Concerning the Service | Dedication and Consecration of a Church

Additional Directions

The complete form of the service for the Dedication and Consecration of a Church is to be used at the opening of a church or chapel. This service does not require that the premises be debt-free or owned.

When the clergy and people assemble before the service, they may gather out of doors, in the parish house, in a former or neighboring place of worship, or in some other building. When convenient, the procession may go around the building(s) to be dedicated and then go to the principal door. Hymns or psalms may be used in procession. The use of portable musical instruments is suitable. If there is an organ, it is appropriate that it remain silent until dedicated. When the weather is inclement, or other circumstances make it necessary, the congregation may assemble inside the church; but the bishop, other clergy, and attendants will enter in procession through the principal door.

When a new church is being consecrated, it is desirable that sacred vessels, ornaments, and decorations be carried into the building in the procession. Such things as the deed for the property and the blueprint of the building(s), the keys, and the tools used in its construction may also be carried by appropriate persons.

The cross signed on the threshold by the bishop may be marked in lasting form (incised, painted, inlaid). In place of a pastoral staff, the foot of a processional cross may be used for the signing.

At the dedication of the font, children or other lay persons are to be assigned the task of pouring the water. If Holy Baptism is not to be administered, in addition to saying the prayer over the font as given, the bishop may consecrate oil of Chrism, as in the service of Holy Baptism, for subsequent use in this church.

If Baptism is to be administered, the following order is used: The Gospel from "At Baptism," (Traditional|Contemporary); then the service of Holy Baptism, beginning with the Presentation of the Candidates, and concluding with the reception of the newly baptized.

As the furnishings in the church are dedicated, they may be decorated by members of the congregation with flowers, candles, hangings, or other ornaments.

Selected verses of psalms and hymns, or instrumental music may be used as the ministers move from one part of the church to another.

If one reading stand is to serve as both lectern and pulpit, only one of the prayers, and one of the versicles and responses, are used, followed by the words of dedication.

At the dedication of the lectern, the Bible is brought forward and put into place by a donor, or a lay reader, or another suitable person.

If there is an address instead of a sermon, it is suitable that a warden or other lay person outline the plans of the congregation for witness to the Gospel. The bishop may respond, indicating the place of this congregation within the life of the Diocese.

The sermon or address may be followed by an appropriate Pastoral Office, such as Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a child, Commitment to Christian Service, or Blessing of Oil for the Sick.

Any of the usual forms of the Prayers of the People may be used; or some other form may be composed for the occasion, having due regard for the distinctive nature of the community, and with commemoration of benefactors, donors, artists, artisans, and others.

For the covering and decoration of the Altar, it is suitable that the donors of these furnishings, or other lay persons, bring them forward and put them in place. If incense is to be used, it is appropriate at this time.

Instead of the Proper Preface suggested, that of the season may be used, or one appropriate to the name of the church.

For the Dedication of Churches and Chapels in Special Cases

If the place of worship is also to serve as a school or parish hall, or for some other suitable purpose, the service may be adapted to the circumstances.

If the church is also to be used for regular worship by other Christian bodies, it is appropriate that their representatives take part in the service, and that the service be adapted.

Suitable portions of this service may be used by the bishop, or by a priest with the bishop's permission, for dedicating a private chapel or oratory.

For the Dedication of Furnishings, or Parts of a Church or Chapel

Relevant portions of the service for the Dedication and Consecration of a Church may be used by the bishop or a priest for blessing alterations, additions, or new furnishings in a church or chapel. In each such case, the appropriate prayer may be said, or adapted to the circumstances; and prayers and Bible readings related to the particular occasion may be selected. When possible, the areas or furnishings should be put into use at this time.

The blessing of a new font or baptistry should always be done by a bishop, and should be followed, if possible, by the administration of Holy Baptism.

The blessing of an Altar is also reserved for a bishop, and is always to be followed by the celebration of the Holy Eucharist.

For a Church or Chapel Long in Use

When buildings have been used for public worship for an extended period of time without having been consecrated, the following order may provide an opportunity for the congregation to reaffirm its commitment to its mission and ministry, and it will be particularly appropriate when a congregation attains recognition as a parish.

  1.  Procession
  2.  Signing of threshold
  3.  Litany of Thanksgiving for a Church, below.
  4.  Te Deum
  5.  Liturgy of the Word, with sermon or address
  6.  Renewal of Baptismal Vows
  7.  Intercessions, including commemoration of benefactors
  8.  The Peace
  9.  The Eucharist, beginning with the Offertory

A Litany of Thanksgiving for a Church

Let us thank God whom we worship here in the beauty of holiness. Eternal God, the heaven of heavens cannot contain you, much less the walls of temples made with hands. Graciously receive our thanks for this place, and accept the work of our hands, offered to your honor and glory.

For the Church universal, of which these visible buildings are the symbol,
We thank you, Lord.

For your presence whenever two or three have gathered together in your Name,
We thank you, Lord.

For this place where we may be still and know that you are God,
We thank you, Lord.

For making us your children by adoption and grace, and refreshing us day by day with the bread of life.
We thank you, Lord.

For the knowledge of your will and the grace to perforg of our vows and the crowning of our years with your goodness,
We thank you, Lord.

For the faith of those who have gone before us and for our encouragement by their perseverance,
We thank you, Lord.

For the fellowship of [N., our patron, and of] all your Saints,
We thank you, Lord.

After a brief silence, the Celebrant concludes with the following Doxology

Yours, O Lord, is the greatness, the power, the glory, the victory, and the majesty;

People For everything in heaven and on earth is yours.
Celebrant Yours, O Lord, is the kingdom;
People And you are exalted as head over all. Amen.

This Litany may also be used on the anniversary of the dedication or consecration of a church, or on other suitable occasions.