Bishop’s Visit


 Bishop’s Customary for Pastoral Visitations

Revised May, 2007


Two weeks prior to the visitation, the visitation information form should be sent to the Bishop’s office with the requested attachments. A copy of the service leaflet should be sent to the office for review at the earliest opportunity prior to being published.

 It is the custom to visit the parish for the principal liturgy only. The Bishop will be happy to be present for an educational forum prior to the liturgy. During this time there can be an open forum, or a structured teaching time on a particular topic as desired.  

 A coffee hour/reception after the liturgy is figured into the Sunday schedule. During this time the Bishop will be glad to speak to those assembled on any topic and entertain questions.

 The Bishop is sometimes available to stay for lunch with the Clergy, the Wardens and Vestry, or any other combination of folks where this would seem to be a useful thing to do. It is neither required nor necessary.


 All Sunday visitations will be celebrations of the Holy Eucharist according to the use of the Book of Common Prayer, 1979. The Proper of the Day will be used unless the patronal feast has been transferred to Sunday. All participants in the liturgy should arrive early to prevent last-minute confusion.

 During the Liturgy of the Word, the only items on the altar should be the Gospel book and candles. The altar book, stand, and Eucharistic vessels are to be brought to the table at the offertory.

 The psalm should ideally be sung. If not sung, it should be said in unison, led by the celebrant.

 The gospel is to be read by the deacon of the parish. In the absence of a deacon, the priest will read the gospel. If there is an acolyte serving as “book bearer”, s/he should process ahead of the deacon or priest, receive the Book of Gospels and hold it while the Gospel is being read, and return it to the deacon or priest when the reading is finished. It is not appropriate for any person other than the deacon or priest to carry the Book of Gospels in procession. The Book of Gospels should be returned to the altar where it will remain until the offertory.

 A confession and absolution are ordinarily included in the Sunday liturgy. They may be omitted for the celebration of major feasts and should be omitted during Eastertide.

 Following the Peace, the Rector, Vicar, or Priest-in-Charge should make the necessary parish announcements. Alternatively, announcements may be made before the liturgy begins or just prior to the dismissal.

 The Bishop will resume the presidency of the liturgy with the offertory sentence.

 At the offertory, the Eucharistic vessels are brought to the altar. During the Eucharistic Prayer, the only vessels on the altar should be one paten large enough to hold all the hosts to be consecrated, one chalice, and the vessel(s) containing the wine to be consecrated. Bread boxes or ciboria should not remain on the altar during the Eucharistic Prayer. The Gospel book is cleared to an appropriate place at the offertory. The gifts of money will be acknowledged by the Bishop and then placed on the credence or other side table.  Any additional vessels needed for the distribution of communion will come to the altar after the fraction. By ancient custom, reserved sacrament is never used in the presence of a Bishop.

 The Bishop will administer the consecrated bread, with the deacon and/or priest administering the chalice(s). Should the number of congregants warrant two patens, the Bishop and priest will administer them, with the deacon or other assisting clergy administering the chalices. In the absence of sufficient clergy, licensed lay persons may assist in the administration of the chalices (BCP p. 408).

 As an alternative to the Prayer Book blessing, the seasonal blessings on pp. 22-29 of the Book of Occasional Services may be used as appropriate.

 The deacon or priest will give the dismissal. At the dismissal, the addition of the “Alleluias” is only appropriate from the Easter Vigil through the Day of Pentecost.

 The Bishop is happy to sing as much of the liturgy as desired.

 Please do not add other events to the Eucharist such as vestry installations, church school presentations, or the presentation of any awards or gifts. Such events should be scheduled for another time or following the liturgy.

 If you have any questions, feel free to contact the Bishop’s office at 274-4500.

Visitation Information

 Please fill out and return this form to the Bishop’s office.

Parish                                                      Town                                                            



Date of Visitation                                     Time of Service                            (AM) (PM)

 Lectionary (circle one):              BCP     RCL

 Propers (for Sunday, please use the Proper appointed for the day)

 Hebrew Scripture                                                                                                         



 Are the following Sung or Said? (circle one)

 Gloria                           Sung / Said

Psalm                           Sung / Said

Sursum Corda          Sung / Said

Preface                        Sung / Said

Sanctus                       Sung / Said

Great Amen               Sung / Said

Lord’s Prayer            Sung / Said

 Would you like to have the Bishop prior to the liturgy for an educational forum?

 For this visitation please note (use additional sheet of paper if necessary):

(1)        Any other expectations you have of the Bishop

  (2)        Any issues or concerns you wish the Bishop to address

 When returning this form to the Bishop’s office, please include the following:

 One copy of the report prepared for your last Annual Parish Meeting.

Copies of the minutes from the two most recent vestry meetings.

Copies of your treasurer’s two most recent financial reports (including information regarding all amounts held in savings, trust or memorial accounts).

This form (Visitation Form) completed.

Revised 02/07                                       Signed                                                                         


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