Don't know where to begin

Discussion in 'New Members' started by C. Smith, May 14, 2020.

  1. C. Smith

    C. Smith New Member

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    Hi all,

    I posted a number of months ago about my interest in Anglicanism and over that period I've been strengthened in my convictions and I'm now fairly sure. I bought a book of common prayer and have grown quite fond of it.

    My issue is that with the current coronavirus situation, I am yet to go to an actual church. Using the CofE churchnearme website, I've looked at local places but they seem to be reluctant to give any indication of their doctrinal leanings. Is there a recourse that anyone knows of that can help me find a more high church leaning church? I was also wondering how many churches use the BCP for services? Is this still universal?

    Finally, I am still struggling to find good resources that can teach me about the theology, ceremony etc. I still feel I am woefully under informed. Does anyone know of a recourse that can help me? Maybe an explanation of the main differences from Roman Catholicism, just because it is the Church that I am currently best informed about.

    Sorry for all the questions, the wealth of variety and information available has just been quite overwhelming for someone brought up in the rigid RC tradition!

    Thank you for your help and God bless.
     
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  2. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Hello there! The BCP usage from my knowledge of English churches is less common for the main divine service (~10am), but you will with good frequency find a BCP Morning Prayer earlier that day, and even Matins/Evensong services on weekdays. For example when I had gone to St. Paul's Cathedral in London, you had daily morning eucharist according to Common Worship, but also incredible Choral Evensong services which followed the BCP. Legally and canonically it is still the definitional book in the Church of England, as much as the liberals would have liked to discontinue that fact.

    What brings you over from the RC tradition?
     
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  3. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    https://www.achurchnearyou.com/ as you have found gives links to parish websites. There may be clues with how services are named. As a generalisation, the use of the term 'Mass' for the main Sunday morning service may include Anglo-Catholic or Liberal Catholic traditions and will be to varying degrees High Church. The term 'Eucharist' is likely to be somewhere within the High Church or Middle of the Road tradition whilst the term 'Holy Communion' can include Middle of the Road and Low Church traditions. Other than what is given on church websites it may be a matter of emailing or phoning the incumbent to get an exact picture.

    The traditionalist catholic 'Forward in Faith' society has a listing of affiliated parishes. https://www.sswsh.com/parishes.php

    The more liberal catholic 'Affirming Catholicism' society doesn't list affiliated parishes on its website but they can be obtained via email. https://www.affirmingcatholicism.org.uk/local.html

    The 1662 BCP is a key source of traditional Anglican doctrine. As Stalwart has already pointed out, many churches still use the 1662 BCP. However, rather than being used for the main Sunday morning service it will likely be more often used for a quiet service of Holy Communion early on Sunday morning or for weekday celebrations of Holy Communion and Morning/Evening Prayer. Because Evensong (and Mattins to a lesser extent now) have a great choral tradition in the CofE, Cathedrals and larger parish churches can have rather splendid Choral Evensongs using the BCP. In rural areas where Vicars or Rectors may have a large number of churches in their care you may find Mattins or Evensong being used as the main Sunday service where it may be led by a Licensed Reader or Commissioned Lay Minister. In such rural places these will likely be sung services rather than choral i.e. not sung with a choir but the service may include hymns sung by the congregation.

    The Prayer Book Society has a list of churches where the BCP is used. https://www.pbs.org.uk/churches-and-services/service-finder

    Here is a narrated demonstration of the 1662 Holy Communion by the Prayer Book Society It is done in a High Church tradition with the Priest wearing Eucharistic Vestments and assisted by a server. They also have demonstrations of several other BCP services.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0qTZVnsspqQ&t=479s

    Anglican Forums itself has many good traditional Anglican resources. https://www.anglican.net/

    You may find the following sites useful also.

    http://anglicanhistory.org/

    http://anglicansonline.org/

    http://justus.anglican.org/

    Percy Dearmer's 'Everyman's History of the BCP' is quite a good little book detailing the history and content of the BCP. (It is an old book written over a century ago.) http://justus.anglican.org/resources/bcp/everyman_history/index.htm

    It is difficult to give specific advice re ritual and ceremony in the CofE. It can vary greatly as the following
    2 photos show.

    htb-brompton-road-930am-service.jpg

    IMG_1644_Elevation_of_Host.jpg
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2020
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  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Glad you're here, C. Smith. Greetings from another former Roman. Feel free to PM me if you wish. :)

    One good way to get a general idea of some of the larger differences between Anglican and RC is to read the Thirty-Nine Articles of Religion. You may have these near the back of your BCP, or they are readily viewable online. I'll cover a few high points for you.

    Notice Article 6 - The sufficiency of the Holy Scripture for Salvation: Holy Scripture contains all things :book: necessary to salvation...
    As you know, the RCC teaches that Tradition and the Magisterium may (and in many instances do) take precedence over the written word of God.

    Articles 11, 12, and 13 cover the means of our justification and the role good works play; we are saved by grace through faith only.
    Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
    Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
    Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
    The RCC places greater emphasis on actual membership within it (it defines "the true Church" not as the body of believers in and followers of Christ but as the organization under the headship of the one great Vicar) and on reception of the sacraments as necessary means of salvation. Articles 18 & 19 are applicable here, too, as is Article 22 concerning purgatory.

