What does the + mean?

You’re reading something churchy and all of a sudden there’s a plus sign on the page.  What does that mean?  Typically it’s one of three things.

#1 Make the sign of the cross on yourself.

In Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, and high-church Anglican tradition, making the sign of the cross is a common gesture in the course of prayer and worship.  Most often, one crosses oneself when the priest is pronouncing a blessing or absolution, or when the person praying says the triune name of God: “Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”  The opening acclamation of the modern communion service is typically said with the sign of the cross, as is the beginning of the Gospel Canticles (the Benedictus, the Magnificat, and the Nunc dimittis).  If you’re a regular worshiper in a high-church context, you may be able to identify more points in the liturgy where people do this.

In certain liturgical texts, though not any official Prayer Books, a plus sign or cross is placed alongside or amidst the words to indicate when the worshiper should cross him-or-herself.

#2 The celebrant makes the sign of the cross over something.

During the celebration of a sacrament or sacramental rite, it was traditional for the priest or bishop to make the sign of the cross over the object being blessed or consecrated.  We saw an example of this last week in the 1549 Prayer Book’s eucharistic canon.  When holy water or oils are being blessed, it is customary for the celebrant to make the sign of the cross over those elements also.

I’ve seen occasions wherein people cross themselves while the celebrant makes the sign of the cross over the object(s) being blessed, and it’s frankly a bit comical.  There the bishop is, consecrating oil to be used in the anointing of the sick and whatnot, and there’s half the congregation crossing themselves at the same time!  The reader has to be aware of whether the + is meant for the congregation or for just the celebrant.  Usually context is perfectly clear.  If nothing else, this is a reminder that one must always keep one’s brain engaged in the liturgy. “What am I to do? I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the mind also” (1 Cor. 14:15).

#3 The priest or bishop is conveying a blessing in writing.

When writing a letter (or email, today) a priest or bishop may sign off with a blessing to his recipients by marking a + or † after his name if he’s a priest or before his name if he’s a bishop.  As deacons do not pronounce blessings, they do not sign their name in this manner.

This is by far the most misunderstood use of the sign today.  It’s frequently used as a name marker in internet communication:

Dear Fred+,

I was talking with +William and James\ about the conduct of a member of our vestry, and would like your input.

Thanks,
Lionel+

The only correct use of the sign is in the signature.  Father Fred and Bishop William should just be spelled out; the plus sign is not supposed to be a shorthand for ordination status.  Occasionally people have even used the \ to denote a Deacon, such as Deacon James in this fictitious example.  Yeah it’s kind of cute, imitating the slant of a deacon’s stole, but it’s also incorrect style.  The plus sign or cross with someone’s name in correspondence is meant to be a conferral or wish of blessing on the part of the bishop or priest writing the correspondence.  Hence, Father Lionel’s name is the only correct appearance of the + in the example above.

Thanksgiving for the First Book of Common Prayer

On the day of Pentecost in 1549, churches across England cracked open a book to engage in common prayer in their own language for the first time in history. That Sunday was when the first Book of Common Prayer was appointed by royal authority to replace the various versions of the Sarum and Roman Mass that previously held sway.  As we noted recently, this is a significant event that can be worth celebrating in our own worship services on Pentecost.  Or, as we hinted a couple days ago, we could celebrate this anniversary today (Thursday) instead.

In the book Lesser Feasts and Fasts (2006) put out by the Episcopal Church (USA), the following Collect and Lessons are offered for this commemoration:

Almighty and everliving God, whose servant Thomas Cranmer, with others, restored the language of the people in the prayers of your Church: Make us always thankful for this heritage; and help us so to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding, that we may worthily magnify your holy Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Acts 2:38-42, Psalm 96 or 33:1-5,20-21, John 4:21-24

If you are so inclined you could add 1 Corinthians 14:6-19 as an Epistle lesson, as it is a verse that is referenced in the Collect (“to pray in the Spirit and with the understanding“).

Why recommend this for Thursday?  Simply, every other day is taken, according to Anglican tradition.  Monday & Tuesday [used to] have their own Pentecost-themed propers, and Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday are Ember Days; only Thursday is left.

