What are the various parts of an Anglican worship service?
- Music and Singing–The Scriptures extol us to, “Sing to the Lord a new song,” and to “Let every instrument be tuned for praise.” While we love and honour 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 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 priest 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 only in the bread and wine, but among the church gathered for Communion. Thus, taking communion is not just an individual encounter but a corporate experience of Christ’s Presence among His people.
- Receiving Wine and Bread— All who are Baptized are welcome to receive the Sacrament with us, regardless of denominational affiliation or church background. The bread is placed on an open palm and may be eaten followed by drinking from either the common cup, if being offered, or individual cups. If you do not wish to receive communion, you are welcome 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 Colours, Symbols, and Postures represent?
The colours 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 colours purple or serum blue because purple is the colour 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 honour. We stand to honour 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).
Please ask if you have a question about our worship service!