Calendar, Lectionary and Collects
Daily Prayer
The Eucharist
A Service of the Word
Baptism and Confirmation
The Ordinal
The Psalms
The Lord’s Prayer

towards Common Worship: Prayers
and Services for the Church of England


The Common Worship main volume and pastoral services volume, together with the President’s Edition were published in November 2000. The texts of all these books, apart from some of the musical settings in the President’s Edition are now available on the official Common Worship web site in both html and as PDF files. These show the exact appearance on the page of the printed volumes, and allow you to print and extract the text for your own use.

Naturally, this will have an effect on these pages. We hope to continue to show the development of the Common Worship services, providing copies of draft services and other liturgical material, and we will provide commentary and other material.

calendar, lectionary and collects

Status: authorized for use from Advent 1997

The new Lectionary follows the Revised Common Lectionary with a small number of alterations, together with lectionaries for second and third Sunday services. The Calendar includes a large number of festivals and lesser festivals which have proper collects, and commemorations which are provided with common collects.

The text of the Calendar, Lectionary and Collects is available at the Common Worship web site.

Canterbury Press, Norwich, has published a companion to the new calendar, Exciting Holiness, edited by Br Tristam SSF (with the second and subsequent editions by Simon Kershaw), which provides collects, readings, responsorial psalms, biographical information and sentences for all these days.

Keeping the Feast, available only at this site, is a more extensive collection. Though not yet complete, it provides fuller biographical details, pictures, and links to further material where available.

The Collects associated with the temporale were agreed between the liturgical revisers working in the four Anglican Churches in Britain and Ireland, and with only a few variations the same prayers are authorized throughout the British Isles. The Collects and Post-Communion prayers as authorized in Ireland are available in the Church of Ireland section of this library.
A PDF version of the text as published in the Common Worship volumes is available here

daily prayer

A draft version of daily prayer was published in February 2002. It is available online at the Common Worship website. We have worked with Church House Publishing to implement an on-line version of Common Worship Morning Prayer, Evening Prayer and Night Prayer for each day of the year, available at the Common Worship Daily Prayer website.

[The Liturgical Commission has begun work on forms for Morning and Evening Prayer. Celebrating Common Prayer will form the basis of this revision. It is anticipated that an interim volume might be published by the end of 2001. This will enable trial use of the services, and also allow the use of the weekday lectionary which was only authorized for 2 years. In addition to Morning and Evening Prayer there will be a form for Night Prayer (or Compline) — probably a single form — rather than one for each day of the week, and a flexible form for use during the day. This will replace CCP’s Midday Prayer with a form that can be used either as a supplement to Morning and Evening (and Night) Prayer for those wanting to say the fourfold office, or as a simple form for those wanting a single Office.]

The Daily Office lectionary used by the ECUSA and by the Anglican Church in Canada was adapted by the Church of Ireland and the Church in Wales. This forms the basis of the Common Worship provision and is available for Year 1 and Year 2.

the eucharist

Status: Authorized for use from Advent 2000

The authorized form of this service is available at the Common Worship web site.

A first draft of the revised Eucharist was published in the report GS1211 Holy Communion Rites A & B Revised in July 1996.

This text was revised by a revision committee of the General Synod, and published in October 1997 as GS1211A The Eucharist: The Order for the Administration of the Lord’s Supper or Holy Communion

This report was debated at the November 1997 session of the General Synod. Various parts of it were recommitted to the revision committee (which is the standard way of revising the text), and the debate was adjourned until the next available session of the Synod. The Synod returned to the revision committee the words of the translation of the Nicene Creed ‘was incarnate of the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary’ indicating that it preferred the ASB form ‘by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary.’. The House of Bishops, who must decide the final forms of service brought for authorization have resisted this move, and in debates in June and November 1999 have secured votes in favour of their preferred form. However, the votes indicate that this form does not have a two-thirds majority in the House of Laity. The Creed will not, however, be authorized on its own but as part of the Order for Holy Communion.

A further report of the revision committee was published in October 1998 as GS 1211 B with the title The Order for the Celebration of Holy Communion also called The Eucharist and the Lord’s Supper. (I have not quite finished producing an on-line version of this, but my incomplete and uncorrected draft version is available in the interim. The text of Order One and Order Two are, I believe, complete, but the other material is not.)

The eucharistic prayers were revised in a process separate from that of the Eucharist itself, and were incorporated into the final text of the Eucharist when that was brought for authorization.

As a first step, Six Eucharistic Prayers were authorized for experimental use throughout 1998 under Canon B5(a).

In June 1998, these prayers were slightly revised and introduced to the General Synod, GS 1299. They were submitted to a revision committe, and a further version produced as GS 1299 A. This version includes not only the six prayers intended for Holy Communion Order One, but also revisions of the prayers for Order One in traditional language and Order Two in contemporary language (the prayer in Order Two being that from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer), together with some 19 seasonal prefaces for use with three of the prayers, and an ‘outline form’ intended for inclusion on the main eucharistic rite.

