Common Worship: Collects and Postcommunions
ISBN 0 7157 2088 3
Church House Publishing, 2004, £25
(price at publication of review)
Reviewed May 2005; © Copyright, The Society of Saint Francis, 2005
There seems to be no end to the number of 'add-ons' to Common Worship, and this recent volume is a welcome addition to the library which is being created. The book is in contemporary language and it is a compendium of the Collects which are found both in the pew edition of the main work and in the President's edition, together with even newer Collects for the Sundays of the Christian year, as authorized by the General Synod but not found in earlier editions.
Almost as soon as Common Worship first appeared, some dissatisfaction was expressed regarding the Collects, because it was felt by many that they were too traditional in shape and too 'Cranmerian' in style. Hence the need for alternatives.
Fortunately the new Collects are not mandatory and they are printed alongside the earlier versions. It will be interesting to see whether they will wear well. Many of them are so brief that there is very little content. They lack the richness of the older and fuller Collects and may well prove to be less memorable.
There is a very useful table at the end of the book, giving details of the sources of the Collects. Perhaps it would have been even more useful if the actual origins of the ancient Collects had been included. Many Collects are given as BCP (Book of Common Prayer) without stating that Thomas Cranmer had translated them from Latin originals; many of them can be traced back to the Gelasian Sacramentary of the fifth century, which was the period when the Collect form came into full flower.
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