Monday, August 29, 2011

Biblically Faithful and Classically Anglican: An Alternative to the New ACNA Ordinal – Part 1

By Robin G. Jordan

In a recent series of articles I have drawn attention to a number of defects of the new ACNA Ordinal and to its questionable legality. In this two article series I offer an alternative to the new ACNA Ordinal—a conservative modern language revision of the classical Anglican Ordinal annexed to The Book of Common Prayer of 1662. The rendering of Tudor English into contemporary idiom does necessitate some changes in the texts of the Ordinal. Consequently it is more accurate to describe the result as a revision rather than a translation. Other changes include the substitution of the addition of an alternative formula for use at the imposition of hands in the ordination of priests and the elimination of the reference to “inferior office” from the collect “Almighty God, giver of all good things…” in the ordination of deacons. The 1552 supplication for “all bishops, pastors, and ministers” has been restored to the Litany in recognition that in today’s church Christian ministry is not confined to the offices of bishop, priest, and deacon. The 1662 additions to the formulae at the imposition of hands at the ordination of priests and the consecration of bishops may be omitted, and the 1552 formulae may be used. Otherwise, this edition of the Ordinal sticks closely to the language, doctrine, structure, and liturgical usages of the classical Anglican Ordinal. It is an edition of the Ordinal that is entirely in line with the historic Anglican formularies as the long-recognized doctrinal standard of Anglicanism and with the Jerusalem Declaration and its affirmation of these formularies.


The primary source for this edition of the Ordinal is the classical Anglican Ordinal that is annexed to The Book of Common Prayer of 1662. The alternative formula for use at the imposition of hands in the ordination of a priest comes from the 1792 American Ordinal. A number of the modern language versions of the texts were adapted or taken from An Australian Prayer Book (1978) and An English Prayer Book (1994).

The structure of this edition is modeled upon that of the classical Anglican Ordinal. The essential rite of the ordination service is the public laying on of hands and prayer as in the New Testament and the early Church. To this rite is added a solemn address defining the function of the office to which the candidates are to be ordained and a detailed examination and instruction of the candidates for each office. After their ordination the candidates are given the symbol of their office, the New Testament to deacons and the Bible to priests and bishops.

For the Old Testament Reading, the Psalm, the Epistle, and the Gospel Reading this edition consulted An Australian Prayer Book (1978). The Epistle and Gospel Readings listed include the traditional readings from the classical Anglican Ordinal.

Words in square brackets may be omitted.

Words in bold type are said or sung by the congregation except where otherwise indicated.

Italics are used in places where plural words or expressions may be substituted for singular or vice versa.


It is evident to all diligently reading holy Scripture and ancient Authors, that from the Apostles' time there have been these Orders of Ministers in Christ's Church: Bishops, Priests, and Deacons. These offices were lways had in such reverend estimation, that no one might presume to execute any of them, except they were first called, tried, examined, and known to have such qualities as are requisite for the same; and also by public Prayer, with Imposition of Hands, were approved and admitted thereto by lawful authority. And therefore, to the intent that these Orders may be continued, and reverently used and esteemed, in this Church; no one shall be accounted or taken to be a lawful Bishop, Priest, or Deacon in this Church, or permitted to execute any of the said functions, except they be called, tried, examined, and admitted thereto, according to the Form hereafter following, or otherwise has been properly consecrated or ordained.

And none shall be admitted a Deacon, Priest, or Bishop, except they be of the age which the Canon in that case provided may require.

And the Bishop, knowing either by himself, or by sufficient testimony, any person to be of virtuous behavior, and without crime; and after examination and trial finding him sufficiently instructed in the Holy Scripture, and otherwise learned as the Canons require, may in the Ember Seasons, or upon some other day, in the presence of the Church, admit that person a Deacon, in such manner and form as hereafter follows.


On the day appointed by the bishop there shall be a sermon or exhortation on the duties and character of deacons, the necessity of this office in Christ’s Church, and how the people ought to esteem those who hold the office.


When the sermon is ended, the minister duly appointed to do so presents to the bishop sitting in his chair near the Holy Table those who are to be made deacons that day, saying

Reverend father in God, I present to you these persons to be admitted as deacons.