So if you get the chance to celebrate the Eucharist today, or just choose to pray Antecommunion, consider giving this commemoration a whirl!

Prayer Book Error Correction

An issue that has been brought up across the internet in the past couple weeks is the fact that in the 2018 update to the new Prayer Book’s communion liturgies, the rubric concerning how to handle excess consecrated bread and wine underwent a change that many would consider sacrilegious.

In every Anglican Prayer Book I have read, regardless of high or low churchmanship, the rule for extra consecrated wine has always been that it is to be consumed (drunk) during or after the liturgy.  If special care is taken it can also be reserved for later distribution, though that is less common, less practical, and was not allowed in the early days of the Reformation.

Now, however, the new Prayer Book also lists “reverently poured in a place set aside for that purpose” as a means of disposing of extra wine.  When I first read it, I assumed that this was referring to pouring it into a flagon where it would be reserved for later distribution, but only after the recent internet hubbub did I realize that the rubric implies the pouring of extra consecrated wine into the ground or into a piscina.

piscina is a special kind of sink that drains directly into the ground.  It was used for disposing of ashes (after Ash Wednesday), old holy water, and the washing of the communion vessels lest any particles remain.  Some people have taken to pouring extra consecrated wine there, too, but that has never been permitted by any Prayer Book, much less by the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholic churches.

For a longer, fuller, explanation of the controversial rubric and the background of this issue, check out this page instead: https://timotheosprologizes.blogspot.com/2019/05/whats-wrong-with-2019-prayer-book.html

All I can say here is:

  1. if you’re a priest or deacon or sacristan, never follow that rubric.  Consecrated wine is supposed to be drunk by God’s faithful people, never thrown to the earth.
  2. if this malpractice concerns you, contact your ACNA bishop, and ask him to help vote this error out of our new Prayer Book as soon as possible.

 

Planning Ahead: Trinity Sunday

Until the revisions of the 1970’s, Trinity Sunday was the hinge of the Church Year.  That was the day the first half of the cycle (Advent through Pentecost) reached its culmination and turning point.  All the revelation about God covered in those seasons find their apex in the doctrine of the Trinity: God is One and Three.  As the Collect of the Day begins:

ALMIGHTY and everlasting God, who has given unto us your servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal Trinity, and in the power of the Divine Majesty to worship the Unity…

But this day is also a turning point.  We have not only received this faith throughout the year to confess and worship God, but also:

We beseech thee, that this holy faith may evermore be our defence against all adversities; who livest and reignest, one God, world without end.  Amen.

That is what the season of Trinitytide used to do: unfold like a discipleship course in how this faith may be our defence against all adversities.

I beseech you, readers, if you have the slightest interest in Anglican Prayer Book spirituality and history, to take a look at this essay: http://www.lectionarycentral.com/trinity/Phillips.html  It brilliantly lays out how the season after Trinity served as a multi-layered course of dealing with our chief adversary: sin.  The life and doctrines of Jesus are presented with Epistle lessons that together work to demolish our pride, our lusts, all our vices.  There are, for sure, other ways to analyze the Trinity season, but the general agreement is that it’s an application of the teachings of the first half of the year to help us conform our lives thereto.

It’s popular now to say that the first half of the year is “the story of Jesus” and the second half is “the story of the Church.”  This is wrong.  The first half is the story (or better, doctrines) of God, and the second half is the application of the story/doctrines of God to us.  Trinity Sunday is the hinge: it sums up all the teaching about the Father, Son, and Spirit, and presents it to us to believe, worship, and follow.

Enough with the theory, now for some advice.

how to mark Trinity Sunday

A fairly long-standing tradition, now recommended or encouraged in the general rubrics at the end of the Communion service in the 2019 Prayer Book, is to say the Athanasian Creed in place of the Nicene at the Communion Service on Trinity Sunday.  It is uncomfortably long, for the average worshiper, but a paltry once a year won’t kill them.  Plus, it’s honestly the best teaching tool we have when it comes to spelling out the doctrine of the Trinity without falling into one of many accidental heresies.  The 1662 Prayer Book called for this Creed to be read at Morning Prayer about 13 times a year, so once a year on Trinity Sunday is really quite lenient in that light!

If you haven’t used the Great Litany with your congregation in a while, that’s another possibility to consider for this day.  Its strong beginning with a Trinitarian invocation is a standard staple of Christian prayer, and extemporanous prayer these days very easily falls into Trinitarian confusion – addressing Jesus yet ending with “in Jesus’ name we pray”, or mindlessly switching from “Father-God” to “Jesus” as if it’s the same Person.  The Great Litany, or indeed any collect or liturgical prayer, can be a helpful teaching example of how to pray in an orthodox manner, rightly praising the triune God without confusing the Persons or denying the Unity.

There are lots of hymns that address God as Trinity, verse by verse.  If you’ve got an Anglican hymnal then the “general hymns” section usually starts with such hymns.  (If you’ve got a generic Protestant hymnal, that could be a problem here.)  If you opt for contemporary praise music, take care to make sure the lyrics handle the doctrine of the Trinity rightly; it’s very easy to make theological mistakes here!

Last of all, for you preachers out there, for God’s sake (literally), preach the doctrine of the Trinity.  Yes it’s complicated; yes it’s difficult; yes it’s easily seen as boring, or even stilted and of minor importance.  But this is basic Christian dogma; the doctrine of who & what God is the foundation of all Christian teaching.  If we don’t get it right, our congregations definitely won’t get it right, and eventually the whole church will be the sicker for it.  Grab a hold of the many resources in the liturgy that you’ve got, use them to your fullest advantage, and disciple your flock!

A Hymn for Rogationtide

Monday, Tuesday, and today are the Rogation Days – days devoted to prayer for the year’s crops.  We’ve mentioned ‘Rogationtide’ briefly recently and looked at the Collects for these days.  On this last day of the trio, let’s take a look at a rogation hymn.  The 2017 hymnal has two hymns for Rogationtide, and the 1940 hymnal has just one, so let’s look at that.  (Sing it to the tune KINGSFOLD.)

O Jesus, crowned with all renown,
Since thou the earth hast trod,
Thou reignest, and by thee come down
Henceforth the gifts of God.
Thine is the health and thine the wealth
That in our halls abound,
And thine the beauty and the joy
With which the years are crowned.

Lord, in their change, let frost and heat,
And winds and dews be giv’n;
All fost’ring power, all influence sweet,
Breathe from the bounteous heav’n.
Attemper fair with gentle air
The sunshine and the rain,
That kindly earth with timely birth
May yield her fruits again.

That we may feed the poor aright,
And, gath’ring round thy throne,
Here, in the holy angels’ sight,
Repay thee of thine own;
That we may praise thee all our days,
And with the Father’s Name,
And with the Holy Spirit’s gifts,
The Savior’s love proclaim.  Amen.

Just as the days, and the first Collect, enjoin us, this hymn expresses a prayer for a successful harvest, as well as attention to the purpose of a good harvest: to feed the poor, make offering to God, praise the Lord, and proclaim Christ’s love to the world.

As a child and teenager, that second stanza would have struck me as silly.  Who sings about the weather?  Plants just grow, crops are produced, if something goes wrong in one place you buy from another.  A child of the 20th century, I did not appreciate the significance of the natural order; many people today probably think this way their entire lives.  And to a large extent, much of the Developed World is able to live that way: if disaster strikes part of the country, certain food prices might increase a little as we import from other places, but on the whole we have the luxury of being unaffected by the weather.  Unless you’re the one whose livelihood just got destroyed, of course.

So singing a song like this is made all the more important in our day and age; it reminds us just how much is involved in the background of growing our food, and providing the many natural resources that go into various other products of commerce and industry.  Our lifestyles may only tangentially be impacted by the weather, even severe weather, but for others it’s critical.  The Rogation Days, and hymns like this one, can help us remember that.

Note: There are other layers to the Rogation Days which have not been explored, or even mentioned, in recent posts on this blog.  Perhaps next year we’ll hit upon some other aspects of Rogationtide, and how they can be observed in the course of private and congregational worship.

