The celebration of the 350th anniversary of the 1662 Book of Common Prayer has helped to stimulate a renewed interest in its teaching and fundamental contribution to Anglican identity. Archbishop Cranmer and others involved in the English Reformation knew well that the content and shape of the services set out in the Prayer Book were vital ways of teaching congregations biblical truth and the principles of the Christian gospel. Thus the aim of this series of booklets which focus on the Formularies of the Church of England and the elements of the different services within the Prayer Book is to highlight what those services teach about the Christian faith and to demonstrate how they are also designed to shape the practice of that faith. As well as providing an account of the origins of the Prayer Book services, these booklets are designed to offer practical guidance on how such services may be used in Christian ministry nowadays.
‘Most illustrious Prince, I have considered that the Supper of the Lord (which has been violated by many and great superstitions, and turned into gain) should be renovated and restored according to the institutions of our Saviour Christ; and I have considered that all should be performed according to the Divine Word and of the Ancient and Holy Church, the care and instruction of which belong in some part to my office’.
(Thomas Cranmer, Dedication to King Edward VI, A Defence of the True and Catholic Doctrine of the Sacrament.)
In this fascinating and practical study, Nigel Scotland looks closely at the Service of Holy Communion in the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, and with further illumination from earlier versions of the Prayer Book and Cranmer’s other writings, draws conclusions which may refresh and challenge our contemporary practices.
In this study of the church calendar as expressed in the collects, lectionary and psalter of the Book of Common Prayer, Benjamin Sargent opens up the richness and benefit of the biblical heritage offered by its structure.
In this study of the services of Morning and Evening Prayer in the Book of Common Prayer, Mark Burkill reveals the heart and purpose of Cranmer’s non-eucharistic liturgy.
In this overview of the Book of Common Prayer, Peter Adam brings us back again and again to its emphasis on the ‘very pure word of God,’ setting the gold standard and hallmark of all our liturgy.
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