Frequently Asked Questions
If you aren't familiar with worshiping in a liturgical setting, the first time you attend one of our worship service it may be different for you. Why do we stand when we do? Why do we kneel when we do? And what are all these signs we're making with our hands?
Why do some people bow?
Generally speaking, we bow when we pass before the tabernacle or aumbry in which we reserve the sacrament — that is, the consecrated bread and wine representing the Body and Blood of Jesus. We also bow when entering or leaving our pews. However, there's another time you'll notice the priests at the altar bowing. Why? The Scripture encourages us to! The second chapter of Paul's Letter to the Philippians is one of the most beautiful passages in all of scripture. In verses 9-11 of that chapter Paul writes: Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Why do some people cross themselves during worship?
Anglicans cross ourselves from time to time during the service. Crossing is an ancient Christian gesture in which one touches his forehead, heart, left shoulder and right shoulder. When we teach children what the gesture means we tell them that we're asking God to be “in our heads” (when we touch our foreheads), “in our hearts” (when we touch our hearts), “and in all of me” (when we touch our shoulders). Paul writes, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1st Corinthians 1:18) Crossing oneself simply reminds us of the sacrifice Jesus made for us and of the power God demonstrated in Jesus' sacrifice. While making the sign of the cross it is common to add an expression of faith in the Trinity (certainly an appropriate thing to do in our parish!): “In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.” When do we cross ourselves? Local custom will vary, but generally Anglicans cross themselves whenever the priest blesses them — for example, after the Confession of Sin during the Eucharist.
What is the worship style?
We believe that the liturgy actually protects us from ourselves. Modern worship tends to be self-centric when it comes to the style. It's preference based with a lens of accessibility in mind. We humbly join with the historical Church and her rich rooted tradition while in the context of our culture.
The first thing to note about our worship is that it is common — that is, it is public, something we Christians share together. We are guided in our corporate worship by The Book of Common Prayer. (It's called common precisely because it's meant to be used by a gathered congregation, though it can be used to great effect by an individual alone.)
The second thing we're told in the definition of corporate worship is that in it we gather to hear God's Word. On pages 323 and 355 (where our services begins) note that the first part of the service is called The Word of God. In this first part of the service we hear readings from the Bible. At least two readings are required, one of which must be from the Gospels.
What is the Sacrament of Communion?
For Anglicans the Holy Eucharist is a sacrament. This is very important for ours is a sacramental tradition. In response to the question, “What are the sacraments?” our Prayer Book tells us that “the sacraments are outward and visible signs of inward and spiritual grace, given by Christ as sure and certain means by which we receive that grace.” With Holy Baptism, the Holy Eucharist is one of the two great sacraments given by Christ to his Church. Arguments once raged in the church about whether and, if so, how Jesus is present in the Eucharist. Such arguments are unnecessary. But know this: We Anglicans acknowledge that in the Eucharist Jesus is truly present with us in a unique fashion. The meal truly is a meal with the Lord! And it is one of our grandest privileges to be invited to sup with the Creator, Redeemer, and Sustainer of the universe.
What is your affiliation information?
We are a part of the Anglican Mission in the Americas (AMiA) and the global Anglican Communion. The Communion is present in over 165 countries and is the third largest expression of Christianity behind the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church. Though many in our parish come from different denominations, most of which are non-denominational, but are encouraged to have found a home in the Anglican way.