What's going on

Discussion in 'Questions?' started by Gregory Fincher, Jul 13, 2022.

  1. Gregory Fincher

    Gregory Fincher New Member

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    I was raised Baptist left years ago found the episcopal church went to my first server least Sunday while I did like it and so very welcomed I didn't know what was going are going on a lot of the time.
     
  2. anglican74

    anglican74 Well-Known Member Anglican

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  3. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    Welcome!

    I can sympathise that moving from what we might call a "low church" tradition to a "high church" tradition can be a little daunting, it's really a lot simpler then is let on.

    Hopefully the church you attended had a service guide. For the first few (or first many!) services you attend feel free to keep your head glued to the page for the whole service, and just rest it down when listening to the sermon. As a general rule, just copy what everyone else is doing. If everyone else stands up, stand up. If everyone else kneels, kneel. When they sit, sit. Don't be embarrassed if you get anything wrong - it's not offensive to be new and everyone else has been in the same shoes before. It's totally fine to accidentally sing the choirs line of a hymn, or miss an "Amen" I still do that all the time today!

    You'll get the hang of it pretty quick. As a standard rule most Anglican churches stand to sing and hear the Gospel, kneel to pray, and otherwise sit. Some parishes stand for all of the readings. Some do not expect people to kneel to pray, and so people just remain seated and pray however they most feel comfortable (I have always prayed with my eyes open, if you don't feel comfortable praying as the oldie next to you does on the cushion under the pew, just pray however makes sense to you).

    Hopefully that helps a little. Was there any parts of the service specifically that threw you off and you had no idea what was happening? Any embarrassing questions you want to ask to strangers on the internet, so you seem an expert next Sunday?
     
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  4. Gregory Fincher

    Gregory Fincher New Member

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    Yes, when they had a cross on pole and walked it down the aisle. They did this a couple times each time was a little different so I assume different means for each.
     
  5. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Hi. Welcome!

    You will not be the first Baptist to find a home among us Anglicans, nor the last. We are a pretty broadly embracing bunch of Jesus Followers and different congregations have different whacky ways of expressing our love and gratitude for Jesus Christ and all that he has done for us sinners.

    Just to help you understand in very general terms what is going on in Liturgical Worship, here's a quick list of things to expect.

    1. A welcome. (usually done by the Priest, Deacon, a Reader or LLM local lay minister.)
    2. A prayer of preparation to settle people into a suitable frame of mind to meet with God.
    3. An invitation to confession. We corporally clear anything out of the way that might interfere with a healthy relationship with God.
    4. A general confession. We admit that we are not yet as perfect as we should be, if we are to be good and faithful servants of God.
    5. There might be an appeal to God for mercy, sung or said. It's called the Kyrie Eleison which is Greek for "Lord have mercy". It's very, very old and has been sung or said by the church of Jesus Christ for nearly 2000 years.
    6. The priest announces an absolution to convince all those who have sincerely repented of their sins that God forgives freely those who admit their need for help in being good people, like Jesus was.
    7. A Canticle (song) called the Gloria may be sung praising God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit just for being THEM for US.
    8. A Collect is said for this particular Sunday, which sums up whatever theme of the Christian faith we shall all be concentrating on today.
    9. Someone reads a lesson from the Old or New Testament of the Bible.
    10. A hymn or Anthem may be sung. Usually on the theme for that particular Sunday.
    11. There may be a second reading from scripture, followed by the Gospel or straight into a reading of The Gospel for that particfular Sunday. This will usually be the actual words and teaching of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in one of the four Gospels.
    12. A sermon or homily is preached, usually explaining the relevance to us disciples of Jesus in today's world, but based upon the teaching of Our Lord contained in the previous Gospel reading.
    13. We recite the Nicene Creed or some other variant of it, to remind ourselves of what we believe and why we believe it.
    14. Someone leads prayers of intercession. That is praying for others as well as for ourselves. Includes prayer for the church of Christ on earth, For our nation's government, for those in need, for those who are sick, for peace for those who have died and are now with God in heaven.
    15. Celebration of the Eucharist. (Means Thanks Giving in Greek)
    16. The Sanctus may be sung or said. (Very ancient song nearly 2000 years old)
    17. Priest continues to recall and commemorate Jesus Christ's Life, death and resurrection and relates the story of The Last Supper. This is called the prayer of consecration. It happens at the altar over bread and wine.
    18. We may recite or sing The Mystery of Faith. Another very ancient song describing our faith together which unites us.
    Christ has died: Christ is risen: Christ will come again.
    19. The priest continues to invoke the Holy Spirit to descend upon the people assembled there at that time to empower us to serve our saviour and our neighbours.
    20. We pray The Lord's Prayer, taught us by Jesus.
    21. The priest breaks the bread just as we have been told to do by Jesus,
    22. We remind ourselves that this one bread which makes us ONE, symbolises Jesus Christ HIMSELF spiritually coming among us, his disciples.
    23 We may sing or say the Agnus Dei (Lamb of God, in Greek). Very ancient song again nearly 2000 years old.
    24. We go up to the Altar Rail to receive bread (perhaps a wafer) and wine (perhaps but rarely grape juice, but nearly always alcoholic wine), as commanded to do by Jesus of Nazareth on the night of his betrayal.
    25. We say a prayer of thanks to Almighty God that Jesus Christ sustains us in the faith and ensures our salvation. We offer ourselves into his service and of our neighbours, on behalf of the world he wants to save, through our obedience to his sustaining Spirit.
    26. News and notices may be read out
    27. The Priest confers a priestly blessing upon us all.
    28. We all sing another hymn and then leave to get on with the business of being a disciple of Jesus Christ for the rest of the week, after maybe having a cup of tea or coffee, buiscuits or snacks and enjoying one another's company for a while.

