Some years ago the Anglican Society published a little booklet that outlined a ceremonial to be used with the 1928 BCP Communion service which they entitled "An American Use." In outline it was somewhat similar to the forms set forth by the Alcuin Club and by Dr Dearmer in the Parson's Handbook. It was also vocal in its defense of the integrity of the Anglican Rite, something which I fear many Continuers fight shy of because they have been taught that, when it come to liturgy, the Rome of Pius V and Pius X is right. This is the product of that unfortunate tendancy to look to Rome as the sole standard of Catholicity. And that, to put it mildly, is a mistake.
However, given the history of the Continuing Anglican Movement, I feel that one needs to be subtle about reintroducing the bulk of Anglicans to the idea that their liturgical tradition has an integrity and a ceremonial of its own. After all, we do not need another series of divisive liturgy wars. The tide has been running in favour of the Romanized version of Anglicanism for some fifty to sixty years which is about as long as the "Ritual Notes and Water" approach has been dominant. That said, I cannot help but feel that the times are changing.
Firstly, I think the Roman Catholic Anglican Ordinariates are going to syphon off the more enthusiastic and active Anglo-Papalists to Rome. This will be healthy for them, as it will enable them to realise the full logic of their position. Secondly, this will tend to make the unhypenated Anglican identity stronger within the Continuum, but this constituency will need to be educated. Thirdly, thanks to the late Peter Toon and others there is a greater awareness of "Classical Anglicanism" than there was at the end of, say, the 1980s. So what are the implications of this for the liturgy?
The first thing is to train more of the clergy to allow the BCP to be the BCP. In other words, we need to teach them a ceremonial that fits the BCP and does not cram it into the straight-jacket of someone else's ceremonial. The second step should be for some parishes to opt for being very definitely - even narrowly - BCP in their liturgical Use, though I hope that the Bishops and Rectors involved will use their collective loaves and authorize some suitable additional resources for minor holydays and Holy Week - for example "Lesser Feasts and Fasts, 1963" and the 1967 Scottish "Lent and Holy Week" booklet. Thirdly, there needs to be a concerted effort to reclaim the "Prayer Book Catholic" liturgical tradition from the taint of moderation and liberalism it has picked up in both the Church of England and TEC.
In order to get the ball rolling, so to speak, I want to conclude this posting with a few notes on the Scottish/American Prayer of Consecration.
The Canon or Prayer of Consecration used in the 1928 BCP derives from that of the Non-Jurors as revised by Bishop Rattray in 1746 and 1764. The structure of the prayer is modelled on the Pseudo-Clementine Liturgy, which exerted a great fascination on early eighteenth century Anglican. In Pseudo-Clement, the Words of Institution are placed before the invocation of the Holy Spirit. However, much of the detailed wording derives from Cranmer's text of 1549 as modified in 1552 and 1637.
The opening words of the 1764/1928 Prayer of Consecration are intended to follow on from the Sanctus. It is therefore best not to intrude the "Benedictus, qui venit" between the Sanctus and the Prayer of Consecration as the "Glory be to thee, O Lord Most High" of the Sanctus is echoed in the "All Glory be to thee" at the beginning of the Canon. After a brief passage stating the basis of the sacrament, the prayer passes first to the words of Institution; then to the Amnesis, which states what we commemorate by this sacrament; and then to the Invocation of the Word and Holy Spirit, which represents the climax of the consecratory monologue. This is then followed by the Oblation of ourselves as sanctified by the Eucharistic gifts to be a "reasonable, holy and living sacrifice." The prayer closes with a doxology.
After removing the cover from the Ciborium and the Pall or folded Corporal from the Chalice, the celebrant begins the Prayer of Consecration in a clear, loud voice opening and raising, then closing and lowering his hands at the opening words. He then continues with his hands in the "Orans" position until he reaches the words "until his coming again." He then performs the manual acts as prescribed in the BCP making sure that he lifts the large wafer to about face height to perform the fraction then replace it on the paten. He should also briefly raise the chalice to about face height at the words "he took the Cup." In the next paragraph he may elevate the paten and chalice together to about shoulder height at the words "which we now offer unto thee." This is a well attested Non-Juror custom that was preserved in the Scottish Episcopal Church until late in the nineteenth century. At the Invocation the celebrant should first join his hands and bow at the words "we humbly beseech thee, O heavenly Father." He should sign the cross over the paten and chalice together either once or thrice at the words "bless and sanctify with thy word and Holy Spirit." The priest then continues with his hands extended in the Orans position. At the end of the prayer he bows at the words "through Jesus Christ our Lord" then elevates the paten and chalice together whilst he recites the rest of the doxology. After the "Amen" he replaces the paten and chalice on the Corporal, bows (or genuflects) and then says the introduction of the Lord's Prayer.
By the way, it should be noted that in the above notes I took it for granted that the priest will join his hands and bow at the name of Jesus. This bow at the holy Name is required by the 1604 Canons, and is one of the few ceremonial gestures ever mandated by Anglican Canon Law. I should perhaps also add that one should be careful about changing existing ceremonial customs. If done at all, it must be done slowly!
Hopefully, that will get you thinking...