The center of our worship is
the Holy Eucharist. Other traditional namesfor this service are:
the Holy Communion, the Mass, the Lord's Supper, and the Divine
Liturgy. It is the service specifically commanded by Jesus in the
New Testament. The Eucharist joins our offering of worship to
Christ's offering of Himself upon the Altar of the Cross. As He
promised (Matthew 26; Mark 14; Luke
22; John 6; 1 Corinthians 11) Jesus is truly, spiritually
present under the outward forms of the consecrated Bread and Wine, to
infuse our lives with the spiritual strength of His life.
Receiving Holy Communion
By receiving Holy communion, we give our Solemn Assent, our "Amen," to
the entire Anglican Eucharistic Service. We express our belief
that the Eucharist is a spiritual sacrifice which must be administered
by a bishop or a priest whose ministry derives in succession from faith
in Christ's Real Presence in the Eucharist. Because of the
seriousness of these affirmations, this Church invites those who in
good faith accept these beliefs, have been Baptized, and can comply
with the Invitation to Communion on p. 75, to receive Holy Communion at
Altar. It is for these reasons that we are not an "open
Communion" Church. Also, those who do so believe, and who have
confirmed by a Bishop in Apostolic Succession, are welcome to receive
Holy Communion with us.
Preparation for Holy Communion generally takes the form of private
prayers. In many Anglican parishes, those physically able to do
so refrain from eating ordinary food prior to morning Communion, or for
three hours prior to an evening Communion.
The Daily Offices of morning and Evening Prayer are prayer services
derived in many ways from the Synagogue worship of the Old
Testament. They consist of reading from the Psalms, other Bible
readings, canticles (songs), and prayers. They are provided in
the Book of Common Prayer in
a manner which makes their disciple of prayer, psalmody, and Holy
Scripture the daily spiritual diet of the Church, clergy and lay folk
If you are new to Anglican worship you may find some of the customs in
our services unfamiliar. You will also find some variation of
customs from parish to parish. The priest in your local parish
will be happy to explain to you the symbolism of our worship. One
general rule of thumb for Anglicans is that we stand to praise God, sit
for listening to instruction, and kneel humbly to pray.
Worship is the prime responsibility for all Christians. Anglicans
believe that the life of Christian service is possible on ly through a
full life of worship, through which we receive God's love and express
our love to him. Hence, we believe it is is our obligation not
only to worship God together every Lord's Day (Sunday) but also to have
a daily life of prayer. A number of parishes are able to offer
the Daily Offices and the Holy Communion during the week, as well as on
The first Christians regarded the church
as the sacrament, Jesus, who
is God, became truly human in the Incarnation, in the same manner as we
are human, except that He was without sin. The Church is truly
his Body. It is the outward and visible sign of God's presence
with his people. Gradually, teachers identified certain outward
and visible signs as "sacraments", that is as actions of the Church
which gave the grace of God's presence and blessing. The Anglican
Church believes that the Sacraments are "objective and effective signs of the
continued presece and saving activity of Christ our Lord among his
people, and his convenanted means or conveying his Grace" (The
Affirmation of St. Louis). Anglicans regard the two Gospel
Sacraments of Baptism and the Eucharist as being "generally necessary
to salvation". Five other sacramental rites, in their Biblical
sense, are also termed sacraments.
Baptism by means of water and
in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost (Matthew 28:19) conveys new birth (John 3-5; Romans 6:4) and
forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 1
The Holy Communion also called
the Lord's Supper, the Holy Eucharist, the Divine Liturgy, and the
Mass, was insituted by our Lord at the Last Supper when He said, "Do this in remembrance of me" (1
Corinthians 11:24; Matthew 26:20-28; Mark 14:17-25; Luke 22:14-20).
Sacrament He feeds His people with His Body and Blood (John 6:41-59).
Confirmation conveys the
strengthening gifts of the Holy Spirit (Acts 8:14-17; 19:1-7; Ephesians 1:13).
Penance conveys the forgiveness of sins (John 20:23; James 5:16).
Unction is the anointing with
oil for healing (Jmes 5:14; Mark
Marriage is the union of one man and one woman for life before
God. The relatoinship, St. Paul tells us (Ephesians 5:31-32) is like hat
between Christ and His Church.
Holy Orders denote the
Apostolic Minisry of bishops, priests and deacons, instituted by
Christ, and male in character (John
20:19-23; Matthew 16:18; Acts 6:1-6). Our Lord
commissioned the Apostles and their successors, the bishops, to
proclaim his work and salvation which he accomplished on Calvary.
