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20th February 2020

An historic city centre church in Bristol, which uses the Book of Common Prayer for all its
services, has called on the Prayer Book Society to help it locate and appoint a new priest-in-
charge who is a traditionalist sympathetic to its high-church style of Prayer Book worship.

Located at the heart of the old city, Broad Street’s eighteenth-century Christ Church City is
the only one in the old city still used for regular services. When nearby churches were closed
12 years ago, the name of the Georgian church was extended to embrace their names. Its
full title now is Christ Church with Saint Ewen, All Saints and Saint George.

‘The Book of Common Prayer and the Authorised Version of the Bible are used at all our
services and we are keen to recruit a new incumbent who will be committed to maintaining
that tradition,’ explains churchwarden Roger Metcalfe. ‘With assistance and advice from the
PBS, which encourages rediscovery and use of the majesty and spiritual depth of the 1662
Book of Common Prayer at the heart of the Church of England’s worship, we hope to
achieve that aim soon.’

Regular Sunday services at Christ Church City include Choral Eucharist, Sung Matins and
Sung Evensong, with Holy Communion at lunchtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Consequently, depending on the time of year, the church attracts a mix of local office
workers and tourists as well as its regular Sunday congregations.

‘This church – a long-standing corporate member of the PBS – is an historic gem and we
are well placed to support it at this time of uncertainty,’ says the society’s churches and
clergy coordinator, John Service.

Christ Church City’s strong historic traditions embrace the annual celebration of St George’s
Day on April 23 and Trafalgar Day – a celebration of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson’s victory at
the Battle of Trafalgar – on October 21.

In 2011 the church celebrated the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible with a non-stop
round-the-clock public reading of its 1,189 chapters.

The following year it held events marking the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of
Common Prayer. They included A Book for All Seasons, a unique exhibition of early and rare
prayer books.

It also staged a re-enactment of a historic Bristol ‘first’ – the procession through the city to
Redcliffe in 1543 when the original Litany written by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of
Canterbury, was sung for the first time in English.

Cranmer, who compiled the Prayer Book incorporating his Litany, visited the church which
stood on the site of Christ Church City in 1534.

Other events included a flower festival featuring two dozen displays celebrating life’s special
occasions, including those found in the Book of Common Prayer.

Says Roger: ‘Today’s church, which occupies what is believed to be the oldest religious site
in the City of Bristol, is one of the few still conducting services using the evocative time-
honoured language of both the traditional Book of Common Prayer and The King James

‘We hope our new incumbent will share our sense of the historic as that could help us to
invigorate our appeal to raise £125,000 to replace the 350-year-old Quarter Jacks, the
mechanical figures which struck bells on the church clock in Broad Street every quarter.

‘In 2013, when we took them down for redecoration, we discovered that their poor condition
meant that they could not be used outside again. The church is keen to replace them but a
major fundraising campaign will be needed to achieve this.’

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