To the Trustees
I was surprised to read the statement on ‘Prayers of Love and Faith’ recently posted on the Society’s website. In particular, I was bewildered by the assertion that the reason the Prayer Book Society holds no formal stance on the proposed ‘liturgical resources’ is because ‘the Society is a single-issue organisation which unites a wide range of people who cherish the Book of Common Prayer and its use in today’s Church…The officers and members of the Society hold a variety of opinions on many contemporary and liturgical issues.’
The current Trustees, it seems, are unaware of the formal objects of the Society which, according to the Charity Commission, are:
THE ADVANCEMENT OF THE CHRISTIAN RELIGION AS SET FORTH IN THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER; AND, IN FURTHERANCE OF THIS OBJECT, THE PROMOTION OF THE WORSHIP AND DOCTRINE ENSHRINED IN THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER AND ITS USE FOR SERVICES, TEACHING AND TRAINING THROUGHOUT THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND AND OTHER CHURCHES IN THE ANGLICAN TRADITION.
The BCP, as one of the Church of England’s historic formularies, is a primary source of its doctrine. ‘Matrimony’ between one man and one woman is used interchangeably with ‘marriage’ in the BCP: there is no distinction in historic Anglican doctrine. The BCP gives the second cause for which matrimony was ordained as the avoidance of fornication, that ‘those as have not the gift of continency might marry, and keep themselves undefiled’.
The Trustees of the Society should not be presenting the BCP as a decorative fabrication. Those Trustees whose beliefs are at odds with unambiguous BCP teaching on the fundamental institution of marriage should do the decent thing and resign.
The Revd Stephen Keeble
Former Trustee of the Prayer Book Society