Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Religion & Culture / Religious Studies


Faculty of Arts

First Advisor

Not applicable

Advisor Role

Not applicable


In 1943 the Anglican Church of Canada began to revise its Prayer Book. The central matter, the real reason for the undertaking, was the revision of the Eucharist. In 1952 the revised Eucharistic Rite was presented to the Church, and comments solicited. A year later, in a memorandum sent to all members, The Most Rev. Philip Carrington, Archbishop of the Ecclesiastical Province of Canada and Bishop of the Diocese of Quebec, a prominent member of the General Committee on Revision of the Book of Common Prayer, wrote that the revised Rite had been “very successful in creating public interest and in eliciting criticisms and suggestions.” That was putting as good a face on things as possible.

The plain truth was that, after long preparation and careful consideration, the revisers felt that in the 1952 Rite they had done their best. The largely negative reaction to their work left them shaken and uncertain as to what direction they should take next. But one thing was certain in the tense situation created by the 1952 Rite: they must not seem to be responding to one criticism above another, or giving way to pressure from one group or another.

Into this dilemma came Carrington’s Memorandum: a policy statement which outlined a purposeful new approach, and which was reinforced by the acceptance of his ideas of rising nationalism and new political alignments emerging out of World War II, the message was to strengthen the unity of the world-wide Anglican Communion by a spiritual bond manifested in a commonly distinguishable pattern of worship.

As a result of Carrington’s initiative, the Canadian revisers began to re-work the 1952 Rite, using his suggestions and the related models in other Anglican liturgies. In the end they produced a Rite which took its place as one of the contemporary family of liturgies by which various branches of the Anglican Communion were mutually identifiable in a common pattern of Christian life. But it was Archbishop Carrington’s theory of the nature of the Prayer Book in the Anglican Communion, and his concrete proposals for the Rite, which were fundamental in making their achievement possible.

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