The Book of Common Prayer
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    1789 U. S. Book of Common Prayer







 This text in the 1892 Book is essentially identical and so is not given separately; any differences are indicated.

The Ordinal seems to have been generally omitted from Books printed before about 1810.



IT is evident unto all men, diligently reading Holy Scripture and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ's Church, Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. Which Offices were evermore had in such reverend Estimation, that no man might presume to execute any of them, except he were first called, tried, examined, and known to have such qualities as are requisite for the same; and also by public Prayer, with Imposition of Hands, were approved and admitted thereunto by lawful Authority. And therefore, to the intent that these Orders may be continued, and reverently used and esteemed in this Church, no man shall be accounted or taken to be a lawful Bishop, Priest, or Deacon, in this Church, or suffered to execute any of the said Functions, except he be called; tried, examined, and admitted thereunto, according to the Form hereafter following, or hath had Episcopal Consecration or Ordination.
    And none shall be admitted a Deacon, Priest, or Bishop except he be of the age which the Canon in that case provided may require.
    And the Bishop, knowing either by himself, or by sufficient testimony, any Person to be a man of virtuous conversation, and without crime; and, after examination and trial, finding him sufficiently instructed in the Holy Scripture, and otherwise learned as the Canons require, may, at the times appointed, or else, on urgent occasion, upon some other day, in the force of the Church, admit him a Deacon, in such manner and form as followeth.

This preface is printed in italics in the 1892 BCP and in some later printings of the 1789 BCP; in some editions of the 1789 Book it is printed in smaller type.





When the day appointed by the Bishop is come, after Morning Prayer is ended, there shall be a Sermon or Exhortation, declaring the Duty and Office of each as come to be admitted Deacons; how necessary that Order is in the Church of Christ, and also, how the people ought to esteem them in their office.

A Priest shall present unto the Bishop, sitting in his chair near to the Holy Table, such as desire to be ordained Deacons, each of them being decently habited, saying these words,

REVEREND Father in God, I present unto you these persons present, to be admitted Deacons.

The Bishop.

TAKE heed that the persons, whom ye Present unto us, be apt and meet, for their learning and godly conversation, to exercise their Ministry duly, to the honour of God, and the edifying of His Church.

The Priest shall answer.

I HAVE inquired concerning them, and also examined them, and think them so to be.

Then the Bishop shall say unto the People:

BRETHREN, if there be any of you who knoweth any impediment, or notable Crime in any of these persons presented to be ordered Deacons, for the which he ought not to be admitted to that office, let him come forth in the Name of God, and show what the Crime or impediment is.

And if any great Crime or Impediment be objected; the Bishop shall cease from ordering that person until such time as that party shall be found clear of that Crime.

Then the Bishop (commending such as shall be found meet the be Ordered, to the Prayers of the Congregation) shall, with the Clergy and People present, say the Litany.

Then shall be said the service for the Communion, with the Collect, Epistle, and Gospel, as followeth.


The Collect.

ALMIGHTY God; who by thy Divine Providence hast appointed divers Orders of Ministers in thy Church, and didst inspire thine Apostles to choose into the Order of Deacons the first Martyr Saint Stephen, with others; Mercifully behold these thy servants now called to the like Office and Administration: so replenish them with the truth of thy Doctrine, and adorn them with innocency of life, that, both by word and good example, they may faithfully serve thee in this Office, to the glory of thy Name, and the edification of thy Church; through the merits of our Saviour Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, now and for ever. Amen.

The Epistle. 1 Tim. iii 8.

LIKEWISE must the Deacons be grave, not double-tongued, not given to much Wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. And let these also first be proved; then let them use the Office of a Deacon, being found blameless. Even so must their wives be grave, not slanderers, sober, faithful in all things. Let the Deacons be the husbands of one Wife, ruling their children and their own houses well. For they that have used the Office of a Deacon well, purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

Or else this, out of the Sixth Chapter of the Acts of the Apostles.

Acts vi. 2.

THEN the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the Word of God, and serve tables. Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. But we will give ourselves continually to prayer, and to the ministry of the Word. And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch; whom they set before the Apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid their hands on them And the Word of God increased, and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly, and a great company of the Priests were obedient to the faith.


