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26th September 2020

Trustees appoint Christian Bookshop manager Bradley Smith as the society’s new chairman.

A new chairman of the trustees of the Prayer Book Society (PBS) has been elected
at the Annual General Meeting of the charity which encourages rediscovery and use
of the majesty and spiritual depth of Thomas Cranmer’s 1662 Book of Common
Prayer (BCP) at the heart of the Church of England’s worship.

Prudence Dailey, who joined the PBS as an undergraduate in the mid-1980s and has
held the post of chairman since 2006, is succeeded by Bradley Smith (pictured), manager of
the St Olav Trust Christian Bookshop in North Street, Chichester.

Prudence Dailey
Prudence Dailey (54), whose involvement with the PBS regionally and nationally
spans more than 30 years, was one of the first trustees of the society when it
became a limited company in 2003.

Her achievements over the years include the introduction of major changes to the
PBS annual conference programme which have resulted in significant increases in
attendances as it continues to grow and develop.

By introducing a bursary scheme under Prudence’s leadership, the society has
helped clergy, ordinands and young people aged under 30 to attend the conference
each year.

Prudence also oversaw the appointment of the society’s first churches and clergy co-
ordinator, John Service, who has successfully built relationships with clergy,
ordinands and theological colleges, holding special seminars for ordinands of all
church traditions, and offering free honorary membership to ordinands and curates-
in-training. A scheme to give Prayer Books to prisoners is among the most recent

In recent years the PBS has benefited from the growing numbers of younger people
joining the society.

‘Many of them are discovering the BCP for the first time and embracing it
enthusiastically,’ reports Prudence whose own love of the BCP goes back to her

‘Worshipping with the Prayer Book, I sense that I am standing on solid ground,’ she

Bradley Smith
Bradley Smith (37) developed a love of the BCP as a junior chorister in his local
parish church in North Yorkshire. He joined the PBS as a teenager when he started
praying the Prayer Book’s Daily Office. More recently, he has introduced use of the
BCP for services at his parish church, St Mary the Virgin in Barnham, West Sussex
where he is a churchwarden.

Says Bradley: ‘In addition to its beautiful and memorable language, the BCP
connects us with generations of past worshippers who have prayed the same prayers
for generations, yet it continues to speak with clarity and authority in the present day.’

In his new role as chairman, Bradley’s priority will be implementation of The 2030
Vision, a resolution passed by the society’s trustees who are keen for people of all
ages to find life in Christ through growing attendances and spiritual growth at Prayer
Book services in every benefice.

The plan will include the training of clergy and readers in the use of the Prayer Book
for regular worship, the occasional offices and private devotion. Recent months have
highlighted the potential of online training, streamed worship and greater use of
social media for sharing the treasure of the Prayer Book with a younger and wider

In addition, Bradley aims to:
- grow PBS membership among all ages, but notably the young;
- increase the number of corporate member churches and promote them as
centres of excellence where the highest quality BCP worship is offered;
- work closely with parishes where the BCP tradition is alive and growing in order
to identify principles which can be applied elsewhere;
- prove the contemporary relevance of the BCP by ensuring that the voices of
young men and women who use and value it are heard;
- challenge the view that young people find the language and formality of the BCP

Commenting on his appointment as chairman, Bradley said: ‘I am very optimistic
about the future. The launch of The 2030 Vision is a very exciting milestone in the life
of the PBS and I very much look forward to working in partnership with individuals
and parishes that rejoice in the Prayer Book tradition and want to see it prosper in the

To contact the Prayer Book Society’s office at The Studio, Copyhold Farm,
Lady Grove, Goring Heath, Reading RG8 7RT, call 0118 984 2582, email or visit

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The Prayer Book Society & The Book of Common Prayer
The Prayer Book Society encourages rediscovery and use of the majesty and
spiritual depth of the Book of Common Prayer at the heart of the Church of England’s

The society was founded in 1972 amidst liturgical reform in the Church of England. It
was feared that the 1662 Book of Common Prayer – despite its continued status as
the Church of England’s official standard of teaching – would fall into disuse, being
replaced by contemporary forms of worship.
Deeply rooted in the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer is the traditional service
book of the Church of England and contains its official teaching.

Created in 1549 and then revised in 1552 by Thomas Cranmer (1489 – 1556), it was
the handbook of the new English church which had just split from Rome.
Cranmer – a leader of the Reformation and Archbishop of Canterbury during the
reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I – compiled the Book of Common Prayer
by drawing extensively on his personal library of 600 printed books and more than 60
manuscripts. Although further revisions were made in subsequent editions published
in 1559, 1604 and 1662, the content of the 1662 Prayer Book in use today remains
significantly as Cranmer wrote it.

Listed below are some of the words and phrases we use today in
everyday conversation and whose origins can be found in the
Book of Common Prayer:

- land of the living
- all sorts and conditions of men
- a tower of strength
- till death us do part
- weigh the merits
- lead a new life
- all my worldly goods
- give up for lost
- at death’s door
- make haste
- peace in our time
- at their wits’ end
- make much ado
- due season
- the upper hand
- works of darkness
- babes and sucklings
- fire and brimstone
- the beauty of holiness
- softer than butter

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