The bishop says

Have you made sure that the persons you present are suited by their knowledge of Scripture and godly way of life to exercise their ministry to the honor of God and the building up of his church?

The minister

I have enquired concerning them, and I have examined them [or and they have been examined.] I believe them fit for this office.

Then the bishop addresses the people

Brothers and sisters, if any of you knows any impediment or crime worthy of note in any of these persons to be made deacons, for which he should not be admitted to that office, come forward in the name of God and reveal what the crime or impediment is.

If any great crime or impediment is alleged against a candidate, the bishop shall postpone that candidate's ordination until he has satisfied himself that the allegation is without substance or may be properly disregarded.


The bishop then commends the candidates to the prayers of the people and silence is kept. The Litany is sung or said, as follows.

God the Father, Creator of heaven and earth,
have mercy on us.

God the Son, Redeemer of the world,
have mercy on us.

God the Holy Spirit, Giver of life,
have mercy on us.

Holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, three Persons and one God,
have mercy on us.

Remember not, Lord, our offences or the offences of our forebears; spare us, good Lord; spare your people, whom you have redeemed with your most precious blood.
Spare us, good Lord.

From all evil and harm; from sin; from the craft and assaults of the devil; from your wrath, and from everlasting damnation,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all spiritual blindness; from pride, vainglory, and hypocrisy; from envy, hatred, and malice, and all uncharitableness,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From fornication, and all other deadly sin; and from all the deceits of the world, the flesh, and the devil,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From lightning and tempest; from earthquake, fire, and flood; from plague, pestilence, and famine; from war and murder, and from sudden death,
Good Lord, deliver us.

From all sedition, secret conspiracy, and rebellion; from all false doctrine, heresy, and schism; from hardness of heart, and contempt for your Word and Commandments,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By the mystery of your holy Incarnation; by your holy Birth; by your Circumcision and obedience to the Law; by your Baptism, Fasting, and Temptation,
Good Lord, deliver us.

By your Agony and bloody Sweat; by your Cross and Passion; by your precious Death and Burial; by your glorious Resurrection and Ascension; and by the coming of the Holy Spirit,
Good Lord, deliver us.

In times of trouble and in times of our prosperity; in the hour of death, and on the day of judgement,
Good Lord, deliver us.

Hear our prayers, O Lord our God.
Hear us good Lord.

Guide and govern your holy Church, fill it with love and truth, and grant it the unity that is your will, binding it together with your Spirit.
Hear us, good Lord.

Give your Church boldness to preach the gospel in all the world, and to make disciples of all the nations.
Hear us, good Lord.

Enlighten the minds of all bishops, pastors, and ministers with true knowledge and understanding of your holy Word; that in their teaching and their lives they may declare it clearly and show its truth.
Hear us, good Lord.

Bless your servants now to be ordained to the ministry of deacon; and to pour your grace upon them, that they may fulfil their ministry for the building up of your Church and the glory of your holy name.
Hear us, good Lord.

Bless and keep all your people, that all may find and follow their true vocation and ministry.
Hear us, good Lord.

Give us a heart to love and reverence you, that we may diligently live according to your commandments;
Hear us, good Lord.

Give to all your people grace to hear and receive your Word, and to bring forth the fruit of the Spirit.
Hear us, good Lord.

Bring into the way of truth all who have erred and are deceived.
Hear us, good Lord.

Strengthen those who stand, and comfort and encourage the faint-hearted, raise up those who fall; and finally beat down Satan under our feet.
Hear us, good Lord.

Give to all nations unity, peace, and concord; and give to everyone in your world dignity, food, and shelter.
Hear us, good Lord.

Bless and protect your servant, the President of the United States, and rule his heart in your faith, reverence, and love; that above all things he may have trust in you, and seek your honour and glory.
Hear us, good Lord.

Endue with grace, wisdom and understanding the members of the Cabinet, the Congress of the United States, the Supreme Court, the Governor of this State (or Commonwealth), and all in authority.
Hear us, good Lord.

Bless and keep all judges and magistrates, giving them grace to administer justice with fairness and mercy and to maintain integrity and truth.
Hear us, good Lord.

