Ordination Services

The Ordination of Priests,
also called Presbyters


Proper Prefaces

The Gathering and Presentation

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

The Greeting

The bishop 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 bishop 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. Priests are ordained to lead God's people in the offering of praise and the proclamation of the gospel. They share with the Bishop in the oversight of the Church, delighting in its beauty and rejoicing in its well-being. They are to set the example of the Good Shepherd always before them as the pattern of their calling. With the Bishop and their fellow presbyters, they are to sustain the community of the faithful by the ministry of word and sacrament, that we all may grow into the fullness of Christ and be a living sacrifice acceptable to God.

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 6).

The Presentation

Each ordinand is presented

Reverend Father in God, I present N to be ordained to the office of priest in the Church of God; he/she is to serve in the parish of N.

When the ordinands have been presented, the bishop asks these questions, to which the appropriate persons respond (see Note 7)

Have those whose duty it is to know these ordinands and examine them found them to be of godly life and sound learning?

They have.

Do they believe them to be duly called to serve God in this ministry?

They do.

The bishop turns to the ordinands and says

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

OrdinandsI do so believe.

BishopI invite the archdeacon/registrar to confirm that the ordinands have taken the necessary oaths and made the Declaration of Assent.

They have duly taken the oath of allegiance to the Sovereign and the oath of canonical obedience to the Bishop. They have affirmed and declared their 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'.


The Collect

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

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

The bishop 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 servants 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.AllAmen.


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 chose you and appointed you, says the Lord,
that you should go and bear fruit that shall last.

cf John 15.16

When the Gospel is announced the deacon 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

On Sundays and Principal Holy Days the Nicene Creed is said, and on other days it may be 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 ordinands stand before the bishop, who addresses the congregation

BishopPriests are called to be servants and shepherds among the people to whom they are sent. With their Bishop and fellow ministers, they are to proclaim the word of the Lord and to watch for the signs of God's new creation. They are to be messengers, watchmen and stewards of the Lord; they are to teach and to admonish, to feed and provide for his family, to search for his children in the wilderness of this world's temptations, and to guide them through its confusions, that they may be saved through Christ for ever. Formed by the word, they are to call their hearers to repentance and to declare in Christ's name the absolution and forgiveness of their sins.

With all God's people, they are to tell the story of God's love. They are to baptize new disciples in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, and to walk with them in the way of Christ, nurturing them in the faith. They are to unfold the Scriptures, to preach the word in season and out of season, and to declare the mighty acts of God. They are to preside at the Lord's table and lead his people in worship, offering with them a spiritual sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving. They are to bless the people in God's name. They are to resist evil, support the weak, defend the poor, and intercede for all in need. They are to minister to the sick and prepare the dying for their death. Guided by the Spirit, they are to discern and foster the gifts of all God's people, that the whole Church may be built up in unity and faith.

The bishop addresses the ordinands directly

We trust that long ago you began to weigh and ponder all this, and that you are fully determined, by the grace of God, to devote yourself wholly to his service, so that as you daily follow the rule and teaching of our Lord and grow into his likeness, God may 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?

OrdinandsI 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?

OrdinandsBy the help of God, I will.

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

OrdinandsBy the help of God, I will.

Will you faithfully minister the doctrine and sacraments of Christ as the Church of England has received them, so that the people committed to your charge may be defended against error and flourish in the faith?

OrdinandsBy the help of God, I will.

Will you, knowing yourself to be reconciled to God in Christ, strive to be an instrument of God's peace in the Church and in the world?

OrdinandsBy 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, that you may be a pattern and example to Christ's people?

OrdinandsBy the help of God, I will.

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

OrdinandsBy the help of God, I will.

Will you accept and minister the discipline of this Church, and respect authority duly exercised within it?

OrdinandsBy 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, to make Christ known among all whom you serve?

OrdinandsBy the help of God, I will.

The congregation stands and the ordinands turn and face them.

Brothers and sisters, you have heard how great is the charge that these ordinands are ready to undertake, and you have heard their declarations. Is it now your will that they should be ordained?

AllIt is.

Will you continually pray for them?

AllWe will.

Will you uphold and encourage them in their ministry?

AllWe will.

The ordinands turn back to face the bishop, who continues, addressing them

In the name of our Lord we bid you remember the greatness of the trust that is now to be committed to your charge. Remember always with thanksgiving that the treasure now to be entrusted to you is Christ's own flock, bought by the shedding of his blood on the cross. It is to him that you will render account for your stewardship of his people.

You cannot bear the weight of this calling in your own strength, but only by the grace and power of God. Pray therefore that your heart may daily be enlarged and your understanding of the Scriptures enlightened.

Pray earnestly for the gift of the Holy Spirit.

The ordinands kneel 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.
AllLord, 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.
AllLord, 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.
AllLord, have mercy.

For N our bishop,
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 and N,
called to be priests in his 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 we may be one in Christ, according to his will,
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.
AllLord, 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;
Allto you, O Lord.

The Ordination Prayer

The ordinands continue to kneel before the bishop, who stands to pray.

BishopWe 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 has given his gifts abundantly,
to equip your holy people for the work of ministry,
for the building up of the body of Christ.

