The Prayer Book Society is the Calgary Branch of the Prayer Book Society of Canada, representing Southern Alberta in the area of the Diocese of Calgary of the Anglican Church of Canada. While our activities are centred in the City of Calgary itself, this is representative of the fact that Calgary is the demographic centre of our area of ministry, and also a somewhat central location given the geographic boundaries of the Diocese, which extend north past Red Deer near to Edmonton and south to the Canada-US border.
The Prayer Book Society of Canada was formed in 1985 as a national charitable organization with the goal of promoting Anglican orthodoxy and the fullness of the Anglican tradition found in the Book of Common Prayer, and specifically the Canadian Book of Common Prayer (1962). While many members appreciate the beauty of the traditional Elizabethan English preserved in the BCP, both in its liturgies and in the Coverdale Psalter and use of the King James Version of the Bible in its lectionary readings, this is far from the primary goal of the Society. Indeed, in promoting the traditional Anglican Formularies, which includes the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion (BCP, 698), the Society recognizes the importance of promoting language in worship and communal prayer that is easily understood by the people (Article XXIV).
The Book of Alternative Services was an effort at liturgical revision that in part responded to a desire to see a more contemporary language used in Anglican liturgical worship in Canada. In many ways it has done an admirable job of fulfilling the requirement of maintaining a language understandable to the people for Anglican public worship, and its use has become normative in most Anglican parishes throughout Canada. However, it would be wrong to think of the differences between the Book of Alternative Services and the Book of Common Prayer are solely in its language, or that the BAS is simply the contemporary language prayer book while the BCP is the traditional language prayer book. The liturgical revision that brought forward the BAS also brought with it theological revision and liturgical changes that distance it from the traditions of Anglicanism as put forward in the Book of Common Prayer.
The Prayer Book Society was formed in part in response to the publication of the BAS in order to help clarify the continued value of the Book of Common Prayer, and to be a voice of advocacy on behalf of Anglican traditions which might otherwise be lost if the Book of Common Prayer were to be ignored.
The purposes and vision of the Prayer Book Society of Canada are laid out in its constitution, available from the national website. The National Society’s aims are summarized in these three points:
The Calgary Branch works locally to fulfil those goals and in particular also maintains the following objectives:
The Prayer Book Society seeks to promote this vision within our area of ministry through a number of activities that respond to the needs are desires of the people to which we minister. This includes creating opportunities to worship in the Prayer Book tradition, particularly through the beloved service of Choral Evensong. We seek to promote education, understanding and discussion through public lectures, conferences and debates on issues relating to Anglicanism and the Prayer Book. We also thoroughly encourage prayer on the part of all members for clergy and laity of the diocese, and for major events in the life of the Anglican Church of Canada, recognizing that it is through the power of God, and not through the work of our own hands, that the objectives of the Society will be met. Finally we seek to promote other social occasions to connect like-minded Anglicans who appreciate the
We believe that with God’s help, these events and others will help to successfully improve the understanding of the role of the Prayer Book and its grounding of the Anglican tradition, for both clergy and laity, throughout the Diocese of Calgary.
The Prayer Book Society is a registered charity, run by volunteers and membership is open, through the national society, to any Canadians who support the aims of the Society. If you are interested in becoming a member of the Prayer Book Society of Canada, please visit the National Society’s website to apply and if you are already a member and interested in becoming involved in this branch, please use the information on the contact page for details on how to get in touch with us.
The Society elects officers at its Annual General Meetings, which are open to all members of the Prayber Book Society of Canada in good standing living within the geographical boundaries of the Calgary Branch. The most recent Annual General Meeting was held in Lent 2016, and elected the following Board: