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the report of the Sub-Committee, to which the Committee desire to call attention. Some of these objections appear to be based upon misconception, many are really subsidiary to the main constitutional issue. The Committee are generally of opinion that these points do not either individually or collectively afford grounds for the rejection of the Measure.

14. There is, however, one contention to which the Committee desire to refer; the contention, namely, that the Measure now presented is not, owing to the extensive nature of the amendments made by the House of Bishops, the same Measure as that originally presented for the consideration of the Houses of clergy and laity, and that consequently, not having been "debated and voted upon by each of the three Houses sitting separately," it does not conform to the constitution of the Church Assembly (Art. 14 (1)), and is ultra vires.

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15. The Committee feel it to be incumbent on them to express an opinion on this question, and have come to the conclusion that all the amendments made by the House of Bishops were "relevant to the general purport of the Measure as provided by the standing orders of the Church Assembly, and are not such as to make the Measure a new one. It is true that the Measure is altered in form, but it is comparatively little altered in substance (see the Comments and Explanations of the Legislative Committee and the letter of the Bishop of Chelmsford). The Committee desire to add, with reference to the suggestion that one effect of the amendments made by the House of Bishops. was to alter something permissive into something obligatory, that such an argument is misleading. The services of the existing book of Common Prayer, with the exception of the ordination services, can still be used under the Measure without any modification whatsoever. Certain modifications (as set out in detail on pp. 46-51 hereof), in the direction of conferring greater liberty, are made in the rubrics, but these were almost without exception implicit in the book as originally considered, when, by faulty drafting, what was really an alteration of a rubric was in some cases expressed as an alternative rubric.

16. Having regard to the whole of what precedes, it does not appear to the Committee that the Measure prejudicially affects the constitutional rights of His Majesty's subjects, and they are of opinion that it should proceed.

22 November, 1927.



The Legislative Committee of the National Assembly of the Church of England, having had referred to them the Measure intituled the "Prayer Book Measure, 192-," which was passed by the Assembly on July 6, 1927, have the honour to submit the said Measure to the Ecclesiastical Committee of the Houses of Parliament.

The Royal Commission on Ecclesiastical Discipline.

It would be beyond the purpose of this Report to attempt to give any full account of the movement for the revision of the Book of Common Prayer which has been going on, more or less continuously, for upwards of half a century. But reference may be made to the Report, presented to Parliament in 1906, of the Royal Commission on Ecclesiastical Discipline, from which the present Measure directly derives its origin.

After an exhaustive survey of the breaches and neglects of the law which were prevalent at that time, the Commission stated as their first conclusion that

"The law of public worship in the Church of England is too narrow for the religious life of the present generation. It needlessly condemns much which a great section of Church people, including many of her most devoted members, value; and modern thought and feeling are characterised by a care for ceremonial, a sense of dignity in worship, and an appreciation of the continuity of the Church, which were not similarly felt at the time when the law took its present shape. In an age which has witnessed an extraordinary revival of spiritual life and activity, the Church has had to work under regulations fitted for a different condition of things, without that power of self-adjustment which is inherent in the conception of a living Church."

And they accordingly recommended (inter alia) that the Convocations should be instructed

"(a) to consider the preparation of a new rubric regulating the ornaments (that is to say, the vesture) of the ministers of the Church at the times of their ministrations, with a view to its enactment by Parliament; and

(b) to frame, with a view to their enactment by Parliament, such modifications in the existing law relating to the conduct of Divine Service and to the ornaments and fittings of churches as may tend to secure the greater elasticity which a reasonable recognition of the comprehensiveness of the Church of England and of its present needs seems to demand."

The Commission also made other recommendations dealing expressly with the enforcement of discipline, which are outside the scope of the present Measure. But it may be observed that the proposals which they made with regard to the re-constitution of the Ecclesiastical Courts are now under the consideration of the Church Assembly; and it is believed that if the greater elasticity in the law of public worship recommended by the Royal Commission were now given, the task of securing order in the Church would be greatly facilitated.

Proceedings in the Convocations.

In pursuance of the advice of the Royal Commission, the Crown issued Letters of Business to the Convocations, which were renewed at


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each dissolution of Parliament, and from that time onward, subject to interruption caused by the Great War, proposals for the Revision of the Prayer Book began to take definite shape.

The answers of the Convocations to the Royal Letters of Business were published in 1920. They consisted of a schedule of proposed amendments to the Book of Common Prayer (Canterbury Convocation Report No. 533 of 1920) and were in identical terms, except that the Convocation of York declined at that time to concur in a proposal made by the Convocation of Canterbury for the alteration of the Prayer of Consecration in the Order of Holy Communion.

Proceedings in the Church Assembly.

In the meantime the Church of England Assembly (Powers) Act, 1919, was passed into law, and the National Assembly of the Church of England came into being. These facts involved, almost necessarily, new methods of procedure with regard to Prayer Book Revision. One of the first acts of the Assembly in the autumn of 1920 was to appoint a Committee of twenty persons (Bishops, Clergy, and Laity) to consider and report upon the answers of the Convocations to the Royal Letters of Business on the Revision of the Prayer Book. In the autumn of 1921 this Committee presented their first Report proposing a revision of the Lectionary, which afterwards received Parliamentary sanction by the passing of the Revised Tables of Lessons Measure, 1922. Their second and final Report [N.A. 60], which was presented to the Assembly in the Summer Session of 1922, recommended a series of amendments in the Book of Common Prayer, based for the most part on the proposals already made by the Convocations.

The Measure in its original form [N.A. 84].

That Report, in its turn, became the basis of the Measure, called at first the "Revised Prayer Book (Permissive Use) Measure," and now, more shortly, the "Prayer Book Measure," which was introduced by order of the House of Bishops on October 25, 1922. In point of form it consisted of a few enacting clauses, followed by a long schedule of amendments to the Book of Common Prayer; and the general scheme of the Measure was that the Book of Common Prayer, as amended in accordance with this Schedule, should constitute an alternative Book, which (or parts of which) might be used in public worship in like manner as the Book of Common Prayer or the corresponding parts thereof. Obviously it was a Measure touching, if not the "doctrinal formulæ," at any rate "the services or ceremonies of the Church of England or the administration of the Sacraments or sacred rites therof." Therefore, under Article 14 (1) of the Constitution of the Assembly, it had to be "debated and voted upon by each of the three Houses sitting separately," and then either accepted or rejected by the Assembly as a whole in the terms in which it was finally proposed by the House of Bishops.

General Approval.

Accordingly the Measure passed through all the stages prescribed by the Assembly's Standing Order XXXII., which governs the procedure in such cases. On the stage of General Approval it was considered in the House of Clergy on January 31, 1923, when the motion for General Approval was carried, without formal debate, by a very large majority (about 25 dissentients). It was considered by the House of Bishops on April 16 and 17, 1923, when the motion for General Approval was carried, after full debate, by a large majority, there being 3 dissentients. It was considered by the House of Laity on April 25 and 26, 1923, and received General Approval by a majority of 175 to 46.

Revision by the Houses of Clergy and Laity.

The Measure was next considered for revision by the Houses of Clergy and Laity, again sitting separately; this stage occupying about 22 days in the House of Clergy and 15 days in the House of Laity. It was then returned to the House of Bishops, together with the amendments proposed by the Houses of Clergy and Laity respectively. The amendments proposed by the House of Clergy were very extensive, covering 120 pages of print. The House of Laity proposed fewer amendments, but they were opposed to the principle of an alternative Book of Common Prayer, and asked that any permissible variations might be printed with the text of the existing Prayer Book, so that every worshipper might have "at least the services for Morning and Evening Prayer, the Litany, and the Holy Communion, with the permissible variations relevant to those services, in a single volume.”

Revision by the House of Bishops.

