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Exhibition highlights design of Common Worship

The combination of the traditional and the contemporary, in both content and design, of Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England, is to go on display in London. An exhibition mounted by designer Derek Birdsall, of Omnific, and publishers Church House Publishing, places the latest in print and electronic publishing associated with Common Worship alongside the timeless design of the Book of Common Prayer.

Common Worship 2000 will run from 13 November to 15 December at St Bride Printing Library, St Bride Lane, off Fleet Street London EC4. The exhibition will be open 10.00am to 5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

It is the bringing together of the traditional and the contemporary in Common Worship that allows local flexibility in worship within a common framework for the whole Church. It connects the Church's inheritance with its future; and reflects the fact that local church leaders know which forms of worship are most appropriate in their churches.

Introduction of the Alternative Service Book in 1980 led some to feel that traditional services in The Book of Common Prayer were being undervalued and that the Church was in danger of losing a vital part of its heritage. Common Worship signals an end to any sense that the old and the new are at odds. They show that both Prayer Book and modern services have a valued place in the Church today and are part of the Church's future, not just its past.
The main volume of Common Worship contains both modern services and services based on the Prayer Book of 1662, including forms of Holy Communion and Morning and Evening Prayer. All key texts (such as the Creeds, the Lord's Prayer, Gloria in Excelsis, the Prayer of Humble Access, Canticles, the Litany etc.) are available in both modern and traditional language forms.

Common Worship is the biggest project ever undertaken by Church House Publishing. To give an idea of its scale, the printers have used 2500 miles of paper, weighing 300 tonnes, 190 miles of ribbon and enough binding material to cover 4.5 football pitches. More than half a million information leaflets and booklets have been sent to the parishes. Half the print run of the main Common Worship book (300,000) have already been sold. It is being stocked by all branches of W H Smith and Waterstones, as well as internet retailers like It is impossible to know how many parish service booklets have already been printed using material downloaded, free, from the Common Worship website:-

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