The Ordination of a Bishop
Ordination of a Bishop
In accordance with ancient custom, it is desirable, if possible, that
bishops be ordained on Sundays and other feasts of our Lord or on the
feasts of apostles or evangelists.
When a bishop is to be ordained, the Presiding Bishop of this Church, or a
bishop appointed by the Presiding Bishop, presides and serves as chief
consecrator. At least two other bishops are co-consecrators.
Representatives of the presbyterate, diaconate, and laity of the diocese
for which the new bishop is to be consecrated, are assigned appropriate
duties in the service.
From the beginning of the service until the Offertory, the chief
consecrator presides from a chair placed close to the people, so that all
may see and hear what is done. The other bishops, or a convenient
number of them, sit to the right and left of the chief consecrator.
The bishop-elect is vested in a rochet or alb, without stole, tippet, or
other vesture distinctive of ecclesiastical or academic rank or order.
When the bishop-elect is presented, his full name (designated by the
symbol N.N.) is used. Thereafter, it is appropriate to refer to him only by
the Christian name by which he wishes to be known.
At the Offertory, it is appropriate that the bread and wine be brought to
the Altar by the family or friends of the newly ordained.
The family of the newly ordained may receive Communion before other
members of the congregation. Opportunity is always given to the people
Additional Directions are on page 552.
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The Ordination of a Bishop
Hymns, psalms, and anthems may be sung during the entrance of the
bishops and other ministers.
The people standing, the Bishop appointed says
|Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
|And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever.
In place of the above, from Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost
|Alleluia. Christ is risen.
|The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
In Lent and on other penitential occasions
|Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins.
|His mercy endures for ever.
The Bishop then says
Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known,
and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our
hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may
perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name;
through Christ our Lord. Amen.
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The bishops and people sit. Representatives of the diocese, both Priests
and Lay Persons, standing before the Presiding Bishop, present the
N., Bishop in the Church of God, the clergy and people of
the Diocese of N., trusting in the guidance of the Holy Spirit,
have chosen N.N. to be a bishop and chief pastor. We therefore
ask you to lay your hands upon him and in the power of the
Holy Spirit to consecrate him a bishop in the one, holy,
catholic, and apostolic Church.
The Presiding Bishop then directs that the testimonials of the election be
When the reading of the testimonials is ended, the Presiding Bishop
requires the following promise from the Bishop-elect
In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy
Spirit, I, N.N., chosen Bishop of the Church in N., solemnly
declare that I do believe the Holy Scriptures of the Old and
New Testaments to be the Word of God, and to contain all
things necessary to salvation; and I do solemnly engage to
conform to the doctrine, discipline, and worship of the
The Bishop-elect then signs the above Declaration in the sight of all
present. The witnesses add their signatures.
The Presiding Bishop then says the following, or similar words, and asks
the response of the people
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Brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus, you have heard testimony
given that N.N. has been duly and lawfully elected to be a
bishop of the Church of God to serve in the Diocese of N.
You have been assured of his suitability and that the Church
has approved him for this sacred responsibility. Nevertheless,
if any of you know any reason why we should not proceed,
let it now be made known.
If no objection is made, the Presiding Bishop continues
Is it your will that we ordain N. a bishop?
The People respond in these or other words
That is our will.
Will you uphold N. as bishop?
The People respond in these or other words
The Presiding Bishop then says
The Scriptures tell us that our Savior Christ spent the whole
night in prayer before he chose and sent forth his twelve
apostles. Likewise, the apostles prayed before they appointed
Matthias to be one of their number. Let us, therefore, follow
their examples, and offer our prayers to Almighty God before
we ordain N. for the work to which we trust the Holy Spirit
has called him.
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All kneel, and the Person appointed leads the Litany for Ordinations, or
some other approved litany. At the end of the litany, after the Kyries, the
Presiding Bishop stands and reads the Collect for the Day, or the
following Collect, or both, first saying
|The Lord be with you
|And also with you.
