Ordination Services

The Ordination and Consecration of a Bishop


Proper Prefaces

The Gathering and Presentation

At the entry of the ministers a hymn may be sung.

The Greeting

The archbishop greets the people

Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
AllBlessed be his kingdom, now and for ever. Amen.

From Easter Day to Pentecost this acclamation follows

Alleluia. Christ is risen.
AllHe is risen indeed. Alleluia.

There is one body and one spirit.
AllThere is one hope to which we were called;
one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Allone God and Father of all.

Peace be with you
Alland also with you.

The archbishop introduces the service

God calls his people to follow Christ, and forms us into a royal priesthood, a holy nation, to declare the wonderful deeds of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.

The Church is the Body of Christ, the people of God and the dwelling-place of the Holy Spirit. In baptism the whole Church is summoned to witness to God's love and to work for the coming of his kingdom.

To serve this royal priesthood, God has given particular ministries. Bishops are ordained to be shepherds of Christ's flock and guardians of the faith of the apostles, proclaiming the gospel of God's kingdom and leading his people in mission. Obedient to the call of Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit, they are to gather God's people and celebrate with them the sacraments of the new covenant. Thus formed into a single communion of faith and love, the Church in each place and time is united with the Church in every place and time.

Prayers of Penitence

One of the two forms of confession on page 169 of Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England and an authorized absolution are normally used (see Note 7).

The Presentation

The ordinand is presented

Reverend Father in God, N has been chosen to be Bishop of X [in the Diocese of Y]. We present him to be ordained and consecrated to the office of bishop in the Church of God.

The archbishop asks

Do you believe him to be of godly life and sound learning?

Those presenting respond

We do.

Do you believe him to be duly called to serve God in this ministry?

We do.

The archbishop turns to the ordinand and says

Do you believe that God is calling you to this ministry?

OrdinandI do so believe.

ArchbishopLet the authority for the ordination be read.

The Provincial Registrar reads the Royal Mandate.

Archbishop N, you have taken the oath of allegiance to the Sovereign and the oath of due obedience. You are now required to make the Declaration of Assent.

The archbishop then reads the Preface to the Declaration of Assent.

The Church of England is part of the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, worshipping the one true God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. It professes the faith uniquely revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds, which faith the Church is called upon to proclaim afresh in each generation. Led by the Holy Spirit, it has borne witness to Christian truth in its historic formularies, the Thirty-nine Articles of Religion, The Book of Common Prayer and the Ordering of Bishops, Priests and Deacons. In the declaration you are about to make, will you affirm your loyalty to this inheritance of faith as your inspiration and guidance under God in bringing the grace and truth of Christ to this generation and making Him known to those in your care?

OrdinandI, AB, do so affirm, and accordingly declare my belief in the faith which is revealed in the Holy Scriptures and set forth in the catholic creeds and to which the historic formularies of the Church of England bear witness; and in public prayer and administration of the sacraments, I will use only the forms of service which are authorized or allowed by Canon.

The Collect

The archbishop introduces a period of silent prayer with the following bidding or other suitable words

Let us pray for N, and for the ministry of the whole people of God.

The archbishop says either the Collect of the Day or this Collect

God our Father, Lord of all the world,
through your Son you have called us into the fellowship
of your universal Church:
hear our prayer for your faithful people
that in their vocation and ministry
each may be an instrument of your love,
and give to your servant N now to be ordained
the needful gifts of grace;
through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.


The Liturgy of the Word

Either one or two readings from Scripture precede the Gospel reading.

At the end of each the reader may say

This is the word of the Lord.
AllThanks be to God.

The psalm or canticle follows the first reading; other hymns and songs may be used between the readings.

Gospel Reading

An acclamation may herald the Gospel reading

Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the good shepherd, says the Lord.
I know my own and my own know me,
just as the Father knows me and I know the Father.

cf John 10.14,15

When the Gospel is announced the reader says

Hear the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to N.
AllGlory to you, O Lord.

At the end

This is the Gospel of the Lord.
AllPraise to you, O Christ.


The Creed

The Nicene Creed is said

All We believe in one God,
the Father, the Almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all that is,
seen and unseen.

We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ,
the only Son of God,
eternally begotten of the Father,
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made,
of one Being with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven,
was incarnate from the Holy Spirit and the Virgin Mary
and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate;
he suffered death and was buried.
On the third day he rose again
in accordance with the Scriptures;
he ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead,
and his kingdom will have no end.

