The Canon with a Canon...

For my sabbatical, I am wandering around the country, documenting worship in congregations of the Episcopal Church. This site will provide images, field notes, and "audio slideshows" of the congregations I visit, as well as some overall observations and analysis.

The General Convention of the Episcopal Church in 2015 voted to instruct the Standing Commission on Liturgy and Music (of which I am a member) to propose a plan for the revision of the 1979 Book of Common Prayer. That may make this an opportune time for a guided tour of some congregations' current use of the current prayer book.

But my interest in documenting liturgical practices is rooted in my training as a historian of early modern English cultural history. We know very well what people were supposed to do in sixeenth- and seventeenth-century English parishes, but we have rather less evidence of what they actually did. And we often must use church court records, visitation returns, and similar documents to try to figure out what may have gone on. These are problematic sources, because they tend to amplify cases of conflict and aberration, rather than showing us what normally happened.

So I am trying to create a document that will tell present-day readers about Episcopal liturgy, but might also tell future historians what we have been up to.


(The title of the post is a bit of a pun: I'm a canon of the Episcopal Diocese of Bethlehem (Pa.), which is an honorary title analogous to a Roman Catholic monsignor, and I shoot with Canon cameras.)

canon with a canon