Book of Common Prayer (ECUSA)/Episcopal Services/Celebration of a New Ministry

Letter of Institution of a Minister

N.N., Presbyter of the Church of God, you have been called to work together with your Bishop and fellow‑Presbyters as a pastor, priest, and teacher, and to take your share in the councils of the Church.

Now, in accordance with the Canons, you have been selected to serve God in________________ Church [of] ____________.

This letter is a sign that you are fully empowered and authorized to exercise this ministry, accepting its privileges and responsibilities as a priest of this Diocese, in communion with your Bishop.

Having committed yourself to this work, do not forget the trust of those who have chosen you.  Care alike for young and old, strong and weak, rich and poor.  By your words, and in your life, proclaim the Gospel. Love and serve Christ’s people.  Nourish them, and strengthen them to glorify God in this life and in the life to come.

May the Lord, who has given you the will to do these things, give you the grace and power to perform them.

Given under my hand and seal, in the city of_____________, on the ___________ day of ___________, 19_____________, and in the __________ year of my consecration.

Bishop of_______________.

Concerning the Service

This order is for use when a priest is being instituted and inducted as the rector of a parish.  It may also be used for the installation of deans and canons of cathedrals, or the inauguration of other ministries, diocesan or parochial, including vicars of missions and assistant ministers. Alterations in the service are then made according to circumstances.

The chief minister is normally the bishop; but, if necessary, a deputy may be appointed. The bishop, when present, is the chief celebrant of the Eucharist. In the bishop’s absence, a priest being inducted is the chief celebrant.

Other priests, if any, who serve in the same congregation also stand with the chief celebrant at the Altar, and deacons assist according to their order.

Lay persons from the congregation read the Old Testament Lesson and the Epistle, and perform other actions as indicated in the rubrics. A deacon or priest reads the Gospel. Other clergy of the diocese participate in this celebration as an expression of the collegiality of the ministry in which they share.

Ministers of other Churches may appropriately be invited to participate.

The new minister, if a deacon, should read the Gospel, prepare the elements at the Offertory, assist the celebrant at the Altar, and dismiss the congregation.

A lay person being instituted should read one of the Lessons and assist where appropriate.

Additional Directions are on page 564.

Celebration of a
New Ministry

A hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung.

The Institution

The Wardens, standing before the bishop with the new minister, say these or similar words

Bishop N., we have come together today to welcome N.N., who has been chosen to serve as Rector of (name of church). We believe that he is well qualified, and that he has been prayerfully and lawfully selected.

The Bishop may read the Letter of Institution, or else may state the purpose of the new ministry.

The Bishop then says

N., do you, in the presence of this congregation, commit yourself to this new trust and responsibility?

New ministerI do.

The Bishop then addresses the congregation

Will you who witness this new beginning support and uphold N. in this ministry?

PeopleWe will.

The Bishop, standing, says

Let us then offer our prayers to God for all his people, for this congregation, and for N. their Rector.

The Litany for Ordinations, or some other appropriate litany, is led by a person appointed.  At the end of the litany, the Bishop, standing, says the following or some other Collect, first saying

The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Bishop Let us pray.

Everliving God, strengthen and sustain N., that with patience and understanding he may love and care for your people; and grant that together they may follow Jesus Christ, offering to you their gifts and talents; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

At the Liturgy of the Word

The Readings are selected from the following list, or in accordance with the directions on page 565.

Old TestamentJoshua 1:7‑9,or Numbers 11:16‑17,24‑25a
Psalm43,or 132:1‑9,or 146,or 133 and 134 (especially suitable for use in the evening)
EpistleRomans 12:1‑18,or Ephesians 4:7,11‑16
GospelJohn 15:9‑16,or Luke 10:1‑2,or John 14:11‑15

The Sermon

After the Sermon, and any responses to it, the congregation sings a hymn.

The Induction

Representatives of the congregation and of the clergy of the diocese stand before the bishop with the new minister. Any of the presentations that follow may be added to, omitted, or adapted, as appropriate to the nature of the new ministry, and to the order of the minister. In the absence of the bishop, the deputy substitutes the words given in parentheses.

Representatives of the congregation present a Bible, saying

N., accept this Bible, and be among us (or be in this place) as one who proclaims the Word.


The Bishop presents a vessel of water, saying

N., take this water, and help me (help the bishop) baptize in obedience to our Lord.


