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Visitations Customary

Episcopal Visitations in the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania

Visitations to parishes will be scheduled on a 2-year rotational cycle. The schedule will be published every 2 years.The list will be posted and kept updated on the diocesan website at the following link: Bishop Scanlan’s Schedule

Planning the Visitation

Bishop Scanlan hopes to spend her time on visitations engaging the life and ministry of the parish. This includes time spent in worship, meeting with clergy and lay leaders, participating in activities for children and youth, adult formation and fellowship, and learning how the church interacts with the community in service and mission. To that end, each visitation will require significant advance planning on the part of the parish and bishop’s office to make the most of the episcopal visitation:

  • At least 2 months in advance of the Bishop’s visit, the clergy and lay leaders should discuss what parts of their life and ministry they would like to share with the Bishop.  Is there a particular ministry- a feeding program, after-school program, Sunday school class, ecumenical partnership, community gardening program, civic collaboration- that is important to the parish? The scheduled activities should involve the parish directly and not just be local attractions (these regional introductions to places of interest have been addressed in the 3 Day Convocation Visits).
  • The attached worksheet (Visitation Worksheet) should be submitted to the Bishop’s office no less than 1 month in advance of the visit.  This worksheet will offer a proposed list of activities for the visitation period.  The Bishop will review the worksheet and a phone call with the clergy person in charge will be scheduled to take place in the weeks before the visit.
  • Ideally, the visitation will include activities on Saturday (the day before the scheduled Sunday visit), Saturday evening and worship on Sunday.  If there are 2 services on a Sunday (8:00 and 10:00, eg.) the bishop will preach and preside at both services or, alternatively, a single combined service can be arranged.
  • If the visitation site is more than 1.5 hours from Harrisburg (and Saturday activities have been included in the visitation) the Bishop will arrange for her own local accommodations at cost to the Bishop’s Ministry Expenses budget, not the individual parish.
  • If the mission activities that the parish wants to share with the Bishop take place on a day other than Saturday or Sunday, advance arrangements can be made through the Bishop’s office for a weekday appointment – as her schedule allows. These activities can be listed on the Visitation Worksheet.
  • Part of the visitation must include a (minimum) hour-long meeting with the Clergy, wardens and vestry at a time selected by the parish. Many parishes find that a meeting following the Sunday service is ideal.
  • Visitations will conclude by 2 PM on Sunday afternoons in order for the Bishop to secure her Sabbath and family time.

The Service

Confirmations and receptions will be a part of visitations in each parish with advance notice and following the protocol and guidelines for confirmation and reception in our diocese. The Customary for Confirmations is available from my Assistant, Nichol Free and on the Diocesan website. Confirmation and receptions can also take place at one of the scheduled regional confirmations during the calendar year. Inquire of the Bishop’s office for dates.

In the absence of confirmations and receptions, a renewal of baptismal vows will take place at the time of the episcopal visitation. Normally, baptisms will not be part of an episcopal visitation. Baptisms may be done on Feast Days during the bishop’s visitation, but only with sufficient advance notice.

Unless planned otherwise, the Bishop will preach and preside at all services during a visitation.

Bishop Scanlan will preside over a said or sung Eucharist, as is the parish custom.

On the bishop’s first visit to the parish, the ritual for the Seating of the Bishop will precede the service.

The Bishop will bring and wear cope and mitre for the opening and closing part of the service, if it is a service that includes the Seating of the Bishop. She will wear the parish chasuble (in the appropriate seasonal color) for other services.

The loose plate offering on the day of the episcopal visitation will be for the Bishop’s Discretionary Fund and submitted by cheque to:

Bishop’s Discretionary Fund
The Episcopal Diocese of Central PA
101 Pine St.
Harrisburg, PA 17101.


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