Celebrating 350 years of Common Prayer
Sunday 29 May saw the commemoration of the 350th anniversary of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP)in a special Choral Evensong held in Truro Cathedral and attended by over 200 people, including the Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, the deputy Mayor of Truro and the national chairman of the Prayer Book Society, Prudence Dailey.
The service followed the traditional BCP pattern and members of the Truro diocesan branch of the Prayer Book Society and their guests were treated to a rich programme of century-straddling choral settings from the Cathedral choir.
In his sermon, Bishop Tim spoke of the remarkable achievement that the 350th anniversary represented, the BCP having been for many people across the years a companion to their faith and a transcending inspiration through the beauty of its language.
But, he pointed out, it had also been a source of physical conflict and theological debate – especially in Cornwall both before and after its introduction. “It had not been universally accepted,” he said.
Drawing particular attention to the Collect for Peace that is used in the Orders of both Morning and Evening Prayer, Bishop Tim said that there could be no denying that the BCP was a “glorious work”, that brought people together, enabled them to speak to God, and to listen to God.
“It has been successful in this purpose,” he said. “Over 350 years of enabling people to pray.”
Speaking earlier at the Truro Prayer Book Society’s AGM, Prudence Dailey explained the work that was being carried out nationally to keep the BCP alive in churches across the country by encouraging clergy, especially ordinands, to see it as an opportunity to enrich worship, not as a constraint.
The secret of success was to “find the right clergy in the right churches”, who would have the commitment to “bring it to life”.
To mark the 350th anniversary, Primrose Peacock and Cathedral staff, had arranged a Book of Common Prayer display in the Cathedral; and an 8-page pamphlet entitled The Anglican liturgy – A History is available from the Cathedral Office, c/o Primrose Peacock, 14 St Mary’s Street, Truro TR1 2AF. Please send two 2nd Class stamps with you request.
If you would like to join the Prayer Book Society, contact John St Brioc Hooper on 01726 76382 or at firstname.lastname@example.org
Picture: Bishop Tim chats with Prudence Dailey before the service.