Bless and defend all who strive for our safety and protection, and shield them in all dangers and adversities.
Hear us, good Lord.

Grant us abundant harvests of the earth and the sea; strength and skill to conserve the resources of our planet; and wisdom to use them well and for the benefit of all.
Hear us, good Lord.

Enlighten with your Spirit all places of education and learning.
Hear us, good Lord.

Protect all who travel by land, water, or air, all women in labour, all sick persons and young children.
Hear us, good Lord.

Help and comfort the bereaved, the aged, and the lonely, and show your pity on all prisoners, captives, and detainees.
Hear us, good Lord.

Defend and provide for the widowed and the fatherless, the refugees and the homeless, and all who are desolate and oppressed.
Hear us, good Lord.

Heal those who are sick in body, mind or spirit; and give skill and compassion to all who care for them.
Hear us, good Lord.

Come to the help all who are in danger, need or trouble.
Hear us, good Lord.

Have mercy on all people.
Hear us, good Lord.

Forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and turn their hearts.
Hear us, good Lord.

Grant us true repentance; forgive our sins, negligences, and ignorances; and strengthen us by your Holy Spirit to amend our lives according to your holy Word.
Hear us, good Lord.

Son of God, we implore you to hear us.
Son of God, we implore you to hear us.

Jesus, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;
have mercy on us.

Jesus, Lamb of God, you take away the sin of the world;
grant us your peace.

Lord, have mercy on us.
Christ, have mercy on us.
Lord, have mercy on us.

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as in heaven. Give us today our daily bread. Forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us. Lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. AMEN.


Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name, thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. AMEN.

Then shall be sung or said the service for the Holy Communion with the Collect as follows.

Almighty God, by your divine providence you have appointed various orders of ministry in your church, and did inspire your apostles to choose for the order of deacons the first martyr Saint Stephen, with others. Look in mercy on these your servants called to this office and responsibility, so fill them with the truth of your doctrine and clothe them with holiness of life, that by word and good example they may faithfully serve you in this office to the glory of your name and building up of your church through the merits of our Savior Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit now and for ever. AMEN.


The Readings are selected from those printed below.

The Old Testament Reading: Numbers 11:16-17,24-25; Isaiah 6:1-8; Isaiah 61:1-3a; or Jeremiah 1:4-9

The Psalm: 23; 84:1-7; 96:1-5; 96:6-13; 100; or 117

The Epistle: Acts 6:1-7a; Acts 6:8-15; Acts 8:26-40; Romans 12:1-8; or Romans 12:4-12; or 1 Timothy 3:8-13

The Gospel: Matthew 20:25-28; Mark 10:35-45; or Luke 22:14-[20,24-] 30; or Luke 12:35-40.


Before the Gospel the bishop, sitting in his chair, examines in the presence of the people each one of those to be ordained.

Do you believe that you are inwardly moved by the Holy Spirit to take upon you this office and ministry, to serve God for the promoting of his glory, and the building up of his people?

Answer I believe so.

The bishop
Do you think that you are truly called according to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the order of this Church, to the ministry of the Church?

Answer I think so.

The bishop
Do you sincerely believe all the canonical scriptures of the Old and New Testament?

Answer I do believe them.

The bishop
Will you diligently read them to the people assembled in the church where you will be appointed to serve?

Answer I will.

The bishop

It pertains to the office of deacon in the church where he is appointed to serve to assist the priest in Divine Service, and especially when he administers the Holy Communion, and to help him in the distribution of the Holy Communion; to read the holy Scriptures in the church; to give instruction to young people in the Christian faith as contained in the Church Catechism; in the absence of the priest to baptize infants; and to preach, if licensed to do so by the bishop. In addition it is the office of deacon, where provision is so made, to seek out the sick and needy of the parish and to inform the priest so that they may be assisted by the parishioners and others. Will you do this gladly and willingly?

Answer I will do so, by the help of God.

The bishop
Will you strive to shape your own lives, and the lives of your families, according to the teaching of Christ; and to make both yourselves and them, as much as you can, good examples to the flock of Christ?

Answer I will do so, the Lord being my helper.

The bishop

Will you reverently obey your Ordinary, and other chief ministers of the Church, and those set over you in the church, gladly and willingly following their godly admonitions?

