CONSECRATION OF A CHURCH OR CHAPEL
Before the Consecration of the church takes place, the Bishop shall make certain that it is Properly furnished and equipped for the celebration of the rites and ceremonies of the Church according to the Use of the Anglican Church of Canada.
This Service should only be used when the land and buildings are free from debt and there is reason to believe that the building will be used for worship in perpetuity. Otherwise it should not be consecrated, but dedicated with the use of some of the prayers in this form, as the Bishop shall direct.
The Bishop, attended by his Chancellor and Chaplains. shall be received at the door of the Church by the Incumbent and other Clergy, the Churchwardens, and others.
A Petition, in the form following or to the like effect, signed by the Incumbent, Churchwardens, and others, shall be read, and presented to the Bishop.
TO the Right Reverend ………………………… Bishop of …………………
WE, the Incumbent, Churchwardens, and the inhabitants of ……………………, having acquired the land [describe it], more particularly described in a deed between …………………… and …………………… [or by will or otherwise as the case may be], duly registered according to law [where registration is possible] on the ……….. day of ……………………. in the year of our Lord ……………………., on which there is a Church, which we certify to be free from any legal incumbrance, do humbly pray you to separate the same from all profane and common uses, and to consecrate the said Church, and set it apart for ever for the worship of God, according to the rites and discipline of the Anglican Church of Canada.
The Bishop, accepting the Petition, shall answer and consent, saying:
BRETHREN, if this be your desire, and the desire of the Parishioners, we will now proceed to the act of Consecration.
PREVENT us, O Lord, in all our doings with thy most gracious favour, and further us with thy continual help; that in all our works, begun, continued, and ended in thee, we may glorify thy holy Name, and finally by thy mercy obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Bishop and his attendants may walk round the outside of the building, or the Church-yard. If a Burial-ground is to be consecrated, it may be done at this time.
Then the Bishop, taking his Pastoral Staff, shall knock three times at the door.
If conditions require, the Petition may be read within the Church, and the Bishop may strike the floor near the door with his Staff.
OPEN to me the gates of righteousness, that I may go into them and give thanks unto the LORD.
Then the Churchwardens shall open wide the doors.
Then the Bishop, standing within the entrance, shall say:
PEACE be to this House from God our heavenly Father. Peace be to this House from his Son who is our Peace. Peace be to this House from the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.
The Bishop with his attendants shall then proceed towards the Chancel while Psalm 24, page 357, or Psalm 122, page 498, is sung or said.
When the Bishop is seated, he shall have the necessary legal documents presented to him, by the person duly appointed, which he shall lay on the holy Table; and then, standing and turning to the Congregation, he shall say to them as follows:
DEARLY beloved in the Lord, forasmuch as devout and holy men, as well under the Law as under the Gospel, moved either by the secret inspiration of the blessed Spirit, or by express command of God, or by their own reason and sense of order and decency, have erected houses for the public worship of God, and have separated them from all profane and common uses, in order to fill men’s minds with greater reverence for his glorious majesty, and affect their hearts with more devotion and humility in his service; which pious works our heavenly Father hath vouchsafed to approve and accept: Let us not doubt but he will also graciously approve this our godly purpose of setting apart this place in solemn manner to religious worship; and let us faithfully and devoutly beg his blessing on this our undertaking, keeping silence for a space.
Let us pray.
O Lord, hear our prayer;
Answer. And let our cry come unto thee.
O ETERNAL God, mighty in power, of majesty incomprehensible, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain, much less the walls of temples made with hands; and who yet hast been graciously pleased to promise thy especial presence in whatsoever place even two or three of thy faithful servants shall assemble in thy Name, to offer up their supplications and their praises to thee: Vouchsafe, O Lord, to be present with us, who are now gathered together to consecrate this place, with all humility and readiness of heart, to the honour of thy great Name; separating it henceforth from all unhallowed, ordinary, and common uses; and dedicating it entirely to thy service, for reading therein thy most holy Word, for celebrating thy holy Sacraments, for offering to thy glorious majesty the sacrifice of prayer and thanksgiving, for blessing thy people in thy Name, and for all other holy ordinances: Accept, O Lord, this service at our hands, and bless it with such success as may most tend to thy glory, and the salvation of thy people; through Jesus Christ, our blessed Lord and Saviour. Amen.
