Synod changes the Lord's Prayer

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The Independent Online
TRADITIONALISTS in the Church of England suffered a severe setback yesterday as members of the General Synod voted overwhelmingly in favour of the modern version of the Lord's Prayer being printed alongside the older version in the new service books.

Their more recent translation, which substitutes the words "Save us from the time of trial" for "And lead us not into temptation", will be given equal prominence in Common Worship, the service guide which will be in use from 2001.

The Bishop of Norwich, the Right Rev Peter Nott, made an impassioned plea that the newer, plain English version should be relegated to the appendix for the sake of simplicity and poetry. He said that the fact the traditional version was less readily understood did not matter. "There is a limit to human understanding in matters of religion, and particularly in prayer which is not only nor even principally a mental exercise.

"Beauty of language in liturgy is as important as accuracy of translation. And it is beauty that makes language memorable, and by repetition enables it to be learned by heart. We are in grave danger of losing the whole concept of common prayer, and one reason is because we have almost entirely lost the concept of learning prayer by heart - almost, but not quite."

In a recent ballot carried out on behalf of the Church's millennium team, 82 per cent of people said they could recite the Lord's Prayer; the version to which they were referring was the traditional one. However, among 16- to 25-year-olds, 55 per cent said they knew the Lord's Prayer by heart. The bishop continued: "We have tried the new version for years and it has not gained much in popularity except among enthusiasts, and certainly is totally unknown by those precious people who do not worship regularly in our churches but whom we are called to love unconditionally, to welcome and to serve.

Synod members voted to include the modern version in the main body of the service book by a majority of 272 to 68.

In his presidential address at the end of Synod, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr George Carey, insisted that the church did not adopt modernity for the sake of it. "... a facile preoccupation with being modern - or even post-modern - can lead one to neglect the eternal truths and the abiding values which people everywhere always need, and the cumulative insights and wisdom of previous generations. Rather we need to be discriminating in our attitudes to reform," he said.

The traditional version

Our Father, who art in heaven

Hallowed be thy name:

Thy kingdom come:

Thy will be done;

On earth as it is in heaven.

Give us this day our daily bread.

And forgive us our trespasses,

As we forgive those who trespass against us.

And lead us not into temptation;

But deliver us from evil.

For thine is the kingdom,

The power and the glory,

For ever and ever.


The new version

Our Father in heaven,

Hallowed be your name,

Your kingdom come,

Your will be done,

On earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

As we forgive those who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial

And deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power

and the glory are yours

Now and for ever.