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19th July 2018

Churchgoers unfamiliar with The Book of Common Prayer (BCP) will be encouraged to
discover and use it when they attend this year’s Christian Resources Exhibition (CRE) at
Sandown Park in Esher, Surrey (October 16 – 18).
‘Many of those under the age of 50 may never have experienced a church service using the
beautiful and traditional language of the Prayer Book because liturgical reform in the Church
of England during the ’seventies meant growing numbers of churches opted instead for
contemporary language versions of services,’ explains Prudence Dailey, chairman of the
Prayer Book Society (PBS).
Exhibiting at the CRE for the first time since 2012, the PBS will be encouraging visitors to its
stand (no. S148) to consider using the BCP for worship or, if they are already doing so, to
use it more.

‘The Prayer Book is as relevant today as it ever was and increasingly it is being appreciated
by young adults,’ says Prudence who points to growing interest in the society’s activities in
their twenties and thirties. In addition the PBS hosts the Cranmer Awards, a national
competition in which hundreds of 11 to 18-year-olds across the country memorise prayers
and readings from the BCP and then speak them in front of an invited audience in a bid to
win a prize.

The BCP was compiled by Thomas Cranmer – a leader of the Reformation and Archbishop
of Canterbury during the reigns of Henry VIII, Edward VI and Mary I – by drawing extensively
on his personal library of 600 printed books and more than 60 manuscripts.

‘While the PBS is rooted in tradition, we understand contemporary church environments and
the pressures clergy face,’ says Prudence. She reveals that the society’s research among
ordinands suggests that many in the new generation of young clergy will be enthusiastic
about using the BCP for services.

‘It is more than just the beauty of the language of the Prayer Book which appeals to me,’
said one ordinand. ‘I like the fact that it is quite literally a book of common prayer which not
only belongs to all people but contains prayers for every stage in their journey through life.’
Another commented: ‘I was struck by the beauty and depth of the poetic Prayer Book
language which provides a quiet, calm base for worship. I felt that it tied me to all the
previous generations worshipping in my church since the twelfth century.’

A third said: ‘‘I believe that the growing popularity of The Book of Common Prayer makes it a
catalyst for unity, bringing together those formerly separated by the partisanship of the past
60 years. Today it is being used in a wide range of Anglican churches, from evangelical to

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