- Questions Visitors to Good Shepherd Frequently Ask February 27, 2018
- Gratitude and the Christian November 17, 2017
- On the Death of Christians November 10, 2017
- The Sufficiency of Scripture April 16, 2017
- Why Has Good Shepherd Transferred to the Diocese of CANA East? August 31, 2015
- Why Are We Held Accountable for Adam’s Sin? August 31, 2015
- The Leadership Structure of an Anglican Congregation July 31, 2009
About Anglican Worship
What are the various parts of an Anglican worship service?
- Music and Singing–The Scriptures exhort us to, “Sing to the Lord a new song,” and to “Let every instrument be tuned for praise.” While we love and honor timeless hymns which speak of and respond to the majesty of God, you will notice that we sing a variety of music to appeal to different tastes, experience, and temperament. If you are not comfortable singing a particular song, we invite you to just listen to the words and be encouraged by the truth others are singing.
- The Collect—The prayer at the beginning of the service is taken from a collection of prayers that have been assembled to coincide with the church calendar. The “prayer of the day” seeks to focus the congregation together on Jesus Christ and ask the Lord to lead the congregation in worship.
- Reading Scripture—We believe that the whole Bible speaks of God’s glorious Gospel. Therefore we read portions of the Old & New Testaments in our services, including Psalms and a Gospel reading.
- The Creeds—The creeds are statements of faith written by the early Church and recited by the people during the service after the hearing of the Word. Christians recite the Creed to recommit their lives to Christ and be reminded of what they believe, lest “the daily burdens” cause us to forget! The Creeds also proclaim succinctly to those interested in becoming believers in Jesus Christ what Christians believe. The Creeds also keep the Church accountable to the Gospel.
- The Prayers of the People—We respond to God and His Word by relating to Him in and through prayer. In prayer, we listen to the Lord, give thanks, present our petitions and requests, and pray both corporately and individually. At the Church of the Good Shepherd, we pray silently and aloud during the Prayers.
- The Confession of Sin and Absolution—This part of the service is placed after the hearing of God’s Word as an opportunity to respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We are given the opportunity to individually and corporately acknowledge and repent of our sins and to confess our need for Jesus Christ. The Confession is an Anglican “altar call” (so to speak). The pastor then proclaims the Gospel: that by grace through faith in Jesus Christ complete forgiveness is offered to all who repent and trust in Christ.
- The Peace—The purpose of the Peace before communion is for members of the church to 1) remind each other of the peace of Christ given because of the Gospel, and 2) to allow members of the church who have been at odds with one another to “make peace in Christ” before they come to the communion table. (See Matthew 5: 23-24)
- The Holy Communion—Jesus Christ gave the command for his people to break bread and drink wine not only as a memorial of his death and resurrection, but as an invitation to have fellowship with Christ through faith as a church. Anglicans believe in the “real presence of Christ” not in the bread and wine themselves, but spiritually among the church gathered for Communion. Thus, taking communion is both an invitation to every individual believer to feed on Christ by faith and a corporate experience of Christ’s Presence among His people.
- Receiving Wine and Bread— All who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are welcomed to receive the Sacrament with us, regardless of denominational affiliation or church background. However, we do not practice “open communion” (anyone who wants to come can partake of communion regardless of what they believe). The bread is placed on an open palm and may be eaten followed by drinking from the common cup or may be “intincted” (dipped) into the common cup of wine. If you do not wish to receive communion, you are invited to come forward and cross your arms across your chest as a sign to request a prayer and blessing or to remain seated for reflection and prayer.
- The Charge—As we end our worship we are charged to 1) Remember the Gospel 2) Go forth in peace, courage, strength and joy because of the gospel and 3) Seek to serve as Christ has served us throughout the week, living and proclaiming the gospel in thought, word, and deed to the world around us.
What do the Colors, Symbols, and Postures represent?
