Bishop of Oxford to pay tribute to martyr Thomas Cranmer

THE Bishop of Oxford, the Rt Rev Dr Steven Croft, will preach during a special service next month commemorating the martyrdom of Archbishop Thomas Cranmer, a leader of the Reformation who compiled The Book of Common Prayer still used in many churches.

Thomas Cranmer. Photo: Lambeth Palace.

The service at the city’s Church of St Michael at the North Gate on March 21 has been organised by members of the Oxford Branch of the Prayer Book Society which encourages rediscovery and use of the majesty and spiritual depth of The Book of Common Prayer at the heart of the Church of England’s worship.

The commemoration will start at 11am with the Prayer Book service of Matins before those present process to Broad Street where Cranmer was burned at the stake on March 21, 1556. At the spot where he died, marked by a cross in the road, prayers will be said before the procession continues to the Martyrs’ Memorial – a stone monument at the intersection of St Giles’, Magdalen Street and Beaumont Street, outside Balliol College – where a wreath will be laid.

All these locations are well-known to Bishop Steven who has personal connections with Oxford. He is a graduate of Worcester College, Oxford, and met and married his wife Ann in the city. The family lived in Oxford from 2004 until 2009 when Bishop Steven was leading Fresh Expressions, an initiative aimed at encouraging new forms of church for the 21st century.

“Children and young people are among Bishop Steven’s priorities for his ministry as the Bishop of Oxford so we hope that local schools, Oxford University’s history students and ordinands from the city’s theological colleges will be among those who join us for the moving commemoration ceremony in Broad Street,” says the event organiser, John Service of the Prayer Book Society.