Then shall the Bishop examine every one of those who are to be Ordained, in the presence of the People, after this manner following.

DO you trust that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost to take upon you this Office and Ministration, to serve God for the promoting of his glory, and the edifying of his people?
   Answer. I trust so.

The Bishop.

DO you think that you are truly called according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ and according to the Canons of this Church, to the Ministry of the same?
   Answer. I think so.

The Bishop.

DO you unfeignedly believe all the Canonical Scriptures of the Old and New Testament?
   Answer. I do believe them.

The Bishop.

WILL you diligently read the same unto the people assembled in the Church where you shall be appointed to serve?
   Answer. I will.

The Bishop.

IT appertaineth to the Office of a Deacon, in the Church where he shall be appointed to serve, to assist the Priest in Divine Service, and specially when he ministereth the Holy Communion, and to help him in the distribution thereof; and to read Holy Scriptures and Homilies in the Church; and to instruct the youth in the Catechism; in the absence of the Priest to baptize infants; and to preach, if he be admitted hereto by the Bishop. And furthermore, it is his Office, where provision is so made, to search for the sick, Poor, and impotent people of the Parish, to intimate their estates, names, and places where they dwell, unto the Curate, that by his exhortation they may be relieved with the alms of the Parishioners, or others. Will you do this gladly and willingly?
   Answer. I will so do, by the help of God.

The Bishop.

WILL you apply all your diligence to frame and fashion your own lives, and the lives of your families, according to the Doctrine of Christ; and to make both yourselves and them, as much as in you lieth, wholesome examples of the flock of Christ?
   Answer. I will so do, the Lord being my helper.

The Bishop.

WILL you reverently obey your Bishop, and other chief Ministers, who, according to the Canons of the Church, may have the charge and government over you; following with a glad mind and will their godly admonitions?
   Answer. I will endeavour so to do, the Lord being my helper.

Then the Bishop, laying his hands severally upon the Head of every one of them, humbly kneeling before him, shall say,

TAKE thou Authority to execute the Office of a Deacon in the Church of God committed unto thee; In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.  

"Amen" in italics until 1832.

Then shall the Bishop deliver to every one of them the New Testament, saying,

TAKE thou Authority to read the Gospel in the Church of God and to preach the same, if thou be thereto licensed by the Bishop himself.

Then one of them, appointed by the Bishop, shall read the Gospel.

St. Luke xii. 35.

LET your loins be girded about, and your lights burning; and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord, when he will return from the wedding; that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately. Blessed are those servants, whom the Lord when he cometh shall find watching. Verily I say unto you, that he shall gird himself, and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them. And if he shall come in the second watch, or come in the third watch, and find them so, blessed are those servants.

Then shall the Bishop proceed in the Communion; and all who are Ordered shall tarry, and receive the Holy Communion the same day with the Bishop.

The Communion ended, after the last Collect, and immediately before the Benediction, shall be said this Collect following.

ALMIGHTY God, giver of all good things, who of thy great goodness hast vouchsafed to accept and take these thy servants unto the Office of Deacons In thy Church; Make them, we beseech thee, O Lord, to be modest, humble, and constant in their Ministration, to have a ready will to observe all spiritual Discipline; that they having always the testimony of a good conscience, and continuing ever stable and strong in thy Son Christ, may so well behave themselves in this inferior Office, that they may be found worthy to be called unto the higher Ministries in thy Church; through the same thy Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and honour; world without end. Amen.

THE peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord: And the Blessing of God Almighty, the Father the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be amongst you, and remain with you always. Amen.

And here it must be declared unto the Deacon, that he must continue in that Office of a Deacon the space of a whole year, (except, for reasonable causes it shall otherwise seem good unto the Bishop,) to the intent he may be perfect and well expert in the things appertaining to the Ecclesiastical Administration. In executing whereof, if he be found faithful and diligent, he may be admitted by his Diocesan to the Order of Priesthood, at the times appointed in the Canon; or else, on urgent occasion, upon some other day, in the face of the Church, in such manner and form as hereafter followeth.



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