"A Dream of Common Prayer"?: A Case Series of Eucharistic Prayers in Their Context

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Zimbrick-Rogers, Emily L.
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School of Theology , University of the South , School of Theology Thesis 2021 , Common Prayer , Episcopal Church
The idea of common prayer has been a guiding framework since the first Book of Common Prayer in 1549. The emphasis on common, or standard, prayer has been affirmed to the present day, though the meaning of common has varied with the ages. The 1979 Book of Common Prayer (BCP) outlines that the Holy Eucharist is the principal act of Christian worship in the Episcopal Church. Thus, Eucharistic liturgy and practice are central to the expression of how common prayer throughout the Episcopal Church. While the 1979 Book of Common Prayer is the only authorized liturgical standard across the Episcopal Church, not all Episcopalians pray only out of the BCP. This project offers an exploration of the idea of common Eucharistic Prayer in practice by describing and comparing three parishes and their Eucharistic liturgies that are not found within the 1979 BCP. Interviews with clergy and bishops put the Eucharistic texts and practices into context, highlighting the importance of sociological insights and performance to understand written liturgy. This case series offers reflection on the role of ecclesial authority in relation to creativity, liturgical practice, lived theology, and dynamic interplay of the center and the edges in the Episcopal Church.