An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Independence Day

Commemoration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776. It is a legal holiday in the United States. The 1785 General Convention directed that a service be drawn up for this day, and “That the said form of prayer be used in this Church, on the fourth of July, for ever.” The Proposed Book of 1786 contained “A Form of Prayer and Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the inestimable Blessings of Religious and Civil Liberty” to be used on the Fourth of July. The presiding officer, William White, was opposed to the service since many of the clergy had been Loyalists and were against the Revolution. The General Convention of 1789 supported White, and the service was withdrawn from the 1789 BCP. Propers for this day were published in the 1928 Book of Common Prayer, but it was not a major feast. The 1979 BCP (p. 17), lists Independence Day as one of the “Other Major Feasts,” and provides a collect for the day (pp. 190, 242). Eucharistic propers are provided as well as propers for the Daily Office. The collect “For the Nation” may be substituted for the collect for the day.

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.