We believe in the Holy Spirit,
the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is worshipped and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church.
We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins.
We look for the resurrection of the dead,
and the life of the world to come.

The Liturgy of Ordination

The Declarations

The ordinand stands before the archbishop, who addresses the congregation

ArchbishopBishops are called to serve and care for the flock of Christ. Mindful of the Good Shepherd, who laid down his life for his sheep, they are to love and pray for those committed to their charge, knowing their people and being known by them. As principal ministers of word and sacrament, stewards of the mysteries of God, they are to preside at the Lord's table and to lead the offering of prayer and praise. They are to feed God's pilgrim people, and so build up the Body of Christ.

They are to baptize and confirm, nurturing God's people in the life of the Spirit and leading them in the way of holiness. They are to discern and foster the gifts of the Spirit in all who follow Christ, commissioning them to minister in his name. They are to preside over the ordination of deacons and priests, and join together in the ordination of bishops.

As chief pastors, it is their duty to share with their fellow presbyters the oversight of the Church, speaking in the name of God and expounding the gospel of salvation. With the Shepherd's love, they are to be merciful, but with firmness; to minister discipline, but with compassion. They are to have a special care for the poor, the outcast and those who are in need. They are to seek out those who are lost and lead them home with rejoicing, declaring the absolution and forgiveness of sins to those who turn to Christ.

Following the example of the prophets and the teaching of the apostles, they are to proclaim the gospel boldly, confront injustice and work for righteousness and peace in all the world.

The archbishop addresses the ordinand directly

N, we trust that you have weighed and pondered all this, and that you are now fully determined to devote yourself to this ministry to which God has called you. We pray that you may offer to him your best powers of mind and spirit, so that as you follow the rule and teaching of our Lord you may grow up into his likeness, and sanctify the lives of all with whom you have to do.

And now, in order that we may know your mind and purpose, you must make the declarations we put to you.

Do you accept the Holy Scriptures as revealing all things necessary for eternal salvation through faith in Jesus Christ?

OrdinandI do so accept them.

Will you be diligent in prayer, in reading Holy Scripture, and in all studies that will deepen your faith and fit you to bear witness to the truth of the gospel?

OrdinandBy the help of God, I will.

Will you lead your people in proclaiming the glorious gospel of Christ, so that the good news of salvation may be heard in every place?

OrdinandBy the help of God, I will.

Will you teach the doctrine of Christ as the Church of England has received it, will you refute error, and will you hand on entire the faith that is entrusted to you?

OrdinandBy the help of God, I will.

Will you be faithful in ordaining and commissioning ministers of the gospel?

OrdinandBy the help of God, I will.

Will you promote peace and reconciliation in the Church and in the world; and will you strive for the visible unity of Christ�s Church?

OrdinandBy the help of God, I will.

Will you be gentle and merciful for Christ's sake to those who are in need, and speak for those who have no other to speak for them?

OrdinandBy the help of God, I will.

Will you endeavour to fashion your own life and that of your household according to the way of Christ and make your home a place of hospitality and welcome?

OrdinandBy the help of God, I will.

Will you work with your fellow servants in the gospel for the sake of the kingdom of God?

OrdinandBy the help of God, I will.

Will you accept the discipline of this Church, exercising authority with justice, courtesy and love, and always holding before you the example of Christ?

OrdinandBy the help of God, I will.

Will you then, in the strength of the Holy Spirit, continually stir up the gift of God that is in you, that the good news of Christ may be proclaimed in all the world?

OrdinandBy the help of God, I will.

The congregation stands and the ordinand turns and faces them.

Brothers and sisters, you have heard how great is the charge that N is ready to undertake, and you have heard his declarations. Is it now your will that he should be ordained?

AllIt is.

ArchbishopWill you continually pray for him?

AllWe will.

ArchbishopWill you uphold and encourage him in his ministry?

AllWe will.

The ordinand turns to face the archbishop, who continues

N, remember always with thanksgiving that God has entrusted to your care Christ's beloved bride, his own flock, bought by the shedding of his blood on the cross.

You are to govern Christ's people in truth, lead them out to proclaim the good news of the kingdom, and prepare them to stand before him when at last he comes in glory.

You cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength, but only by the grace and power of God. Pray therefore that you may be conformed more and more to the image of God's Son, so that through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit your life and ministry may be made holy and acceptable to God.

Pray earnestly for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The ordinand kneels and silence is kept.

Veni Creator

Veni Creator is sung

AllCome, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire;
thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.

Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life and fire of love;
enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.

Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace;
keep far our foes, give peace at home;
where thou art guide no ill can come.

Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee, of both, to be but one;
that through the ages all along
this may be our endless song:

Praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

The Litany

In the power of the Spirit, and in union with Christ,
let us pray to the Father.
All Lord, have mercy.

For the peace of the whole world,
for the welfare of the Holy Church of God,
and for the unity of all,
let us pray to the Lord.
All Lord, have mercy.

For all the members of the Church in their vocation and ministry,
that they may serve him in truth and love,
let us pray to the Lord.
All Lord, have mercy.

For N our archbishop,
and for all bishops, presbyters and deacons,
that they may hunger for truth and thirst after righteousness,
let us pray to the Lord.
AllLord, have mercy.

For N, called to be a bishop in the Church,
let us pray to the Lord.
AllLord, have mercy.

For the mission of the Church,
that in faithful witness we may proclaim the gospel of reconciliation
to the ends of the earth,
let us pray to the Lord.
AllLord, have mercy.

For the unity of the Church,
that there may be one flock and one Shepherd,
let us pray to the Lord.
AllLord, have mercy.

For those who are lost and for those who have strayed,
that they may return to the way of Christ,
let us pray to the Lord.
AllLord, have mercy.

For the sick and suffering,
for the aged and infirm,
for the lonely and neglected,
and for all who remember and care for them,
let us pray to the Lord.
AllLord, have mercy.

For the poor and the hungry,
for the homeless and the oppressed,
for all prisoners and captives,
and for our brothers and sisters who are persecuted for their faith,
let us pray to the Lord.
AllLord, have mercy.

For Elizabeth our Queen,
for the leaders of the nations,
and for all in authority,
let us pray to the Lord.
AllLord, have mercy.

For ourselves,
for grace to repent and amend our lives,
that we may be pardoned and absolved from all our sins,
let us pray to the Lord.
All Lord, have mercy.

Remembering [… and]
all who have gone before us in faith,
and in communion with [… and] all the saints,
we commit ourselves, one another,
and our whole life to Christ our God;
All to you, O Lord.

The Ordination Prayer

The ordinand continues to kneel before the archbishop, who stands to pray.

ArchbishopWe praise and glorify you, almighty Father,
because in your infinite love you have formed throughout the world
a holy people for your own possession,
a royal priesthood,
a universal Church.

We praise and glorify you
because you have given us your only Son Jesus Christ,
the image of your eternal and invisible glory,
the firstborn of all creation and head of the Church.

We praise and glorify you that by his death he has overcome death;
and that, having ascended into heaven,
he poured out your Holy Spirit upon his disciples,
to give them power to preach the gospel to the ends of the earth
and to build up your people in love.

And now we give you thanks
that you have called this your servant,
whom we ordain in your name,
to share as a bishop in the ministry of the gospel of Christ,
the Apostle and High Priest of our faith
and the Shepherd of our souls.

Therefore, Father, through Christ our Lord we pray:

Here the archbishop and other bishops lay their hands on the head of the ordinand, and the archbishop says

Send down the Holy Spirit on your servant N
for the office and work of a bishop in your Church.

The archbishop then continues

Through your Spirit, heavenly Father,
fill this your servant with the grace and power which you gave to your apostles,
that as a true shepherd he may feed and govern your flock,
and lead them in proclaiming the gospel of your salvation in the world.

Make him steadfast as a guardian of the faith and sacraments,
wise as a teacher
and faithful in presiding at the worship of your people.

Through him, with his fellow servants in Christ,
increase your Church and renew its ministry,
uniting its members in a holy fellowship of truth and love.

Give him humility,
that he may use his authority to heal, not to hurt;
to build up, not to destroy.
Defend him from all evil,
that he may, as a faithful steward,
be presented blameless with all your household
and, at the last, enter your eternal joy,
through your Son Jesus Christ our Lord,
to whom, with you and your Holy Spirit,
belong glory and honour, worship and praise, now and for ever.

The Giving of the Bible

The Giving of the Bible takes place here or at the Sending Out (see Note 13).

