John Wesley's Prayerbook - New Edition

Reverend John Wesley
One of the things I love about our Wesleyan/Methodist spiritual heritage (as is evident from the content of this website) is the way it brings together the riches of the Anglican theological, sacramental, and liturgical tradition which is so deeply grounded in the ancient Church together with the Spirit-filled and socially conscious evangelicalism of the Pietist movements and the Great Awakenings.

I love how John and Charles Wesley developed new and passionate ways of worship - particularly in the outpouring of new hymns and songs - while at the same time affirming and celebrating the inherited Anglican liturgy and the importance of the Sacraments.  In fact the Wesleys considered themselves "high-church" priests in the English Church.  

Archbishop Cranmer
One great expression of this Spirit-filled, evangelical, Anglo-catholicism is John Wesley's own revision of the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer.  The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) was (and remains) the official liturgy (service book) of the Church of England, largely compiled by Archbishop Thomas Cranmer from Ancient and Medieval Christian sources, as part of the Protestant effort to recover an earlier Christianity that was unblemished by the corruptions that had crept in over the years.  

The Book of Common Prayer includes services for daily prayer, special occasions as well as Sunday Morning worship.  It guides worshipers through a set classic and well-loved prayers, deeply steeped in Biblical language and orthodox theology, and written in a beautiful and weighty yet unadorned English style befitting their awesome purpose of facilitating communion with God.  That the BCP has been borrowed and adapted by other denominations - Protestant, Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and Charismatic - shows the quality and spiritual significance of this Prayerbook.  

When the American Revolution made it clear that Methodists in America could no longer attend a local parish of the Church of England (which to this day is intertwined with the English state), Wesley helped the Methodists in America to get organized into a new and independent church: The Methodist Episcopal Church.  He did this by sending us a bishop (Thomas Coke), a formal set of doctrinal statements (The Articles of Religion and the "Standard" Sermons of John Wesley) and also a revised version of the English Prayerbook to serve as the Methodist liturgy. 

The Prayerbook he sent was officially called The Sunday Service of the Methodists in North America (there is a link to it down the right side-bar of this website).  For many years print copies have been hard to come by.  The Order of Saint Luke published a facsimile version a few years ago, but these are out of print and (in my experience) had some quality issues.

Now there is a new version available - both in paperback and hardback (and apparently with Leather on the way!) entitled John Wesley's The Book of Common Prayer.  After I move I'll be picking up a copy or two, I suspect.

Information is available HERE.  You can order yours HERE.  


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