NZ Archbishop David Moxon calls the publication "a remarkable gift" of memory and story, and says it pays "meticulous attention" to the prayer book's production. "In these pages you will find the human stories, the theological nuances and the spiritual vision that came together in one of the world's most creative and beautiful prayer books.
"If you ever wonder what the fretwork behind this tapestry was all about, and what strands ended up being woven together, then this book is for you. Creating a New Zealand Prayer Book is the book many of us have been waiting for."
Bishop John Paterson, retired NZ Primate and former Chair of Anglican Consultative Council, says the book "is an honest and careful account which does not shy from controversies, both theological and political."
John Paterson sums it up - "It's a book to be commended for both specialist and general readership."
In 1989 the NZ Anglican Church authorised a new modern prayer book to replace their old Book of Common Prayer. Now retired Anglican Bishop Brian Carrell has produced a narrative describing how this was achieved that is creating considerable interest in New Zealand. He certainly has his feet on the ground.
His book imaginatively and with illustrations tells the intriguing 25 year story of the process, people, problems and politics over the period 1964-1989 in our neighbour across the ditch that led to the publication of the Prayer Book that is now universally used by Anglicans on the other side of the Tasman.
What he's done is to trace the inside story of the creation of what has become the most treasured and loved prayer book of a nation.
Herein is revealed the drama of any prayer book that is compiled by a commission. In much the same way a similar story has been told of how 400 years ago the King James Bible (Authorised Version) was translated by a coordinated but scattered body of scholars and ordinary parish ministers in England to become a treasure of Christians of all denominations for centuries to follow.
Brian is now one of the few people involved throughout this quarter-century long work of producing this NZ Prayer Book who is still alive and active in ministry today.
A good read
It's a good read. Little wonder there has been a clamour to get a hands-on copy. Perhaps it's to see whether there's any ecclesiastical blood on the floor from the original commission. We all know about church committees – not the friendliest of places when contentious issues come up. And come up they do.
The cost is NZ$29.95 plus postage (for overseas addresses) until the end of February.
How to order it: Brian Carrell, Creating A New Zealand Prayer Book: A Personal Reminiscence of a 25 Year Odyssey 1964-89. Christchurch: Theology House Publications, 2013. 125 pages. ISBN: 978-0-473-23061-6. (www.theologyhouse.ac.nz or firstname.lastname@example.org)
And there's more
I started this review by saying that Brian Carrell has his feet on the ground. Brian is also one of the seven NZ Panellists for the young writer program, a joint project by Press Service International and Christian Today.
The Panellists allocate points for the New Zealand young writer articles published each day in Christian Today for the Basil Sellers $1000 New Zealand Young Writer Annual Award each September.
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html