I am a French student and I want to know if we can speak of a liturgical unity in the Church of England in the 1960s - 1970s. Did all the parishes use the same liturgical texts or books? Were the different Anglican services celebrated everywhere in the same way?
In the beginning of the 1960s the Church of England had only one official liturgical manual, the Book of Common Prayer (edition 1662, with some later additions). Many pastoral and theological reasons (archaic language, new knowledge about old liturgical and patristic texts, new emphasizing of Holy communion as a centre of liturgical life etc) required the revision but consensus was not reached. The Anglo-Catholic party presumed that BCP 1662 had dismissed the old genuine tradition of the pre-Reformation English Christianity, the evangelicals regarded it as too Roman Catholic. In 1927-1928 the organs of the Church had drafted and sanctioned a moderate revision of Prayer book but the enterprise was defeated by the Parliament. The event caused a serious crisis in the relations between the state and the established church.
Nevertheless, the liturgical practice of church of England was not fully uniform. Anglican churches all had their distinctive ways. The architecture and ordering of the church buildings, the robes and vestments, the music and even the hymnals varied with the parishes. Also the commonality of the text was to some extent abandoned. The Anglo-catholic circles introduced all sorts of additional words and had even own altar missals. The proposed but defeated Prayer book 1927/1928 was by permission of bishops widely in use, too.
In the 1960s the revision work was begun again. As models were Roman Catholic liturgical reform (second Vatican council 1962-1965), revisions in overseas Anglican churches and ecumenical translations of central Christian texts (prayers, creeds). As results were the new liturgies, which were published in booklets, and authorized by the organs of Church for experimental use in fixed times (“Series” 1-3). Since the passing of the Doctrine and Worship Measure 1974 these services did not have to be submitted to Parliament. Several booklets and liturgies were collect into the Alternative Service Book (ASB), which was published in November 1980. ASB was in experimental use to the year 2000 and was followed by Common Worship. The legal status of the BCP is still unchanged (it can be changed only by decision of Parliament) but its use has diminished greatly.
The Church of England didn’t have an authorised hymnal in the 1960s and 1970s.
Companion to Common Worship 1 / ed. by Paul Bradshaw. – Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2001.
New Handbook of Pastoral Liturgy / Michael Perham. – Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, 2000.
Anglican Worship Today : Collins Illustrated Guide to the Alternative Service Book 1980 / ed. by Colin Buchanan … - Collins, 1980.