An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Celebration of a New Ministry

Form for the institution or induction of a priest as the rector of a parish. It may be used for the installation of deans and canons of cathedrals, or the induction of other diocesan or parochial ministries, including assistant ministers and vicars of missions (BCP, p. 558). It may also be used for the institution of deacons and lay persons with pastoral responsibilities. The bishop is normally the chief minister, but a deputy may be appointed if necessary. The BCP provides a form for the Letter of Institution of a Minister (p. 557), which is appropriate for the induction of the rector of a parish, the dean of a cathedral, or a similar office. The Letter of Institution may be read by the bishop after the wardens state that the new minister is well qualified, and that he or she has been prayerfully and lawfully selected. The Litany for Ordinations or another appropriate litany precedes the collect and the liturgy of the word. This service includes an induction ceremony in which the bishop, representatives of the congregation, and representatives of the diocesan clergy present symbolic gifts to the new minister. The BCP calls for the presentations to include a Bible for proclaiming the Word, a vessel of water for baptizing, a stole or symbol of the new minister's order, a book of prayers, olive oil for healing and reconciliation, the keys of the church (if the new minister is a rector or vicar), the Constitution and Canons of the Church, and bread and wine for the eucharist (pp. 561-562). These presentations may be added to, omitted, or adapted in light of the order of the new minister and the nature of the new ministry. The priest's prayer (BCP, pp. 562-563) is appropriate only for rectors, deans, vicars, hospital chaplains, and other priests with similar canonical charge. The new ministry is celebrated in the context of a eucharist. The bishop is normally the chief celebrant. The new minister, if a priest, concelebrates the eucharist with the bishop and other clergy. This service takes the place of an earlier form in American Prayer Books titled “An Office of Institution of Ministers into Parishes or Churches.”

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from “An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians,” Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.