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FORMER GARRISON CHURCH OF HEADLEY COURT IS FIRST ‘MILITARY’ CHURCH TO JOIN THE PRAYER BOOK SOCIETY image

FORMER GARRISON CHURCH OF HEADLEY COURT IS FIRST ‘MILITARY’ CHURCH TO JOIN THE PRAYER BOOK SOCIETY

17th September 2020

The former garrison church of Headley Court – the Defence Services Medical Rehabilitation
Centre at Headley near Epsom in Surrey until 2018 – is believed to the first ‘military’ church
to enrol as a corporate member of the Prayer Book Society and the first in Surrey to do so.

The church of St Mary the Virgin, which has 14th century origins, has used Thomas
Cranmer’s 1662 Book of Common Prayer for services since the year it was published.

Asked why St Mary’s had decided to join the PBS, the honorary assistant curate, the Rev
Christopher Hancock, said: ‘We were prompted to do so by the importance we attach to
Prayer Book services in the worshipping life of the parish and our ministry team.

‘In fact, when we were looking to resume services following the coronavirus lockdown we
began with BCP Holy Communion. For the whole month of July, the only services said at St
Mary’s were from the Book of Common Prayer – it was like going back in time.

‘There has been much talk of the things which will not return when “normal” church returns.
We were determined that BCP should not be lost; instead it has led the revival.’

Christopher added that corporate membership of the PBS is also one of the ways in which St
Mary’s can support the training of the next generation of clergy.

He explained: ‘We are keen to ensure that they appreciate Prayer Book liturgy and are ready
to lead Prayer Book services following ordination.

‘Our local clergy training institution is LMP (Local Ministry Programme) Guildford. I trained
with them and use of BCP for Evening Prayer for a term each year is part of the curriculum.
‘Although we also hold Common Worship services in response to demand, we aim to
increase the number of Prayer Book services at St Mary’s in the years ahead.’

PHOTO-CAPTION
St Mary the Virgin, the former garrison church of Headley Court
© Copyright Dr Neil Clifton and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.

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