The Rogationtide Collects

Yesterday, today, and tomorrow are the Rogation Days – days devoted to prayer for the year’s crops.  We’ve mentioned ‘Rogationtide’ briefly recently.  Now that they’re here, let’s narrow in on the liturgical feature of these days that is the most natural to into our daily rounds of prayer: the Collects of the Day.  (We can, and probably ought to, use these as the Collect of the Day in Morning and Evening Prayer on these three days.)

Almighty God, Lord of heaven and earth: We humbly pray that your gracious providence may give and preserve to our use the harvests of the land and of the seas, and may prosper all who labor to gather them, that we, who are constantly receiving good things from your hand, may always give you thanks; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

This Collect reflects the more historical form of the Rogation Days.  It is not the same as the Collect in the 1928 Prayer Book, but takes a rather more expansive view in its petition, now praying for the harvest of land and sea, God’s gift and preservation of both, the prospering of those who labor in those harvests, and for our own sense of thankfulness.

But nowadays the majority of our population aren’t farmers or fishermen, so we’ve got a second Collect for other forms of employment:

Almighty God, whose Son Jesus Christ in his earthly life shared our toil and hallowed our labor: Be present with your people where they work; make those who carry on the industries and commerce of this land responsive to your will; and give us all a right satisfaction in what we do, and a just return for our labor; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever.  Amen.

This Collect is a good expression of a biblical theology of work.  We recognize Jesus’ sharing in our labor (implying his decades as a carpenter with St. Joseph), the need to be responsive to God’s will in the workplace (that is, being a faithful worker, judging by several parables of Jesus), a healthy satisfaction in our labor (understanding we were made for work), and a just return (the biblical injunctions concerning paying workers properly).  On their own, any of these four elements of the prayer could be twisted – the first to insubstantial piety, the second to undirected zeal, the third to idolatry, and the fourth to un-tethered social justice championship.  But collected together they form a healthier balance of biblical teaching concerning work and labor and employment.

So make sure you make use of these prayers today and tomorrow! Perhaps one in the morning and one in the evening?  Or both each time?  If you’re a teacher/preacher, that second Collect can also make excellent Bible Study material, especially if you bring up the Scripture readings it’s paired with: Ecclesiasticus 38:27-32, Psalm 107:1-9, 1 Corinthians 3:10-14, and Matthew 6:19-24.

Eastertide: 40 days or 50?

The length of the Easter season is one of those subjects that can start internet fights.  Some say it’s 50 days long, beginning on Easter Day and ending on the Day of Pentecost.  Others retort that it’s 40 days, beginning on Easter Day and ending with the Ascension.  Meanwhile, perhaps the majority of church-goers look on in bewilderment or bemusement.  Why does it matter?  What’s the big deal?  Surely there are bigger fish to fry.

Let’s explore this debate in chronological order, so we can see how this disagreement came about, and why it matters to those who argue about it.

The Classical Prayer-Book Tradition

The changing of the seasons were not marked out quite so overtly in the old prayers books as they are in the new.  The Sunday Collects and Lessons were not typically marked out into season-based sections like they are in the 2019 book, so you had to rely upon the specific “name” of each Sunday, and the short list of Proper Prefaces early in the Communion prayers.  In both cases, Easter and Ascension are treated separately.  This sets out a demarcation: Eastertide ends when Ascension Day kicks in.  Thus we get images like this from Enid Chadwick’s beloved bookMy Book of the Church’s Year:

19

Note, “THE GREAT FORTY DAYS”… that’s Eastertide.

The emphasis this takes is on the gospel narrative of events: Jesus was raised from the dead, met with his disciples at various times, and ascended to the right hand of the Father 40 days later.  This also lines up the calendar with the Apostles’ Creed: “the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand…”  In the ascension we see Jesus as Priest, making intercession for us, and Jesus as King, seated at the right hand of God.  It is a festal season, and closely related to Easter, but it takes on a theological emphasis that is distinct from Easter before it and Pentecost after it.

