Main Volume

    Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England comprises
    services and prayers from The Book of Common Prayer;  
    alternative services and other material authorized for use until further resolution of the General Synod;
    services which comply with the provisions of A Service of the Word;
    material commended by the House of Bishops; and
    material, the use of which falls within the discretion allowed to the minister under the provisions of Canon B 5.
    For details, see here.
    Canon B 3 provides that decisions as to which of the authorized services are to be used (other than occasional offices) shall be taken jointly by the incumbent and the parochial church council. In the case of occasional offices (other than Confirmation and Ordination), the decision is to be made by the minister conducting the service, subject to the right of any of the persons concerned to object beforehand to the form of service proposed.
    The publication of Common Worship is an occasion of great significance in the life of the Church of England, because the worship of God is central to the life of his Church.
    The forms of worship authorized in the Church of England express our faith and help to create our identity. The Declaration of Assent is placed at the beginning of this volume to remind us of this. When ministers make the Declaration, they affirm their loyalty to the Church of England's inheritance of faith and accept their share in the responsibility to proclaim the faith 'afresh in each generation'.
    Common Worship draws together the rich inheritance of the past and the very best of our contemporary forms of worship. In this volume we bring together the services of The Book of Common Prayer as they are used today and newer liturgies in both traditional and contemporary style. The Book of Common Prayer remains the permanently authorized provision for public worship in the Church of England, whereas the newer liturgies are authorized until further resolution of the General Synod. This combination of old and new provides for the diverse worshipping needs of our communities, within an ordered structure which affirms our essential unity and common life.
    The services provided here are rich and varied. This reflects the multiplicity of contexts in which worship is offered today. They encourage an imaginative engagement in worship, opening the way for people in the varied circumstances of their lives to experience the love of God in Jesus Christ in the life and power of the Holy Spirit. In the worship of God the full meaning and beauty of our humanity is consummated and our lives are opened to the promise God makes for all creation - to transform and renew it in love and goodness.
    The publication of these services is a challenge to us. It is a challenge to worship God better and to take the greatest care in preparing and celebrating worship. It is a challenge to draw the whole community of the people we serve into the worship of God. Central to our worship is the proclamation of the one, perfect self-offering of the Son to the Father. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is at the heart of Common Worship.
    Those who make the Declaration of Assent are charged with bringing the grace and truth of Christ to this generation and making him known to those in their care. Worship not only strengthens Christians for witness and service, but is itself a forum in which Christ is made known. Worship is for the whole people of God, who are fellow pilgrims on a journey of faith, and those who attend services are all at different stages of that journey. Indeed, worship itself is a pilgrimage - a journey into the heart of the love of God. A number of the services themselves - particularly that of Holy Baptism - are celebrated in stages. In each case the journey through the liturgy has a clear structure with signposts for those less familiar with the way. It moves from the gathering of the community through the Liturgy of the Word to an opportunity of transformation, sacramental or non-sacramental, after which those present are sent out to put their faith into practice.
    Common Worship is marked by diversity, not only in its content and in those who will use it, but also in the manner of its publication. It is not a single book. This volume contains all that is needed for worship on Sundays and on Principal Feasts and Holy Days; the Common Worship Initiation Services, Pastoral Services, Daily Prayer book and seasonal material are being published separately. Moreover, these volumes are not published solely in book form. Common Worship is not a series of books, but a collection of services and other liturgical material published on the World Wide Web and through other electronic media as well as in print.
    Just as Common Worship is more than a book, so worship is more than what is said; it is also what is done and how it is done. Common Worship provides texts, contemporary as well as traditional, which are resonant and memorable, so that they will enter and remain in the Church of England's corporate memory - especially if they are sung. It is when the framework of worship is clear and familiar and the texts are known by heart that the poetry of praise and the passion of prayer can transcend the printed word. Then worship can take wing and become the living sacrifice of ourselves to the God whose majesty is beyond compare and whose truth is from everlasting.
  The Declaration of Assent
    The Declaration of Assent is made by deacons, priests and bishops of the Church of England when they are ordained and on each occasion when they take up a new appointment (Canon C 15). Readers and Lay Workers make the declaration, without the words 'and administration of the sacraments', when they are admitted and when they are licensed (Canons E 5, E 6 and E 8).
    The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons. In the declaration you are about to make, will you affirm your loyalty to this inheritance of faith as your inspiration and guidance under God in bringing the grace and truth of Christ to this generation and making Him known to those in your care?
     Declaration of Assent  
    I, A B, do so affirm, and accordingly declare my belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness; and in public prayer and administration of the sacraments, I will use only the forms of service which are authorized or allowed by Canon.