*** This is a rough transcript of today’s show ***

It is the 23rd of January 2022. Welcome to the Christian History Almanac brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org; I’m Dan van Voorhis.

On account of today’s observance, I am going to suggest we categorize this show under the heading of “know your neighbor”- that’s right, we have Gene Scott All-Stars, “Oops all Berries” shows where the event has nothing to do with the day, and now the KYN or know your neighbor- and in this case, it is our neighbors in the Anglican or Episcopal church.

I won’t belabor the point, but this is the church created by King Henry VIII in the 16th century, who broke from the Catholic Church for theological and personal reasons. He is known for his inability to have a male heir- but that story sometimes overlooks the fact that he did have a male heir, his first son, who would become King Edward upon his father’s death in 1547. Edward was only ten at the time, and his advisors took over the kingdom's day-to-day activities. The Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, would lead the theological activities as the church was trying to figure out how it would live between the Catholic Church it left and her Protestant cousins.

The 16th century was, of course, a century of confessions- confessions of faith that detailed what the new churches affirmed and denied. The Anglicans have their confession in the 39 Articles- but arguably, the most critical “confession” for the Anglicans was the Book of Common Prayer.

Their confession is thus more like a liturgy, order of worship, and order of prayer. If you’re a regular, I hope that Latin phrase is ringing through your head “Lex Orandi, Lex Credendi”- in short, it means how we worship affects what we believe.

The first prayer book was published in 1549, just a few years after Henry’s death. Cranmer was the man behind this book that consisted of daily prayer services, weekly services, services for events from baptism to burial and ordination to marriage.

The specific language of Cranmer has influenced all manner of English-speaking Christians- listen to these phrases.

“To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death we do part.”

“Earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust; in sure and certain hope of the Resurrection unto eternal life.”

“We have left undone those things which we ought to have done, And we have done those things which we ought not to have done.”

But this edition of the prayer book- the 1549 edition- was seen as too ambiguous for certain Catholic rites. Protestants thought they would have a religious settlement for the good they decided to edit the prayer book to take it in an even more Protestant direction.

And wouldn’t you know it was on this, the 23rd of January in 1552, that the Second Prayer Book was published during the reign of King Edward? Uniformly was also passed requiring all English people to attend state-approved worship services on Sunday or pay a fine.

Furthermore, ornate altars were replaced in the churches with plain tables, and the old vestments gave way to the plain white surplice worn over the traditional black cassock.

Of course, Edward would die within a year, and Mary would come to the throne and reinstate the Catholic Church. Queen Elizabeth would reinstate the Anglican Church with her own slightly revised Book of Common Prayer in 1559. Subsequent monarchs would revise the Book of Common Prayer again in 1604 Under James I and 1664 under Charles I.

Unlike confessions of faith that are treated as unchangeable, the Book of Common Prayer has been updated over time in a way that other confessions aren’t. The Book of Common Prayer has also been adapted in every country where churches in the Anglican or Episcopal communion exist.

In America, the Episcopal Church has had its editions in 1789, 1892, 1928, and 1979. There is something called the Anglican Church in North America that uses a new edition published in 2019.

These Christian neighbors of yours might look Catholic if you are a low church Protestant or a little too “low church” if you are a Catholic- and based on the folks who have written and edited the Book of Common Prayer- I think that’s close to how they would want it to be. Today we remember the second edition of the Book of Common Prayer- the pumped-up Protestant version of 1552 was published on this day in 1552.

The last word for today comes from 1 John.

5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light and in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we say that we have fellowship with him while we are walking in darkness, we lie and do not do what is true; 7 but if we walk in the light as he himself is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. 8 If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

This has been the Christian History Almanac for the 23rd of January 2022 brought to you by 1517 at 1517.org.

The show is produced by a man who looks too Catholic for his low church friends- cassock, stole and all… he is Christopher Gillespie.

The show is written and read by a man whose work clothes are currently my pajamas and a robe. I’m Dan van Voorhis.

You can catch us here every day- and remember that the rumors of grace, forgiveness and the redemption of all things are true…. Everything is going to be ok.