After further debate in the General Synod, the revision committee slightly modified prayer E, and also arranged for two more prayers to be proposed. These had been suggested from the floor of the Synod and considered by the committee. Prayer G is based on a prayer which failed to receive authorization (see below). Prayer H is a prayer which includes a greater degree of active participation for the congregation. These prayers, published in GS 1299B and GS 1299X are for convenience here appended to the May 1999 prayers.

The authorized form of this service is available at the Common Worship web site.

(In February 1996 an earlier collection of six new eucharistic prayers narrowly failed to gain authorization in the General Synod.)

Finally all these parts were brought together and the service authorized in February 2000 for use from Advent 2000. In April, Church House Publishing produced a preview edition containing the complete Common Worship Holy Communion service, Orders One and Two and all the supplementary material (together with a few typos), showing for the first time the design of the Common Worship books.

a service of the word

A Service of the Word, which was authorized in 1995 until 31 December 2000, was included with minor revisions to remove references to the Alternative Service Book 1980 and bring it into line with Common Worship. The new form received general approval at the July 1998 session of the General Synod.

The authorized form of this service is available at the Common Worship web site.

baptism and confirmation

Status: authorized from Easter 1998

Various forms of service for baptism and confirmation were authorized from Easter Eve 1998. The content of the published forms is identical to that in the report GS1152C. (These html versions are somewhat basic, but we hope to provide more sophisticated versions soon.)

The authorized form of this service is available at the Common Worship web site.

the marriage service

Status: authorized from Advent 2000

A draft Marriage Service was published as the report HB(97)34 (Marriage) in May 1997. It was authorized for use as designated in Canon B5(a). It was available for use in designated places until the end of 1998, and will then be further revised and brought to the General Synod.

The authorized form of this service is available at the Common Worship web site.

the funeral service

Status: authorized from Advent 2000

A draft Funeral Service was published as the report HB(97)34 (Funerals) in June 1997. It was authorized for use as designated in Canon B5(a). It was available for use in designated places until the end of 1998, and will then be further revised and brought to the General Synod.

The draft contains services and prayers for: Ministry at the time of Death, Before the Funeral, the Funeral Service, the Funeral Service within the Eucharist, Outline Order for the Funeral Service, After the Funeral (At Home after the Funeral, The Burial of Ashes, The Memorial), Prayers and Other Resources.

The authorized form of this service is available at the Common Worship web site.

the ordinal

The Liturgical Commission has begun work on forms for the ordination of deacons, presbyters (or priests), and bishops. No details are available yet. It is not expected that this will be authorized until 2004. In the meantime, the authorization of the ordination services in The Alternative Service Book 1980 has been extended.

The Liturgical Commission report on the Ordinal, including their draft for the forms of ordination of bishops, priests and deacons, was published in January 2004. It is available in printed form from Church House Bookshop. This will be discussed at the February 2004 session of the General Synod.

the psalms

In January 1999 a new draft rendering of the Psalter was published as The Psalter 1998: a draft text for Common Worship. This version is available as part of the Oremus Bible Browser. A further revision was produced in 1999, and the General Synod agreed that it should be published as the Psalter in Common Worship.

The authorized form of this service is available at the Common Worship web site.

The psalter is a continuation of work begun in 1997 and published in the report, GS Misc 504, A New Psalter for Liturgical Use in the Church of England. This contained a selection of psalms from a proposed version of the psalter. This new version, principally the work of the Bishop of Salisbury, Chairman of the Commission, is a revision of that used in Celebrating Common Prayer. The revision is intended to produce a version with a greater resonance with the psalms as they have been prayed, including the Coverdale version in the Book of Common Prayer as well as a high degree of fidelity to the Hebrew original.

Note that any version of the psalter may be used in conjunction with alternative services.

the lord’s prayer

Two versions of the Lord’s Prayer are included in the modern language services in Common Worship, a modern-language version and a traditional-language version. The traditional one is the same as that which appears in the Rite B order of the Eucharist in the Alternative Service Book 1980 (Our Father, who art in heaven...) but the General Synod spent some time determining the precise form of the modern-language version. It was originally proposed to use the version made by the international ecumenical group the English Language Liturgical Consultation (ELLC), which is identical to that found in Rite A in the ASB except that the ninth and tenth lines read Save us from the time of trial, and deliver us from evil, but the July 1998 session of the General Synod referred this back to the revision committee, preferring to retain the form in the ASB. The Synod persisted in this view, resisting all attempts to use the unchanged ELLC text. So, the modern language text is the same as that in the ASB. This received final approval in November 1999.

The Synod also decided that both modern and traditional forms of the prayer should appear in all places in Common Worship where the Lord’s Prayer is to be said.

canon b5(a)

In order to ‘field test’ new material Canon B5(a) gives the Archbishops of Canterbury and York power to designate a limited number of places where forms of service not yet authorized by the General Synod may be used. Under this Canon, the Archbishops have designated some 800 parishes (around 40 in each diocese) to use approved experimental forms of service.

Some of the material linked to from this page is copyright © 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000 the Central Board of Finance of the Church of England and/or the Archbishops’ Council of the Church of England.