The General Synod Te Hīnota Whānui confirmed four Bills today that renew this Church’s common prayer, adding the newest Bible translation in Te Reo Māori, more prayers in inclusive English language and Māori medium and placing the annual Week of Prayer for Christian Unity in this Church’s calendar.
New prayers to end Collects
Six new prayers have been approved to end the Eucharistic gathering prayers known as “Collects”. Mover Bishop Ross Bay reminded Synod that a Collect is a prayer that gathers the intentions of the community at worship and has been a tradition since the 1549 Book of Common Prayer.
The prayer ‘Collect’ calls on God, names a particular quality or action of God, and asks for God’s enabling power to aid worshippers as they hear and respond to the devotional or scriptural theme of the day.
Today’s decision adds six new endings for prayer Collects in Te Reo Māori, which will be added to the next publication of A New Zealand Prayer Book He Karakia Mihinare o Aotearoa. As in the three new English prayers, three of the six ensure that the Collect directly addresses the three persons of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Bill#4 has also added six new non-gendered titles for Christ to the inclusive language English and Māori medium endings for Collect prayers, so that worship leaders may now end Collects by calling on Christ our Companion/Eternal source of peace/Guide/Refuge/Friend or Strength – also as Hoa aroha/Pūtake o te rangimārie/Kaiwhakaatu/Hoa pūmau/Kaha and Kaitakawaenga/ Kaiwhakaora/Kaihoko/Ariki in addition to the English titles of Mediator, Saviour, Redeemer and Lord already in A New Zealand Prayer Book.
Opening the way for new Great Thanksgiving prayers
Rev Sione Ulu'ilakepa moved Bill#5 that opens the way for Anglican communities to use new words for the “Great Thanksgiving” prayer (the Eucharistic prayer that recalls Jesus’ words and actions at the last supper and calls on God to send the Holy Spirit so that the gifts of bread and wine become the body and blood of Christ). The small update to the Prayer Book confirmed today allows for future General Synod Te Hinota Whānui to expand the prayers of Great Thanksgiving authorised for use in this Church beyond the four forms listed by Prayer Book page numbers.
Authorising Te Paipera Tapu 2012
Archbishop Don Tamihere moved Bill#7 which authorises the use of the 2012 Paipera Tapu translation, updating the Church’s canon which formerly authorised Anglican churches to use the 1952 Paipera Tapu, or any of fourteen full Bible translations in English. Those authorised English versions include the latest academic translation, the New Revised Standard Version, which now sits alongside the 2012 Paipera Tapu text in the newly published 2022 Māori-English Diglot Bible.
Marking the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity
Rev Canon Michael Wallace moved Bill #8 to add the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity to the lectionary of the Anglican Church in Aotearoa, New Zealand and Polynesia placed over the days between Ascension Day and Pentecost. The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is a time when Christians of different churches gather together to pray Jesus’ prayer that his followers “May all be one.” The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity has been observed by many Anglican churches in Aotearoa New Zealand and Polynesia since it was first initiated in 1908, but in greater numbers since it was officially adopted by the World Council of Churches and the Vatican Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity later in the 20th century.
Today’s Bill places the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity into the official calendar of this Church.