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10th May 2017

The success of last year’s first Prayer Book Society National Conference for Church of England Readers prompted calls for annual training courses for them, linked to use of The Book of Common Prayer.

Now plans have been announced for the first one to be held at St Marylebone Parish Church in London on October 7.

The title of the one-day course will be Matins and Evensong for Licensed Readers.

Keynote speakers will be the Rev Dr Daniel Newman, associate minister at St John’s Church in Woking, Surrey and a trustee of the Prayer Book Society, and the Rev Dr Tom Plant, team vicar at St Pancras Old Church in London.

The day will start at 11 am with Holy Communion celebrated by the Rev Canon Stephen Evans, rector of St Marylebone, and conclude with Evening Prayer conducted by licensed Reader Richard Marlowe.

‘Last year more than 40 delegates travelled to London from churches in locations as far apart as Chichester, Chester, Carlisle and Canterbury for our initial conference and we are expecting even more to attend our October course,’ reports John Service, the Prayer Book Society’s churches and clergy co-ordinator.

 ‘It was clear from comments made during that event that, contrary to the belief of many clergy, congregations rarely have a problem with the ancient language of the Prayer Book. Indeed, many value its distinctiveness.’

He added: ‘Few realise the scale of the role undertaken by Readers. They are lay people who have been selected, trained and licensed by the bishop of a diocese to give their time and service to the church in the form of preaching, teaching and leading worship in a pastoral context – very much more than just reading the lessons!’

A key aim of the October course will be to affirm the importance of The Book of Common Prayer in the ministry and spiritual life of Readers while helping them overcome difficulties they might encounter when using it to conduct services.

Tickets for the one-day course at 11 am on October 7 are priced at £27 to include tea/coffee and lunch. They are available from the Prayer Book Society’s office at The Studio, Copyhold Farm, Lady Grove, Goring Heath, Reading RG8 7RT, telephone 0118 984 2582, email

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