About Our Worship

As you enter…

You will immediately see our emphasis on the centrality of the Word in our worship. This is clearly displayed in the architectural arrangement of the church, with the baptismal font at the door as the sign of entrance into the covenant relationship with Christ, the Lord’s Table at the front of the church as the sign of eternal union with Christ, the Pulpit on the Gospel side for the Word expounded and the lectern on the Epistle Side for the Word spoken. Later in the service of Holy Eucharist, the Gospel lesson is read from the center of the Church showing that Christ is always at the heart of the message.

As you are seated…

The area in which you see pews and kneeling benches is known as the nave. When you move into your pew, you first genuflect to the front of the church (liturgical East) to acknowledge the real presence of our Lord at His Table. Kneel before sitting to prepare your heart for the service. Our form of worship is taken from the Book of Common Prayer which contains the liturgy used in all our services. The liturgy is an ancient and Biblical form of worship, in continuity with both the Old and New Testament Church. Throughout the services, Scripture is either quoted directly or alluded to, making the order the most Biblical and comprehensive service of worship. Use the bulletin given you by the usher as a guide to know what page you are on, what posture you should assume (standing (s) or kneeling (k)) and which hymns we will sing.

As the service begins…

The Celebrant and other ministers as well as the acolytes and choir enter at the back of the church, at which time a bell is rung and the congregation stands in readiness to begin the service. The minister will open the service by reading one or more verses of Scripture as a call to worship, after which the processional hymn will begin. The assembly will slowly process up the center aisle toward the sanctuary, following three symbols of Christ, the cross, the light and the Word. This movement from the back of the church to the front is a physical image of what our hearts should be doing spiritually – slowly and reverently entering into the Presence of the most Holy God to eat at His Table. The image is taken from many Biblical examples of believers ascending up to God on a mountain or in the Temple – all serving as images of us ascending to His Throne Room in the Heavenlies. The Celebrant will be wearing a white alb, bound by a rope cincture to signify sacerdotal chastity and spiritual watchfulness (Luke 12:35-38). With the albi sworn a stole, representing the yoke of Christ, of different seasonal colors. He always will be wearing a clerical collar, which shows that he is a slave to Christ and a servant to His people. As the cross and the Celebrant pass us, we bow our heads in recognition of what and Whom they represent.

As the service commences…

After the Collect for Purity and the Introit, The Ten Commandments or the Summary of the Law will be read followed by prayer Collects. We continue with the recitation of a Psalm, the reading of an Old Testament selection as well as both the Epistle and the Gospel appointed for the day by the lectionary. The Gospel lesson is read from the center of the Church, surrounded by the images of Christ, to show that Christ is central to our existence as the Church, and to remind us Immanuel is ever present in the midst of His people.The Nicene Creed follows the Gospel lesson, at which time we profess our common faith with that of the undivided Church throughout the ages. You will note that we genuflect during the creed between “was incarnate” and “was made man” out of respect of the humility of God in becoming man. The Sermon concludes the Ante-Communion.

As the Communion proper begins…

During the offertory, the celebrant dons the chasuble, a symbol of festivity fit for the occasion of serving in the Presence of the Lord. At this time, the Celebrant prepares the Altar for the Celebration of Mass, after which the alms are presented and we rise to sing the doxology, indicating our acknowledgement that all blessings truly come from God. As the service continues from before the Lord’s Table…

As a sign of solidarity with all Christians, we pray for the Church universal before we partake. We then confess our sins and our unworthiness before the Lord. This prayer should not be said frivolously or as mere vain repetition, but must be taken as an opportunity to confess unconfessed sins or sins of ignorance. The celebrant then pronounces Christ’s absolution of all those who truly repent and whole heartedly believe His Holy Gospel without pretence, making the sign of the cross over the congregation, and reads the comfortable words. He will then encourage you to “lift up your heart” so that you may approach the image of God’s Throne Room boldly and without fear. If your confession has been sincere and you are a Baptized member of Christ’s Church and believe in the objective presence of Christ in the Sacrament, you are free to partake of the elements. The torchbearers will come down the center aisle to indicate when you may approach the chancel rail.

As you come up for communion…

As you leave and return to your pew, you genuflect as before and walk solemnly to the communion rail. We kneel, place the right hand over the left to receive the element of bread first. The element of wine will be served immediately after by the chalice bearer. Should you prefer not to partake directly of the common cup for whatever reason, retain the bread in your hand and the the chalice bearer will intinct the host for you and place it in your mouth. Should there be any reason why you do not or should not partake of the elements, you may kneel at the communion rail and cross your arms, right over left, across your chest in the form of a cross, indicating that you wish instead to receive a blessing from the Celebrant. It is also permissible for the infirm or small children to stand at the communion rail. If you cannot physically walk to the chancel you should make it known to the acolytes or to the usher, and the celebrant will be glad to bring the blessed Body and Blood of our Lord to you in the pew.

As the Communion draws to a close…

The celebrant will arrange the table followed by the singing of the very ancient Gloria in Excelsis (not during pre-Lent, Lent or Advent), and the pronouncement of the benediction, during which the sign of the cross is made once more.

As the service ends…

The service is concluded with the procession out of the Church, a sign of the Church’s advance or descent from the Presence of God into the world. At the conclusion of the recessional hymn, the Celebrant will say, “Go in Peace to love and serve our Lord”, to which you respond, “Thanks be to God”.At this point, we encourage you to kneel once more and meditate on the entire service, while the acolytes extinguish the candles. When the organ begins the postlude, it is time for you to go on your way to represent our Lord before the world.

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