And now we give you thanks
that you have called these your servants,
whom we ordain in your name,
to share as priests 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 bishop and priests lay their hands on the head of each ordinand, and the bishop says

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

When the bishop has laid hands on all of the ordinands, the prayer continues

Through your Spirit, heavenly Father,
give these your servants grace and power
to proclaim the gospel of your salvation
and minister the sacraments of the new covenant.
Renew them in holiness,
and give them wisdom and discipline
to work faithfully with those committed to their charge.

In union with their fellow servants in Christ,
may they reconcile what is divided,
heal what is wounded
and restore what is lost.

May they declare your blessings to your people;
may they proclaim Christ's victory over the powers of darkness,
and absolve in Christ's name those who turn to him in faith;
so shall a people made whole in Christ
offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to you,
our God and Father,
to whom, with the Son and the 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 priests stand and the bishop gives the Bible to each of them.

BishopReceive this book,
as a sign of the authority which God has given you this day
to preach the gospel of Christ
and to minister his holy sacraments.

The Welcome

The dean, an archdeacon or another senior priest says to the newly ordained priests

God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,
and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.
AllWe welcome you as ambassadors for Christ:
let the word of Christ dwell in you richly.


The Liturgy of the Eucharist

The Peace

The bishop introduces the Peace in these or other suitable words

God has made us one in Christ.
He has set his seal upon us,
and as a pledge of what is to come
has given us the Spirit to dwell in our hearts.

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 bishop 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, heavenly Father,
grant to your Church today
the faith of her apostles,
the hope of her martyrs
and the love of her Lord,
our Saviour Jesus Christ.

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

BishopGod 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.

Deacon Go in the peace of Christ. (Alleluia, alleluia.)
AllThanks 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).

2Forms 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 Bishop of the Diocese in consultation with the bishop who presides at it, in accordance with the rubrics of the service and having regard to tradition and local custom.

3Holy 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.

4The 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.

5Before the Entry of the Ministers

If the ordinands are to begin the service seated among the congregation with those who are to present them, they take their places before the entry of the ministers.

6Prayers of Penitence

If a confession follows the introduction to the service, the bishop 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 these ordinands in confessing our sins.

7The Presentation

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

It is appropriate for the training incumbent or someone who has been involved with each ordinand�s formation and training to answer the questions about their call and preparation.

8Oaths and Declaration of Assent

The Declaration of Assent, with its Preface, should be printed at the front of the service booklet.

The oaths are taken in the presence of the bishop or the bishop's commissary before the service.

If under Canon C 13 the oath of allegiance is not taken by one or more of those to be ordained, the question is answered thus:

'Those who are required to do so have duly made the oath of allegiance to the Sovereign. They have all made the oath of canonical obedience to the Bishop. They have affirmed…'

If one or more candidates makes a solemn affirmation as provided for by Canon C 13, the words 'or a solemn affirmation' are inserted into the answer as appropriate.

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 priests:

Old Testament: Isaiah 52.7-10; Isaiah 61.1-3; Jeremiah 31.31-34

Psalm: 99; 103.17-end; 118.19-26; 119.33-40; 145.1-7,22

New Testament: 2 Corinthians 5.17-6.2; Ephesians 4.7-16; 1 Timothy 4.6-16; Titus 1.5-9

Gospel: Matthew 9.35-10.1[, 5-16]; Matthew 28.16-20; John 10.1-16; John 20.19-23

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

The 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.

Priests share with the bishop in laying hands on the heads of those ordained to the presbyterate. They do so at the invitation of the bishop, who 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 each of the newly ordained may be presented with an individual Bible. If a single Bible is used, individual copies should also be given, without words, at the Sending Out.

Alternatively, the Giving of the Bible may take place at the Sending Out. In this case, individual copies of the Bible are given.

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


The bishop may anoint the palms of the hands of each newly ordained priest, saying

May God,
who anointed the Christ with the Holy Spirit at his baptism,
anoint and empower you to reconcile and bless his people.

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


The ordinands may enter in the vesture of the order to which they are to be ordained. Where it is agreed that the newly ordained are to be clothed in their customary vesture during the service, this should take place after the Welcome.

16The Ministry of the Newly Ordained

After the Peace, the newly ordained presbyters may be presented with the bread and the wine that are to be used in the Liturgy of the Eucharist which immediately follows. They may then stand at the Holy Table with the bishop, as he 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:

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

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

The bishop may lead the newly ordained presbyters through the church. He may present them to representatives of the parishes in which they are to serve.


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 opened the Scriptures for his companions
and made himself known in the breaking of bread;
he prays for your servants with compassion
and blesses with the wounded hands of love.

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

It is indeed right and good,
our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give you thanks and praise
through your Son Jesus Christ, our great high priest.
He was lifted up for us on the cross
that he might reveal your glory and draw all people to himself.
You exalted him to your right hand on high
and through your Holy Spirit you sent upon your people
a rich diversity of gifts.
From this royal priestly people you raise up ministers
to proclaim your word,
to care for your people
and to be the stewards of your holy mysteries.
You call them to serve the world your Son redeemed
and build up his body the Church to be his bride.
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:

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