The Anglican ethos has often been described in the Latin phrase, via media (middle way). The desire of the early Anglican reformers was to stay true to the ancient traditions of the early church but in a way that was accessible and relevant to the people of 16th Century England. So right at the heart of Anglican Christianity is a desire to be simultaneously rooted and relevant, ancient and modern, traditional and innovative. Nowhere is this more plainly seen than in the Book of Common Prayer (BCP).
Originally written in 1549 by Thomas Cranmer, the BCP revolutionized the life and worship of the Church in England. Cranmer’s BCP was a brilliant innovation that brought new life and meaning to the ancient worship traditions of the church, because, for the first time, they were simplified (made user friendly) and written in the language of the people rather than in Latin. The BCP is also thoroughly infused with Scripture references from the beginning to end as Cranmer had a deep conviction in the transforming power of God’s written word. Liturgy is not the deluxe or heavy-duty version of Christian worship. It is for everyone who is spiritually hungry and seeking training in heartfelt obedience to God and his purpose for our lives. Responding to the grace of God, we worship by participating in ancient Christian practices as spiritual disciplines, seeking a growing relationship with Jesus and transformation into his likeness, and being on mission with him in the world by sharing his transforming love.
Liturgy is participatory. If you get off track in liturgy, don’t worry. Just relax in the moment and make yourself peacefully present to, and alert to the Holy Spirit. Allow yourself to be immersed in the community around you—in song, prayers, and God’s Word. Just as there are cycles within nature, the early church found it good to remember the various themes of the gospel through seasons. Through the different seasons of the year, we hear and rehear the gospel story, of which Christian worship flows out. You will see the seasons visually expressed through the changing colors in the sanctuary and clergy stoles. There are subtle reminders that we are proceeding through the seasons and to remember the story of God present in the Bible.
- Advent prepares us to celebrate Christ’s first coming and his second coming to judge the living and the dead.
- Christmas is the anniversary of our Lord’s birth.
- Epiphany (January 6) which, with the following Sunday, speaks of the glory of God revealed in Christ.
- Lent begins on Ash Wednesday and lasts 40 days, excluding Sundays. This period recalls the 40 days of our Lord’s temptation. It is a season of penitence and fasting in preparation for Easter.
- Holy Week opens with Palm Sunday and leads our thoughts through our Lord’s Passion from his entry into Jerusalem, through the Last Supper on Maundy Thursday, to his Crucifixion on Good Friday and his lying in the grave on Easter Eve.
- Easter is the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection from the dead. The season of rejoicing extends through the 40 days after Easter.
- Pentecost celebrates the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus’ disciples (the Church) as described in the Book of Acts, chapter 2. The season after Pentecost continues for the rest of the Church year until the beginning of Advent.
- Other events of our Lord’s life and those great men and women of God in the New Testament and the life of the Church are commemorated throughout the year on Holy Days or Saints’ Day.
The lectionary is a collection of readings from the Scriptures, arranged for personal reading and proclamation during worship gatherings. It helps guide our reading time so we can be consistent and intentional in our readings. It also allows for our church body, as well as many other Christians, to read the same Scripture passages at the same time. The lectionary provides an Old Testament, New Testament, Psalm, and Gospel reading for each Sunday, as well as for other holy days. The lectionary has a three-year cycle, which means that the same texts are read on Sundays every third year. Everyone needs a plan to read the Bible, and thankfully our Anglican heritage provides one. You can visit the Lectionary Page to read or meditate on the scriptures that will be taught in Sunday sermons.
The Daily Office is based on the ancient practice of prescribed daily times of prayer and is found in the Book of Common Prayer. These services are accompanied by daily lectionary readings, that is, daily scripture readings—a reading from the Psalms, the Old Testament, the New Testament, and a gospel reading. Praying through the Office is an enriching way to practice daily devotions in Morning and Evening Prayer. We encourage you not to rush. If there is a time constraint, take the liberty to leave out the Canticles or just read only the daily Psalms. Relish the words. Take your time. Reflect on what you are praying and saying to the Lord. When you pray/read plural pronouns like “we” or “our” when you are going through the service alone, realize that others elsewhere are praying the Office with you around the world. Come to the Scripture readings with open hearts and minds, believing that God is speaking through his living Word to you. The purpose of the Daily Office is to worship God and to be transformed by him through the Holy Spirit into the likeness of his Son Jesus Christ.
Baptism marks the point in a person’s life when they both publicly declare their commitment to Christ and the church declares their commitment to supporting them in their discipleship. There really is no more beautiful example of real community than in that of the sacrament of baptism.
At All Saints, we have the honor of baptizing infants, children and adults. In the case of infants and children, since they are not yet old enough to make promises to God for themselves, others (i.e. their parents and Godparents/sponsors) make promises on their behalf and commit to raise those baptized to be faithful disciples of Jesus Christ. It is at confirmation that these persons then have a chance to affirm their faith for themselves.
Confirmation marks the point in a person’s faith journey when they affirm the faith into which they were baptized as a child and their intention to live a life of discipleship to Jesus. This affirmation is confirmed through prayer and the laying on of hands by our Bishop. The church also asks God to give them power through the Holy Spirit to enable them to live in the way of Jesus.