Let us pray.
O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look
favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred
mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry
out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world
see and know that things which were cast down are being
raised up, and things which had grown old are being made
new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection
by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus
Christ our Lord; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
The Ministry of the Word
Three Lessons are read. Lay persons read the Old Testament Lesson and
The Readings are ordinarily selected from the following list and may be
lengthened if desired. On a Major Feast or on a Sunday, the Presiding
Bishop may select Readings from the Proper of the Day.
Old Testament Isaiah 61:1-8, or Isaiah 42:1-9
Psalm 99, or 40:1-14, or 100
Epistle Hebrews 5:1-10, or 1 Timothy 3:1-7, or 2 Corinthians 3:4-9
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The Reader first says
A Reading (Lesson) from _____________.
A citation giving chapter and verse may be added.
After each Reading, the Reader may say
|The Word of the Lord
|Thanks be to God.
or the Reader may say Here ends the Reading (Epistle).
Silence may follow.
A Psalm, canticle, or hymn follows each Reading.
Then, all standing, a Deacon or a Priest reads the Gospel, first saying
|The Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
according to _____________.
|Glory to you, Lord Christ.
|John 20:19-23, or John 17:1-9,18-12, or Luke 24:44-49a
After the Gospel, the Reader says
|The Gospel of the Lord
|Praise to you, Lord Christ.
After the Sermon, the Congregation sings a hymn.
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All now sit, except the bishop-elect, who stands facing the bishops. The
Presiding Bishop addresses the bishop-elect
My brother, the people have chosen you and have affirmed
their trust in you by acclaiming your election. A bishop in
God’s holy Church is called to be one with the apostles in
proclaiming Christ’s resurrection and interpreting the Gospel,
and to testify to Christ’s sovereignty as Lord of lords and
King of kings.
You are called to guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the
Church; to celebrate and to provide for the administration of
the sacraments of the New Covenant; to ordain priests and
deacons and to join in ordaining bishops; and to be in all
things a faithful pastor and wholesome example for the
entire flock of Christ.
With your fellow bishops you will share in the leadership of
the Church throughout the world. Your heritage is the faith
of patriarchs, prophets, apostles, and martyrs, and those of
every generation who have looked to God in hope. Your joy
will be to follow him who came, not to be served, but to
serve, and to give his life a ransom for many.
Are you persuaded that God has called you to the office of
|I am so persuaded.
The following questions are then addressed to the bishop-elect by one or
more of the other bishops
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|Will you accept this call and fulfill this trust in
obedience to Christ?
|I will obey Christ, and will serve in his name.
|Will you be faithful in prayer, and in the study of
Holy Scripture, that you may have the mind of
|I will, for he is my help.
|Will you boldly proclaim and interpret the Gospel of
Christ, enlightening the minds and stirring up the
conscience of your people?
|I will, in the power of the Spirit.
|As a chief priest and pastor, will you encourage and
support all baptized people in their gifts and
ministries, nourish them from the riches of God’s
grace, pray for them without ceasing, and celebrate
with them the sacraments of our redemption?
|I will, in the name of Christ, the Shepherd and
Bishop of our souls.
|Will you guard the faith, unity, and discipline of the
|I will, for the love of God.
|Will you share with your fellow bishops in the
government of the whole Church; will you sustain
your fellow presbyters and take counsel with them;
will you guide and strengthen the deacons and all
others who minister in the Church?
|I will, by the grace given me.
|Will you be merciful to all, show compassion to the
poor and strangers, and defend those who have no
|I will, for the sake of Christ Jesus.
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All stand. The Presiding Bishop then says
N., through these promises you have committed yourself to
God, to serve his Church in the office of bishop. We therefore
call upon you, chosen to be a guardian of the Church’s faith,
to lead us in confessing that faith.
We believe in one God.
Then all sing or say together
We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father.
Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation
he came down from heaven:
by the power of the Holy Spirit
he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary,
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
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He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son.
With the Father and the Son he is worshipped and glorified.
He has spoken through the Prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come. Amen.
The Consecration of the Bishop
All continue to stand, except the bishop-elect, who kneels before the
Presiding Bishop. The other bishops stand to the right and left of the
The hymn, Veni Creator Spiritus, or the hymn, Veni Sancte Spiritus, is
A period of silent prayer follows, the people still standing.
The Presiding Bishop then begins this Prayer of Consecration
God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Father of mercies
and God of all comfort, dwelling on high but having regard
for the lowly, knowing all things before they come to pass:
We give you thanks that from the beginning you have
gathered and prepared a people to be heirs of the covenant of
Abraham, and have raised up prophets, kings, and priests,
never leaving your temple untended. We praise you also that
from the creation you have graciously accepted the ministry
of those whom you have chosen.
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The Presiding Bishop and other Bishops now lay their hands upon the
head of the bishop-elect, and say together
Therefore, Father, make N. a bishop in your Church. Pour
out upon him the power of your princely Spirit, whom you
bestowed upon your beloved Son Jesus Christ, with whom he
endowed the apostles, and by whom your Church is built up in
every place, to the glory and unceasing praise of your Name.
The Presiding Bishop continues
To you, O Father, all hearts are open; fill, we pray, the heart
of this your servant whom you have chosen to be a bishop in
your Church, with such love of you and of all the people, that
he may feed and tend the flock of Christ, and exercise
without reproach the high priesthood to which you have
called him, serving before you day and night in the ministry
of reconciliation, declaring pardon in your Name, offering the
holy gifts, and wisely overseeing the life and work of the
Church. In all things may he present before you the acceptable
offering of a pure, and gentle, and holy life; through Jesus
Christ your Son, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be
honor and power and glory in the Church, now and for ever.
The People in a loud voice respond Amen.
The new bishop is now vested according to the order of bishops.
A Bible is presented with these words
Receive the Holy Scriptures. Feed the flock of Christ
committed to your charge, guard and defend them in his
truth, and be a faithful steward of his holy Word and
After this other symbols of office may be given.
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The Presiding Bishop presents to the people their new bishop.
The Clergy and People offer their acclamation and applause.
The new Bishop then says
|The peace of the Lord be always with you.
|And also with you.
The Presiding Bishop and other Bishops greet the new bishop.
The People greet one another.
The new Bishop also greets members of the clergy, family
members, and the congregation.
The new Bishop, if the Bishop of the Diocese, may now be escorted
to the episcopal chair.
At the Celebration of the Eucharist
The liturgy continues with the Offertory.
Deacons prepare the Table.
Then the new Bishop goes to the Lord’s Table as chief Celebrant and,
joined by other bishops and presbyters, proceeds with the celebration of
In place of the usual postcommunion prayer, one of the bishops leads the
people in the following
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Almighty Father, we thank you for feeding us with the holy
food of the Body and Blood of your Son, and for uniting us
through him in the fellowship of your Holy Spirit. We thank
you for raising up among us faithful servants for the ministry
of your Word and Sacraments. We pray that N. may be to us
an effective example in word and action, in love and patience,
and in holiness of life. Grant that we, with him, may serve
you now, and always rejoice in your glory; through Jesus
Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and
the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
The new Bishop blesses the people, first saying
|Our help is in the Name of the Lord;
|The maker of heaven and earth.
|Blessed be the Name of the Lord;
|From this time forth for evermore.
|The blessing, mercy, and grace of God Almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon
you, and remain with you for ever. Amen.
A Deacon dismisses the people
|Let us go forth into the world, rejoicing in the
power of the Spirit.
|Thanks be to God.
From Easter Day through the Day of Pentecost, “Alleluia, alleluia,” may
be added to the dismissal and to the response.
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