Piety Hill Musings

The ramblings of the 51 year old Rector of St. John's Episcopal Church of Detroit. Piety Hill refers to the old name for our neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal in the over 150 years we have been on this corner (but not our traditional biblical theology) and it is now known for the neighboring theatres, the professional baseball and football stadiums and new hockey/basketball arena.

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Location: Detroit, Michigan, United States

Monday, July 29, 2013

The American Prayer Book - Rector's Rambling - July 28, 2013

With today’s celebration of Founders’ Day we take a week off from our study of the Pastoral Offices in the Book of Common Prayer to discuss the first American Prayer Book.
After the Revolutionary War, the Church of England in the colonies found herself separated from the governance and administration of the Mother Church.  Many clergy in the colonies fled to Canada or back to England during the war, to honor the pledge they made at their ordination to uphold the 39 Articles of Religion, which included recognizing the authority of the King of England.  Those who remained in these new United States found that they were without bishops, and with the English Book of Common Prayer of 1662 as the form of worship.
The parishes within each colony organized into conventions with the remaining clergy, and worked to organize a catholic, reformed Church on the English model without having the King be the sovereign over church affairs.
The churches in New England chose Samuel Seabury to become their bishop (which he did in Scotland), and Pennsylvania, New York and Maryland elected men who were eventually ordained bishops in England.  A General Convention of the colony (now State) dioceses met and hashed out a constitution mirroring the new U.S. Constitution with a bi-cameral legislation.
There was much haggling over details of the American Book, whether portions should be omitted, revised or added.  But in 1789 a new book was adopted, which stated in it’s preface, “This Church is far from intending to depart from the Church of England in any essential point of doctrine, discipline, or worship; or farther than local circumstances require.”
This prayer book would be replaced in 1892, 33 years after this parish opened for worship!   This would have been the same year that the current altar was installed in the Church.