Tuesday, June 16, 2009


St Cuddy's began celebrating Juneteenth with New Genesis Praise Missionary Baptist Church. The celebration has evolved and now their partner is Church Without Walls (American Baptist - the denomination in which I was baptized). I am so pleased when I hear of creative liturgy continuing in that place.

Join us for a Juneteenth celebration
Come join us for a celebration of liberation and Gospel Music for Juneteenth. This is joint service with combined choirs of St. Cuthbert's, Oakland, and Church Without Walls (American Baptist Church of the West).

When: Sunday, June 21, 10 a.m.
Where: St. Cuthbert's, 7932 Mountain Blvd., Oakland
Contact: stcuddy@aol.com, 510.635.4949
What is Juneteenth? Read about it here.

While I am sympathetic to the issues about tinkering raised by Tobias (here and here), I confess that I have tinkered a great deal. We had a Freedom Mass that we used for Dr King's birthday and for Juneteenth. Like all our services, it is recognizably trinitarian, incarnational, and sacramental though it quotes a lot of Mohandas K. Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr, along with the Bible and our Anglican liturgical tradition. While "Rite III" is not intended for use at the principal service on the Lord's Day it is not precluded from being used. And so we did.

May freedom be celebrated everywhere by lives dedicated to setting everyone free.

--the BB


Tobias Stanislas Haller said...

BB -- I have no problem with such special observances, particularly if they make use of the ample ambit for tinkering allowed in "Rite III" -- which even permits the composer(s) of the rite to craft much of the Eucharistic Prayer. Special occasions such as this can be wonderful, and almost require special liturgical expression. (And yes, I note your distinction between "intent" and "preclusion" -- you have read the rubric very carefully, and for that alone, were it not for my other predispositions that incline that way, my heart is with you!)

My objections were more about tinkering that becomes the rule rather than the exception, and displaces core language for which no such elastic provision is made in the BCP; i.e., the Baptismal Covenant. It sounds to me that you are well within the generous bounds of freedom, rather than wandering in the realm of license!

Peace, joy... and ultimately, perfect freedom in service to Christ. And have a fabulous Juneteenth!

Paul said...

Thank you, Tobias. I might be more of a wild card than this service appears in that we used liturgy books all the time (except Ash Wednesday). Mostly they used BCP enhanced by EOW texts and music in order to make the seasonal ordinary easy to follow. Our lesson handouts had God-language in the Psalms inclusivized (BCP text with minor alterations). We used authorized Eucharistic Prayers from Scotland (1982) in Lent and Eastertide and I borrowed smaller bits here and there. The Nicene Creed was ICEL text with filioque omitted (hardly radical and in keeping with the official Anglican movement toward a shared Creed between East and West). I did not muck with Baptismal formulae at all. A visitor accustomed to BCP would find the services familiar in structure and most of the language well-known. I said "may God be with you" but the response "and also with you" was the same. So, we might call it judicious tinkering.

I now live in Albuquerque, so will miss the Juneteenth in Oakland. Happily semi-retired, I am no longer in charge of anything. Licensed in Rio Grande, I stick with BCP now. "Toto, I don't think we're in California any more."