Preface of Apostles
PRAYER (traditional language)
Eternal God, who didst bless thy servant Samuel Seabury with the gift of perseverance to renew the Anglican inheritance in North America; Grant that, joined together in unity with our bishops and nourished by thy holy Sacraments, we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal; through Jesus Christ, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
PRAYER (contemporary language)
Eternal God, you blessed your servant Samuel Seabury with the gift of perseverance to renew the Anglican inheritance in North America: Grant that, joined together in unity with our bishops and nourished by your holy Sacraments, we may proclaim the Gospel of redemption with apostolic zeal; through Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Collects and lessons revised at GC 2009
Return to Lectionary
Last updated: 27 Sept. 2009
BISHOP (14 NOV 1784)
(BESTOWAL OF THE AMERICAN EPISCOPATE)
crucial date for members of the Episcopal Church in the United States
of America is the consecration of the first Bishop of the Anglican Communion
in the United States. During the colonial era, there had been no Anglican
bishops in the New World; and persons seeking to be ordained as clergy
had had to travel to England for the purpose. After the achievement of
American independence, it was important for the Church in the United States
to have its own bishops, and an assembly of Connecticut clergy chose Samuel
Seabury to go to England and there seek to be consecrated as a bishop.
However, the English bishops were forbidden by law to consecrate anyone
who would not take an oath of allegiance to the British Crown. He accordingly
turned to the Episcopal Church of Scotland. When the Roman Catholic king
James II was deposed in 1688, some of the Anglican clergy (including some
who had been imprisoned by James for defying him on religious issues) said
that, having sworn allegiance to James as King, they could not during his
lifetime swear allegiance to the new monarchs William and Mary. Those who
took this position were known as non-Jurors (non-swearers), and they included
almost all the bishops and clergy of the Episcopal Church in Scotland.
Accordingly, the monarchs and Parliament declared that thenceforth the
official church in Scotland should be the Presbyterian Church. The Episcopal
Church of Scotland thereafter had no recognition by the government, and
for some time operated under serious legal disablities. However, since
it had no connection with the government, it was free to consecrate Seabury
without government permission, and it did. This is why you see a Cross
of St. Andrew on the Episcopal Church flag.
In Aberdeen, 14 November 1784, Samuel Seabury was consecrated to the
Episcopate by the Bishop and the Bishop Coadjutor of Aberdeen and the
Bishop of Ross and Caithness. He thus became part of the unbroken chain
of bishops that links the Church today with the Church of the Apostles.
In return, he promised them that he would do his best
to persuade the American Church to use as its Prayer of Consecration (blessing
of the bread and wine at the Lord's Supper) the Scottish prayer, taken
largely unchanged from the 1549 Prayer Book, rather than the much shorter
one in use in England. The aforesaid prayer, adopted by the American Church
with a few modifications, has been widely regarded as one of the greatest
treasures of the Church in this country.