The Modern (or modernist?) Prayer-Book Tradition

The 1979 Prayer Book (and probably others like it) changed this up quite dramatically.  First of all, the name “Sunday after the Ascension” was changed to “the 7th Sunday of Easter”.  Ascensiontide still got its own Proper Preface, but a new feature of the liturgy – the opening acclamation – was provided for various seasons of the year, and the Easter acclamation (Alleluia, Christ is risen / The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!) was appointed for the entire stretch from Easter to Pentecost.  Ascension Day and Ascensiontide were not removed from the calendar, but they were rolled into the Easter season, turning “the great forty days” into “the great fifty days.”

Now, there is a biblical precedent for this perspective: two of the primary Old Testament feasts (Passover and Tabernacles) are fifty days apart, and became the Christian Easter and Pentecost.  By emphasizing the fifty days, instead of the forty plus ten, the new calendar system highlights the Old Testament precedent for the Gospel.

The 2019 Prayer-Book Tradition

What we receive in the 2019 Prayer Book is something of a mixed bag when it comes to the length of Easter.  As usual, Ascension still has its own Preface.  Like the 1979 book, Ascensiontide has no acclamation of its own; it still gets the Easter call-and-response.  But the name of the Sunday in this season is back to “The Sunday after Ascension,” so there’s room for debate if it counts as Easter or not.  Room for debate, that is, until you read the calendar rubrics on page 689.  When discussing days of discipline, denial, and special prayer, it says:

The weekdays of Lent and every Friday of the year (outside the 12 Days of Christmas and the 50 days of Eastertide) are encouraged as days of fasting. Ember Days and Rogation Days may also be kept in this way.

This rather seals the deal: the 2019 Prayer Book sets forth a 50-day Eastertide.

HOWEVER,

Unlike the 1979 Prayer Book, there is a nuance, or a balance: the 7th Sunday of Easter is not “the seventh Sunday of Easter,” but the “Sunday after the Ascension.”  So although the “season” is still “Eastertide” in one sense, it has entered into a different phase: new Sunday nomenclature, new Proper Preface.

So if you’re a “50 days of Easter” kind of person, pay this balance (not to mention our historical tradition!) more careful attention.  We are apparently encouraged to use the 50-day language, according to our calendar rubrics.  But the Sunday after the Ascension is informed more by Ascension Day than by Easter Day.  Whether you call that ten day period the last part of Eastertide or Ascensiontide, be sure to afford it the distinct theological and Gospel-narrative emphasis it was meant to communicate.  On that Sunday, tell people “Christ is risen!” is no longer just about his resurrection, but about his rising bodily into heaven.  Make sure the Easter songs and hymns give way to songs and hymns about the ascension of Christ.  Crown him with many crowns and Hail the day that sees him rise are perhaps the two most famous examples.

If you want to read more about Ascension Day and its mini-season (or subset of Easter, if you insist), click here!  In my experience this is one of the most under-rated parts of the church year, and it has much to offer.

Next week: Rogation Days

Today’s entry is just a reminder: the Rogations Days are next week, on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.  This coming Sunday is nicknamed Rogation Sunday, as a result.  If you look at a church calendar (or at least, a traditional one) the Rogation Days stand out like a sore thumb – three purple days in a sea of white.

What’s rogation?  Well, rogare is Latin for ask, so a rogation day in the church is a day of prayer.  The rogation days, specifically, are days of prayer and fasting for the year’s crops.  The major time for the sewing and planting of crops is already done, in many climes of the Northern Hemisphere, so this is a point when farmers have done most of what they can, as the Scriptures say “one plants, another waters, but God gives the growth.”  So we stop and pray that God will protect and prosper the crops.

In recent centuries, as Western Christendom has moved out of agriculture-dominated economy and culture, the Rogation Days have taken on additional layers of prayer to cover other forms of business and industry.

Unless your church has a weekday communion service on Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday, it’s pretty easy for these days to slip by year by year, invisible to the vast majority of Christians.  One of the easiest ways to keep the spirit of Rogationtide is to grab a hymn appointed for Rogation and sing it on the 6th Sunday of (or 5th Sunday after) Easter.

Commemorating the Martyrs of Sudan

May 16th is noted, in our calendar of commemorations, not for a particular saint, but for a whole group: the Martyrs of Sudan.

