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4th March 2021

Despite Covid restrictions preventing Oxford’s annual ceremony commemorating the
martyrdom of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer – the compiler of the Book of Common
Prayer who, in 1556, was burnt at the stake in what is now Broad Street – the Prayer
Book Society (PBS) will still mark the occasion but without the usual procession
through the city, it was announced this week.

The society, which encourages rediscovery and use of the majesty and spiritual
depth of the Prayer Book at the heart of the Church of England’s worship, will
commemorate Cranmer with an online lecture as well as a service at the church of St
Mary the Virgin in the High Street.

‘This will be the first time we have commemorated the event online,’ reports Bradley
Smith, chairman of the PBS. ‘As this year’s commemoration date is a Sunday, we
have decided to hold the online Zoom event the previous day, Saturday, March 20 at
2.30 pm.’

The afternoon will include a lecture entitled Hearing the Word: The Bible, the Prayer
Book and Public Worship from Cranmer to 1660 by the Rev Canon Dr Judith Maltby,
chaplain and Fellow of Corpus Christi College.

The lecture will be followed by Evensong which will include an Act of
Commemoration led by members of the Oxford branch of the PBS.

The Rev Fergus Butler-Gallie, assistant priest at the church of Holy Trinity in
London’s Sloane Square, will preach a sermon inspired by the text from 2 Timothy
2:14 – ‘strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.’

Explaining how Thomas Cranmer’s life and example must serve as an example and
rallying call for the Church of England today, he will say how, in a post secular
context, the church must again seek to draw lessons from Cranmer’s life and work
and an unapologetic approach to faith in public in the twenty-first century.

To register in advance for attendance at the free online event on the home page
of the PBS website or use this link.
Registered participants will receive an automated email containing the Zoom link
and, in advance of the event, a full timetable of events.

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
Follow the Prayer Book Society on Facebook at

Pictured is Archbishop Thomas Cranmer who, in 1556, was burnt at the stake in what
is now Oxford’s Broad Street, credited to Lambeth Palace

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