An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Founding of a Church, The

The BOS provides a form for the Founding of a Church. It includes prayers for the ground breaking, collects, a reading from scripture (Gn 28:10-17, Jacob's dream at Bethel), antiphons and psalms, the Lord's Prayer, and prayers for the laying of a cornerstone. Before the service, stakes are set in the ground at the corners of the proposed church building. During the service, persons appointed stretch two cords diagonally across the stakes, from the northeast to the southwest and from the southeast to the northwest. These cords are secured to the stakes, forming the Greek letter Chi (X), symbolizing the cross and the name of Christ. A third cord is stretched completely around the four stakes to enclose the area. Antiphons and psalms accompany the placement of the cords. The ministers and people may follow in procession. Ground is broken with a spade by the celebrant at the site of the altar. If the laying of the cornerstone is done after the church is built, the ceremony appropriately takes place in the context of a eucharist. The ceremony follows the homily.

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.