Then the Bishop may with his Staff trace the sign of the Cross upon the floor, together with the Alpha and the Omega.
Then he shall say:
I CLAIM this place for Christ crucified, who is the First and the Last, and the Lord of all. Amen.
Then the people shall stand, and the Bishop with his attendants shall go to the Font, where he shall say:
One Lord, one Faith, one Baptism;
Answer. One God and Father of all.
GRANT, O Lord, that this Font, which we now hallow for thy service, may be a laver of new birth for all who shall be baptized therein; that, being washed and sanctified with the Holy Spirit, they may die unto sin, and rise again unto righteousness, and ever remain in the number of thy faithful and elect children; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
As they go to the Font and return to the Chancel, Psalm 84, page 437, may be recited in two parts. And the Bishop, standing at the Chancel steps, shall say:
Our help is in the Name of the Lord;
Answer. Who hath made heaven and earth.
GRANT, O Lord, that all who in this place shall renew the promises and vows of their Baptism, may be confirmed and strengthened with power from on high, and continuing thine for ever, may daily increase in thy Holy Spirit more and more, until they come to thy everlasting kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bishop. Whom God hath joined together;
Answer. Let no man put asunder.
GRANT, O Lord, that whosoever shall be joined together in this place in the holy estate of Matrimony may faithfully perform and keep the vow and covenant betwixt them made, and may remain in perfect love together unto their lives’ end; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Bishop, turning towards the Prayer Desk, shall say:
Hear my prayer, O Lord;
Answer. And consider my desire.
GRANT O Lord, that whosoever shall confess their sins, and offer up their prayers and praises unto thy Divine Majesty in this place, may be acceptable in thy sight, and finally may be graciously received into thy presence, to praise and glorify thee for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Bishop, turning towards the Lectern or Pulpit, shall say:
Thy Word is a lantern unto my feet;
Answer. And a light unto my path.
GRANT, O Lord, that by thy holy Word, which shall be proclaimed in this place, the hearers thereof may both perceive and know what things they ought to do, and also may have grace and power faithfully to fulfil the same; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then the Bishop, standing with his attendants in the midst of the Chancel, shall say:
TO do good and to distribute forget not;
Answer. For with such sacrifices God is well pleased.
GRANT, O Lord, to thy people who offer to thee of their substance in this place, that they may give cheerfully for the work of the Church, and the extension of thy kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Then the Bishop, standing before the holy Table, shall say:
The memorial of thine abundant kindness shall be showed;
Answer. And men shall sing of thy righteousness.
GRANT, O Lord, that this Table may be hallowed for the celebration of the continual remembrance of the sacrifice of the death of thy beloved Son; and that our sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving which is here offered unto thy Divine Majesty may be acceptable unto thee, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our only Advocate and High Priest. Amen.
Bishop. This is the Bread which cometh down from heaven;
Answer. That a man may eat thereof and not die.
GRANT, O Lord, that whosoever shall receive in this place the blessed Sacrament of the Body and Blood of Christ thy Son, may come to that holy ordinance with a true penitent heart, lively faith, and perfect charity; and being filled with thy grace and heavenly benediction, may, to their great and endless comfort, obtain remission of their sins, and all other benefits of his passion; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
NOW unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be all glory for ever and ever. Amen.
The Bishop, sitting in his Chair, shall then sign, and cause to be read publicly, the Sentence of Consecration given under his hand and seal according to the form following, or to the like effect, which Sentence shall be recorded in the Registry of the Diocese.