    That's pretty well what happens EVERY WEEK without change, in Liturgical Worship.
    The Eucharist always follows the Word (from The Bible). The Word always preceeds the Eucharist. Confession and absolution always preceeds BOTH. Service should always result from all this.
    .
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2022
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  6. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Hi, Gregory! Glad you are here!

    I've been in an Anglican church for about 4 years (I think), after 25+ years in various Protestant congregations, which in turn was after 25+ years in the Roman Catholic Church (the church of my parents, to which I cannot envision myself ever returning). Our local church follows one of two liturgies (each very similar to the other, just minor differences) found in our 2019 Book of Common Prayer. Each liturgy is laid out in an easy-to-follow format in the book, although we are constantly picking up our bulletins to follow along with the Bible readings (1 OT, 1 psalm, 1 NT epistle, 1 gospel) and our hymn books to sing. In the Episcopal church, they usually are following more closely to the 1979 BCP, and my impression is that it requires a lot more 'jumping around' in the book (the 2019's layout is much more clear IMO), so I think some of the parishes just print out the entire order of service in a bulletin to make it easier to follow along. Feel free to download some of that material if you want to look it over and familiarize yourself (the 2019 BCP's liturgies are found from page 105 to 138).

    The liturgy can be regarded as being in two sections: the service of the word, followed by the service of the Eucharist. These things have been handed down through the centuries as a collection of what the people of God regularly need to be put in remembrance and what has long been believed by the church to glorify God in praise, worship, and thanksgiving. We might say, it was good enough for our forebears and it's good enough for me! If it isn't broken, why fix it, right? :laugh: So our church leaders continue to conduct the services much the same way as has long been done, resisting the impulse to innovate and extemporize because that has often (in the past) been the vehicle for unorthodox teachings to creep in. A 'liturgy' is basically an order of service... a sequence that is followed on most Sundays. It has been said by some that every church has a liturgy of some sort even if they don't call it by that name; every church tends to follow a pattern and they stick pretty closely to it week after week. Ours is just more formalized than some others, to prevent weird stuff from being added.

    About the cross on the pole: there was a time in the days of the Roman empire when the emperor's standard (on a pole) would be carried about as a sign of the emperor's authority, and people were supposed to honor that standard, and whatever decrees were transmitted in associated with it, just as they would honor the emperor himself. I've read that the church back then adopted the carrying of the cross on a pole as a somewhat analogous 'standard' (a symbol) to signify Jesus' spiritual presence among His people who had gathered together in His name. So it is common among Anglican & Episcopal churches to have a procession with the cross down the aisle at the beginning of the service, and another procession up the aisle at the conclusion. Also the cross is carried before the Bible as the minister prepares to read the Gospel from it. Many will make a sign of respect for Christ by bending the neck (inclining their heads) toward the cross as it passes them, and also toward the cross on the table at the front of the church. Many will make a small bow (more than just bending the neck). Some will even bend their necks at every verbal mention of "Jesus" and "Christ" as a sign of respect. Nothing wrong with doing any of that, and nothing wrong about not doing it if you're not comfortable with it; I mention it so you'll be able to recognize what's going on and some of the thought process behind it.

    I hope that helps a bit, and if anything else comes to your mind, ask away! We're happy to answer questions. :thumbsup:

    By the way, Tiffy's list (above) appears to be "in no particular order."
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2022
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  7. Gregory Fincher

    Gregory Fincher New Member

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    A lot of help info thank you
     
  8. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    My list is actually the order that we do things here at St Andrew's Priory Church, (1090). Apart from not mentioning our use of incense I think most C of E churches use very similar running orders, in line with recommendations in Common Worship. Very few still use 1662 or 1928 BCP but we follow BCP for Evensong when we have it. Matins is now a very rare experience. Most congregations have forgotten how to sing canticles and psalms - unfortunately.
    .
     
  9. CRfromQld

    CRfromQld Moderator Staff Member

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    You catch on fairly quick. Just ask if you have questions.
     
