Worship in Church

How we Conduct our Services

Our Church services are congregational

This means that the service is one of prayers, song, the spoken Word in all its forms as well

as ceremony and rituals appropriate to the day, season and occassion. All of this comes

together to produce and give voice to the common heart and mind of the congregation and its members.

 

The Altar

The focus of the Church is the altar, and so to the cross. Our thoughts are taken at once to Christ

and to God whose house the church is. At either side of the altar there are candles

to remind us that Christ is the ``Light of the world'' (John 8:12).Often there are flowers,

to beautify God's house and to recall the resurrection of Jesus.

 

The Regular Service

In the pews you will find a hymn book and a blue booklet which takes you through the service. This is

compiled from the Book of Common Prayer, and enables the congregation to share fully in every service.

During special services the greeters at the entrance will hand out alternative service sheets.

You may wonder when to stand or kneel. Practices vary---even among individual Anglicans. The general rule

is to stand to sing---hymns (found in the Hymnal in the pews) and other songs (many of them from the Holy Bible)

called canticles or chants and printed as part of the service. We stand, too, to say our affirmation of faith,

the Creed; and for the reading of the Gospel in the Holy Eucharist. Psalms are sung or said sitting or standing.

We sit during readings from the Old Testament or New Testament , the sermon, and the choir anthems.

We stand or kneel for prayer to show our gratefulness and as an act of humility before God.

The principal service is the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion). It is celebrated quite simply, without music.

When celebrated at a later hour on Sundays, or on other great Christian days such as Christmas, a sung Eucharist,

music and a sermon are customary. Another service is Morning Prayer (or Matins).The parallel evening service

is Evening Prayer (Evensong). These services consist of psalms, Bible readings, and prayers; and may include

a sermon.They may be with or without music. While some parts of the services are always the same, others change.

At the Holy Eucharist, for example, two or three Bible selections are read. These change each Sunday.

Certain of the prayers also change, in order to provide variety. If you loose your way during the service

do not be embarrassed to ask your neighbour for the page number.

 

Before and After Services

You may notice that some people as they enter church, kneel in their pew for a prayer of personal preparation

for worship. Some also bow to the altar on entering and leaving the church as an act of reverence for Christ.

Some talk in church before a service whilst others use this time for personal meditation and devotions.

At the end of the service some persons kneel for a private prayer before leaving,

others sometimes sit to listen to the organ postlude.

 

The Peace

During the service you will be asked to offer each other a sign of the peace. This is a moment of communal

oneness and involves everyone shaking hands and greeting each other and saying "peace of the Lord"

or "peace be with you". Don't be shy, this is a great way to meet our community.

 

Vestments

To add to the beauty and festivity of the services, and to signify their special ministries, the clergy and other ministers

wear vestments. Choir vestments are a maroon, gathered over-gown called a surplice. Our clergy vestment is the alb,

a white tunic with sleeves that covers the body from neck to ankles. Over it ordained ministers wear a stole,

a narrow band of coloured fabric. Deacons wear the stole over one shoulder, priests and bishops over both

shoulders. At the Holy Eucharist a priest frequently wears a chasuble (a circular garment that envelopes the body)

over the alb and stole. The deacon's corresponding vestment has sleeves and is called a dalmatic.

Stoles, chasubles, and dalmatics, as well as altar coverings, are usually made of rich fabrics.

Their colour changes with the seasons and holy days of the Church Year.

 

The Church Year

The Anglican Church observes the traditional Christian calendar.

The season of Advent, during which we prepare for Christmas, begins on the Sunday closest to November 30.

Christmas itself lasts twelve days, after which we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany (January 6).

Lent, the forty days of preparation for Easter, begins on Ash Wednesday.

Easter season lasts fifty days, concluding on the feast of Pentecost.

During these times the Bible readings are chosen for their appropriateness to the season.

During the rest of the year---the season after Epiphany and the long season after Pentecost

(except for a few special Sundays)---the New Testament is read sequentially from Sunday to Sunday.

The Old Testament lesson corresponds in theme with one of the New Testament readings.


Printer Printable Version