The colors we use, the clothes participants wear, and the reason we sit, stand or kneel all point to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. For example, during Advent, we use the colors purple or blue because purple is the color of Kings and we are celebrating the coming of the One true King. Candles remind us that not only is Christ the light of the world and present among us, but that we are called to be the light of Christ to the world (Matthew 5: 14). The clergy and other participants wear white robes to remind everyone (most especially their spouses, parents and children!) that it is not their own goodness that makes them worthy to serve but the righteousness of Christ (Ephesians 4:24.). We kneel in order to display our outward submission and humility before the Great King who is worthy of all honor. We stand to honor the One who has come among us by His Holy Spirit. The clergy wear “slave collars” to remind them that they are to be bond-slaves of Christ & servants of the entire church (Colossians 3: 23-24).
What is Anglicanism?
What is the History of Anglicanism?
First things First: Henry the VIII did not really found Anglicanism! The Anglican Church was founded in England in the 16th century amidst the great Protestant Reformation. During the Reformation, godly theologians recognized the need to return to the centrality of Scriptures as the ultimate authority for the teaching, life, and structures of the Church (above leaders and tradition). Thomas Cranmer, an Archbishop of Canterbury under Henry VIII, was instrumental in birthing the theology, liturgy, prayer book and overall gospel focus of the Anglican Church. For us, Anglicanism represents the best of Christianity—a connection to believers past and present, a commitment to the authority of the Bible, and the call to proclaim the gospel and serve others within a variety of worship styles and ministries.
Where can I read about the basics of Anglican theology?
The founding theology of the Anglican Church can be found in the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. The theology of the 39 Articles is in line with the Protestant Reformation and the ancient Creeds of the Church. The Rev. Matt Kennedy has also summarized the way our church is organized in The Leadership Structure of the Anglican Church.
Who is welcomed to receive Communion at an Anglican Church?
All who profess faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior are welcomed to receive the Sacrament with us, regardless of denominational affiliation or church background. However, we do not practice “open communion” – i.e. anyone who wants to come can partake of communion regardless of what they believe. However, Jesus honors faith as small as a “mustard seed” and any who would self identify as a believer in Christ and “is in love and charity with their neighbor” (Book of Common Prayer) are welcome at Communion.
My spouse is a Catholic and I am a Protestant. Would we both be happy in an Anglican Church?
We certainly think so. While our beliefs are Biblical, orthodox, and reflect the theology of the Protestant Reformation, Anglicans retain many theological convictions, liturgies (styles of worship), and helpful traditions from the early Church that Roman Catholics would find familiar. We believe both would feel very much at home.
What does it mean that Anglicanism is “catholic”?
In the Creeds, believers affirm the “one holy catholic and apostolic church.” Catholic means universal and refers to the worldwide body of Christ. All those who know and love Christ are members of God’s eternal family, regardless of their denomination or church background. The orthodox Anglican tradition provides the venue for one form of worship of the Lord. We love it, and value the gift and breadth of Anglican liturgy and traditions. Anglican worship is a great way to connect with Christ.
What is the Liturgical Calendar that Anglicans follow?
The Liturgical Calendar divides the year into six major seasons: Advent and Christmas (Christ’s Coming), Epiphany (Christ for the whole world), Lent (a time for reflection, repentance and grace in preparation for Easter), Easter (Christ’s resurrection from the dead), Pentecost (the coming of the Holy Spirit and the birth of Christ’s Church on earth) followed by “normal time” (growing together as the Body of Christ and His witnesses in the world).
Why do Anglicans use Liturgy in their worship?
Liturgy is the structural form that any church uses to facilitate worship. Historically, Anglicans have believed that a balance of traditional and more informal liturgy can be helpful to facilitate worship for a variety of different people. Here is why: A steady liturgy transcends the ever-changing realities in our daily lives, and so we can count on it to bring us back to things that are true and constant. Also, Anglican liturgy teaches us how to pray Scripture, as it was written by biblically grounded theologians who crafted and taught Christian prayer based on certain scriptures. Also, Anglican liturgy connects us with millions of other Christians (from all over the world and throughout time) who have said the same prayers to the same God.
Special thanks to our sister parish, Church of the Resurrection in Baltimore, for much of the content on this page.