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Now that The Celtic Episcopal Church Book of Services has been published, a copy of it was provided to The Rev Father Robert Lyons at his request. He then provided a short unsolicited review in an e-mail that he graciously permited us to post on our web site. His short Curriculum Vitae follows:

Father Robert Lyons is a Syriac rite presbyter (priest), a student of Christian liturgy and worship, and a graduate (M.Div) of St. Alcuin House.  During his ten years of ordained ministry, he has celebrated and studied the liturgies of the modern and traditional Roman, Anglican, and Lutheran rites, as well as those of the Orthodox traditions ranging from Byzantine to Syriac.  From 1998 to 2001 he served as General Editor of the Primitive Episcopal Book of Common Prayer.  He has also served as the Chair of the Worship Commission for the Christian Church - Synod of Saint Timothy (and it's predecessor, the Society of Saint Timothy).  In addition to his liturgical work, Father Lyons serves as the Manager of Chaplaincy Services for a major metropolitan hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana, where he lives.

The Review

I wanted to offer my reflections and thoughts on the new Celtic Episcopal Book of Services which arrived on my doorstep on Monday afternoon. 
First, let me address the appearance of the volume: One of the greatest concerns I have about most jurisdictions is the fact that their service books look halphazard... they don't inspire any confidence that the Church will be there in six months, let alone six years.  The CEC BoS definately helps define TCEC as a body that is serious about a future.  This alone should go far in showing people who visit a CEC congregation that they can expect the congregation to be there, contending for the faith, well into the future.
Now to the internal matter: First, the fonts used are easily readable, which is a must for public liturgical usage.  The text 'pops' off the page, thanks in part to the crisp white of the paper selected for the project.  The graphics are suitable and were grayscaled very well (which is atypical in my experience), and the book has, overall, a very noble feel to it.  Rubics are easily differentiated from speaking text, and the rubrics are, from what I have read, well composed.
Now, the important part - the actual Liturgies and Rites:  This is probably the most effective blending of Byzantine, Celtic, and Western elements I have ever seen.  {emphasis provided by the web master} The groupings of Sacraments and Rites into 'stages' of life and experience is something I haven't really noticed before in a Liturgy book, so I found it catechetically helpful.  I believe the rites to be uniformly of very good quality, with the only 'squirm' moment coming, for me, in reading about the blood-draw in the funeral prepratory rites.  On the practical side, the rubrics for this time may be hard to follow in certain civil jurisdictions because of the law.  For instance, I can promise you that in Indiana you wouldn't be permitted to stay with the body or get anywhere close to it if there were to be an investigative autopsy initiated by the coroner.  They would not permit a cleric of the Church to remain with the body for any reason whatsoever.  Of course, the mischevious part of me would love someone to challenge that, based on a text like the BoS... but I digress.
If there is one thing I am sorry was not included in the book itself, it is the Catechism, but I also understand the fiscal realities of conserving space in a book intended primarily for Corporate Worship.

My congratulations to the bishops, clergy, and people of the Celtic Episcopal Church on producing such an outstanding liturgical resource.  Though my own Syriac tradition is somewhat different in many respects from the Byzantine or Celtic, I find that there is much for me to read, learn, mark, and inwardly comprehend in the CEC BoS.  May it be a blessing to the entire CEC!

The Rev Father R0bert Lyons M.Div.

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