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The Epiphany Guild

The Epiphany Guild is a religious and learned society of Anglican ministers, ordained and lay, founded in New York in 1924 and incorporated in 1931 by Archbishop Arthur Wolfort Brooks (a priest of the Episcopal Church and later founder of the Apostolic Episcopal Church), and revived along its current lines (initially under the name Epiphany Fellowship) by the late Canon Dr Paul Faunch of the AEC and the Church of England. It is an institution of the Apostolic Episcopal Church and today is administered by the Western Orthodox Academy. It has the aim of promoting and raising the standard of worship conducted in the tradition of the Book of Common Prayer.

The Prayer Book tradition is interpreted by the Guild in a broad sense, and includes all Anglican liturgies derived from the Book of Common Prayer in its rescensions from 1662 up to 1928 (preserving traditional language), along with other liturgies which, while being formed around a core of Prayer Book material, supplement this with additional material sympathetic in style. Examples of the latter include the English Missal, the American Missal, and the Scottish Liturgy.

As such, the Guild is ecumenical in its membership, and is open both to members of the Anglican Communion and the Continuing Anglican movement. The membership is comprised of diploma-holders of the Guild and others by invitation.

The Objects of the Guild are as follows:

  • To promote the use and study of the Book of Common Prayer, and of liturgies derived materially from it;
  • To raise the standards according to which Prayer Book worship is conducted;
  • To form an ecumenical fellowship of ministers, united by the use of the Prayer Book in worship.

The Guild pursues these objects through the provision of formal examinations relating to Prayer Book worship, and by serving as a fellowship of like-minded individuals able to support and encourage each other’s efforts to serve God in the classical Anglican tradition.

Doctrinal statement

The Guild does not ask its members to assent to an extensive or novel statement of doctrine, but merely to confess the orthodox Christian faith as taught in the Prayer Book, and summarised by St Vincent of Lérins as “that which has been believed everywhere, always, and by all”.

As Anglicans, we accept the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, and the seven Ecumenical Councils of the united Church, and hold that the Old and New Testaments together contain all things necessary to salvation.

As an ecumenical organization, we do not believe that Anglican identity is dependent upon communion with the See of Canterbury, but is derived from faith and worship that is in conformity with historic Anglican precedent and doctrine. As such, the Guild is open to membership from a range of churchmanship within the Anglican tradition.

Diplomas in public worship

As well as being a religious society, the Epiphany Guild is an examining body, offering diplomas in public worship. These are awarded at the levels of Associate, Licentiate and Fellow, and are examined at postsecondary level. Each diploma entitles the holder to the appropriate academical dress and postnominal letters. The diplomas are available by three pathways: dissertation, spoken word, and music. Each is designed to test the skills required by those leading worship in the Prayer Book tradition at a high standard.

The diplomas are awarded by the Epiphany Guild as a division of the Western Orthodox Academy in the United Kingdom. The Western Orthodox Academy is registered on the UK Register of Learning Providers (UKRLP) with Provider Reference Number 10063798. The UKRLP does not quality assure or accredit in any way the learning provision of the provider. However, registration with the UKRLP does serve as an official confirmation that the education provider’s existence and details have been verified by a UK government agency.

The Epiphany Guild is accredited by the the Anglican Association of Colleges and Schools, the umbrella body for the educational institutions of the Apostolic Episcopal Church.

Associate in Public Worship (A.P.W.)

Candidates should have completed secondary education.

Research pathway
The research pathway to Associateship in Public Worship of the Guild requires the submission of a dissertation of approximately 5,000-6,000 words in length, on a subject approved by the Guild and relevant to the Prayer Book tradition of worship. Such subjects might include the theology of the liturgy, its history, ceremonial, ornaments, or music. The diploma is assessed at a level approximately corresponding to the first year of a British degree programme. The dissertation should be referenced according to the Harvard system, and present a well-informed and clearly structured account of its subject, displaying a critical interaction with the source material.

