Anglican worship differs from many other traditions with its greater structure and its expectation of significant participation by the congregation. This guide is intended to assist newcomers quickly become familiar and comfortable with the worship service.
Keep your service leaflet open and ready for use at all times. It contains “cues” about what comes next and what your role will be.
Anglicans in general: (a) stand to sing, hear the Gospel, recite the Creed, (b) kneel for prayer and much of communion, and (c) sit for most other acts of worship. The service leaflet provides direction.
Communion is offered every Sunday. All baptized Christians, including children, are welcome to receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion at the altar rail. To receive the Bread, cup your hands together, palms open and lifted. To receive the Wine, assist the server in guiding the chalice to your lips, or retain the Bread and dip it into the Wine. Anyone not receiving the Sacrament is welcome to receive a blessing at the altar rail; please indicate that intent by crossing your arms over your chest. For gluten-free wafers, let the priest or deacon know when you are offered the Bread.
You are free to remain in the pew if you do not wish to receive Communion.
Gestures such as crossing oneself, bowing as the Cross passes your row, kneeling, etc. are intended to enhance worship and not serve as a mark of piety. If you’re not comfortable doing these things, it is not required.
The tunes for the service music, such as the Gloria, Agnus Dei, etc. change over the course of the Church Year, another good reason to keep the bulletin handy.
Everything in the service—dress, gestures, words—is done for a reason. To gain a deeper understanding of this, we recommend a small booklet called The Liturgy Explained by Tom Howard. It is available in our library and online.
Most people in the parish are not Anglicans from birth, having chosen this tradition as adults. We hope that you, as they have before you, find this a deeply satisfying way to offer your worship to God.