Six candidates aged 13 to 18 took part in the Cranmer Awards heat for the northern part of the Diocese of Salisbury in St John’s Church, Devizes recently.
The Grade I listed medieval building was site to some impressive feats of verbal dexterity as the young people got their teeth into some of the meatiest texts of the Book of Common Prayer, from the creed of St Athanasius to the Prayer in Time of War or Tumults.
The chair of the panel of judges, the Rev’d Gerry Lynch, said: “Despite the impression some people have that young people aren’t interested in traditional forms of worship, we were astounded by the maturity and clarity with which all of our candidates read from some genuinely challenging parts of the Prayer Book. They did themselves and their school proud. We would have been happy to have any of the six entrants read a lesson if the Archbishop of Canterbury had been visiting St John’s.
“The winners in both our junior and senior sections, Izabela and Reuben, will now have the chance to attend the national finals, to be held at Hampton Court Palace next February. They also walked away with cash prizes, as do the second and third placed entrants in each section of every Cranmer Awards heat."
“We were hugely grateful to Dauntsey’s School for drumming up such support for the competition and supplying all six entrants. With cash prizes at stake, we hope more Wiltshire schools will supply entrants for the 2024-5 competition. Independent entrants can also now enter the Cranmer Awards - full details are online.”