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The Book of Common PrayerA treasury for the theology and worship of The Church of England

Many of our services follow the order from The Book of Common Prayer – this is the normal pattern for our choral evensongs.

In 2013 we celebrated the 350th Anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, a book which remains the official doctrinal foundation of most of the Churches in the global Anglican Communion. Before the 16th century there was no uniform liturgy and this book was a bold attempt at uniformity. It was compiled by Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury and leader of the Reformation, who was later burnt at the stake for his beliefs.

He based his text largely on the use of materials traditionally used in the church.

The prayer book is deeply rooted in the Bible ensuring that the congregation is well versed in scripture; not only does it make full provision for the reading of the scripture at services but the services themselves are, in substance and language, scriptural throughout. The book contains all services as well as the thirty nine articles of the faith, a statement of what the Anglicans believe. It is very much a product of its age which gives it a vibrancy and resonance such as you find in Shakespearean language and the King James Bible. The version we use in church was updated in 1968.

We are holding a special festival to celebrate this anniversary in the Autumn, there will be an exhibition throughout the festival and a number of celebratory Evensongs. There is also an exhibition entitled “Royal Devotion: Monarchy and the Book of Common Prayer” at Lambeth Palace 1st May – 14th July.