Religion: A New Prayer Book

The Book of Common Prayer is a majestic mainstay of the Anglican faith. It is, as G.K. Chesterton observed, "the masterpiece of Protestantism, the one magnet and talisman for people even outside the Anglican Church, as are the great Gothic cathedrals for people outside the Catholic Church." The Prayer Book has remained essentially unchanged for 300 years. Should it now be modernized?

In the eyes of many U.S. Episcopalians, revision of the Prayer Book has long been overdue. The ancient language is often baffling to modern ears. The role of religion in society has altered drastically since 17th century England, and man's...