    Articles 28-31 lay out key differences between the two in the understanding of the Eucharist. Anglicans recognize the Real Presence of Jesus in the sacrament, but reject the concept of Transubstantiation which holds that the bread and wine cease to be bread and wine. Anglicans believe that the Eucharist is the body and blood of our Lord; we receive Christ in the Eucharist in a spiritual manner and feed on Him in our hearts by faith. The RCC sees the Eucharist as a continuation of the great sacrifice Jesus made for us on the cross, a sacrifice that calls Christ down to the sacrificial altar at every mass and basically is never-ending. But Hebrews 9:24-10:14 says that Christ does not offer Himself often (over and over), for He was offered one time for all and then sat down (finished) at the right hand of the Father, where he ever lives to make intercession for us (Heb. 7:25).

    If there's anything specific you're wondering about, don't hesitate to ask. :thumbsup:


    Oh, I just had a thought: if you search for the websites of the particular Anglican churches near you, perhaps some of them are live streaming their services (our parish is doing so on Facebook) and you could see for yourself how low-church or high-church or middle-of-the-road they are. The websites might even give you some clues about their leanings. :)


     
    Last edited: May 15, 2020
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  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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  6. Symphorian

    Symphorian Well-Known Member

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    St Silas the Martyr, Kentish Town, London.
     
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  7. C. Smith

    C. Smith New Member

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    Hello,

    I've come back to God after a number of unpleasant years as an atheist. My first thought was naturally Catholicism as I was brought up in it, but I felt let down by the organisation in recent years, which is what made me think of joining an Anglo-Catholic church. Since then though I've been reading the BCP and the Bible and I'm starting to become more confident that Anglicanism is the best choice, for deeper reasons than my original single qualm. The fact that this is the first time I've ever read the Bible, despite being confirmed in the Catholic church, is probably a perfect example of their flaws.

    Thanks for your reply
     
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  8. C. Smith

    C. Smith New Member

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    Thank you Rexlion, that was very helpful. I'll have a look about live streamed services, that could be the perfect way to choose a church while we're all in lockdown!

    You might know this better than others on this thread, being a convert: What is the process when you join a new church? Will I have to reconfirm? It says on wikipedia (perhaps not the best source) that some Anglicans regard it as a sacrament, some as a rite and it's not clear to me what to expect.

    Thanks for your help
     
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  9. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Fantastic story. This resonates with a number of good friends of mine whose stories were similar as well.
     
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  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I don't believe you will "have to" reconfirm, :bishop: but I think you may (permissibly) decide and choose to do so if so doing becomes meaningful to you.

    My word of my previous baptism and confirmation were accepted at face value by my rector. And in our parish, any baptized Christian who is in right standing with the Lord may receive communion. When I'd been in the church a few months the rector mentioned that he might have a class upcoming for any who wished to become members ('on the books' so to speak) of our parish, but then he never did announce the class. In the meantime I've volunteered and been involved in several roles (including lector and camera operator). To my mind the only thing 'membership' would do is allow me to vote on vestry candidates and things like that. (The vestry is a committee of parishioners that oversees things, sort of a check on the rector and monitor of the finances and so on.) That's been my experience; I can't rule out the possibility that other rectors may handle the membership issue a bit differently.

    According the the 39 Articles, there are 2 sacraments of the Gospel instituted by our Lord: baptism and communion (see Article 25). I think they call confirmation and the others 'institutions of the church' or 'sacramental actions.' Much more could be said, but I don't want to get too far down the rabbit trail unless I know you want to hunt the rabbit. :laugh:
     
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  11. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    As far as church attendance and participation in all church services is concerned I believe what you say here to be perfectly valid.

    I seem to remember though a case, some years ago now, where a lifelong Roman Catholic and well known service attender at our C of E parish church, wanted to become a PCC member.

    In order for that to be legally possible the RC candidate had to attend a short private church service where he was required to make certain vows in the sight and hearing of the priest and a few witnesses, as to his rejection of certain Roman Catholic doctrines, before he was allowed to be elected.

    I don't know it this requirement is still operative in the Church of England though, or if anyone actually follows it, if it still is.
    .
     
  12. bwallac2335

    bwallac2335 Active Member

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    PCC- Polish Catholic Church?
     
  13. Shane R

    Shane R Well-Known Member

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    A person with a valid Roman Catholic confirmation should not be asked to receive another confirmation. Any Anglican parish that would ask such a thing of you should be viewed as cultishly fundamentalist.
     
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  14. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    PCC - Parish Church Council.

    The body of baptised believers who with the ordained or licenced minister, govern the affairs of the local Parish Church in the Church of England.
     
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  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Aha! I, too, was wondering. We call ours a "vestry" so all I could think of was Politically Correct Church, and that just couldn't be right (on several levels)!
     
  16. mediaque

    mediaque Active Member

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    I too am a former Roman. I was "Received" into the church by the Bishop during Easter.

    Oh. And welcome!! :)
     
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  17. Stalwart

    Stalwart Well-Known Member Anglican

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    Confirmation is necessary, but if you've already been validly confirmed, then there is no re-confirmation. It is seen as a completion of baptism (indwelling of the holy ghost), and, well, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism.

    On my end, when I entered the Anglican Church here in the US, I was received; it was a special rite distinct from Confirmation.

    Confirmation is a holy rite mentioned in the Scriptures, but as we know the Lord established two Sacraments, and they are what's properly considered to be a Sacrament, fulfilling the definition. That is not a slight against Confirmation, because not everything has to be a sacrament. What's problematic for me is to insist that everything holy or sacred has to be a sacrament, which it most assuredly doesn't, and the Roman church for centuries didn't view marriage, or confession, or confirmation as sacraments. But in the middle ages, they decided to make more and more things into sacraments, even considered making Kingly coronation into a sacrament. So it's just madness, and plays monkey business with the apostolic faith. We have many holy rites in the church, and two sacraments established by the Lord. Peace be with you. :)
     
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