Alternative Services Series 3

Series 3 was the name given to the Church of England experimental liturgical material authorized at various times between 1973 and 1980. Its characteristic, revolutionary at first, was the use of the word ‘you’ when addressing God, rather than the traditional ‘thou’.

The Series 3 booklets also had a distinct typographical style, designed by Keith Murgatroyd, then president of the Society of Typographers and Designers, which eschewed justified lines and serifed type for a ragged right layout of Helvetica (though serifed Times was used for congregational texts). This style was considerably revised for the very last booklet Initiation which trials the style used in the Alternative Service Book 1980

The first Series 3 service was for Holy Communion, which built on the radical changes to the structure of the rite that had been made in the Second Series of alternative services (or Series 2). Through the 1970s a range of services and supporting resources (collects and lectionaries) was authorized, culminating in a thorough revision of the Communion service, light revision of the other material – and the publication of all these texts in the Alternative Service Book 1980.

1973: An Order for Holy Communion

1977: The Marriage Service

1979: extracts from GS 343A: proposals for Series 3 Initiation Services

1979: Initiation Services

Texts copyright the Registrars of the Provinces of Canterbury and York; assigned from 1980 to the Central Board of Finance of the Church of England; from 2000 to the Archbishops’ Council.

My thanks to the Revd Phillip Tovey and Bishop Colin Buchanan who have provided copies of some of the texts.

Simon Kershaw
October 2007