Encouraging the 1662 BCP IE in your church

The 1662 Book of Common Prayer International Edition, edited by Samuel L. Bray and Drew N. Keane.

The options for incorporating the 1662 IE into the public worship offerings at your parish differ depending on your ecclesiastical jurisdiction. 

Pastors, consider providing some encouragement for the use of The 1662 Book of Common Prayer: International Edition within your parish.

Offering a Sunday School class on the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, provides a great way to help parishioners to deepen their familiarity with Anglican history and the devotional resources at the heart of that tradition. The 1662 IE is an ideal resource for a Sunday School class on classical Anglicanism, because it retains the original 1662 daily office lectionary (not the 1871 revision found in the Cambridge BCPs), includes the Homily on Justification, and provides a glossary. 

Providing complimentary copies of the 1662 IE to encourage parishioners to use at home for the daily office has the potential to help reinvigorate a parish community through the rediscovery of the core of the prayer book system. The editors have provided resources to help those wishing to pray the office at home, including “A Beginner’s Guide to Evening Prayer,” “A Companion to Morning Prayer,” and an abbreviated form of Morning and Evening Prayer. 

For pastors in the Episcopal Church, General Convention 2018’s Resolution A068 resolved that “bishops engage worshiping communities in experimentation and the creation of alternative texts to offer to the wider church.” This invitation to liturgical experimentation opens the door to rediscovering old forms of prayer as much as to creating new ones. Under this resolution, your bishop may authorize some use of the 1662 in your parish. One easy on-ramp might be to ask for permission to use it for the daily office, which is the basso continuo of the classic prayer book system.

The 1979 BCP has an option often informally called Rite III (officially “An Order for Celebrating the Holy Eucharist”) which provides wide latitude for a rector to design his own eucharistic liturgy. This provision was originally not intended for the primary Sunday service, but Resolution D050 of General Convention 2015 lifted that limitation. This requires no special authorization. The 1662 IE text could be used for this either as an occasional or regular weekly option for your parish.

In the Anglican Church in North America, diocesan bishops have oversight of the liturgies used within their jurisdictions (Canon 2 of the Constitution and Canons). According to the same canon, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer is one of the prayer books that “shall be permitted for use in this Church,” and it is the prayer book identified as the “standard” for Anglican doctrine, discipline, and worship.

In a context in which we risk being defined by what divides us more than by what we have in common, the 1662 Book of Common Prayer has the potential to be a powerful instrument of unity and renewal within the Anglican Communion.


  • The Rev. Jake Dell is the Priest-in-Charge of St. Peter’s Lithgow in Millbrook, New York. He is a member of the board of the Evangelical Fellowship in the Anglican Communion-USA.

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