  10. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    I think Rexlion covered it pretty well, but just to answer directly, I would expect the service to walk the cross on a pole (called either a standard, or a processional cross) down the aisle 2 and 'a bit' times:
    • First time: Usually when the rector/presiding priest enters the sanctuary (the part of the church with the alter, the pews, etc.) or church proper for the service the Church will ring the bells. This signals to everyone to rise for the procession. The priest, deacons and their acolytes will enter in a procession in the formal way - with a crucifer (the standard bearer carrying the cross on a pole) leading the way. Most churches will normally also have an acolyte marching with a very large impressive looking bible held above their head (called a Gospel Book), in addition to the cross. It wouldn't be appropriate for the priest to enter God's house with their own standard, or the standard of some other power, so that's what the pole is for. It's a standard of Christ, I guess symbolising that those in the processions are servants of Christ, or belong to Christ's army or something. I don't know the exact origins. Now its more a sign that something special is happening in this place every Sunday, and so it's worth a ceremonial entrance.
    • The 'a bit' time: When the Gospel is read for the final reading the crucifer will lead someone carrying the big impressive bible above their head to the first or second pew deep. Again this is just to show reverence and respect for the gospel, so we do a little ceremony before it is read.
    • The Second time: Then at the end of the service we have a procession again where everyone will rise and the standard bearer/crucifer will lead the rector and their acolytes out of the church. Usually you remain standing until the procession has passed you, but if others start sitting down before then feel free to copy them and sit down early.
    Not every Church has a Gospel Book, especially newer churches. The books usually have some history or meaning to them, so it might take a while (as in many years) before they get a big impressive book. Some churches have a different book with a different cover for each of the gospels, so if that sort of thing interests you feel free to take a look at the designs on the Gospel Book in your church. Everything in an Anglican church is packed full of meaning - from the architecture, to the icons on the walls, to the garden, to where the organ is positioned, to the cover on a book. It all means something and can be linked to a verse in the bible.
     
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  11. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Well, thanks for clarifying that. Perhaps we should keep in mind that you're across the pond from the OP, in the CoE (and Zach is 'way under). The order of service in your neighborhoods may be different from the order of service in many US churches. I noticed that your general confession comes very early in the service. In my parish it's much later. So, for example, in our ACNA Anglican parish it's:
    Hymn & processional
    Acclamation
    Collect
    Summary of the law
    Kyrie
    Trisagion
    Gloria in Excelsis
    Collect
    Readings (including Gospel)
    Homily
    Nicene Creed
    Prayers of the People
    General confession & absolution
    Sign of Peace
    Offertory
    Sursum Corda
    Sanctus
    Prayer of Consecration
    Lord's Prayer
    Prayer of Humble Access
    Agnus Dei
    Eucharist
    Post-communion prayer
    Blessing
    Hymn & processional
    Dismissal

    Episcopal parishes will differ in their order of service from both yours and mine. In the main, though, we all share in common the primary elements and basic liturgical pattern despite the minor differences. :cheers:
     
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  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Much too late :laugh: First thing we need to do when in God's presence is dump our sin and get cleaned up, not leave it til later on in the service. :laugh: We can only worship joyfully when confession is out of the way and absolution is grasped upon by both hands and heart. :yes: It's a bit BCP nowadays to put that off until nearly the collection, (hoping to get a better take perhaps :laugh:).

    Still as long as there actually IS a general confession and absolution I guess it would be OK as a Eucharistic act of worship.
    .
     
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  13. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    Although I mostly agree, you don't need a confession every service for the Eucharist to be valid. We drop the confession during Easter.
     
  14. Br. Thomas

    Br. Thomas Active Member

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    Welcome! The first visits will be a bit confusing. Luckily, in our parish, the priest did a great follow-along order-of-service that one can use each Sunday. I will also say, that our priest was raised a Baptist and became an Anglican Catholic and did his studies and then ordained as Deacon and now Priest. I find it to be very good for all of us to hear of his journey. Again, welcome.
     
  15. ZachT

    ZachT Well-Known Member

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    A friendly reminder that this thread was supposed to be about a new member asking questions about Anglican liturgical practice. I think it would be helpful to keep it a place where he, and possibly other new members into the future, feel comfortable asking questions rather than turning it into a (in my view, demonstrably solved) discussion about if the CofE is allowed to govern itself.
     
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  16. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    I don't mind if the mods separate PDL's and my (mostly) discussion to a more appropriate and named thread. I take it you have no objections to our content per sae?
     
  17. PDL

    PDL Well-Known Member Anglican

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    I do agree with ZachT that this thread has seriously gone off at a tangent. Indeed, so much so that this will be my last post in the thread. One can only endure the pain from banging one's head against a brick wall for so long. :wallbash: It would appear that no matter what that AnglicanAgnostic is going to continue with his insinuations that the hierarchy in the Church of England behaves in an underhand way and imposes new and strange forms of worship on the Church's members without so much as a nod at the proper procedures.

    Of course, his posts on the matter are scattered with words such as 'suggesting', 'probably', 'suspect' but without any actual facts to back up his case. As ZachT pointed out the Church of England will continue to govern itself and its members will continue worship God despite what a non-believer thousands of miles from these shores thinks on the matter.:tiphat:
     
  18. AnglicanAgnostic

    AnglicanAgnostic Well-Known Member

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    I agree and it all started because I made what I thought was a small "in house" joke to Tiffy. I'll ask the mods to separate the themes out, because I still have more to write about.
     
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  19. Phoenix

    Phoenix Moderator Staff Member Anglican

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