09 November 1999
The Church of England today announces that it is selecting Derek Birdsall, RDI, to be the designer of the service book for the new century.
Mr Birdsall is widely acknowledged to be the UK's leading typographer. A Royal Designer for Industry and an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Art, Mr Birdsall's firm Omnific has a reputation for bringing the adventurous out of the classic. He will be assisted in this work by John Morgan, who joined Omnific in 1995 after achieving first class honours in Typography and Graphic Communications at Reading University.
Earlier this year, the Bishop of Guildford, the Rt Revd John Gladwin, Chairman of the Liturgical Publishing Group, invited the Rector of the Royal College of Art, Professor Christopher Frayling, to head a small panel to select a designer and oversee the design process. It consists of the Revd Canon Jeremy Haselock, Precentor of Norwich Cathedral and distinguished liturgist, Alison Baverstock, a leading publishing consultant and churchwoman, along with the Revd Dr William Beaver, the Church's Director of Communications, Ms Rachel Boulding, Senior Liturgyl Editor of Church House Publishing and Dr Colin Podmore, Secretary of the Liturgical Publishing Group.
The panel shortlisted three major designers, Omnific, the Graphic Thought Facility and et alwith Phil Cleaver in a rigorous 'best practice' selection process. 'All three are winners,' says Professor Frayling, 'and would do the job beautifully. In the end we selected Omnific for the confidence they gave us in terms of creativity married to precise process.' Omnific designed and produced the 1998 Art Book of the Year (Yale University Press/National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC). The final selection was made in the Jerusalem Chamber of Westminster Abbey, the same room which saw the translation of the Authorised [King James] Version of the Bible.
Common Worship is a series of new services for the Church of England - services which will bring together the best of the traditional and contemporary. It will replace the Alternative Service Book at the end of 2000. 'Literally years of effort and waiting on God have gone into this new book. Common Worship will signal an end to any sense that the traditional and the new are at odds. Common Worship will show that both Prayer Book and modern services have a valued place in the Church today and are part of its future.' says Canon Haselock. More than 800 parishes have been testing the new services and General Synod is expected to approve the final text in February 2000.
The Church has also selected Church House Publishing to produce Common Worship. 'It makes sense to ensure that every part of the production is under one roof,' says Alison Baverstock. 'We will be producing Common Worship in a variety of formats, including electronic, so that each church can turn these words into living worship.'
The main volume of Common Worship will be published in November 2000.
Notes to editors:
Detailed CVs of Mr Birdsall and Mr Morgan attached
list of awards won by Omnific attached
details, questions and answers about Common Worship attached.
For further information:
The Revd Dr William Beaver, Director of Communications tel: 0171 898 1463
Matthew Tickle, Director of Marketing, Church House Publishing tel: 0171 898 1454