The Episcopal Church has four orders: the laity, deacons, priests, and bishops. People entering each order take vows unique to that order. For the laity, these vows are first taken at Baptism and are renewed at a Service of Confirmation. For those entering the diaconate, priesthood, or episcopate, the vows are taken at a Service of Ordination. An episcopate is the office or term of office for a bishop.
Each year, most dioceses of The Episcopal Church gather their clergy during Holy Week for a Eucharistic liturgy that includes the prayers and promises of the renewal of their vows and the blessing of two oils.
The Episcopal Diocese of Washington is unusual in that we offer the opportunity for members of all four orders to recommit to their vows during this service – called, appropriately enough – the Renewal of Vows and Blessing of Oils.
This year, as we collectively begin to explore and imagine life without pandemic restrictions, Bishop Mariann invites all who wish – laity, deacons, priests, (and bishops!) – to participate in a Renewal of Vows and Blessing of Oils service.
We’ll offer two services:
- Washington National Cathedral | 12:00 p.m. | Tuesday, April 12 | in person and online
- All Faith, Charlotte Hall | 11:00 a.m. | Wednesday, April 13 | in person only
If you are a layperson, please come in person or watch the Cathedral’s livestream of the service. No registration required.
Clergy will gather for a simple lunch with their bishop following the service and are requested to RSVP by Monday, March 28 so we have an accurate headcount.
The Renewal of Vows and Blessing of Oils service has roots dating back to 200 BCE and was a part of the liturgical reforms of the 1960s and 1970s. At one time the custom was to hold the service on Maundy Thursday, but for practical reasons in more recent times, the service now usually occurs earlier in Holy Week.
Two oils are blessed during the service. One, oleum sacrum or Chrism oil, is used for baptism, and may only be blessed by a bishop in our practice. The other is oleum infirmorum or oil for the sick. Oleum infirmorum is used for anointing those who are ill or near death. This oil may be blessed by a priest, but traditionally is done by a bishop.
In some dioceses, though not in this one, a third oil – called sacrum catechumenocum – may be blessed and used to anoint those entering the Catechumenant. The Catechumenant is a time of instruction on the faith for adults prior to baptism.
The Ven. L. Sue von Rautenkranz
Archdeacon and Diocesan Liturgist
If you have some spare time this summer, but find your what-to-try list either empty or running amok, check out our curated list of things to read, listen to, watch, and game. Your diocesan staff offers up a bit of everything — from the heartwarming (Ted Lasso) to the thought-provoking (Jesus and John Wayne) to the blood-pumping (Soca 2021 Latest Hits). There’s sure to be something here to help you catch up on your much needed R & R.
What we’re watching
Ted Lasso (AppleTV, season 1 available, season 2 starts July 23)
Mare of Eastown (HBO Max)
In the Heights (Hurry! Leaves HBO Max July 11)
Mythic Quest (Apple TV)
Workin’ Moms (Netflix)
Death in Paradise (Netflix)
Hamilton (Disney+) then the original 1776 (Amazon Prime or iTunes)
The Summer Olympics (NBC and NBC affiliated channels)
Schitt’s Creek (Netflix)
Great British Baking Show (Netflix)
Peaky Blinders (Seasons 1-5 on Netflix)
what we’re watching, second inning: Can’t forget baseball!