Answer I will endeavor to do so, the Lord being my helper.


Then the bishop lays his hands on the head of each one who is to be ordained, the candidates kneeling and the bishop saying

[N,] Take authority to execute the office of a deacon in the church of God, now committed to you; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. AMEN.


Then the bishop gives to everyone of them the New Testament saying

Take authority to read the Gospel in the Church of God, and to preach the same, if you are so licensed by the bishop.


Then one of the newly ordained deacons, appointed by the bishop, reads the Gospel.


The bishop proceeds with the Holy Communion, and those who have been ordained shall receive the communion with him.

After the Post-Communion Prayer(s), and immediately before the Blessing, these Collects are said.

Almighty God, giver of all good things, in your goodness you have been pleased to accept these your servants into the office of deacons in your church. Make them, we pray, O Lord, modest, humble and faithful in their ministry, ready to observe every spiritual discipline. Give them the testimony of a good conscience and enable them to continue stable and strong in this ministry; through your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, to whom be glory and honor now and for ever. AMEN.

Go before us, O Lord, with your most gracious favor and further us with your continual help so that in all our works begun, continued and ended in you, we may glorify your holy name and at the end by your mercy obtain eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. AMEN.

The bishop pronounces this Blessing.

The peace of God which passes all understanding, keep your hearts and mind in the knowledge and love of God and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be upon you and remain with you always. AMEN.

To read "Biblically Faithful and Classically Anglican: An Alternative to the New ACNA Ordinal – Part 2," click here.


aaytch said...

I like it, but why does the new Deacon receive a New Testament, which is only a part of the Bible, rather than the whole thing. Just curious.

Robin G. Jordan said...


That's a good question. In the pre-Reformation Medieval Catholic ordination rite the new deacon was given the Book of Gospels and vested in a stole and a dalmatic or tunicle. The 1550 Ordinal replaced the Book of Gospels with the New Testament as a sign of his authority to read the Gospel and the 1552 Ordinal did away with the vesting with a stole and a dalmatic or tunicle. The 1979 Ordinal directs that a Bible should be given to deacons as well as priests and bishops. The giving of a Bible in place of a New Testament is a practice that may be one of the better features of the 1979 Ordinal and therefore worth adopting.

Father Bob Hackendorf said...

The Preface to the 1662 ordinal actually reads "No man shall be accounted or taken to be a lawful Bishop, Priest, or Deacon in the Church of England, or suffered to execute any of the said functions, except he be called, tried, examined, and admitted thereunto, according to the Form hereafter following, or hath had formerly Episcopal Consecration or Ordination."

Why is the specific reference to Episcopal ordination missing from your version?

Robin G. Jordan said...


I used a phrase taken from an early version of the constitution and canons of the Protestant Episcopal Church. The clause "... or hath had formerly Episcopal Consecration or Ordination..."
was added to the Preface to the Ordinal in 1662. It is not found in the 1550 or 1552 version of the Preface. The addition of this phrase was interpreted by some writers as inferring that non-episcopal orders were invalid. This was not the intention of the Restoration Bishops.

The Preface to the Ordinal and the Act of Uniformity say nothing against the validity of non-episcopal orders. They neither deny nor affirm the validity of such orders in other churches. "They simply and solely require, and very properly require, that an Episcopal Church shall have an episcopally ordained ministry; whilst the Bidding Prayer at the commencement of the Sermon, ordered by Canon 55 (Canons of 1604), and requiring all the clergy to pray for 'the Church of Scotland' (which was Presbyterian when this canon
was passed, even as it is to-day), plainly recognises a valid ministry without episcopal

I adopted the expedient of substituting the phrase "...or otherwise has been properly consecrated or ordained..." as it paraphrases the clause but is not open to interpretation as invalidating the non-episcopal orders of other churches. It is a step back from the exclusivism of the nineteenth century Episcopal Church and a return to the position of Hooker, Whitfield, and Cosin.

At the same time it leaves to the canons to determine what constitutes "properly consecrated or ordained." In the early version of the constitution and canons of theProtestant Episcopal Church from which I took it, the phrase is a reference to episcopal consecration and ordination.