Google Play Store rating: 4.6 / 5
My rating: 4 / 5
Price: $10 [in app purchases for Enriching Our Worship]
Android users, the wait is finally over.
As of December, we can enjoy what iOS users have had access to for a couple years: the official Book of Common Prayer app, aka electronic Common Prayer. Simply having a functional, and official, Book of Common Prayer app for Android has been fantastic.
Let’s start with the great: I am writing this review from a lobby at St. George’s College Jerusalem, and can not tell you how many times I have utilized the bookmarking feature. It’s intuitive, simple, and easy to access.
Bookmarking is the perfect replacement for a well-worn hard copy with earmarked or ribboned pages. I honestly can say I never want to use a ribbon again. I have enjoyed not fumbling through while worried I might rip a page.
The text is easy to read, and the size can be adjusted quickly to suit all need levels. The side navigation menu slides quickly out to jump to various sections of the Book of Common Prayer. Before diving into a menu, you can select “Today” to jump directly to the readings appointed for the day.
I do have a few gripes, all of which could be fixed with some updates.
First, I constantly find myself navigating using my phones “back/return” button. The app has a “back” button, but it does not function the same as the back button on the phone in all instances.
Second, when the time arrives for the appointed readings in the Daily Office text, there’s no red text to take me directly to the readings, as there is for the day’s appointed psalms. The Holy Eucharist has no readings or psalms indexed within the service.
If you wanted to use the app to lead worship, you would have to go in and out of various menus. Not user friendly at all.
Third, the “home” screen always reverts back to October of 2014—not even close to today. You will have to click “today” in the top right to get to the proper day.
Fourth, the in-app purchase of Enriching Our Worship 1 is simply a list of page numbers from the actual book. Nothing is indexed, and if you have to go to the next page, you have to back out to the home menu of the app, go back to the app purchase section, and manually click to the next page.
My last gripe comes from the price.
I went back and forth about if this was a fair price. Ten dollars is steep for an app, but affordable from the standpoint of the cost of the book. If the goal is to get the Book of Common Prayer into as many hands as possible, I’m afraid the price keeps people away. I hope at this price the app is updated at least semi-regularly.
While it seems like I am griping more than praising, it is because I, along with others, see the potential for this app to be truly great.
If you are a user of both Android devices and the Book of Common Prayer, this is a must buy. Only purchase Enriching Our Worship if you really need it, at least until they improve how it functions. The bookmarking feature alone will make this app a part of my routine.
Chris Hamby (@chris_hamby) is the digital producer in the Center for the Ministry of Teaching and a senior M.Div. student at Virginia Theological Seminary.