A Sunday from 1789

The Order for the Administration of the Lord's Supper, or HOLY COMMUNION Prayer Book 1789.

We will use the Prayer Book, 1789 for both services this coming Sunday morning. This is a part of our celebration of the "150th Anniversary".  For research about the Prayer Book, go to: 


You will find links to many Prayer Books, including our current 1979 Prayer Book.

Click on, Old Editions, 1892 to discover the entire book, not just the Holy Communion service. 

The Prayer Book of 1789 was the first for the U. S. Episcopal Church and served the Church for over 100 years, until the revision of 1892. This book owed much to its predecessor, the English 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and, at least for the major services, is very similar to it.

We are presenting this electronic version of the U. S. 1789 Book of Common Prayer in hopes that it will prove useful and instructive to the Church. Parishes might find it useful in recreating historical services, for example, to celebrate the anniversary of the parish. Others might find it instructive to compare the changes, additions, and deletions, which have taken place in the various versions of the Book of Common Prayer.

The 1789 Book of Common Prayer was in use in the United States from 1790 until 1892. During that time, unlike succeeding versions, it was subject to minor changes by each General Convention. These changes were then reflected in the next "Standard Edition" of the Book of Common Prayer. Such Standard Editions were produced in 1793, 1822, 1832, 1838, 1845, and 1871; changes which each introduced (more significant than corrections of typographical errors, etc.) are noted in the text. Eight original sources were used, bearing certification dates of 1876, 1873, 1854, 1849, 1841, 1821, 1818, and 1810 respectively. The texts, Prayer Book Parallels, by Paul V. Marshall, and Liturgiae Americanae (1907), by William McGarvey, were also consulted.
The process leading up to the 1892 book occupied several General Conventions, from 1883 through 1892; Prayer Books published during this time therefore might (and sometimes do) include certain aspects of the 1892 book.

Please note that, unlike later U. S. Prayer Books, there was no uniform appearance among the different printings of the 1789 edition from various publishers. Thus, different printings will differ in appearance through the use of different fonts, number of columns per page, pagination, etc. Rubrics were printed in smaller Roman type, rather than italics, from 1818-1845. In general, editions prior to the Civil War tended to use two columns per page; those after, one.
All but one of the editions used here are also bound with the Psalms in Metre, and a words-only Hymnal. These were often certified by diocesan bishops, in much the same manner as the Prayer Book itself.

We will sing hymns and a mass setting that was translated from the Latin by John Merbecke in the 1500's, so that the people could sing the mass in their own language, English.  The Table will be against the wall, as it was until the mid'80's here at COS. 

Come, discover how much the Church and WE have progressed these 150 years!

Phil Smith

Minister of Music and Organist

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