St. Mark's Episcopal Church

124 North Sylvia Street - Montesano, WA, 98563

Liturgies of the Church


The church's public worship of God.  The term is derived from Greek words for "people" and "work." The church's public worship of God is the work of the Christian people. The life of Christ active in the church by the Spirit is expressed through liturgy. Whether the liturgy is done by many or few, it is the corporate liturgy of the whole church. Liturgy does not include private devotions or acts of piety by individuals and groups. For example, saying the Rosary is not a liturgy.

Liturgy is sacramental. Outward and visible realities are used to express the inward and spiritual realities of God's presence in our lives. Liturgy reflects the belief of incarnational theology that tangible and finite things may reveal divine grace and glory. By the Spirit, through liturgy, the church manifests the love of God and the unity we share in Christ. This loving unity was shared by the Father and the Son, and it is offered to all Christian believers. Liturgy is a public and social event. It engages our lives and faith, our thoughts, feelings, hopes, and needs-especially our need for salvation in Christ.


Many liturgies of the Episcopal Church may include processions. For example, there may be a procession to the font at a baptism, the bride and groom and wedding party may process to the sanctuary at the Celebration and Blessing of a Marriage, and the body may be borne from the church in procession at the Burial of the Dead. At the liturgy of the palms on Palm Sunday, and at the Dedication and Consecration of a Church, the clergy and people may gather at a place apart from the church to enter the church in procession. At the Easter Vigil, the deacon or celebrant bears the lighted Paschal candle and leads the congregation in procession to the chancel. The Great Litany may be said or sung in procession.



Eucharist/Holy Communion 

The eucharist is also called the Lord's Supper, Holy Communion, the Divine Liturgy, the Mass, and the Great Offertory (BCP, p. 859).  The sacrament of Christ's body and blood, and the principal act of Christian worship. The term is from the Greek, "thanksgiving." Jesus instituted the eucharist "on the night when he was betrayed." At the Last Supper he shared the bread and cup of wine at a sacred meal with his disciples. He identified the bread with his body and the wine with his blood of the new covenant. Christ's sacrifice is made present by the eucharist, and in it we are united to his one self-offering (BCP, p. 859).

In the BCP, the whole service is entitled the Holy Eucharist. The first part of the service is designated the Word of God. It usually includes the entrance rite, the lessons and gradual psalm, the gospel, the sermon, the Nicene Creed, the prayers of the people, the confession of sin and absolution, and the peace. The second portion of the service is designated the Holy Communion. It includes the offertory, the consecration of the bread and wine in the Great Thanksgiving, the communion of the people, and the concluding prayers of thanksgiving and dismissal. A blessing may be given prior to the dismissal.



In the Episcopal Church, the term typically refers to a piece of music that is played immediately before the beginning of a service. A musical prelude is often played by an organist or other instrumentalists.


Entrance Rite 

The liturgical gathering of the people as the worshiping community at the beginning of the eucharist. The entrance rite prepares the congregation for the liturgy of the word.  The entrance rite of the 1979 BCP includes the entrance of the ministers and may begin with a hymn, psalm, or anthem. A seasonal acclamation follows. The collect for purity is optional in Rite 2 eucharistic liturgies but is required in Rite 1. Then may follow the Gloria in excelsis or another song of praise, or the Kyrie eleison, or the Trisagion. The Gloria in excelsis or other hymn of praise is to be used from Christmas Day through the Feast of Epiphany and throughout the Easter season. The salutation is followed by the collect of the day.



A hymn, psalm, or anthem that is sung as the ministers enter to begin the eucharist. The term is from Latin, "to go in" or "enter." The 1979 BCP provides that a hymn, psalm, or anthem may be sung before the opening acclamation of the eucharist (pp. 323, 355). 


Opening Acclamation 

In the Holy Eucharist the opening acclamation is the greeting of the people by the presider and their response, which begins the service (BCP, pp. 323, 355). Its purpose is to bring the congregation corporately into dialogue with the presider and set a tone for the celebration. 


