Has anyone else’s parish started giving precedence, in the Prayers of the People, to the Anglican Communion over the Episcopal Church?
Recall that in Form VI, the intercession for the clergy starts out, “For Frank, our Presiding Bishop; ….” A few years ago in our parish, that intercession mysteriously changed. It became “For George, Archbishop of Canterbury; Frank, our Presiding Bishop; ….” Now, of course, Rowan Williams’s name has been substituted.
A couple of weeks ago, my wife and I accompanied friends to a service at The Other Giant Parish in town. It was Rite One Morning Prayer. The parish intercessions included: “Bless our Anglican Communion; Rowan, Archbishop of Canterbury; Frank, our Presiding Bishop; ….”
Why are these two parishes doing this, putting the Anglican Communion ahead of the Episcopal Church?
One explanation sticks out like a sore thumb. My parish's rector is quite orthodox. I don't know the other rector, but I've heard he too is very orthodox, along with most of the parishes' clergy. By listing the ABC first in the intercessions, these clergy are sending a subtle message that ++Rowan "outranks" the Presiding Bishop. In effect, they're surreptitiously preaching that our primary loyalty should lie with the Anglican Communion and not with the misguided Episcopal Church.
This is bogus. By all means pray for the ABC. But don't muck around with the Prayer Book -- list ++Rowan near the end of that intercession, just before “and all bishops and other ministers.”