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17th October 2017

Enthusiastic Church of England Readers from across the country attended this year’s special training day in London’s St Marylebone Parish Church, planned to help them make better use of The Book of Common Prayer.

The decision to repeat the format of last year’s inaugural conference for licensed Readers was the right one, reports the organiser, the Prayer Book Society (PBS).

A key aim of this year’s course – Bringing The Book of Common Prayer’s Morning and Evening Prayer to Life – was to affirm the importance of the Prayer Book in the ministry and spiritual life of Readers while helping them overcome difficulties they might encounter when using it to conduct services.

Delegates from churches in locations as far apart as Carlisle and Chichester attended to hear  speakers who included PBS trustee the Rev Dr Daniel Newman, associate minister at St John’s Church in Woking, Surrey and the Rev Dr Tom Plant, Chaplain of Lichfield Cathedral School.

The day started with a welcome by the PBS chairman Prudence Dailey and Holy Communion celebrated by the Rev Canon Stephen Evans, rector of St Marylebone. It concluded with Evening Prayer conducted by licensed Reader Elizabeth Falding.

‘Few realise the scale of the role undertaken by Readers,’ says the event organiser, John Service, PBS churches and clergy co-ordinator. ‘These  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.’

He added: ‘During discussions with delegates it became clear 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.’

Pictured  left, leading the discussion in London’s St Marylebone Parish Church, is Richard Marlowe with (left to right) Prudence Dailey, the Rev Dr Tom Plant and the Rev Dr Daniel Newman

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