Visitors to CRE 2018 will enjoy the beauty of The Book of Common Prayer – some for the first time.
‘Many people under 50 have never experienced a church service using the beautiful and traditional language of the Prayer Book,’ explained Prudence Dailey, chair of the Prayer Book Society. ‘Liturgical reform in the Church of England during the 70s meant growing numbers of churches opted instead for contemporary language versions of services.’
Exhibiting at CRE for the first time since 2012, the society will encourage visitors to consider using The Book of Common Prayer (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,’ said Prudence, who pointed out a growing interest in the society’s activities by people in their 20s and 30s. The society also 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 recite them to an invited audience.
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 society is rooted in tradition, we understand contemporary church environments and the pressures clergy face,’ said Prudence, who believes many young clergy will be enthusiastic about using the BCP in services.
‘It is more than just the beauty of the language of the Prayer Book which appeals to me,’ one ordinand told her. ‘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 our journey through life.’
The Prayer Book Society’s stand will offer an opportunity to examine the Cranmer legacy and its huge impact on the Church – and find out about recent initiatives to encourage its use.
The Prayer Book Society is on stand S148 at CRE 2018