Liturgy of the Word 

The first part of the eucharist, centered upon the proclamation of the Word of God, preceding the Great Thanksgiving. The BCP identifies this part of the eucharist as the Word of God (p. 355). It is also known as the ministry of the word. In a standard eucharistic rite, it includes the entrance rite (with salutation and collect of the day), the lessons, the sermon, the prayers of the people, the confession and absolution, and the peace. The entrance rite may be preceded by a hymn. Morning Prayer or Evening Prayer may be used for the liturgy of the word at the eucharist. The Nicene Creed may take the place of the Apostles' Creed, and the officiant may pass directly from the salutation and response to the collect of the day (BCP, p. 142).

Gloria in Excelsis

"Glory in the highest," a short hymn of praise to the Trinity. Its opening verse is based on the song of the angels to the shepherds at the time of Jesus' birth, as reported in Lk 2:14. It is known as the "Angelic Hymn." It is also known as the "Greater Doxology," distinguishing it from the Gloria Patri, the "Lesser Doxology.". The 1979 BCP restored the Gloria to its place in the eucharistic entrance rite (pp. 324-325, 356). The Gloria may be used from Christmas Day through the Feast of the Epiphany, on Sundays in Easter season, on all the days of Easter Week, on Ascension Day, and at other times. The Gloria is not used at the eucharist on the Sundays or ordinary weekdays of Advent or Lent (BCP, p. 406).

Kyrie eleison 

In the early church, in the east, the Greek supplication Kyrie eleison ("Lord, have mercy") was the common response to intercessory biddings addressed to the people. It is now used in the eucharist at the entrance rite and the general intercessions.  In the Episcopal Church, Kyrie eleison may be sung or said in place of the Gloria in excelsis in the entrance rite in seasons other than Christmas and Easter in Rite 2 services Some parishes use it during the penitential season of Lent. Kyrie eleison alternates with Christe eleison ("Christ have mercy"). The chant may be sung or said threefold, sixfold, or ninefold.



A selection of scripture that serves as a reading for a church service. It is also known as a lection or a reading. The BCP appoints lessons for the eucharist in the Lectionary (pp. 889-931).  The gospel at the eucharist is to be read by a deacon, or by a priest or bishop if a deacon is unavailable. All other lessons may be read by lay people. The NT lesson at the eucharist is also known as the epistle. A lay person who reads a lesson is known as a lector. Lessons may be said or sung.



Literally, a letter, the name was given to the first of the two NT readings in the eucharist. The majority of these passages were taken from the epistolary literature of the NT, such as the letters of Paul to communities of Christians in various places. On occasion, other books (Acts, Revelation, or OT readings) were substituted.



A psalm, hymn, or anthem that is sung or read between the OT reading and the epistle at the eucharist. The term comes from the Latin gradus, "step," on which cantors stood. The gradual serves as a meditation or response to the reading, and the gradual psalm has sometimes been called the "responsorial psalm." Although the gradual is optional in the Episcopal Church, it is considered by many to be an essential part of the liturgy of the word. It dates from the mid-fourth century, representing the oldest regular liturgical use of psalmody in the eucharistic liturgy. It may be a chant setting of the psalm appointed for the day. The choir or a cantor may sing the psalm to an elaborate chant, or the choir may sing an anthem based on the psalm, or all may sing the psalm to a simple chant. It may also be a metrical setting or hymn based on the appointed psalm. In the early church, a cantor sang the psalm from a lectern or ambo, and the congregation sang a refrain after each verse or group of verses while seated. The gradual was at times sung between the epistle and the gospel after the OT lesson was dropped from certain rites. Traditionally, the gradual is not concluded with a doxology. Many musical settings are available, including a plainchant version published by Church Publishing Incorporated.

