The Book of Common Prayer
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    The Lord's Supper
Church of South India (1954)




The Chuch of South India is the representative of the Anglican Communion in southern India and was formed by a union of Anglican, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Congregational churches in the early 1950's. This Eucharistic liturgy dates from 1954 and, as one of the earliest examples of "modern" liturgies, it became quite influential on later Anglican liturgical development.

This is a revision of the original 1950 text and was taken from a booklet published in 1954 (see cover at left) and seems to be identical to that appearing in the 1963 Book of Common Worship of the Church of South India (CSI). In 1972 it was rendered into contemporary language, which may be found in Colin Buchanan's Further Anglican Liturgies. Current CSI liturgies may be found on the web site of a CSI church in Michigan.

We also have this liturgy translated into French.

The 1954 booklet is also available as a PDF. We also have the earlier 1950 booklet as a PDF. Both PDF's have uncorrected extractable text.

Oxford University Press, Amen House, London E.C.4
Geoffrey Cumberlege, Publisher to the University

First published, June 1950
Reprinted 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953
Revised edition, March 1954
Reprinted, June 1954


Parts of the Order are copied, by permission, from The Liturgy of the United Basel Mission Church in India (Mangalore); The Book of Common Order (Oxford University Press); and The Ceylon Liturgy (SPCK-in-India).



An Order for the
Lord's Supper


THIS Order of Service was first used by the Synod of the Church of South India at its second meeting, at Madras, in 1950. The Synod then authorized it ‘for optional use on special occasions in accordance with the provisions contained in Rule 5, Chapter X, of the Constitution', but decided that after some years it should be reconsidered. Since then it has been widely used, in Tamil, Malayalam, Telugu, and Kanarese, as well as in English. In the light of experience, and of suggestions received from many countries, it has been slightly revised, and in its revised form it was approved by the Synod in January 1954 for general use wherever it is desired.
    The Liturgy follows the plan set out in the Constitution, Chapter X, § 2. It does not conform to the pattern of any other Liturgy, but it contains elements drawn from many traditions. A large and essential part in the Liturgy is given to the congregation, even in the Eucharistic Prayer, for every member of the Church has his own part in the action of the Eucharist. It is the act of God himself, by which he proclaims his love and will in Word and Sacrament through the Church, the body of Christ. But the praises and prayers of the Church are also the expression of our response to this gracious act of God. This Order shows that in our response we act together as one body in Christ: some parts are given, not to the presbyter, but to the ‘deacon' or to the congregation as a whole. ‘Deacon' here is to be taken as including ordained deacons and also laymen, for it is desirable that laymen should always take part in the conduct of the service. The word ‘ministers' in the rubrics includes ‘deacons' in this sense as well as the presbyter. The Liturgy is intended for use as the Sunday morning service of the whole congregation, not as an extra service for a small section.
    In all ancient liturgies there are two parts. The first centres in the reading and preaching of God's Word. The second is what St Augustine called the Word made visible, and includes the setting apart and blessing of bread and wine with thanksgiving for our salvation in Christ, the breaking of bread, and the communion of the faithful, according to Christ's command. In some places this two-fold ministry of Word and Sacrament was symbolized by the ceremonies called the Little and Great Entrances, the bringing in of the Gospels and of the bread and wine. In a simple form, the symbolism is retained in this Order. At the same time, there is room for variety of ceremony and administration in accordance with long-established customs in the different parts of our Church. There are many alternative forms throughout the Liturgy, and there is opportunity for free prayer and for silent prayer. Presbyters are asked to use the various alternatives, keeping within the broad limits set down.

    Throughout the service the people's part is printed in heavy type. It should be led by a deacon.

    The paragraph sign (¶) is intended to show that the passage so marked is an alternative.

    The presbyter shall conduct the service as far as the lessons. The deacon shall lead the prayer of intercession, if it be a litany. The rest of the service shall be conducted by the presbyter.

    The Liturgy Committee recommends that, where there is no special difficulty or objection, (1) the presbyter throughout the service (unless he is reading Scripture from the lectern or preaching from the pulpit) should stand or kneel behind the Holy Table, facing the people; the offertory should be brought forward by others. (2) The people should stand for all three lessons
from Scripture, or at least for the reading of the Gospel; the lessons in the table provided are short. (3) Where there is a pause for silent prayer, the presbyter should take care to make it neither too long nor too short, considering the habits and desires of the congregation. (4) Hymns may be sung at the beginning of the service, after the reading from the Old Testament, after the creed, at the offertory, and at the close: this is a matter in which presbyters and congregations must decide for themselves, but the hymn at the offertory at least should not be omitted. The word ‘hymn' is used for brevity, and should be taken to include any sung prayer or praise, such as a ‘lyric'. It is to be hoped that in the Indian languages all the sung parts of the service may be set to suitable Indian music.

