Worship at VTS seeks to strike a balance between fidelity to the liturgical traditions of the Episcopal Church, as well being open to processes of liturgical reform. Seminaries are some of the principal places where Anglican liturgical traditions are taught and passed on—so we need to be zealous in preserving and transmitting these traditions. At the same time, seminaries are also seedbeds of the new (the root of the word “seminary” is the Latin word for “seed”). Seminary worship practices have historically influenced the process of liturgical reform in our tradition.
Living into this aspect of a seminary’s charism, this year we will be using some of the newer worship resources that were commended for further study and experimental use at General Convention this summer. At our services of Holy Eucharist this year we will be using the psalter in Evangelical Lutheran Worship, as commended in General Convention resolution D065. This inclusive language psalter is a revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer psalter, and is currently used in the ELCA, our full communion partner, and also in the new edition of the Book of Common Worship of the Presbyterian Church USA. From time to time we will also be using the expansive/inclusive language versions of our Rite II Eucharistic prayers A, B and D which were proposed in Resolution D078 at General Convention.
As Enriching our Worship explains it, “Expanding our vocabulary of prayer and the ways in which we name the Holy One bear witness to the fact that the mystery of God transcends all categories of knowing, including those of masculine and feminine.” These changes in the language of our worship aim to live into the wisdom of this statement.
The Rev. Ruthanna Hooke, Ph.D. Associate Dean of Chapel and Associate Professor of Homiletics