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2nd February 2020

The chaplain of Oxford University’s Worcester College will visit the West Midlands city of
Worcester to present the prizes during this year’s national final of the Prayer Book Society’s
annual Cranmer Awards Competition on February 29.

The Rev Dr Tess Kuin Lawton, a former schoolteacher who was ordained in 2007 and
appointed as chaplain of Worcester College ten years later, is enthusiastic about the value of
the annual contest organised by the society. It aims to encourage young people to discover
the majesty and spiritual depth of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer compiled by Thomas
Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury during the Reformation, and still used for services in
many churches.

Tess believes that the pupils who have taken part in regional heats across the country in a
bid to secure a place in the final will benefit from a deep engagement with the prayers and
scriptures which they are required to speak from memory during the event.

She said: ‘I think that the future of the Book of Common Prayer is, in large part, in the hearts
of these young people. There is a rhythm and beauty to the language which they respond to
and come to love.’

During the award ceremony in Worcester she will praise the pupils’ hard work and reflect on
the way it will affect their future lives.

Tess, a former pupil of South Wilts Grammar School for Girls in Salisbury, believes she was
called to the priesthood and ordination at the age of ten.

‘The music, liturgy, architecture and preaching in Salisbury Cathedral were instrumental,’
she said.

The Cranmer Awards concept is a simple one; pupils aged between 11 and 18 select, learn
and speak from memory prayers and readings from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer.
Regional heats mean that they compete locally for a place in the national final where the
winners share £1,000 in prize money and receive a certificate with a copy of the Book of
Common Prayer.

Since the first contest 31 years ago the event has grown so much that hundreds of pupils
now enter the regional heats each year.

Although many of them traditionally have been pupils of private sector schools, the PBS
chairman Prudence Dailey is keen to include more competitors from state schools and
parish churches in more dioceses.

Pictured is the Rev Dr Tess Kuin Lawton, chaplain of Oxford University’s Worcester College,
who will present this year’s Cranmer Awards

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