Originally, this date was chosen to commemorate this group of martyrs because on this day in 1983 the Anglican leaders in Sudan made a public stand for the faith, knowing that under Sharia Law they were destined for execution.  And in the two decades of civil war that followed, millions lost their lives for Christ.  A further wave of attacks against Christians swept the country in 2011, soon before South Sudan was separated as a new (and Christian-friendly) country.

Many of the Sudanese bishops who survived the wars lived in exile; most of the clergy ministered without pay.  Hardly a church building was left standing.  To this day, rebuilding destroyed communities and healing broken families and lives is a massive effort.  The Sudanese diaspora across the world, including in the United States, also need prayer, ministry, healing, and new life rebuilding.

But the blood of the martyrs has been fruitfully sown: the population of South Sudan has gone from 10% Christian in the 1990’s to 60% Christian in 2012, the majority of whom are Roman Catholics and Anglicans.

As this is a mere commemoration in our calendars, there are no major changes to our daily round of worship, unless you hold a Communion or Antecommunion service for this day.  But we can add a Collect to the additional prayers at the end of the daily office, like this one:

Almighty God, you gave your servants in Sudan boldness to confess the Name of our Savior Jesus Christ before the rulers of this world, and courage to die for this faith: Grant that we may always be ready to give a reason for the hope that is in us, and to suffer gladly for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

We could also make a point of praying the Great Litany today with the Sudanese church and diaspora in mind.

Sources:

http://www.satucket.com/lectionary/Sudan.htm

http://50days.org/2013/05/the-martyrs-of-sudan-yesterday-today-tomorrow/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Sudan#Persecution_of_Christians_in_Sudan

Pray for others’ dioceses

The Anglican Diocese in New England just held their annual clergy conference a few days ago.  The Diocese of CANA East is holding the annual synod in the coming week or so.  The ACNA provincial assembly is about a month away.  It strikes me as likely that other dioceses are having significant events around this time of year also.

Hearing about these events can (or should!) help spur us on to further prayer for one another.  It may be “too late” for me to pray for my diocesan events, but I can always pray for others.  We’ve got some lovely and thoughtful prayers in our Prayer Book that probably lie fallow much longer than they ought.  Think about what others are up to, and lift up these prayers for them!

  1. FOR A PROVINCE OR DIOCESE

O God, by your grace you have called us in this Diocese to be a good and godly fellowship of faith. Bless our Bishop(s) N., and other clergy, and all our people. Grant that your Word may be truly preached and truly heard, your Sacraments faithfully administered and faithfully received. By your Spirit, fashion our lives according to the example of your Son, and grant that we may show the power of your love to all among whom we live; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

  1. FOR A PROVINCIAL OR DIOCESAN CONVENTION OR SYNOD

Almighty and everlasting God, by your Holy Spirit you presided in the council of the blessed Apostles, and you promised, through your Son Jesus Christ, to be with your Church to the end of the world: Be with the council of your Church assembled [here] in your Name and presence. Save us from all error, ignorance, prejudice, and pride; and of your great mercy direct, sanctify, and govern us in our work, by the mighty power of the Holy Spirit; that the order and discipline of your Church may be maintained, and that the Gospel of Christ may be truly preached, truly received, and truly followed in all places, breaking down the kingdom of sin, Satan, and death; till all your scattered sheep, being gathered into one fold, become partakers of everlasting life; through the merits and death of Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

  1. FOR A PROVINCIAL OR DIOCESAN CONVENTION OR SYNOD

Gracious and everliving Father, you have given the Holy Spirit to abide with us for ever: Bless, we pray, with the Holy Spirit’s grace and presence, the Bishop(s), Priests, Deacons, and all the Laity who assemble in your Name; that your Church, being preserved in true faith and godly discipline, may fulfill the will of him who loved her and gave himself for her, your Son Jesus Christ our Savior; who now lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

  1. FOR VESTRY AND CHURCH MEETINGS

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel [in ______] for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us both the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen.

  1. FOR THE SELECTION OF A BISHOP OR OTHER MINISTER

Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your Church, and so guide the minds of those who shall choose a Bishop for this Diocese that we may receive a faithful pastor who will preach the Gospel, care for your people, equip us for ministry, and lead us forth in fulfillment of the Great Commission; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.