First off, since I'm new to anglimergent, let me introduce myself briefly.
I'm Malcolm Heath, and I'm a lay person, a nearly lifelong Episcopalian, and an active member of my parish, Sts. Peter and Paul's Episcopal in Portland, Oregon. In other places, I'm an information security specialist and system administrator. I'm a husband, and a member of Gen-X, and much else besides.
I've gotten the impression that many here are clergy, former or in discernment, or otherwise hold advanced degrees in theology or divinity. My somewhat paltry BA in Religious Studies will hopefully allow me to keep up with you all. My qualifications as someone who was raised Episcopalian, but left for a long time, and found my way back, might be of more use, come to think of it.
At any rate, as we discuss at our parish various new programs for outreach and fostering emerging Anglicanism, I find I sometimes struggle with a nexus of issues that related to the BCP and developing new liturgical patterns. This is more or less of a list of notes and questions, and I'd be very happy to get your input.
The BCP itself is something I love a great deal, even as it drives me batty. I find the patterns of worship seem natural and powerful to me. The have a pace and a rhythm that works very well, with times of quiet, and times of noise. They build well, and offer a framework that really seems to work well for many.
On the other hand, the rubriks are confusing at times. The choice of collects and selection of various texts, antiphons, and even whole sections can be daunting. I know that this came out of a desire to make it more flexible, and it likely has, but it's often easier to start with something a bit more simple and build from there, than it is to start from something complex, and try to wrestle something meaningful out of it.
There certainly isn't a shortage of readings to substitute, of course. There are vast depths of liturgical material in the broader Anglican tradition that are sitting there, waiting to be used. Celtic inspired texts, ones with a Benedictine flavor, old forgotten collects and phrases from prayerbooks past, and much else besides.
But I fear that, given the plethora of material, some of the rhythm might be lost if we're not careful.
This has been somewhat rambling up to now, so let me try to sort this out a bit more clearly.
I would love to see "alternative liturgy" developed at my parish, and my clergy and vestry support it.
We have a celtic flavor that calls us deeply.
At the same time, the power of the liturgy of the BCP is something that the Anglican church has to offer, and isn't something that should be cast aside, I think.
Given all that, perhaps the questions are "Do you feel bound to the prayerbook?" and if so, why?
Also, "if the prayerbook speaks to you, what parts would you take along with you, in terms of broad frameworks for liturgy, into a new form for worship?"