Wellfield church, Leyland, might, at first glance, not be a typical Prayer Book church.
Launched in 2007, the Revd Mark Simpson, Curate in Charge, says that he recognised that many in Lancashire community didn’t feel that they would want to come to a conventional church.
“We wanted it to be everything a church should be, without it feeling like ‘a church’, he says. So with the backing of Blackburn Diocese, the church started with an informal Sunday evening meeting.
Now, the church has its own building on a local council estate. “Everything is very informal,” says Mark, who presides in ordinary clothes. “But for all the advantages of this style,” he says, “It was important to find some way of connecting with our Church heritage.” So on special occasions, like Good Friday, the congregation have been introduced to the Book of Common Prayer.
“For some it’s an absolute novelty, but the richness of the theology, which people have thought through with great intelligence and Godliness in the past, under difficult circumstances, was something we must not neglect,” says Mark.
Members of the church have really appreciated its use. “People have looked at ‘this old language’ and thought ‘we’re going to struggle to read it’. But, it says things in different ways. It connects us with Christians not just globally, but throughout time and using the Prayer Book has made us realise we’re part of something far bigger,” he says.
Up to this point, Mark has been borrowing copies of the BCP from the local parish church. But after an appeal, the Prayer Book Society has gifted Wellfield Church, 32 pew editions for their services.
John Service PBS’ Churches and Clergy Co-Ordinator takes up the story. “Just before Christmas I was contacted by a church in Croydon who were throwing out their pew editions of the BCP. I went and collected these, as we can always place them, and have now offered them to Mark.”
The gift will enable the congregation of Wellfield Church to use the Book of Common Prayer more regularly.