From England to Under African Skies: The Quest for an African Anglican Liturgical Voice

Peter Carleton Houston, Andrew Kruger


The prayer book of the Anglican Church of Southern Africa is currently being revised. The slogan ‘Under Southern Skies - In An African voice’ is the rallying cry of this liturgical consultative process.  It captures one of the core purposes of the revision project, namely, to root Anglican liturgy in the context of Southern Africa.  But this is not a new impetus. The previous revision of the prayer book, 1989 Anglican Prayer Book, sought a similar objective and hoped for the continuing development of indigenous liturgy.  This hope has a long history. The Anglican church, formed in England in the midst of the Reformation, engaged significantly with the vernacular moment, crafting liturgy in English rather than Latin. The church also sought to hold together a diversity of theological voices in order to create a via media or middle road.  This paper explores the liturgical turning point of the Reformation and the later expansion of colonial and theological tensions that have shaped and been expressed through the history of the Anglican prayer book in Southern Africa.  The authors conclude that giving substance to indigenous voices and finding theological middle ground remains important to the revision process to this day.


Reformation; Revision; Language; Via Media, Anglican

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