The newly ordained bishop stands and the archbishop gives him the Bible, saying

ArchbishopReceive this book,
as a sign of the authority given you this day
to build up Christ's Church in truth.
Here are words of eternal life.
Take them for your guide
and declare them to the world.

The Welcome

The newly ordained bishop turns to face the people, and a bishop says to him

Guard the truth that has been entrusted to you
by the Holy Spirit who lives in us.
AllWe welcome you as a shepherd of Christ's flock.
Build up the Church in unity and love,
that the world may believe.


The Liturgy of the Eucharist

The Peace

The archbishop introduces the Peace in these or other suitable words

God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,
not counting our trespasses against us
and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation.

The peace of the Lord be always with you
Alland also with you.

DeaconLet us offer one another a sign of peace.

All may exchange a sign of peace.

Preparation of the Table

Taking of the Bread and Wine

A hymn may be sung.

The gifts of the people may be gathered and presented.

The deacon prepares the table and places bread and wine upon it.

One or more of the prayers at the preparation of the table may be said.

The archbishop takes the bread and wine.

The Eucharistic Prayer

An authorized Eucharistic Prayer is used.

For Proper Prefaces, see here.

The Lord's Prayer

Breaking of the Bread

Giving of Communion

Prayer after Communion

Silence is kept.

Either the Post Communion of the day or this prayer is said

Lord God, the source of truth and love,
keep us faithful to the apostles' teaching and fellowship,
united in prayer and the breaking of bread,
and one in joy and simplicity of heart,
in Jesus Christ our Lord.

All may say this prayer

AllWe thank you, gracious Father,
for welcoming your children to feast in your kingdom;
by your love unite us
and with your Spirit send us,
in the name of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Sending Out

Archbishop God who has called you is faithful.

May the Father, whose glory fills the heavens,
cleanse you by his holiness
and send you to proclaim his word.

May Christ, who has ascended to the heights,
pour upon you the riches of his grace.

May the Holy Spirit, the comforter,
equip you and strengthen you in your ministry.

And the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be upon you and remain with you always.

The archbishop gives the newly ordained bishop a pastoral staff, saying

ArchbishopKeep watch over the whole flock
in which the Holy Spirit has appointed you shepherd.
All Encourage the faithful,
restore the lost,
build up the Body of Christ.

Deacon Go in the peace of Christ. (Alleluia, alleluia.)
All Thanks be to God. (Alleluia, alleluia.)


1The Threefold Ministry

The Church of England maintains the historic threefold ministry of bishops, priests and deacons. Its ministers are ordained by bishops according to authorized forms of service, with prayer and the laying on of hands (see Canons C 1 - C 4).

2Ordination of Bishops

Bishops must be ordained by at least three other bishops, joining together in the act of ordination, of whom one shall be the Archbishop of the Province or his deputy.

3Forms of Service

Questions concerning the form of service to be used and other matters concerning the conduct of the service are to be determined by the archbishop who presides at it, in accordance with the rubrics of the service and having regard to tradition and local custom.

4Holy Communion

The Notes to the Order for the Celebration of Holy Communion apply equally to this service. Texts and rubrics from the Order for the Celebration of Holy Communion may be replaced by the relevant texts from any authorized form of service of Holy Communion.

5The Deacon

The deacon of the rite may

  • carry the Book of the Gospels into the assembly,
  • read the Gospel,
  • sing or say the Ordination Litany,
  • prepare the table and the gifts,
  • assist with the Breaking of the Bread and the distribution,
  • supervise the ablutions,
  • dismiss the assembly.

6Before the Entry of the Ministers

If the ordinand is to begin the service seated among the congregation with those who are to present him, he takes his place before the entry of the ministers.

7Prayers of Penitence

If a confession follows the introduction to the service, the archbishop uses the following invitation to confession or other suitable words:

As we stand together before God,
and trusting in his grace alone,
let us join with this ordinand in confessing our sins.

8The Presentation

The ordinand is normally presented after the Greeting and the archbishop's introduction to the service, but the Presentation may be deferred until immediately before the Liturgy of Ordination.

At the ordination of a diocesan bishop, the ordinand may be presented and the archbishop's questions answered by representatives of the diocese of which he is to be bishop, most appropriately by representatives of the diocese who served on the Crown Nominations Commission, including a layperson. At the ordination of a suffragan bishop, it will be appropriate for the diocesan bishop to present the ordinand and answer the archbishop's questions about his call and preparation.

