphasis among Anglican theologians that “the sacraments, indeed the whole of Christian worship, are intended to encourage social responsiveness, whether in the Tudor Commonwealth or the post-industrial world with its multitude of diverse cultures and races.” [19] ANZPB/HKMOA develops this. Rather than one Eucharist form as in the BCP, ANZPB/HKMOA has three: ‘Thanksgiving of the People of God’, ‘Thanksgiving for Creation and Redemption’ and ‘Thanksgiving and Praise’,[20] and a ‘framework template’ for those wishing to devise their own service.[21] The new prayer book was to be seen as an alternative to the BCP rather than as a replacement.[22] It draws upon international scholarship and influence,[23] using documents that were not available to the compilers of BCP, notably the Didache and the Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus of Rome. [24] Penance is still there, in the form of the visitation of the sick (ANZPB pp750-53).[25] Thanksgiving for the Gift of a Child (pp 754-761) replaces the Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth (Churching of Women). The catechism is more extensive. It was not possible to produce one marriage service to meet all needs[26] so ANZPB/HKMOA has three forms (pp780ff) with many choices to cover pastoral needs.[27] What looks like a new service, Night Prayer, is a modern form of Compline, drawing upon the work of Jim Cotter.[28] The Accession Service, the Thirty-Nine Articles, and the table of kindred and affinity are omitted. There are set readings, but the Revised Common Lectionary[29] would provide an alternative. Whereas in the BCP all the Psalms are included in a thirty day cycle over morning and evening prayer, in ANZPB some of the more problematical psalms or portions thereof  have been omitted as being “not suitable for use in the corporate worship of the Church”[30] and other issues with the Psalms are discussed  below.[31]

There are some shifts in theology in ANZPB/HKMOA, notably from ‘petition’ to ‘petition with thanksgiving’.[32] What is more obvious however is an increased participation of lay people,[33] reflecting the total ministry of all the baptized [34] – a popular feature of ANZPB/HKMOA.[35] This can be clearly seen in the ordinals – BCP has no role for the congregation, whereas ANZPB/HKMOA refers to the ministry of all the baptised,[36] and the congregation has responses in the services. The Episcopalian nature of Anglicanism can clearly be seen in both ordinals as ordinands promise to obey their Ordinary (BCP) and “accept the order and discipline of this Church and the guidance and leadership of your bishop” (ANZPB/HKMOA p.894.) BCP also assumes that deacons will go on to be ordained priest after one year, but ANZPB/HKMOA leaves the way open for a deacon to be vocational, and refers to the equal importance of the roles of deacon, priest and bishop.[37] The inclusion of lay ministry was also apparent in new prayer books in America and Canada, and the Alternative Service Book in the UK.[38] Probably the most fluid issue in terms of theology at the time of preparing ANZPB/HKMOA was the relationship of baptism to confirmation and admission to communion. The Initiation Liturgies[39] come after Psalms, which Jenny Dawson suggests may link “traditional Jewish prayer into Eucharist through the comprehensive rite of initiation.”[40] The focus shifts from individual renouncing of ‘the devil and all his works’ to a ‘softer’[41] commitment from the whole congregation and particularly the parents and family to nurture the newly-baptised[42] in a ‘post-Christendom’ Church.[43] This move to delete references to evil has been criticised as missing out pastoral opportunities to address ‘corporate sin’,[44] and Dawson suggests additional readings.[45]

A very obvious change in ANZPB/HKMOA is that it uses twentieth-century language,[46] striving (as did the BCP) to provide worship in the language commonly used, with the RSV as its model both in Biblical quotations and style.[47] Rewriting the Lord’s Prayer was controversial, especially the line ‘Do not bring us to the test’.[48]  Ultimately, NZPB would follow international texts. ANZPB/HKMOA reflects its setting, using New Zealand images and metaphors[49] such as the Benedicite Aotearoa (pp 63-4,  457) and Psalm 65 – a Version for New Zealand (p.171) and James K. Baxter’s Song to the Holy Spirit (p.157) and Song to the Lord. (p.160) More obviously, the Maori language is used – services are translated into Maori rather than rewritten, using familiar terms,[50] which was challenging  owing to varying vocabulary among different tribes.[51] The funeral services were radically rewritten[52] to encompass “the disparate cultural practices and needs surrounding death of both tikanga Maori and European cultural values and traditions.” [53] Maori hymns feature. Maori phrases are used in English services, such as p.476, which is in diglot layout, and many of the Psalms (e.g. p.332.) It was decided to include some Polynesian languages, and Fijian and Tongan are used on pp.442ff and 449ff, but earlier hopes to include Hindi and Samoan have not been realised.[54] The new constitution which the church would adopt in 1992 would affirm the inclusion of the Polynesian tikanga as the third strand, along with tikanga Pakeha and tikanga Maori.

