An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church

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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 by the BCP (pp. 333, 361). 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 (BCP, pp. 343f, 376f). This sentence was sung by the choir as an anthem in the first Prayer Book of 1549, but it has been recited by the celebrant since 1552. Earlier editions of the Prayer Book directed that the priest offer the bread and wine at the offertory, but it is not mentioned in the 1979 BCP. The proper offering of the gifts by the priest occurs at the oblation in the Great Thanksgiving, which says, "We offer you these gifts" (BCP, p. 363; see pp. 335, 342, 369, 371, 374). See Oblation; see Preparation of the Table and Presentation of the Offerings.

Glossary definitions provided courtesy of Church Publishing Incorporated, New York, NY,(All Rights reserved) from "An Episcopal Dictionary of the Church, A User Friendly Reference for Episcopalians," Don S. Armentrout and Robert Boak Slocum, editors.