An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

Pastoral Offices

Prayer Book services that are done on an occasional basis according to pastoral need at significant moments in the lives of church members. The pastoral offices are also known as occasional offices. These services include the sacramental rites of Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Reconciliation of a Penitent, and Unction. These sacramental rites are means of grace, but “they are not necessary for all persons in the same way that Baptism and the Eucharist are” (BCP, p. 860). The pastoral offices of the BCP also include forms for Commitment to Christian Service, Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child, Ministration at the Time of Death, and the Burial of the Dead. Baptism is not presented as an occasional or pastoral office in the 1979 BCP. The BCP calls for baptism to be done in the context of the regular worship of the church, within the Holy Eucharist as the chief service on a Sunday or other feast (p. 298).

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.