Spoken word pathway
The spoken word pathway to Associateship in Public Worship of the Guild requires the candidate to read aloud three passages of Holy Scripture chosen by the Guild from either the Prayer Book itself or the Authorised Version of the Bible, and communicated to the candidate approximately four weeks before the examination. Before reading each passage, the candidate must introduce the passage briefly to the examiner, placing it in its theological context. Such an introduction need not be lengthy (one or two paragraphs) and is designed to demonstrate the candidate’s understanding of the significance of the readings. The examiner will be looking for clear diction, good vocal projection, the following of punctuation marks, logical pronunciation of Biblical names, a natural style, and professional deportment. A higher level of accuracy in reading is required at diploma level than in graded speech examinations, and any major errors will not normally attract a pass mark. Examinations take place either at centres in the United Kingdom and the United States of America, or via distance. In a distance examination, the examination takes place before an approved proctor (who is not an examiner, but is there to certify the conduct of the examination and the authenticity of the submission) and is then submitted as a video recording.

Music pathway
The music pathway to Associateship in Public Worship of the Guild is intended for organists of intermediate standard. The candidate is required to accompany a public act of Prayer Book worship including at least three hymns, and to provide voluntaries before and after the service of not less than grade 5 standard. The pedals should be used in the playing of hymns and at least two of the voluntaries, and at least five minutes of music should be provided before the service. A higher level of accuracy in reading is required at diploma level than in graded music examinations, and any major errors will not normally attract a pass mark. The examiner will be looking for accurate timing, a clean legato touch, confident changes of registration during the hymns, and idiomatic touch and registration during the voluntaries. Candidates are required to seek the approval of the Guild for their musical choices at least three weeks before the proposed date of the examination, and may be asked to provide copies of hymn-tunes and voluntaries for the examiner. Examinations take place either (when sufficient candidates are entered) at a church or chapel with a visiting examiner, or via distance. In a distance examination, the examination takes place before an approved proctor (who is not an examiner, but is there to certify the conduct of the examination and the authenticity of the submission) and is then submitted as a video recording.

Licentiate in Public Worship (L.P.W.)

Candidates should hold the Associateship of the Guild or an equivalent credential.

Research pathway
The research pathway to Licentiateship in Public Worship of the Guild requires the submission of a dissertation of approximately 8,000-10,000 words in length, on a subject approved by the Guild and relevant to the Prayer Book tradition of worship. Such subjects might include the theology of the liturgy, its history, ceremonial, ornaments, or music. The diploma is assessed at a level approximately corresponding to the second year of a British degree programme. The dissertation should be closely referenced according to the Harvard system, and should consist of a tightly-structured and closely argued discussion of the subject, as well as a thoroughgoing command of the relevant source material.

Spoken word pathway
The spoken word pathway to Licentiateship in Public Worship of the Guild requires the candidate to prepare and lead a said office (either Morning or Evening Prayer) from the Book of Common Prayer (any traditional language edition), including all of the appropriate material for the day as given in the lectionary, and also to write and preach a brief sermon of around five minutes’ duration, a copy of which must be submitted to the Guild at least one week before the date of examination. The candidate must read both lessons, but may alternate with the congregation, if present, in the saying of the Psalms. The examiner will be looking for the same good practices in reading as specified for the Associate diploma above, but will allow for a smaller margin of error at Licentiate level. Examinations take place either (when sufficient candidates are entered) at a church or chapel with a visiting examiner, or via distance. In a distance examination, the examination takes place before an approved proctor (who is not an examiner, but is there to certify the conduct of the examination and the authenticity of the submission) and is then submitted as a video recording.

Music pathway
The music pathway to Licentiateship in Public Worship of the Guild is intended for organists of advanced standard. The candidate is required to accompany a service of Choral Matins or Evensong, including free canticles, an anthem, at least two hymns, and psalms sung either to Anglican chant or plainchant. In addition, the candidate must perform voluntaries of at least grade 7 standard before and after the service, providing at least five minutes’ music beforehand. The examiner will expect a fully professional standard of performance. Candidates are permitted to engage an assistant to turn pages and aid in managing registration during more complex works, but should not rely upon such assistance during hymns or psalms. Examinations take place either (when sufficient candidates are entered) at a church or chapel with a visiting examiner, or via distance. In a distance examination, the examination takes place before an approved proctor (who is not an examiner, but is there to certify the conduct of the examination and the authenticity of the submission) and is then submitted as a video recording.