Gospel Procession 

In many places it is customary to have a gospel procession to the place of reading. A procession may include several persons-the reader, two candle bearers, a thurifer, and, if needed, someone to hold the gospel book. Incense may be used to honor the gospel book.

Gospel Acclamation 

Before and after a gospel reading, the people acclaim Christ present in the sacred word. They are, Rite 2, "Glory to you, Lord Christ" and "Praise to you, Lord Christ." The acclamations may be sung when the gospel is sung. The customary acclamations are omitted for the Passion gospel on the Sunday of the Passion, Palm Sunday, and Good Friday. 


A gospel reading is appointed for each day of the church year by the Daily Office lectionary. The gospel in the Episcopal liturgy is the final reading from Holy Scriptures taken from the canonical gospels at the eucharist. It marks the climax of the liturgy of the word. The gospel may include elaborate ceremonial, such as a gospel procession with two candle bearers and a thurifer. The congregation stands for the gospel, which may be read or sung from the midst of the congregation.

Sequence Hymn 

A hymn sung after the second lesson and before the gospel acclamation at the eucharist.



Religious address in a worship service. The sermon is to "break open" the Word of God and proclaim the gospel in the context of the readings from scripture, the liturgical occasion, the congregation gathered, and the pastoral needs of the situation. The Christian story, the congregation's story, and the preacher's story can be the one story of God's love that is proclaimed in the sermon. A short sermon is often called a "homily."

The 1979 BCP requires a sermon after the gospel at the eucharist. At a baptism, the sermon may follow the gospel or the peace. A sermon may be preached at the Daily Offices of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer. The sermon may follow the readings at the Daily Office, or it may be preached at the time of the hymn or anthem after the collects, or it may follow the office. 

Nicene Creed 

It was first issued by the Council of Nicaea in 325. It is commonly held to be based on the baptismal creed of Jerusalem, and it is often referred to as the Niceno-Constantinopolitan Creed. It states the full divinity of the Son, the second Person of the Trinity. It also states the full divinity of the Holy Spirit.  The Nicene Creed is expressed in its original form of "We believe" in the Rite 2 eucharistic liturgy of the 1979 BCP.


Prayers of the People 

The BCP uses the title "Prayers of the People" for the general intercessions in the eucharist.


Confession of Sin 

An acknowledgment of sin, as in Ps 51: "Against you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight." Confessions of sin during the liturgy are general, made by all the people.


The Peace

A liturgical exchange of greeting through word and gesture. It is a sign of reconciliation, love, and renewed relationships in the Christian community. It is initiated by the celebrant, who says, "The peace of the Lord be always with you." The people respond, "And also with you." The ministers and people may greet one another in the name of the Lord (BCP, pp. 332, 360). Any appropriate words of greeting may be used in the exchange of peace that follows between individuals (BCP, p. 407). The gesture of greeting has been expressed in a variety of ways, including a kiss on the cheek, an embrace, a handclasp, or a bow.


Offertory, Offertory Procession, Offertory Sentence 

The first action of the second part of the Holy Eucharist-the liturgy of the table, called The Holy Communion. It consists of bread and wine, along with money and other gifts, which are presented to the deacon (or celebrant) who then sets the table for the feast. The procession of lay people carrying the gifts is called the offertory procession. The celebrant may begin the offertory by reciting an offertory sentence from scripture.



Words of glory (from the Greek doxa logos) or praise to God, usually in a trinitarian form.  Metrical doxologies, such as the familiar verse beginning "Praise God from whom all blessings flow," are sometimes used at the presentation of offerings. 


Liturgy of the Table 

A convenient, frequently used term for the portion of the eucharistic rite which is celebrated at the altar (holy table), titled "The Holy Communion" in the BCP. It consists of four basic actions: preparation of the table, the eucharistic prayer or Great Thanksgiving, the breaking of the bread, and the ministration of communion. These actions are followed by a postcommunion prayer. A blessing and/or dismissal may also follow. The postcommunion prayer may be preceded or followed by a hymn. 