SENTENCE OF CONSECRATION
In the Name of God. Amen.
WHEREAS a Church has been erected at ………………… within our Diocese and jurisdiction, upon a piece of land [description of the land and title to be here inserted]; and whereas the said building is now completed and furnished with all things requisite for the due performance of public worship, and is free from all legal liability for debt, and is now ready for Consecration; and whereas a Petition has been presented to us by the Incumbent, the Wardens, and others [to be here described as the case may be], praying that we would be pleased to consecrate the said building:
Now therefore, we, ………………….., by Divine permission Bishop of ………………….. do by virtue of the authority ordinary and episcopal to us committed, consecrate the said building, and do set it apart from all profane and common uses, and do dedicate the same to Almighty God for the ministration of his holy Word and Sacraments, and for public worship, according to the rites and ceremonies of the Anglican Church of Canada, by the name of ………………….
And we do pronounce, decree, and declare that the said Church shall remain so consecrated, set apart, and dedicated for ever; In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
WITNESS our hand and seal, this ………………… day of …………………. in the Year of our Lord …………………. and of our Consecration the ………………….
The Bishop standing, and turning to the people, shall say:
GRANT that this whole place which is here dedicated to thee by our office and ministry may also be hallowed by the sanctifying power of thy Holy Spirit, and so for ever continue, through thy mercy, O blessed Lord God, who dost live and govern all things, world without end. Amen.
AND now, by virtue of the sacred office committed to us in the Church, I do declare to be consecrated and set apart from all profane and common uses this House of God under the Name and Title of THE CHURCH OF …… [here he shall state the dedication]; In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.
It is most fitting, and in keeping with ancient tradition, that this Service should be followed by the celebration of the holy Communion, which may begin with the Mutual Salutation and the following proper Collect, Lesson, and Gospel.
O MOST glorious God, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain: Graciously accept the dedication of this place to thy service; and grant that all who shall call upon thee here, may worship thee in spirit and in truth, and may in their lives show forth thy praise; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
THE LESSON. Revelation 21. 2.
I JOHN saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son.
THE GOSPEL. St Matthew 21. 12.
AND Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all those who sold and bought in the temple; and overthrew the tables of the money-changers, and the seats of those who sold doves; and he said unto them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer, but you have made it a den of thieves. And the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them. And when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children shouting in the temple and saying, Hosanna to the son of David; they were sore displeased, and said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus said unto them, Yea: have ye never read, Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise?
Immediately before the final Blessing, the Bishop shall say the following prayer:
BLESSED be thy Name, O Lord God, for that it pleaseth thee to have thy habitation among the sons of men, and to dwell in the midst of the assembly of the saints upon earth: Bless, we beseech thee, the service of this day, and grant that in this place, now set apart to thy glory, thy holy Name may be worshipped in truth and purity to all generations; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
If the holy Communion does not follow immediately, the appropriate daily office shall be said.
When a Church-yard is to be consecrated together with the Church; before or after the Service in the Church, if conditions permit, the Bishop, Clergy, and people shall walk round the portion of ground which is to be consecrated; and the Bishop, standing in some convenient place, shall say the following Prayer:
O GOD, who by the example of thy holy servants in all ages, hast taught us to assign particular places, where the bodies of thy saints may rest in peace, whilst their souls are kept in the hands of their faithful Redeemer: Accept, we beseech thee, this charitable work of ours, in separating this portion of ground to that good purpose; and give us grace that, by the frequent instances of mortality which we behold, we may so number our days as to apply our hearts unto wisdom; so that by thy mercy we may have our part In the resurrection to eternal life, with him who died for our sins and rose again for our justification, and now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.
O LORD Jesu Christ, who by thy death hast overcome death, and by thy rising to life again hast restored to us everlasting life: Grant to all thy servants, who shall here be buried, that their bodies may rest in peace, and that through the grave and gate of death they may pass to a joyful resurrection; through thy merits, who livest with the Father and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.