An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Trial Use

The process of Prayer Book revision has been ongoing since the sixteenth century. The first Episcopal Prayer Book began with a process of trial use. The 1786 Proposed Prayer Book was the basis for the 1789 BCP, which was the first official Prayer Book in the Episcopal Church. During the twentieth century in the Episcopal Church proposed revisions of the Prayer Book were used on a trial basis prior to final approval. The Standing Liturgical Commission was established by the 1928 General Convention and given significant responsibility for preparing materials needed for Prayer Book revision. In 1950 the Standing Liturgical Commission began publishing a series of Prayer Book Studies. A revised eucharistic rite was presented by the Standing Liturgical Commission to the 1967 General Convention. This proposed revision was approved for trial use. A series of rites was published as Services for Trial Use and authorized for use by the 1970 General Convention. It was known as the “Green Book” because of its green cover. Additional rites were authorized at the 1973 General Convention, and revised eucharistic rites, rites of initiation, orders for the Daily Office, and a complete revision of the Psalter were subsequently published as Authorized Services 1973. It was known as the “Zebra Book” because of its striped cover. The 1976 General Convention approved the full report of the Standing Liturgical Commission, known as the Draft Proposed Book of Common Prayer. This became the Proposed Book of Common Prayer. It was approved as the Standard Prayer Book by the 1979 General Convention. The process of trial use for Prayer Book revision continued after the 1979 BCP. The 1985 General Convention resolved that the Standing Liturgical Commission should prepare inclusive language liturgies for the regular services of the church. This process of study, development, and evaluation of inclusive language texts was continued by the 1988 General Convention, ultimately resulting in the publication of Prayer Book Studies 30-Supplemental Liturgical Texts (1989). The use of these texts was authorized by General Convention, with use limited by the direction of the diocesan bishop or ecclesiastical authority.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.