9Gloria in Excelsis

Gloria in Excelsis may be sung before the Collect.


At least one of the readings should be read by a layperson.

The following readings are particularly appropriate at the ordination of bishops:

Old Testament: Isaiah 42.1-9; Isaiah 61.1-3; Ezekiel 34.[1-10,] 11-16, 23

Psalm: 40.1-14; 99; 100

New Testament: Acts 20.17-35; 1 Timothy 3.1-7; 2 Timothy 3.14-4.5; 1 Peter 5.1-11

Gospel: Matthew 18.1-6; Matthew 28.16-20; John 17.1-9,18-21; John 21.15-19

Alternatively, the readings of the day may be used, especially on a Principal Feast or a Festival.

The archbishop or bishop who presides at the service may choose other readings suitable to the occasion.


Veni Creator is sung.

Another suitable litany may be substituted for the litany printed in the text.

12The Ordination Prayer

The Ordination Prayer is a single prayer; it is important that any movement during the prayer does not detract from the unity of the prayer as a whole.

In the Ordination Prayer, 'Lord, send your Spirit' or any other suitable invocation of the Holy Spirit may be used as a response at the end of each paragraph. The response may be introduced by an appropriate phrase.

At least two bishops must join with the Archbishop of the Province or his deputy in the act of ordination. Other bishops may be invited to share with the archbishop in laying hands on the heads of those ordained to the order of bishop. The archbishop determines where they stand and by what gesture they indicate they are joining in prayer with him.

13The Giving of the Bible

When the Giving of the Bible takes place immediately after the Ordination Prayer, a single large Bible may be used, or the newly ordained bishop may be presented with an individual Bible. If a large Bible is used, an individual copy should also be given, without words, at the Sending Out.

Alternatively, the Giving of the Bible may take place at the Sending Out. If this is the case, an individual copy of the Bible is given.

It is important that the Giving of the Bible is clearly distinguished from any subordinate ceremonies.


The archbishop may anoint the head of the newly ordained bishop, saying

May God,
who anointed the Christ with the Holy Spirit at his baptism,
anoint and empower you to bring good news to the poor,
to proclaim release to the captives,
to set free those who are oppressed
and to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.

If this is done, it takes place immediately before the Welcome.


The ordinand may enter vested as a bishop. Where it is agreed that the newly ordained bishop is to be clothed in the customary vesture during the service, this should take place after the Welcome.

16The Ministry of the Newly Ordained

In the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the newly ordained bishop may stand at the Holy Table with the archbishop and other bishops, as the archbishop may direct.

17Prayer after Communion

In place of the prayer 'We thank you, gracious Father', the congregation may say one of the prayers on page 182 of Common Worship: Services and Prayers for the Church of England.

18The Sending Out

The blessing may be preceded by the following:

ArchbishopOur help is in the name of the Lord,
Allwho has made heaven and earth.

ArchbishopBlessed be the name of the Lord,
Allnow and for ever. Amen.

The archbishop may lead the newly ordained bishop through the church. He may present him to representatives of the diocese in which he is to serve.

19Ordination of more than one bishop at the same service

Italics indicate where a change would be required in the spoken text when more than one bishop is ordained.

Proper Prefaces

In prayers A, B and C the Proper Preface of the day may be used. Alternatively, the following short Proper Prefaces may be used

And now we give you thanks
because within the royal priesthood of your Church
you ordain ministers to proclaim the word of God,
to care for your people
and to celebrate the sacraments of the new covenant.

And now we give you thanks
that your Son sent his apostles to be heralds of your kingdom;
you made them witnesses to his resurrection,
that through them the gospel of salvation
might be carried into all the world
and those who have not seen might yet believe.

In prayers A, B and E the following extended Proper Preface may be used

It is truly right and just,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks,
Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God,
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Christ is the Good Shepherd of the whole flock,
for which the Holy Spirit ordains bishops
to govern the Church bought by the blood of the eternal covenant.
In this joyful community of faith,
your people, filled with the gifts of the Spirit,
assemble together in one communion of love.
Here the gospel is set forth
and fulfilled in the Supper of the Lord
to make your Church a sign of love and unity for all.
Therefore with angels and archangels,
and with all the company of heaven,
we proclaim your great and glorious name,
for ever praising you and saying: