Archive for the ‘The Book of Common Worship (1906)’ Tag

Feast of Henry Van Dyke (April 10)   4 comments

Above:  Henry and Ellen Van Dyke, Between 1910 and 1915

Image Source = Library of Congress

Image Publisher = Bain News Service

Reproduction Number = LC-DIG-ggbain-17998

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HENRY JACKSON VAN DYKE (NOVEMBER 10, 1852-APRIL 10, 1933)

U.S. Presbyterian Minister, Liturgist, and Hymn Writer

Henry Van Dyke was a Presbyterian minister, a diplomat, a poet, a theologian, a liturgist, and an author of pious fiction.

The great man debuted at Germantown, Pennsylvania, on November 10, 1852.  He graduated from the Polytechnic Institute, Brooklyn, New York, in 1869.  Then he studied at Princeton University (B.A., 1873; M.A., 1877).  Next Van Dyke traveled abroad before returning to the United States.  He became a Presbyterian minister in 1879.  Our saint married Ellen Reid of Baltimore, Maryland, in December 1881.  The couple had five children:

  1. Frances (age 16 at the time of the 1900 census);
  2. Terticus (1887-1956), a poet who wrote a biography (1935) of his father;
  3. Dorothea (age 12 at the time of the 1900 census);
  4. Elaine (age 8 at the time of the 1900 census); and
  5. Paula (age 1 at the time of the 1900 census).

Van Dyke served as the pastor of two congregations.  He was at the United Congregational Church, Newport, Rhode Island, from 1879 to 1883.  Then he served at The Brick Presbyterian Church, New York, New York, from 1883 to 1900.  Our saint became a respected scholar and writer, as well as a popular orator.

Two of Van Dyke’s gifts were poetry and prose.  He brought these to this position as a Professor of English Literature at Princeton University, starting in 1900.  Our saint also brought his literary skill to bear on The Book of Common Worship (1906), the first formal liturgy the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. authorized, created, and published, although not the first formal liturgy it published.  He served as the chairman of the committee that produced the volume, which many in the denomination considered too Roman Catholic.  During his time at Princeton Van Dyke also served as the Moderator of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. (1902-1903), was a lecturer at the University of Paris (1908-1909), became a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature (in England, 1910), and began to serve as the President of the National Institute of Arts and Letters (starting in 1912).

Van Dyke’s life became more international in 1913, when President Woodrow Wilson, his friend and former boss at Princeton, appointed him to serve as the Minister  (Ambassador) to The Netherlands and Luxembourg.  Our saint resigned that post in late 1916 and returned to the United States.  The following year he became a U.S. Navy chaplain with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.  Van Dyke, a Commander of the Legion of Honor since 1918, returned to civilian life in 1923 and devoted himself primarily to literary matters.

Van Dyke, who received many honorary doctorates, made one final contribution to Presbyterian liturgy.  In this late seventies he served as the chairman of the committee that produced The Book of Common Worship (Revised) (1932).

One might know of Van Dyke as a writer, probably for The Story of the Other Wise Man (1895) and/or his most famous hymn, “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” (written in 1907 and published two years later).  The list of our saint’s publications long and impressive, including even a play.  I refer you, O reader, to archive.org, where you can find electronic copies of many of Van Dyke’s published works, not least of which is The Poems of Henry Van Dyke (1911).

I have added some of our saint’s hymns addressed to God at my GATHERED PRAYERS weblog.

Van Dyke died, aged 80 years, at Princeton, New Jersey, on April 10, 1933.

His legacy survives.  His hymns survive, although most have fallen into disuse.  The Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), which published the sixth incarnation of the Book of Common Worship in 1993, is working on the seventh version.  [Aside:  The versions were those of 1906, 1932, 1946, 1966, 1970, and 1993.]  And, of course, one can read what he published.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

APRIL 9, 2017 COMMON ERA

PALM SUNDAY:  THE SUNDAY OF THE PASSION, YEAR A

THE FEAST OF DIETRICH BONHOEFFER, GERMAN LUTHERAN MARTYR

THE FEAST OF SAINT CASILDA OF TOLEDO, ROMAN CATHOLIC ANCHORESS

THE FEAST OF JOHN SAMUEL BEWLEY MONSELL, ANGLICAN PRIEST AND POET; AND RICHARD MANT, ANGLICAN BISHOP OF DOWN, CONNOR, AND DROMORE

THE FEAST OF LYDIA EMILIE GRUCHY, FIRST FEMALE MINISTER IN THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA

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Holy God, whose majesty surpasses all human definitions and capacity to grasp,

thank you for those (especially Henry Van Dyke)

who have nurtured and encouraged the reverent worship of you.

May their work inspire us to worship you in knowledge, truth, and beauty.

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Amen.

1 Chronicles 25:1-8

Psalm 145

Revelation 15:1-4

John 4:19-26

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 27, 2012 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT JAMES INTERCISUS, ROMAN CATHOLIC MARTYR

THE FEAST OF HENRY SLOANE COFFIN, U.S. PRESBYTERIAN THEOLOGIAN

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Feast of the First U.S. Presbyterian Book of Common Worship, 1906 (May 15)   Leave a comment

In the 1800s interest in formal worship grew within segments of U.S. Presbyterianism.  There was sufficient interest by 1903 for that year’s General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. to name a committee to create “a Book of Simple Forms and Services which shall be proper and helpful for voluntary use in Presbyterian churches in the celebration of the Sacraments, in marriages and funerals, and in the conduct of public worship.”  This committee received instructions “to draw from the Holy Scriptures and the usage of the Reformed Churches; to avoid those forms which savor or ritualism; to embody sound doctrine in the language of orderly devotion, and to keep ever in mind the end of Presbyterian worship, which is that all the people should join in the service of God as He is revealed in Jesus Christ.”

The committee’s work was complete in 1906, when the General Assembly approved the first Book of Common Worship.  The 263-page volume, the editor of which was Henry Van Dyke (April 10 on this calendar of saints), reflected the instructions from 1903.  This was a basic book of worship, lacking even a lectionary.  Yet its opponents condemned it embodying the “hypnotic influence” or formalism and ritualism, and of smelling of “priestcraft.”  At the 1906 General Assembly Van Dyke, standing by a table with copies of the Book of Common Worship on it, had to discourage a physical altercation over the volume.

Above:  Henry Van Dyke, Editor of the 1906 and 1932 editions of the Book of Common Worship

The title page of the Book of Common Worship noted in boldface type that it was “For Voluntary Use.”  The table of contents of this voluntary book follows:

The Order of Morning Service

The Order of Evening Service

A Brief Order of Worship

The Commandments

The Beatitudes

The Order for the Celebration of the Communion

The Order for the Administration of Baptism to Infants

The Order for the Administration of Baptism to Adults

The Order for the Confirmation of Baptismal Vows

An Order for the Reception of Communicants from Other Churches

The Order for the Solemnization of Marriage

The Order for the Burial of the Dead

The Order for the Licensing of Candidates to Preach the Gospel

The Order for the Ordination of Ministers

The Order for the Installation of a Pastor Who Has Been Previously Ordained

The Order for the Ordination of Ruling Elders

The Order for the Installation of Ruling Elders Who Have Been Previously Ordained

The Order for the Ordination of Deacons

The Order for Laying the Cornerstone of a Church

The Order for the Dedication of a Church

The Treasury of Prayers

I. General Prayers for Common Worship

II. Prayers for Certain Times and Seasons

III. Intercessions for Special Objects and Persons

IV. Brief Petitions

V. Ascriptions of Praise

Family Prayers

The Psalter

Ancient Hymns and Canticles

The most commonly used portions of the Book of Common Worship were the special services, such as funerals, weddings, ordinations, and pastoral installations.

Van Dyke survived long enough to oversee the creation of the 1932 Book of Common Worship (Revised).  This expanded volume, 353 pages long, added a (very) rudimentary lectionary (barely worthy of that description) and prayers for the Christmas season, Palm Sunday, Pentecost, and All Saints’ Day.

The third book followed in 1946.  This Book of Common Worship (1946), 388 pages long, expanded resources for the church year and added a proper two-year lectionary from the Church of Scotland.

The fourth book was The Worshipbook–Services (1970), which constituted the first section of 1972’s The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns.  On the positive side, the first 206 pages of the 1972 hymnal defined Sunday as a time of worship in word and sacrament and included a new lectionary based on the 1969 lectionary of the Roman Catholic Church.  Unfortunately, the language, though modern (I support that.) is mostly bland.  I am accustomed to the graceful contemporary language of the Episcopal Book of Common Prayer (1979).  The first time I encountered The Worshipbook–Services and Hymns, in the early 1990s, I read Evening Prayer.  Afterward I thought, “Ugh!”  It was that bad.

The fifth Book of Common Worship (1993), at 1,107 pages long, is extensive, contemporary, and graceful.  Some Presbyterians have criticized it for bearing too close a similarity to the Episcopal Prayer Book (as if this is bad).  Perhaps the similarity explains why I rank this incarnation of the Book of Common Worship with the Book of Common Prayer (1979) and A New Zealand Prayer Book (1989).

I own a copy of each Book of Common Worship I have mentioned in this post.

Kenneth Randolph Taylor

February 7, 2010 (The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany)

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Almighty and everliving God, whose servants in the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. expanded the liturgical resources of that denomination in the prayers of your Church: Make us always thankful for the heritage of formal worship to which the Presbyterian Church is an heir, and help us to extend to it maximum honor, that, in the beauty of worship, we may do you homage and magnify your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Acts 2:38-42

Psalm 96:1-9 or Psalm 33:1-5, 20-21

John 4:21-24

(Collect adapted from the Episcopal Lesser Feasts and Fasts; lections from that volume, also, for the First Book of Common Prayer)