It quickly became obvious that modern language meant gender-inclusive and -affirming language, especially as the Church was beginning to ordain women.[55] The principle of inclusive language was expanded to include avoiding gender-specific references to God and to soften ‘power-language’[56] and Ken Booth followed Hebrew practice in his versions[57] of the Psalms for Worship,[58] avoiding a gendered pronoun by addressing God as ‘you’.[59] Replacing the terms ‘Zion’ and ‘Israel’[60] would lead to a ‘foul storm’[61] and a ‘distracting bombshell.’[62] The political situation in the Middle East was difficult at the time and in 1986 the commission was asked[63] to be sensitive in its use of ‘Zionist’ language. Keith Carley even suggested that “the references to Israel and Zion had been altered at the behest of Palestinian Christians.”[64] However it was decided that the Psalms for Worship stood as they were and other versions were available elsewhere for those do did not like them. Minor criticism of ANZPB/HKMOA would refer to its size – while the variety of options makes for a larger book [65] it does have legible text. The newer reprint by Genesis Publications[66] (the original is Collins) is more compact.

ANZPB/HKMOA is very much a ‘child’ of the BCP, with the same intention to provide appropriate worship in language that is current and contextual. It reflects the theological climate of its time, and strives to use gender-appropriate language and imagery, both for people and for God. It seeks to provide a pastoral and worship resource, with three forms of both the Eucharist and the Marriage Liturgy, and language variants in services and prayers, for the Church not only in New Zealand but also in Polynesia. It has been criticised for a ‘softening’ of the Baptismal rite and for changing references to ‘Zion’ and Israel’ in the Psalms for Worship. However, its

increased lay participation in worship – the work of the people – is popular, and ANZPB/HKMOA is admired, copied and used throughout the world.


Allchin, A.M. ‘Anglican Spirituality’ in Sykes, Stephen, Booty, John, Knight, Jonathan (editors) The Study of Anglicanism London: SPCK

Black. Monty 2010 The Anglican Communion and A New Zealand Prayer Book – He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa (This paper was written for a Graduate Diploma of Theological Studies (Liturgics) course at VST – (Vancouver School of Theology), for Dr. Richard Leggett. The Communion and our Prayer Book 195.00 kB

Brown, Colin 2012 Anglican Studies Study Guide EIDTS Christchurch

Sykes, Stephen, Booty, John, Knight, Jonathan (editors) 1988 The Study of Anglicanism London: SPCK

Butler, Perry 1988 ‘From the Early Eighteenth Century to the Present Day’ in Sykes, Stephen, Booty, John, Knight, Jonathan (editors) The Study of Anglicanism London: SPCK

Carrell, Brian 2013 Creating A New Zealand Prayer Book: A Personal Reminiscence of a 25 Year Odyssey 1964-89 Christchurch : Theology House Publications

The Church of England 1662 The Book of Common Prayer  London: OUP

The Church of the Province of New Zealand 1989 A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa Auckland: Collins

Crockett, William R. ‘Holy Communion’ in Sykes, Stephen, Booty, John, Knight, Jonathan (editors) The Study of Anglicanism London: SPCK

Davis, Brian 1995 The Way Ahead: Anglican Change and Prospect in New Zealand  Christchurch: The Caxton Press

Dawson, Jenny 2011 A Radical Theology of  Baptism: A critical investigation of the significance of baptism as the key element in the ecclesiology of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia Porirua: Jenny Dawson