Preparation of the Table and Presentation of the Offerings 

It is the function of the deacon to prepare the altar for the celebration of the eucharist, preparing and placing upon it the bread and cup of wine (BCP, p. 407). The deacon may be assisted by other ministers in preparing the table. Although a corporal (small white cloth) is not required by the BCP, in most parishes it is placed on the fair linen at the preparation of the table, with the paten, chalice, and any other vessels. A sufficient quantity of bread for the celebration may be placed on the paten, or the bread may be placed on the corporal in the vessel in which it was presented. It is customary to add a little water to the wine in preparing the table. In order to express the symbolism of the one cup, it is appropriate that there be only one chalice on the altar during the Great Thanksgiving. Depending on the local custom of the congregation, the Altar Book may be placed on the altar at this time. The preparation of the table immediately precedes the eucharistic prayer and serves to draw the congregation's attention from the pulpit to the altar in preparation for celebrating the Great Thanksgiving.


Preface (Eucharistic) 

Introductory section of the eucharistic prayer, including the salutation, the Sursum Corda and ending with the Sanctus 


Dialogue, Opening (Eucharist) 

The practice of opening the eucharistic prayer with a dialogue between presider and people dates from the early church. The dialogue consists of three exchanges: the salutation, "The Lord be with you," the command, "Lift up your hearts," and the request, "Let us give thanks to the Lord our God." The people express their agreement or consent in each exchange.

Sanctus, The 

From the Latin for "holy," a hymn of adoration and praise which begins, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Hosts." It typically follows the preface in the eucharistic prayer (BCP, pp. 334, 341, 362, 367, 371, 373, 402, 404). It is sung or said by the celebrant and people. The Sanctus is based on the song of the seraphim as recorded in Isaiah's vision of the Lord in the year King Uzziah died (Is 6:1-3; see Rv 4:8). The congregation may be said to share in the praise of God that is continually offered by the whole company of heaven. The Sanctus has been accompanied by bells since the fifteenth century in some places.  

Great Thanksgiving (or Anaphora) 

Prayer of consecration said over bread and wine at the eucharist. The BCP uses the title "The Great Thanksgiving" as a major subheading in bold typeface for both eucharistic rites (BCP, pp. 333, 361), thus recovering one of the ancient designations for the eucharistic prayer. Title used by the BCP for the eucharistic prayer, the central prayer of the Eucharist. It is also known as the prayer of consecration. It begins with the dialogue called Sursum corda and continues through the Great Amen at the end of its doxology. It gives thanks for creation, redemption, and sanctification. The bread and wine are consecrated in the context of giving thanks over them in the eucharistic prayer. The institution narrative, oblation (anamnesis), invocation of the Holy Spirit (epiclesis), intercessions, and the angelic hymn Sanctus are included in the eucharistic prayer.



Among Anglicans the term "invocation" may refer to the epiclesis of the eucharistic rites, in which the presence of the Holy Spirit is invoked at the eucharist to bless and sanctify the eucharistic elements and the participants.


Memorial Acclamations 

An acclamation of the people after the institution narrative in the eucharist. For example, in Prayer B, the memorial acclamation is "We remember his death/ We proclaim his resurrection/ We await his coming in glory" (BCP, p. 368). All four Rite 2 eucharistic prayers include a memorial acclamation. In Eucharistic Prayers A, B, and D, the memorial acclamation is made by the celebrant and people together. In Eucharistic Prayer C, the memorial acclamation is stated in the people's response that follows soon after the institution narrative. Inclusion of the memorial acclamations reflects the emphasis on congregational participation of the 1979 BCP.


Great Amen 

The response of assent by the congregation at the conclusion of the eucharistic prayer. As the eucharistic celebration is shared by the congregation and the presider, the Great Amen emphasizes the assent of the people to the words spoken on their behalf by the presider. The Great Amen is the "people's prayer" that concludes the eucharistic prayer. The Great Amen is printed in all capital letters in the BCP to emphasize the importance of this moment in the liturgy.


