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Thanksgiving for the Birth or Adoption of a Child 

Historically, there were prayers of ritual purification for women who had been through childbirth. This purification was also known as the "churching" of women. The service of purification was done at the entrance of the church in the Sarum rite. Similarly, the 1549 Prayer Book included "The Order of the Purification of Women." This rite was known as "The Thanksgiving of Women after Childbirth, commonly called the Churching of Women" in the 1552 BCP, and in subsequent Prayer Books through the 1928 BCP. The 1979 BCP focuses on thanksgiving for the gift of a child, and suggests no ritual impurity associated with childbirth. 

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.
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