Dearmer, Percy 1933 The Story of the Prayer Book: In the Old and new World and throughout the Anglican Church  London: OUP

Hatchett, Marion J. 1988 ‘Prayer Books’ in Sykes, Stephen, Booty, John, Knight, Jonathan (editors) The Study of Anglicanism London: SPCK

Haugaard, William P. 1988 ‘From the Reformation to the Eighteenth Century’ in Sykes, Stephen, Booty, John, Knight, Jonathan (editors) The Study of Anglicanism London: SPCK

Holeton, David R. 1988 ‘Initiation’ in Sykes, Stephen, Booty, John, Knight, Jonathan (editors) The Study of Anglicanism London: SPCK

Peters, J. Bosco M. 1990 The Anglican Eucharist in New Zealand 1814-1989 Auckland: Auckland Consortium for Theological Education

Stafford, W. 1995 ‘Anglican Spirituality’, in Anglican World, Advent 1995, pp.8-9

Stevick, D.B. 1982 ‘The Spirituality of the Book of Common Prayer’, Anglican Spirituality, ed. W.J. Wolf, Wilton, Conn.: Morehouse-Barlow

Thompsett, Fredrica Harris 1988 ‘The Laity’ in Sykes, Stephen, Booty, John, Knight, Jonathan (editors) The Study of Anglicanism London: SPCK

Given for Us: The New Zealand Liturgy with notes by Margaret Marsh

The Provincial Secretary 1971 Auckland: Business Printing Works

[1] Crockett 1988, p.308

[2] Haugaard 1988, p.12

[3] Stafford 1995, p.8

[4] Stevick 1982, p.105

[5] Stevick 1982, p.14

[6] Brown 2012, p.83

[7] Butler 1988, p.45

[8] Butler 1988,p.45

[9] Black 2010, p.4

[10] Cumin in Brown 2012, p.96

[11] Black 2010, p.17

[12] Crockett 1988, p.315

[13] Carrell 2013, p.5

[14] Carrell 2013, p.7

[15] Carrell 2013, p.8

[16] Carrell 2013, p.111

[17] Carrell 2013, p.62

[18] Hatchett 1988, p.142

[19] Thompsett 1988, p287

[20] See Carrell 2013, p.84

[21] ibid

[22] Carrell 2013, p.91

[23] Ken Booth in Black 2010, p.9

[24] Black 2010, p.20

[25] Brown 2012, p.73

[26] Carrell 2013, p.50

[27] It remains to be seen whether these will be adequate for the next phase in the Church’s life on this issue.

[28] Carrell 2013, p.92

[29] Carrell 2013, p.31

[30] ANZPB/HKMOA  p.195 and see p.196 for a list

[31] see list on Carrell 2013, p.96 note 114

[32] Carrell 2013, p.81

[33] Thompsett 1988, p.277

[34] Thompsett 1988, p.278

[35] Carrell 2013, p.20

[36] ANZPB/HKMOA p. 887

[37] Ibid

[38] Thompsett 1988, p.285

[39] The Liturgy of Baptism and the Laying on of Hands for Confirmation and Renewal

[40] Dawson 2011, p.62

[41] Dawson 2011, p.54

[42] Dawson 2011, p.62

[43] Holeton 1988, p.302

[44] Dawson 2011, p.42

[45] Dawson 2011, p.147

[46] Carrell 2013, pp.14,15

[47] Black 2010, p.24

[48] Carrell 2013, p.32, and see 1970 liturgy p.33

[49] Dawson 2011, p.80

[50] Carrell 2013, p.38

[51] Black 2010, p.28

[52] Carrell 2013, p.47

[53] ibid

[54] Carrell 2013, p.92

[55] Davis 1995, p.76

[56] Carrell 2013, p.15

[57] Based on the work of Douglas Miller

[58] Carrell 2013, p.95

[59] Davis 1995, p.100

[60] see Davis 1995, pp.102,3

[61] Carrell 2013, p.57

[62] Carrell 2013, p.71

[63] by Ren Kempthorne

[64] Carley in Carrell 2013, p.98

[65] 950 pages, some numbered twice in diglot sections, as compared to 715 in BCP

[66] Carrell 2013, p.89

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