Elevation of the Elements 

The lifting up of the eucharistic elements for adoration at the concluding doxology of the eucharistic prayer. This gesture identifies the bread and wine with the sacrifice of Christ. The presider lifts the bread and the deacon lifts the cup, replacing them after the people respond "Amen." The presider lifts both bread and cup if there is no deacon. Historically, the bread and cup have also been lifted up at the words of institution or at the oblation (offering) of the elements in the eucharistic prayer. The BCP rubrics direct that at the words of institution the celebrant will hold or lay a hand on the bread and vessels of wine to be consecrated. Elevation of the elements at this time is permissible but not required. The bread and wine may also be lifted up at the time of the presentation of the gifts, prior to the eucharistic prayer. 


The Lord's Prayer

This prayer of Jesus was given to his disciples as an example of how they should pray. The phrase "Lord's Prayer" is not used in the NT. The prayer is found in Mt 6:9-13 as part of the Sermon on the Mount and in Lk 11:2-4 when Jesus and the disciples are on the road to Jerusalem.  It begins with an address to God the Father, continues with petitions which ask God to act in a way which would achieve his purposes, and then has petitions which ask for God's help. The traditional closing, the doxology, is probably a later addition. 


The Breaking of the Bread, (The Fraction) 

The breaking of the consecrated bread for distribution by the celebrant at the eucharist. The fraction also recalls Christ's body as broken for us and our salvation. The breaking of the bread follows the eucharistic prayer and the Lord's Prayer and is accompanied by a period of silence. A fraction anthem, or confractorium, may also be sung or said after the breaking of the bread. The fraction is followed by the celebrant's invitation to communion and the administration of communion.  


Words of Administration (of Communion) 

Ministers of the sacrament say these words as the bread and wine are given to the communicants. In a Rite 2 Eucharist, the ministers may say "The Body (Blood) of our Lord Jesus Christ keep you in everlasting life" or "The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven/The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation" (BCP, p. 365



Administration of the consecrated bread and wine of the eucharist at the same time, typically by dipping the bread in the wine and placing the moistened host in the mouth. Depending on local practice, this may be done by the communicant or the one who administers the wine. Some communicants prefer intinction because of concerns about contagious diseases or alcohol consumption.

Postcommunion Prayer 

A prayer of thanksgiving after communion that also seeks God's help for Christian service. The eucharistic community is sent "into the world in peace" to love and serve God as witnesses of Christ (BCP, pp. 365-366). This prayer expresses the transition of the Christian's attention from the mystery of sacramental participation to the engagement of Christian ministry. The prayer follows the administration of communion to the people, and it precedes the blessing and dismissal.



A blessing pronounced by a bishop or priest at the conclusion of a worship service. In a general sense, it may refer to any prayer that closes a meeting or gathering.



A deacon, or the presider if no deacon is present, ends the eucharistic liturgy by dismissing the people. There are four alternate texts: 1) "Let us go forth in the name of Christ"; 2) "Go in peace to love and serve the Lord"; 3) "Let us go forth into the world, rejoicing in the power of the Spirit"; and 4) "Let us bless the Lord." To each the people respond: "Thanks be to God." During the fifty days of Easter, "alleluia, alleluia" is added to the dismissal and its response.



Penitential Order 

The eucharist may begin with a penitential order (BCP, pp. 319-321, 351-353). The Penitential Order includes an acclamation and the confession of sin and absolution. It may also include the decalogue, and one or more appropriate sentences of scripture. These sentences of scripture include the Summary of the Law, Mt 22:37-40 or Mark 12:29-31; 1 Jn 1:8-9; and Heb 4:14, 16. The Penitential Order may be used as an entrance rite during Lent or other times to emphasize the penitential aspect of the eucharist.  When the Penitential Order is used to begin the eucharist, the service continues with the Gloria in excelsis, the Kyrie eleison, or the Trisagion. The confession and absolution are not repeated later in the service.