With this material before them, the House of Bishops took up the work of revision in the autumn of 1925. Six special sessions, occupying in all nearly 50 days, were held in October, 1925, January, June and October, 1926, and January and March, 1927, at which practically all the Diocesan Bishops, unless prevented by illness or other unavoidable cause, were present. During the course of these sessions, conferences were held with Committees of the Houses of Clergy and Laity, and in February, 1927, before the revision was finally completed, the proposals of the Bishops were communicated in a provisional form to the Lower Houses of the two Convocations, who were thus given the opportunity of making further suggestions in detail before their consent was asked, under Standing Order XXXII., to the Measure being laid before the Assembly for Final Approval. Both Houses availed themselves freely of this opportunity.

The Measure in its final form [C.A. 230].

One result of the revision by the House of Bishops was to make a considerable change in the form of the Measure. The original Measure [N.A. 84] had consisted of a few enacting clauses referring to a long schedule of amendments to the Book of Common Prayer. But, as time went on, it became increasingly difficult to state the proposed alterations in the form of a schedule of amendments, and increasingly necessary to embody these amendments in a complete consecutive book. Consequently the Measure as revised by the House of Bishops [C.A. 230] consists of enacting clauses referring to a completed Book, to be deposited with the Clerk of the Parliaments for purposes of identification.


This, in itself, was a change of form, and not of substance. whereas the Book resulting from the amendments proposed in N.A. 84 would have been, as already explained, an Alternative Book, the Deposited Book referred to in C.A. 230 is, as desired by the House of Laity, a Composite Book, containing within its covers not only the proposed alternative uses, but also (with a few slight exceptions to be mentioned later) the whole of the existing Book of Common Prayer. The Deposited Book can therefore be used in churches where it is desired to retain unaltered the existing forms of service.

Reference to the Convocations.

When the stage of Revision in the House of Bishops had been completed, the Archbishops of Canterbury and York, in accordance with Standing Order XXXII. of the Assembly, consulted the Convocations of their Provinces on March 29 and 30 in respect to the Measure, and obtained the consent of those Convocations to the Measure being laid before the Assembly for Final Approval.

The voting on that occasion (March 30, 1927) was as follows:

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Final Approval in the Church Assembly.

Finally, on July 5 and 6, 1927, the Measure was considered by the Church Assembly on the stage of Final Approval. After two long days of debate, the motion for Final Approval was put, and carried by the following majorities:—

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The total membership of the three Houses is as follows: Bishops, 40; Clergy, 319; Laity, 352. Thus, out of 711 members, 650 recorded their


Clauses of the Measure.

The object of the Measure, as stated in its title, is—

"To authorise the use of the Prayer Book referred to in this Measure and deposited with the Clerk of the Parliaments, and the issue of supplementary forms of service, and for purposes connected therewith."

Clause 1 is a general clause authorising the use of the " Deposited Book at the discretion of the minister, and providing for the necessary modification of the Acts of Uniformity.

Clause 2 deals with the relations between the Deposited Book and the Book of Common Prayer.

Sub-clause (i) limits the discretion of the minister to make changes authorised under the Measure in the customary arrangement and conduct of the services by providing that any question which may from time to time arise between the minister of a parish and the people, as represented in the Parochial Church Council, with regard to such changes, is to be referred to the bishop of the diocese, who, after such consultation as he shall think best both with the minister and with the people, shall make orders thereupon, which orders shall be final.

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Sub-clause (ii) (a) deals with the use of the alternative forms of service contained in the Deposited Book, or portions thereof, in place of the corresponding forms or portions contained in the Book of Common Prayer. No smaller portion than a whole "paragraph (as defined in Clause 10) is to be substituted, and the Deposited Book has been carefully paragraphed with a view to this provision. In most services, where an alternative Order is provided, considerable liberty of choice is allowed between the old forms and new; but in the case of Holy Communion the whole service from the "Comfortable Words " to the Blessing must follow continuously either the old Order or the new.

Sub-clause (ii) (b) applies the same principle to every rubric forming by itself a separate paragraph.

Sub-clause (ii) (c) makes it clear that no minister is bound under any circumstances to depart from the Book of Common Prayer except where

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