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16th March 2020

A recruitment drive by the Prayer Book Society to increase the number of churches and
other organisations that are members of the society – known as corporate members – has
been given a boost this month with the news that the three churches in Oxfordshire’s
Wantage Downs benefice have just been signed up.

The churches – St Augustine of Canterbury at East Hendred, All Saints at Lockinge and Holy
Trinity at Ardington – have enabled the PBS to report that it now has more than 100
corporate members.

The rector of all three churches, the Revd Dr Orazio Camaioni – a graduate of D'Annunzio
University in the Abruzzo region of Italy – took up the post in 2019 following ordination
training at St Stephen's House in Oxford and then three years as curate at the church of St
Peter and St Paul in Wantage.

On arrival in the Wantage Downs benefice one of the new rector’s first moves was to
reintroduce the services of Evensong and Holy Communion in the Book of Common Prayer
– sometimes referred to as the Prayer Book – which had not been used at St Augustine’s for
several years.

‘This will give the parish more visibility and potentially attract those who feel spiritually
uplifted and fed by use of the Prayer Book,’ said Orazio. ‘It will also make the parish feel part
of a network of people who acknowledge and promote the theological and spiritual value of
the Book of Common Prayer.’

Since Orazio’s arrival, attendances at Sunday and weekday Holy Communion services have
started to grow with congregations embracing all ages. Evensong with a hymn is celebrated
ecumenically with Roman Catholic worshippers.

At All Saints Church Orazio was pleased to discover that the Book of Common Prayer was
already in regular use for Holy Communion and Evensong.

He said: ‘The late Christopher Loyd of the local Lockinge Estate loved the Prayer Book – as
does his son Thomas who is patron of the benefice and churchwarden – ensuring that BCP
services continued through the years.’

Thomas Loyd recently joined the PBS as a benefactor, the term used by the society to
describe those who have pledged a gift to it of at least £500 a year.

Holy Trinity Church, which dates back to 1200 but was extensively remodelled by the Gothic
Revival in the 19th century, has always used the BCP for its services.
‘This church is very popular for weddings,’ reports Orazio. ‘It means that we regularly have
couples attending our services at least once a month, so that they can become eligible to be
married here.

‘Interestingly, most of them have chosen the Prayer Book for their wedding services
following a presentation of both the traditional and modern liturgy at the wedding preparation
event which took place on February 22. This suggests that young people are increasingly
appreciative of a traditional liturgy which speaks the truth clearly and in a language which is
different from their everyday speech.

‘People coming from different traditions appreciate the theologically dense and linguistically
awe-inspiring beauty of the Prayer Book, too.’

Pictured is The Revd Dr Orazio Camaioni, rector of the three churches in Oxfordshire’s
Wantage Downs benefice

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