Great Litany, The

An intercessory prayer including various petitions that are said or sung by the leader, with fixed responses by the congregation. The 1979 BCP titled the Litany "The Great Litany" (p. 148), distinguishing it from other litanies in the Prayer Book.

The Great Litany may be said or sung. The officiant and people may kneel or stand, or it may be done in procession. The Great Litany may be done before the Eucharist, or after the collects of Morning or Evening Prayer, or separately. Because of its penitential tone, it is especially appropriate during Lent. The Great Litany includes an invocation of the Trinity; a series of deprecations which seek deliverance from evil, spiritual harm, and natural calamities; a series of obsecrations which plead the power of Christ's Incarnation, life, death, and resurrection for deliverance; prayers of general intercession; the Agnus Dei; the Kyrie; the Lord's Prayer; a versicle and response based on Ps 33:22; a concluding collect; and the grace (BCP, pp.148-154). The Supplication (BCP, p. 154) may be used at the conclusion of the Great Litany, taking the place of all that follows the Lord's Prayer.

When the Great Litany precedes the eucharist, the Litany concludes with the Kyrie and the eucharist begins with the salutation and the collect of the day (BCP, p. 153). The Great Litany should not be preceded by a hymn, psalm, or anthem when it is used as an entrance rite at the eucharist. The Great Litany takes the place of the prayers of the people at the eucharist. The confession may also be omitted.

Renewal of Baptismal Vows 

When there are no candidates for baptism or Confirmation at the Easter Vigil, the celebrant leads the people in the Renewal of Baptismal Vows (BCP, pp. 292-294). The Renewal of Baptismal Vows traditionally follows the Easter Vigil readings. It may also follow the gospel and a sermon or homily. The celebrant invites the people to the Renewal of Baptismal Vows with a bidding that recalls the Easter theme of death and rebirth with Christ by baptism. This address notes that the Lenten observance is ended and invites the people to renew the solemn promises and vows of baptism (BCP, p. 292). The Renewal of Baptismal Vows includes nine questions by the celebrant with responses by the people. This form for the Renewal of Baptismal Vows may also be used at the other baptismal feasts (Pentecost, All Saints' Day or the Sunday after All Saints' Day, and the Feast of the Baptism of our Lord) when there is no candidate for baptism. The Renewal of Baptismal Vows takes the place of the Nicene Creed at the Easter Vigil and the other baptismal feasts (BCP, pp. 295, 312). 


The Summary of the Law

The Summary of the Law includes the two commandments that call for the love of God and the love of neighbor. These commandments appear separately in the OT (Dt 6:5; Lv 19:18). Although there is some precedent in pre-Christian Judaism for bringing these two commandments together, Jesus was apparently the first to formulate them precisely in this way as a summary of all the requirements of the Law (Mk 12:29-31).


The Apostles' Creed

Ancient formula of Christian belief in three sections concerning God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Although its authorship is attributed to the twelve apostles, opinions vary concerning its origin. The Apostles' Creed may be considered to be an authentic expression of the apostolic faith. It contains twelve articles, and is known as the baptismal creed because catechumens were traditionally required to recite it before baptism. It was the basis for the original baptismal formula. Candidates were baptized by immersion or affusion after their response of faith to each of the three questions concerning Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.


Morning Prayer 

Many elements of Morning Prayer come from the monastic hours of matins (e.g., Venite and Te Deum), lauds (e.g., Benedicte, omnia opera Domini, a "chapter" of scripture, Benedictus Dominus Deus, collect of the day), and Prime (e.g., a second "chapter" of scripture and the Apostles' Creed). Psalms were recited at every one of the offices, with the whole Psalter recited once a week. In the 1979 BCP, only one lesson must be read, and the appointed lessons are not so long. 