Fellow in Public Worship (F.P.W.)

Candidates should hold either the Licentiateship of the Guild, a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent credential.

Research pathway
The research pathway to Fellowship in Public Worship of the Guild requires the submission of a dissertation of approximately 12,000-15,000 words in length, on a subject approved by the Guild and relevant to the Prayer Book tradition of worship. Such subjects might include the theology of the liturgy, its history, ceremonial, ornaments, or music. The diploma is assessed at a level approximately corresponding to a British taught master’s degree programme. The dissertation should include a certain amount of primary source research where such will add materially to the comprehensiveness of the study, and should be closely referenced using the Harvard system. A Fellowship dissertation should demonstrate a comprehensive command of the subject, allied with a fully professional standard of academic writing.

Spoken word pathway
The spoken word pathway to Fellowship in Public Worship of the Guild is intended for ordained clergy and requires the candidate to prepare and lead the main Sunday service, or that of a major feast-day, in the parish. The service should usually be a Prayer Book-derived Eucharist, and should feature hymns and other music where appropriate. It should include a sermon of around ten minutes’ duration written and preached by the candidate. The sermon, hymns, and other additional material should be communicated to the Guild at least three weeks before the date of the service. At the same time, the candidate must submit an essay of approximately 2,000 words in length, explaining the rationale for the choices of material made and the planning of the service. An assured approach is expected at this advanced level and no significant faults should be present in order to secure a pass mark. Examinations take place either (when sufficient candidates are entered) at a church or chapel with a visiting examiner, or via distance. In a distance examination, the examination takes place before an approved proctor (who is not an examiner, but is there to certify the conduct of the examination and the authenticity of the submission) and is then submitted as a video recording.

Music pathway
The music pathway to Fellowship in Public Worship of the Guild requires the candidate to prepare and conduct a choir in the singing of a service of Choral Evensong according to the Book of Common Prayer. The service must include free settings of the canticles, an anthem, responses, hymns, and psalms sung either to Anglican chant or to plainchant. All service music should be submitted to the Guild at least three weeks before the date of the service, along with an essay of approximately 2,000 words in length, in which the candidate explains the choice of music, and describes the technical and interpretative considerations involved in preparing the repertoire. While it is not expected that the choir be professional, its performance should be of a highly competent standard, in order to demonstrate the candidate’s skill as a choir-trainer. Examinations take place either (when sufficient candidates are entered) at a church or chapel with a visiting examiner, or via distance. In a distance examination, the examination takes place before an approved proctor (who is not an examiner, but is there to certify the conduct of the examination and the authenticity of the submission) and is then submitted as a video recording.

Status of Epiphany Guild diplomas

The Examining Board of the Epiphany Guild is a private United Kingdom distance education college that is not within the UK state education system and cannot award degrees by law. In the United Kingdom, no governmental authority, recognition, licensing or accreditation is required for a private distance learning college to award its own diplomas or certificates and many such bodies do so. These awards are fully legal United Kingdom qualifications which are designed for independent learners who are seeking an award for professional and personal development.

The Epiphany Guild does not have its own campus, but operates via distance and blended learning at locations internationally. The Western Orthodox Academy address in central London handles our mail and routes communications to officers as necessary.

The diploma programmes offered by the Epiphany Guild lead to diploma awards which are not degrees. While Epiphany Guild diplomas have been recognized for credit by some overseas degree-awarding bodies, the degrees issued by those bodies are not United Kingdom awards, nor are they designed to be comparable to United Kingdom awards.

Epiphany Guild diplomas are offered at Associate Diploma, Licentiate Diploma, and Fellow Diploma levels. The titles of associate, licentiate and fellow used by these diplomas are not regulated titles in the UK and there is no universally recognized standard for their content or length.

All issues of acceptance and recognition relating to Epiphany Guild diplomas are entirely the responsibility of the receiving party concerned. The prospective candidate should check with any third party from whom they might desire recognition to establish what their position will be before they enrol. The Epiphany Guild cannot undertake this process for enquirers.