A distinguished liturgist approaching her 100th birthday is to be honoured by the Lutheran and Anglican Churches in Canada for her work on the Book of Alternative Services. Blanche Kate Gates will receive the Companion of the Worship Arts honour (CWA) alongside Lutheran pastor Eric Dyck at the National Worship Conference, in Victoria, British Columbia, next month. The CWA has its roots in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada (ELCIC). It has been presented jointly with the Anglican Church of Canada since 2014. Every two years, a Lutheran and Anglican are honoured with the CWA award to recognise the “immense gifts and offerings of a particular individual to the worship life of each church at the local and national level,” the Anglican Church of Canada said in a statement.
Blanche Kate Gates “played a vital role in the development of contemporary liturgy in the Anglican Church of Canada as part of the task force that developed the Book of Alternative Services (BAS),” the Church’s statement said. “As a member of the national Doctrine and Worship Committee in the early 1980s, Gates interpreted the work of the committee to prepare for the publication of the BAS. During this period, she read many liturgical texts and commentaries – including experimental liturgical texts developed in the 1960s and 70s, the 1979 Book of Common Prayer published in the US, and the Roman Missal as revised by Pope Paul VI – to expand her knowledge and facilitate the work of the task force. Instrumental in creating the BAS and specifically its revised funeral liturgy, Gates spoke about the BAS to the House of Bishops and, as a delegate to General Synod, seconded the motion by which the Anglican Church of Canada officially adopted the BAS in 1985.”
Her award also recognises her work as President of Anglican Church Women for the Diocese of British Columbia, where she left a considerable impact on her counterparts from other dioceses at national meetings. “As a member of the Altar Guild and talented seamstress, she has consistently offered valuable assistance with linens, vestments, and parish and diocesan fabric banners that today enhance the worship space of Christ Church Cathedral in Victoria and various parishes,” the Church said.
“Reflecting her passion for quilting, Gates created the ‘Tree of Life’ quilt for St Paul’s, and sewed a stole and chasuble based on the same theme for the congregation. As she prepares to mark her 100th birthday, her contributions to worship and liturgy at the national level continue to influence the way Anglicans across the country interpret and practice their faith.”
The Lutheran recipient, Eric Dyck, is Pastor of St John’s Lutheran Church in Montreal, a role he combines with teaching liturgy and supervising seminarians at the Montreal Diocesan Theological College. He lectures on eucharistic development and history, oversees workshops on presiding, text delivery, movement in the liturgy, and offers extensive consulting on adapting appropriate liturgies into various settings.
“His contributions to the worship life of his church, in all of its expressions, are well known and extend beyond his own Lutheran tradition,” the Church’s statement said. “He has contributed to the worship life of the church in the local, synodical, national and even international levels.”