‘Father of all . . .’ prayer

12 November 2008


From the Revd Jean Mayland
Sir, — I sometimes wonder what your correspondents mean by liturgy “written by a committee” (Letters, 24 October). All the prayers, etc., in the Alternative Service Book 1980 were originally drafted by individuals, and then modified in the light of comments from colleagues, and amendments passed by the General Synod.

This is true of the “Father of all” prayer in Rite A. It was indeed drafted by David Frost, who was, I believe, the most gifted writer of us all. It was, however, changed in the light of comments made by us and by the nuns at West Malling where we were meeting. Finally, it was changed by two successive Synods.

David originally wrote: “Anchor us in the hope that we have grasped” — a wonderfully strong metaphor. In two bites, the Synod changed that into “Keep us firm in the hope you have set before us” — not, I think, an improvement.
Member of the Liturgical Commission 1966-80
Minster Cottage, 51 Sands Lane
Barmston, East Yorks YO25 8PQ


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