WHAT TO EXPECT AT AN ANGLICAN WORSHIP SERVICE
You will enjoy a warm welcome. We love visitors! And if at any point in the service you are confused, just ask the person next to you to help. We all had others helping us as we learned to worship in the Anglican way.
You will notice that everyone participates in worship. We pray out loud together, say the Creed together and take communion together. If you’re wondering what to say and when don’t worry-its all in prayer book/worship guide in the pew.
You will join in praying prayers that have stood the test of time, ones prayed by Christians worldwide for many hundreds of years. There can be extemporaneous prayers in Anglican services too, but for the most part we use these timeless words that so beautifully capture our yearning for God and our joy in his love and mercy.
Anglican worship emphasizes the holiness and majesty of God–and that prompts respect and reverence that is not always part of other church services. Everything about an Anglican service points to our need for God and his mercy in forgiving us and making us whole in Christ. This aspect of worship is often forgotten, and re-encountering it can be a deeply moving experience.
There is far more Scripture used in an Anglican service than in many other church services, where the only Scripture read often is a small passage that will form the basis of the sermon. We can read as many as four readings from Scripture–an Old Testament reading, a Psalm, an Epistle Reading, and a Gospel Reading. In addition, many of the canticles (ancient songs of praise) we say or sing are from Scripture, as are many of the words in the liturgy of the Prayer Book. An Anglican service is packed with Scripture.
We don’t hold back when confessing our sin. Our prayers leave no wiggle room. “There is no health in us,” we admit. “We are not worthy so much as to gather the crumbs under [God’s] table,” we say together. There are no feel-good, self-help sermons here. Anglican worship is about admitting we are utterly incapable on our own of pleasing God or earning our salvation, and admitting that only by what he did on the cross on our behalf can we be forgiven and saved. This is the source of our victory, our joy, our peace.
We sing hymns–not because old hymns are better than new praise songs (because there are some great new praise songs and some horrid old hymns). We do so because these songs are ones that have lasted the ages and stood the test of time, songs that both teach us and praise God. In time the best modern praise songs will become tomorrow’s great hymns of the faith, but there is value in the endorsement of years. You may also discover many beautiful hymns that aren’t in most American hymnals–powerful songs of praise that will be “new” to you, and which you simply will never be able to forget.
We follow the traditional church calendar—with seasons, Feast Days, and other special days throughout the year, continuing a tradition that spans centuries. You will notice different colors in the church: purple for penitential seasons like Lent and Advent, white or gold for special celebrations such as Christmas and Easter, red to signify the coming of the Holy Spirit and other times green. Each season or special day helps us remember a different event in the life of Jesus and the life of the church.
Our clergy wear vestments that are rich in history and symbolism, clothing that takes the attention off of them as individuals and emphasizes their role in worship, preaching, and in celebrating Holy Communion.
These are some of the things that distinguish worship in an Anglican service. We would be very pleased if you would join us!