WHAT SHOULD I EXPECT
WHAT TO EXPECT AT WORSHIP IN AN ANGLICAN ORATORY
To learn more about how to Understand Anglican Worship click this link for an excellent pamphlet by Fr. David Kennedy
An Understanding of Anglican Worship – A Parish Study Guide
The Place of Worship
As you enter, you will notice an atmosphere of worship and reverence. Our church is an A Frame Building presently being renovated. For pictures go to the link WHAT SHALL WE BUILD? on the Menu above. You will note your eyes are drawn to the altar, or and the cross. So our thoughts are taken at once to Christ and to God whose house the church is.
On or near 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.
Immediately behind the altar raised up is the Ambo ( sometimes known also as a lectern-pulpit, which is the place for proclamation of the Word; here the Scriptures are read and the sermon is preached. In some Anglican churches, the lectern is separate from the pulpit and stands on the opposite side of the church.
The Act of Worship
Anglican worship is by definition congregational. In the pews you will likely find a Prayer Book known as Common Worship https://www.churchofengland.org/prayer-and-worship/worship-texts-and-resources/common-worship ( Red in color) we also have a supplementary prayer books known as the Anglican Service Book (Canada, for instance, uses the Book of Alternative Services regularly.) This enables the congregation to share fully in every service..
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 which is a blue book). 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 Letters, the sermon, and the choir anthems. We stand or kneel for prayer to show our gratefulness to God for accepting us as children or as an act of humility before God.
The Sunday Liturgy or Service
The principal liturgy service is the Holy Eucharist (Holy Communion). In our winter schedule we have an early Mass which is celebrated quite simply, without music, at 8 AM on Sunday morning. At 10 AM we have music, and sermon with many parts of the liturgy sung and other sacraments such as Baptism celebrated at that hour.
At the Holy Eucharist, for example, two or three Bible selections are read. These change each Sunday. So do the psalms. Certain of the prayers also change, in order to provide variety. Page numbers for parts of the service printed elsewhere in the Book are usually announced or given in the service leaflet. But do not be embarrassed to ask your neighbor for the page number.
You will find the services of the Anglican Church beautiful in their ordered dignity, God-centred, and yet mindful of the nature and needs of human beings.
Before and After
It is the custom upon entering church to kneel in one’s pew for a prayer of personal preparation for worship. In many churches it is also the custom to bow to the altar on entering and leaving the church as an act of reverence for Christ.
Most Anglicans do not talk in church before a service but 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 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.
You Will Not be Embarrassed
When you visit an Anglican church, you will be our respected and welcome guest. You will not be singled out in an embarrassing way, nor asked to stand before the congregation nor to come forward. You will worship God with us.