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Authorized and Commended Services

Services Authorized and Commended

Public worship in the Church of England is a matter governed by law.

Canon B2 provides that the General Synod may approve forms of service with or without time limit. Services thus approved are alternative to those of The Book of Common Prayer. The power given to General Synod under Canon B2 derives from the Worship and Doctrine Measure 1974.

Canon B4 provides that the convocations, the archbishops in their provinces or the bishops in their dioceses may approve forms of service for use on occasions for which The Book of Common Prayer or Authorized Alternative Services do not provide.

Canon B5 (paragraph 2) allows discretion to any minister where no other provision has been made under Canons B1 or B4, to use other forms of service that are considered suitable. If questions are raised as to whether such forms of service are suitable the decision rests with the bishop.

Authorized Alternative Services and Commended Services

Authorized Alternative Services are those approved by the General Synod under Canon B1. Commended Services are those that the bishops corporately have judged to be ‘suitable’ either for approval under Canon B4 or for use in contexts envisaged in Canon B5.

See the Church of England website for full information.

Versions of the Bible and of the Psalms

The Church of England does not authorise particular translations of the Bible. For a list of translations that have been judged suitable for reading in church during the course of public worship see the Church of England website.


Worship material, including that in the Book of Common Prayer and Common Worship, is copyright. For information about reproducing copyright material visit the Church of England website.  

The following Brief Guide to Liturgical Copyright is a handy guide.

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