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Then the Bishop shall say unto them as followeth :
Dearly beloved, who are to be admitted as Readers in the House of our God, we call upon you to know the holiness of that office, and to fulfil it with all reverence and godly fear. For our God is a mighty God, who will pour down upon you His grace that ye may go on to perfection.
And as ye are set in an high place in the Church, that your voice may be heard of all men, so ought ye to study to hold an high place likewise in all godly conversation, that ye may be models of holy living; to the attaining of which may God bestow upon you His heavenly grace.
Then shall the Bishop cause the License to be read. After which he shall deliver to each his License, saying:
May the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, rest upon thee, and upon thy work done in His Name.
The Lord give thee wisdom, courage, strength, and love to do His will now and for evermore. Amen.
Here may be sung a Hymn, and an Address may be given on the Office and Duty of a Lay Reader.
Then shall the Bishop say:
Let us pray.
Lord, have mercy upon us.
Christ, have mercy upon us.
O Lord God, Holy Father, vouchsafe to bless these Thy servants in their office of Lay Readers, that they
may be diligent in reading to Thy people, and may in their lives so set forth the beauty of the things they read that they may be for examples of holiness in Thy Church. Keep them by Thy grace in purity of life, through our Lord Jesus Christ, who with Thee liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost ever One God, world without end. Amen.
Then shall the Bishop bless those present, saying:
The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, be upon you, and remain with you for ever. Amen.
It is desirable that this Service should be used before a celebration of the Holy Communion at which the Lay Readers shall communicate.
A FORM FOR THE
SETTING APART OF DEACONESSES
All things being in readiness, a Priest shall present to the Bishop sitting in his chair, near to the Holy Table, such as are to be set apart as Deaconesses, saying:
Reverend Father in God, I present unto you these women [or this woman], to be set apart to the office and work of Deaconess.
Declare, we pray you, unto those who are here gathered what the office and work of a Deaconess are.
Then shall the Priest, addressing the People, say:
Dearly beloved, that it is agreeable to the mind of Christ that women should do Him service by offices of loving kindness, we gather from St. Paul, who saith to the Philippians, Help those women which labored with me in the Gospel, and who also commendeth unto the Romans one Phoebe, a Deaconess of the Church which was at Cenchrea.
Touching the duty of women set apart to this office and ministry, the Canons of the Church affirm that it is to assist the Minister in the care of the poor and sick, in the religious training of the young and others, and in the work of moral reformation. That they may be duly appointed to such service, have these women come hither.
Then shall the Bishop say as followeth:
Beloved, we have good confidence that they who are now presented to be set apart to the office of Deaconess are competent thereto, for it hath been so certified unto us, as the Canons require, by them whose word we trust. Nevertheless, if there be any who can allege aught on account of which it is inexpedient that these persons be so set apart, let protest be now made openly and before all men.
If no good reason be alleged by any why any should not be set apart, the following Lessons shall be read: Romans xii.
Then shall be said or sung:
PSALM 100. Jubilate Deo.
O be joyful in the Lord, all ye lands: serve the Lord with gladness, and come before his presence with a song.
2 Be ye sure that the Lord he is God; it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
30 go your way into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise be thankful unto him, and speak good of his Name.
4 For the Lord is gracious, his mercy is everlasting and his truth endureth from generation to generation.
Then, all kneeling down, the Bishop shall say:
Unto Thee lift we up our eyes;
Answer. O Thou that dwellest in the heavens.
Bishop. As the eyes of servants look unto the hand of their masters;
Answer. And as the eyes of a maiden unto the hand of her mistress;
Bishop. Even so our eyes wait upon Thee, O Lord;
Bishop. O Lord, let Thy mercy lighten upon us;
O Eternal God, Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hast in all times accepted and blessed the services of holy women; Look mercifully, we beseech Thee, upon these Thy servants, about to be set apart to the office and work of Deaconess. Protect them in the way wherein they go, and grant that in singleness of purpose and with a willing mind they may worthily accomplish the task committed to them, to Thy glory and to the praise of Thy Christ, to whom with Thee, O Father, and Thee, O Holy Ghost, be glory and worship for ever and ever. Amen.
Then shall the Bishop ask of them the following questions, to which each candidate shall answer for herself:
Dearly beloved in the Lord, who are minded to take upon you this service in the Church of God, have you duly considered how weighty an undertaking this is, and are you prepared with a willing mind to take upon you this office of ministering to the suffering and needy, and in all humility and godly submission to help the Ministers of God's Word and Sacraments?
Answer. I have so considered it, and will do so by the help of God.