When Anglicans speak of Apostolic Succession, we mean an unbroken line
of consecrations and commissions from our Lord to the present bishops,
continuing the same teachings and ministry established by Jesus Christ
Baptism and Confirmation
Anglican parents who have a child to be Baptized should contact their
priest. Some prepration is involved. Selection of
Godparents is important. For Anglicans, this office is not just
"honorary"; it creates a real spiritual responsibility towards the
Godchild. Two Godparents of the same sex as the child, and one of
the opposite sex, are required. Adult candidates for baptism
and/or Confirmation undergo a period of nistructoin. Holy
Confirmation is often admnistered at the same service as Holy Baptism
in the case of adults. Adult candidates do not require Godparents.
The Sacrament of Holy Confirmation, which completes and "seals" our
Baptism, is administrered by a bishop. By the imposition of the
bishop's hand on our head, we come into sacramental unity with the
Successors in Office to the Holy Apostles commissioned by Christ
himself to govern his Church. A period of considerable
instruction usually precedes the administration of the Sacrament.
In the Anglican tadition, Holy Matrimony is generally administered only
to couples who have both been baptized. At least one should be a
practicing member of the Anglican Church. Because sacramental
Marriage is a solemn commitment, significant preparation and
instruction is required. The clergy should be consulted before
any other plans (including the date of the wedding) have been made.
Those coming to the Church to ak God's blessing upon their marriage
will want to use the Church's prescribed rites and ceremonies.
Neither the laity nor the clergy have the authority to change the
Church's form of service or to substitute something in its place.
Clergy of the Anglican Church in America will provide a Christian
burial for any baptized Christian.
For practicing Anglicans, the funeral service provided by The Book of Common Prayer consists
of the Burial Office, the Requiem Eucharist and the Committal at the
grave. For other baptized Christians, the priest may suggest
appropriate changes. At many Anglican funerals the casket, no
matter how expensive or ornate, is covered with a cloth pall.
Flower displays are not used in the church. When we go to meet
our Maker, we all do so on an equal footing.
When you need a Priest
If you are ill or shut in, if you are going to the hospital, or if you
have a family emergency or need advice and counsel, contact one of the
clergy at once. They are "on duty" twenty-four hours a day, seven
days a week.
Are there many opportunities for service?
Yes there are. Depending on the local parish, the chances for
involvement will vary. All of our parishes need and welcome
active lay men and women. It has been well said that the Anglican
movement has been built upon the efforts of its laity.
Within the parish there is the need for an altar guild, acoloytes,
church school teachers, lay readers, choir, vestry members and parish
committees which help in carrying out the parish's mission. Also,
a number of our parishes are in the process of obtaining their own
property, building new structures or renovating existing ones for use
in worship. A vast array of talent is needed to complete these
tasks. Many parishes have begun study groups, prayer groups, and
church school classes, offering further opportunity for involvement.
Beyond the parish you will find many Anglicans involved in community
concerns or serving on committees of the diocese, province, and
The laity are an integral part of the government of the Anglican Church
in America. The parish vestry (similar to a board of directors)
is comprised of parish communicants and is charged with the management
of the temporal affairs of the parish. Synods - or meetings - of
the dioceses and the national Church have active lay
participation. Each parish sends lay representatives to the
diocesan synod, which in turn elects delegates to the provincial and
Anglicans take seriously our Lord's call to all Christians to serve Him.
This means both a ministry within the Christian family and a ministry
to the world to spread the Gospel and actively to show forth Jesus
Christ in our lives.
How can I learn more?
Come and worship with
us! Seek the nearest congregation of the Anglican Church in
America. They will be glad to welcome you and answer your
Inquirers' Classes are conducted, usually by the cergy but sometimes by
knowledgeable lay teachers, for persons interested in learning more
about the Anglican Church in America or intersted in becoming a member
of the Church. Parish members are encouraged to attend, both to
"brush up" on their own knowledge of the faith and to show their
interest in potential members.
Bible Study Groups exist in most parishes of the Anglican Church.
These are open to Anglicans and non-Anglicans alike who wish to deepen
their understanding of God's word in the Holy Scriptures. Other
study topics of interest to most Christians: Church History, Worship,
the Life of Prayer, etc. are investgated from time to time, often as
part of a study group during the Lenten Season. Interested
inquirers of any faith are always welcome.
"O Gracious Father, we humbly beseech
thee for thy holy Catholic Church; That thou wouldest bepleased to fill
it with all truth, in all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it;
where it is in error, direct it; where in any thing it is amiss, reform
it. Where it is right, establish it; where it is in want, provide
for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of him who died
and rose again, and ever liveth to make intercession for us, Jesus
Christ, thy Son, Our Lord. Amen" (The
Common Prayer, page 37)