    The three lessons from Scripture may be read by one, two, or three people, lay or ordained. The Bible carried in at the beginning should be used throughout. It is directed that before each lesson the reader shall announce first the name of the Book of the Bible, then the chapter, then the verse: this is intended to make it easier for the people to open their own Bibles at the right place.

 THE USE OF THE FIRST AND SECOND PARTS ONLY. If no presbyter is available, or if for any other reason the Lord's Supper is not to be celebrated, the first two Parts of this Service, the Preparation and the Ministry of the Word, may be used by themselves, provided (a) that in the invitation to confession on p. 4 the words ‘and to receive the body and blood of the Lord' be omitted, and (b) that after the prayer of intercession there be a solemn dedication of the offerings, with prayer, in which the praise of God as Creator and as Redeemer shall be included; a hymn; and a grace or blessing.

THE USE OF THE THIRD PART ONLY. The Third Part of the Service, the Breaking of the Bread, may be used without the First and Second Parts in any special service, such as an ordination or confirmation, which includes the praise of God, the confession of sin and prayer for forgiveness, the reading and preaching of the word of God, and intercession.

The ‘SERVICE THAT MAY BE USED BEFORE THE CELEBRATION OF THE LORD'S SUPPER' (p. 1 of the Liturgy) is recommended for use on the night (or at any other convenient time during the week) before a celebration. The purpose is that those who intend to communicate may be put in mind of the greatness of this gift of the Saviour, and of their need of penitence and of living faith as they come to receive it. Where it is difficult for all to gather in church, the service may be conducted by church-workers in different parts of the pastorate, or in each family by the head of the household. The service may instead be used before the celebration, with an interval for silent common prayer. It is recommended that one at least of the passages on pp. 1-2 may be used with every celebration, either beforehand or in the Liturgy itself, and that all should be used sometimes.

ANNOUNCEMENTS. When visitors are present, the presbyter may invite any communicant member of any Church with which the Church of South India has relations of fellowship to partake of the Holy Communion with this congregation (see the Constitution, II. 14).

 THE CONFESSION. The alternatives recommended are:
    1. Psalm 51 : 1-3, 9-12, said or sung.
    2. One of the Confessions in the Book of Common Prayer.
    3. A hymn.
    4. Extempore prayer by the presbyter.

THE COLLECTION OF ALMS. The people may place their alms in vessels set at the door as they enter the church; or a collection may be made during the hymn after the creed or the offertory hymn. If it is made during the hymn after the creed, the alms shall be kept in some suitable place until the offertory. If it is made during the offertory hymn, the alms of the non-communicants who go out after the benediction may be received at the doors. In any case, the alms, with the bread and wine for the communion, shall be brought to the Lord's Table during the offertory hymn. It is recommended that this should be done by lay people.

THE PEACE. When the Peace is given, the giver places his right palm against the right palm of the receiver, and each closes his left hand over the other's right hand. The Peace is given before the offertory (see Matthew 5 : 23, 24) as a sign of fellowship, and the offertory sentences recall St Augustine's teaching that the sacrifice we offer is our unity in Christ. The presbyter gives the Peace to those ministering with him, and these in turn give it to the congregation. It may be passed through the congregation either along the rows, or from those in front to those behind. It is suggested that each person as he gives the Peace may say in a low voice, ‘The peace of God', or ‘The peace of God be with you'.

THE EUCHARISTIC PRAYER. At the words ‘took bread', the presbyter shall take the paten with the bread into his hand. At the words ‘took the cup', he shall take the cup into his hand.

BAPTISM AND CONFIRMATION. Where it is the custom to administer the sacrament of baptism, or to receive baptized persons into the full membership of the Church (i.e. to confirm them), during a Communion Service, baptism may be administered after the creed, and confirmation alter the intercession.

THE COMMUNION. Communion may be administered in the place and manner customary in the congregation. it is however recommended that communion may be given by ‘tables', i.e. the people come forward to receive in front of the holy Table, and each row remains kneeling till the presbyter dismisses them with a blessing such as ‘The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with you all'. When this is done, it is convenient that there should be ‘stewards'. A spoon may be used for administering the wine.

THE WORDS OF ADMINISTRATION. The following alternatives are recommended:

    1. ‘The Body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life. Take and eat this in remembrance that Christ died for thee, and feed on him in thy heart by faith with thanksgiving.'
    ‘The Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was shed for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life. Drink this in. remembrance that Christ's blood was shed for thee, and be thankful.'

    2. ‘The Communion of the Body of Christ.'
    ‘The Communion of the Blood of Christ.'

    3. ‘Take ye, eat ye; this is the body of Christ which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of him.'
    ‘This cup is the new covenant in the blood of Christ, which is shed for many unto remission of sins: drink ye all of it.'

EXCOMMUNICATION. Any who are excommunicate or under discipline shall leave at the end of the Ministry of the Word.

on to the Order for the Lord's Supper



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