Others present a stole or other symbol, saying

N., receive this stole, and be among us as a pastor and priest.


Others present a book of prayers or other symbol, saying''

N., receive this book, and be among us as a man of prayer.


Others present olive oil or some other symbol, saying

N., use this oil, and be among us as a healer and reconciler.


If the new minister is the rector or vicar of the parish, a Warden may now present the keys of the church, saying

N., receive these keys, and let the doors of this place be open to all people.


Representative clergy of the diocese present the Constitution and Canons of this Church, saying

N., obey these Canons, and be among us to share in the councils of this diocese.


Other Representatives of the congregation present bread and wine, saying

N., take this bread and wine, and be among us to break the Bread and bless the Cup.


The Bishop then says

N., let all these be signs of the ministry which is mine and yours (the Bishop’s and yours) in this place.


The new Minister, if a priest, may then kneel in the midst of the church, and say

O Lord my God, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; yet you have called your servant to stand in your house, and to serve at your altar. To you and to your service I devote myself, body, soul, and spirit. Fill my memory with the record of your mighty works; enlighten my understanding with the light of your Holy Spirit; and may all the desires of my heart and will center in what you would have me do. Make me an instrument of your salvation for the people entrusted to my care, and grant that I may faithfully administer your holy Sacraments, and by my life and teaching set forth your true and living Word. Be always with me in carrying out the duties of my ministry. In prayer, quicken my devotion; in praises, heighten my love and gratitude; in preaching, give me readiness of thought and expression; and grant that, by the clearness and brightness of your holy Word, all the world may be drawn into your blessed kingdom. All this I ask for the sake of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ.  Amen.

The Bishop then presents the new minister to the congregation, saying

Greet your new Rector.

When appropriate, the family of the new minister may also be presented at this time.

The Congregation expresses its approval. Applause is appropriate.

The Bishop greets the new minister.

The new Minister then says to the people

The peace of the Lord be always with you.
PeopleAnd also with you.

The new Minister then greets other members of the clergy, family members, and the congregation. The People greet one another.

At the Eucharist

The service continues with the Offertory.

The Bishop, or in the Bishop’s absence a Priest beginning a new ministry, standing at the Lord’s Table as chief celebrant, and joined by the other clergy, proceeds with the Great Thanksgiving of the Eucharist.

Except on Major Feasts, the Preface may be that for Apostles and Ordinations.

After Communion

At the Induction of a priest or deacon, in place of the usual post- communion prayer, the Bishop leads the people in the following prayer; but if the new minister is a lay person, the usual postcommunion prayer is used.

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.

A newly inducted Priest may, at the bishop’s request, pronounce a blessing.

A Deacon, or a Priest if no deacon is present, dismisses the assembly.

Additional Directions

The Institution, the Ministry of the Word, and the Induction should occur at the entrance of the chancel, or in some other place where the bishop and other ministers may be clearly seen and heard by the people.

The Letter of Institution is appropriate for the induction of a rector of a parish, the dean of a cathedral, and others having similar tenure of office.

Its wording may be altered by the bishop when circumstances require. In other cases, the bishop may state briefly the nature of the person’s office and the authority being conferred.

The new minister is normally presented to the bishop by the wardens of the parish, but additional, or other, persons may do this when desired.

The Litany may be sung or said standing or kneeling, but the bishop always stands for the salutation and Collect at the end of it. The Collect of the Day, or a Collect of the season, or another prayer suitable to the occasion, may be used instead.

Before the Gospel, there may be one or two Readings from Scripture. Any of the Readings, including the Gospel, may be selected from the Proper of the Day, or from the passages cited in the service. Other passages suitable to the circumstances may be substituted. Appropriate selections may be found in the service for the Ordination of a Deacon or in the Lectionary for Various Occasions.

The sermon may be preached by the bishop, the new minister, or some other person; or an address about the work of the congregation and of the new minister may be made. Representatives of the congregation or of the community, the bishop, or other persons present, may speak in response to the address or sermon.

The symbols presented should be large enough to be visible to all and should remain in the sight of the congregation during the Induction. The vestments and bread and wine may be used in the Eucharist which follows.

The priest’s prayer on page 562 is appropriate only for rectors of parishes, vicars of missions, hospital chaplains, and other priests having similar canonical charge.

For the Great Thanksgiving, any of the authorized eucharistic prayers may be used.