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28th November 2020

The growing number of parish churches joining the Prayer Book Society (PBS)
suggests a resurgence in use of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP) across the
country reports the society’s chairman Bradley Smith.

‘Since our first corporate member church – St Mary's Episcopal Chapel in Reading –
joined in 2002, the number of corporate members has grown to more than 120 and
the figure is rising steadily,’ he says.

Committed to encouraging rediscovery and use of the majesty and spiritual depth of
The Book of Common Prayer at the heart of the Church of England’s worship, the
PBS membership extends beyond churches to embrace also schools – Winchester
College was the first – and businesses, following the example of the St Olav Trust
Christian Bookshop in Chichester.

The newest corporate members are the 905-year-old church of St Mary the Virgin in
Battle, East Sussex – which has used the 1662 Book of Common Prayer since its
inception – and its daughter church, the Church of the Ascension built in nearby
Telham in 1876.

The location of St Mary’s is significant as it is just yards from the spot where King
Harold fell during the 1066 Battle of Hastings.

‘We are keen to keep tradition alive through use of the BCP for services in both our
churches which together attract congregations of all ages up to 99,’ explains Julia
Thorp, honorary secretary of the Church of the Ascension which always uses the
BCP for monthly Matins and at Holy Communion for three Sundays each month.

The church unites with St Mary’s for its weekly Holy Communion service.

Julia adds: ‘The Prayer Book is also used for all services at our Telham church where
the fellowship, tradition, music and rich language of the Prayer Book is so uplifting.’

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