A League of Their Own
For the Love of the Game
What we’re reading
Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace – Anne Lamont
Think Again – Adam Grant
Digital Minimalism – Cal Newport
Jesus and John Wayne – Kristin Kobes Du Mez
Dear Church – Lenny Duncan
Caste: The Origins of Our Discontent – Isabel Wilkerson
Looking for God in Messy Places – Jake Owensby
Meeting Jesus Again for the First Time – Marcus Borg
My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry – Fredrik Backman
Anxious People – Fredrik Backman
The Testaments: A Novel – Margaret Atwood
The Book of Longings – Sue Monk Kidd
The Girl With the Stars in Her Eyes – Xio Axelrod
A Grain of Wheat – Ngugi wa Thiong’o
What we’re listening to
Rising Appalachia (Youtube)
Jon Batiste (Youtube)
Why Don’t We Go to Italy, I Am a Town and Down at the Twist and Shout – Mary Chapin Carpenter (All Spotify)
Sounds of Summer (with Slightly Stoopid) – The Movement (Spotify)
Todo se transforma – Jorge Drexler
Palm Beach – Vicente Garcia
Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
In the Heights
Soca 2021 Latest Hits
90s Country Music
Jazz Guitar Classics
Mozart Summer Classical
Swirlyfoot’s EDM Favs
Swirlyfoot’s Acapella Favs
Swirlyfoot’s Fav Jazz Covers
Swirlyfoot’s Disney Favs
Uplifting Soul Classics
What we’re gaming
Animal Crossing New Horizons (Rev. Todd’s Nintendo friend code is SW-8240-3424-0441!)
Dadish, in which a dad (who’s also a radish) must defeat various obstacles and fast food villains to regather his angsty and scattered radish children.
Young musicians from East of the River Steelband at the recent More Jesus, More Love revival service
In honor of Black History Month, a number of parishes in the Diocese of Washington will host events and services uplifting the contributions and culture of African-Americans in U.S. society and our local communities. From a play about Rosa Parks to a celebration of Gospel music to an exploration of the role race has played in the Episcopal Church, you’re invited to participate.
- The D.C. Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians and St. Andrew’s, College Park invite you to a Commemoration of the life and legacy of Absalom Jones, the first African American ordained priest in the Episcopal Church on Sunday, February 9 at 3:00 p.m. at St. Andrew’s (map) Bishop Mariann Edgar Budde, celebrant; the Rev. Absalom Jones (Dr. Anthony Alexander), preacher. Clergy are asked to vest, process, and wear festive stoles.
- St. Augustine’s, DC (map) will host leaders from Virginia Theological Seminary, Empower DC, and Howard University for three discussions (February 9, 16, and 23) highlighting Black History. Come hear about Verna Dozier, the Rev. Alexander Crummel, and African-Americans and the Vote. All are welcome. Learn more
- St. Thomas’, Upper Marlboro (map) celebrates Black History Month with a Celebration of Gospel Music on Sunday, February 23 at 11:30 a.m. The history of Gospel Music from African Spirituals to today’s modern Gospel will be featured through dance, poetry reading and gospel choir singing.
- The center of many African-American family gatherings is sharing food. the Episcopal Church Women of Church of the Atonement, DC (map) invite you to join them as they share their favorite Traditional Soul Cuisine in celebration of Black History Month on Sunday, February 23 at 11:30 a.m. Wearing Afrocentric attire is strongly encouraged.
- The D.C. Chapter of the Union of Black Episcopalians invites you to explore the role race has played in the Episcopal Church. The Rev. Vincent P. Harris will facilitate a conversation on Saturday, February 29 from 2:00 – 4:00 p.m. at St. Luke’s, DC (map) Learn more and register for this free discussion
Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry dropped in at the youth overnight, one of the many events that made up the More Jesus, More Love revival weekend. The theme — Go. Witness. Build. — was inspired by the Way of Love, the Episcopal Church’s rule of life.
Bishop Mariann listens in on one of the small group discussions.
Hanging out between sessions. The overnight took place at the Bishop Walker School.
Selfie with the PB? Yes, please!
Deepening friendships while deepening faith. More Jesus and more love in action.
Reflecting on lessons learned and next steps. What are YOU called to do?
On Friday, January 24 at St. Thomas’, Dupont Circle, Presiding Bishop Curry gathered with young adults from all around the diocese for conversation and worship.
Bishop Curry asks a question.
The group responds.
Bishop Mariann, Presiding Bishop Curry, and the Rev. Todd Thomas, missioner for Revitalization and Young Adult Ministry
Bishop Curry leads the worship service.
Young adults engaged and enjoying each other’s company.