Episco-Fact #165
November 21, 2019

Does the Episcopal Church have a liturgy for Thanksgiving?

The simple answer is that the Episcopal Church recognizes Thanksgiving Day as a day worthy of Propers for the day. That means there are assigned readings and a specific "collect (prayer)" for the day as well.

More importantly, the Episcopal Church and Anglican Churches throughout the world recognize the "Eucharist" as a thanksgiving meal whenever it is done. The word Eucharist comes from Greek, the language of the early church, and is used as the term for the act of blessing and sharing Christ's body and blood in the Bread and Wine. It translates as "thanksgiving." Hence the actual prayer is called The Great Thanksgiving (see BCP pg. 333, 340, 361, and 367).

The Great Thanksgiving is a combined doxology (eg. the bottom of page 361 and top of page 362), a recitation of salvation history, and an invitation to the presence of the Holy Spirit.

All of this is pretty profound, hence, the ending of the prayer is signified by the great amen, which is in all caps at the end of prayers, 1, 2, A, B, C, and D—AMEN. This signification is to indict an emphatic conclusion by the people, something like the WE WILL when we are asked to support baptismal candidates in their life in Christ.

So let the excitement ring out in church: Thanksgiving at least once a week and a great so be it to proclaim with it.

David