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CHURCH REPORTS INCREASE IN CHURCH ATTENDANCES SINCE JOINING PBS image

CHURCH REPORTS INCREASE IN CHURCH ATTENDANCES SINCE JOINING PBS

9th January 2019

A small country church with Saxon origins on the south bank of the River Tees in County
Durham is the latest to become a corporate member of the Prayer Book Society (PBS) which
encourages 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.


St Mary’s in the village of Wycliffe is one of six churches in the newly-formed Holmedale
benefice. The village has close associations with the fourteenth-century Oxford theologian
John Wycliffe, the so-called Morning Star of the Reformation who was born locally.


‘Each church in our benefice differs,’ says Keith Miller, churchwarden and chairman of the
Parochial Church Council at St Mary’s. ‘We hope that those in the surrounding area who are
attracted by the Book of Common Prayer will come to St Mary’s where the beauty of the
building, its profound history and a liturgy which has resonated over the centuries all
combine.


‘We have used the beautiful and eloquent language of the Prayer Book for generations and
primarily for Holy Communion and Morning Prayer these days. Although the numbers in our
congregations are modest, we have noticed an increase in worshippers coming because of
our use of the Book of Common Prayer.’


Keith believes that the presence of St Mary’s on the PBS website will help to boost
attendances, particularly by holidaymakers visiting the area.


Now plans are underway to enhance the facilities at St Mary’s so that greater use of the
church can include concerts, reports Keith. He hopes that some concert-goers will return to
the church on Sundays.


Keith, who became a personal member of the PBS in 2016, was struck by the number of
young delegates at the PBS annual conference which he attended last year.
‘That bodes well not only for the future of the church as a whole but also for the increasing
use of the Book of Common Prayer,’ he commented.

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