The complete Ps 95 is appointed to take the place of the Venite on Ash Wednesday, Holy Saturday, and all the Fridays in Lent, including Good Friday. The canticle Pascha nostrum takes the place of the invitatory psalm in Easter Week, and it may be used throughout Easter season. An invitatory psalm may be substituted for the Phos hilaron at Evening Prayer. 

Evening Prayer 

One of the principal Daily Offices. Evening Prayer has been the title for the Evening Office in Anglican worship since the 1552 revision of the Prayer Book. The BCP provides forms for Daily Evening Prayer in traditional and contemporary language (pp. 61, 115). Evening Prayer may begin with an opening sentence of scripture and with the confession of sin. The Invitatory may include the canticle Phos Hilaron, an ancient hymn praising Christ at the lighting of lamps at sunset. The office continues with a selection from the Psalter, readings from scripture followed by canticles (typically the Magnificat and Nunc dimittis), the Apostles' Creed, the Lord's Prayer, a set of suffrages, one or more collects, and the dismissal


The last of the four services in the Daily Office (BCP, p. 127). It is descended from the night prayers said before bed at the end of the monastic round of daily prayer. Compline is a simple office including a confession of sins, one or more psalms, a short reading from scripture, versicles and responses, the Lord's Prayer, collects which ask for God's protection during the night to come, and the canticle Nunc dimittis. A hymn for the evening may follow the short reading from scripture



This form of the monastic office (matins and lauds) is commonly adapted for congregational use during Holy Week. The office is structured around psalms, readings, and responsories. A distinguishing characteristic of this service is the series of readings from Lamentations which appear early in the office. The distinctive ceremonial of Tenebrae includes use of fifteen lighted candles, often set on a special, triangular stand. One candle is extinguished as each of the fourteen appointed psalms is completed. The fifteenth candle, symbolic of Christ, is left lighted at the end of the final psalm. But it is carried away to be hidden, which signifies the apparent victory of the forces of evil. A sudden loud noise is made at the end of the service, symbolizing the earthquake at Christ's death. The lighted candle is then restored to its place, suggesting Christ's eventual triumph. The BOS includes Tenebrae as an option for use on Wednesday in Holy Week. 


Confession of Faith 

A declaration of belief in the triune God, after the example of the Christian martyrs and confessors of faith. In Christian liturgy, this confession is expressed through the recitation of the ancient ecumenical creeds-the Apostles' Creed and the Nicene Creed-and through the eucharistic prayer. At every baptism in the Episcopal Church, the congregation welcomes the newly baptized by urging: "Confess the faith of Christ crucified, proclaim his resurrection, and share with us in his eternal priesthood" (BCP, p. 308). 


General Thanksgiving 

The BCP includes two prayers of General Thanksgiving.  This prayer asks God to "give us such an awareness of your mercies, that with truly thankful hearts we may show forth your praise, not only with our lips, but in our lives, by giving up our selves to your service, and by walking before you in holiness and righteousness all our days" (BCP, p. 101). The first American Prayer Book (1789) required use of this prayer at every Daily Office. In 1892 its use became optional, except on Sundays when the litany or eucharist did not follow immediately. The prayer appears as "The General Thanksgiving" in the 1979 BCP. It precedes "A Prayer of St. Chrysostom" and the dismissal at the close of Morning Prayer and Evening Prayer (BCP, pp. 58-59, 71-72, 101, 125). Its use is optional. The General Thanksgiving is said by the officiant and the people.

The 1979 BCP also includes "A General Thanksgiving" among the Prayers and Thanksgivings found near the end of the BCP (p. 836).  It thanks God for the splendor of creation, for the blessing of family and friends, for tasks which demand our best efforts, for disappointments that lead us to acknowledge our dependence on God, for Jesus, and for his resurrection that raises us to the life of God's kingdom, and for the gift of the Spirit through whom we give thanks to God in all things.