Participation in an Anglo-Catholic Service

In our Anglican worship of God, the congregation is not an audience, waiting to be entertained. Each member of the congregation takes his proper part in the worship of God. It is God, and not ourselves, that we seek to please with our worship. Therefore, you as an intelligent part of communal worship need to be properly prepared, be focused by means of your attention and be willing to cooperate by your active participation in the service.

Preparation First, make a spiritual preparation. When you enter the church, kneel and pray to God to open your heart, your soul, and your mind to be attuned to His Spirit, His Word, and His Will. Pray for those who will take part in leading the Divine Worship, the acolyte, lay reader, choir members, and priest. Secondly, get to church early enough to examine the bulletin. Find your place in the Prayer Book and Hymnal as needed. Review any parts of the service with which you are unfamiliar so that you will know what to do. The rubrics (instructions in fine print) will provided most of the information. Thirdly, in a gentle manner, to avoid embarrassing them, assist visitors and guests in preparing for the service.

If you are new to St. George's, the following will help you to understand the services.

Attention Once the service begins, focus all of your attention on it. Listen for what God may be telling you through His Word and worship. Listen for any additional instructions the celebrant may offer. Make the proper responses with the rest of the congregation. Listen to the people around you and keep pace with them. During the hymns, listen to the organ, and try to stay on key. When the officiant leads the congregation in corporate prayer, follow his lead (and not your own or anyone else's). Pay attention to the sermon, and if something is said that you don't understand, ask him about it later at some convenient time.

Cooperation Christian worship is the expression of our unity in Jesus Christ. When we go from one parish to another, things may be done slightly different. Our goal is to fit in with the rest of the congregation, and not to stand out. By custom, Church law, and God's commandment, the officiant (whether clergy or lay reader) whom the Church has appointed is in charge of the service. It is his lead that must be followed. Special care is sometimes necessary to provide this courtesy to a visiting priest or bishop who may say the service slower or faster than you are accustomed. In any event, never try to reform the practices of the officiant or the rest of the congregation from the pew durng the service

Practices in an Anglo-Catholic Service

Posture The general rule is: kneel to pray, sit to be instructed, and stand to give praise. Follow the rubrics, when they require otherwise, e.g. at the service of Baptism and Holy Matrimony, the congregation stands even during prayers because you act as a witness.

Rubrics The fine print instructions in the Prayer Book are called rubrics because they were once printed in red. The rubrics should be followed unless otherwise instructed by the celebrant.

The Infirm The sick or the infirm may sit while others kneel or stand. You may stand at the altar rail if you cannot kneel. If you cannot go to the altar rail, please ask an usher to request that the priest bring the Blessed Sacrament to you.

At the Priest's Entrance and Exit Stand when the priest and other ministers enter at the beginning of the service, and when they leave. Stand at the opening sentences of a funeral. Stand when the bride enters at a wedding. Stand during processions.

Gestures of Reverance have been left to the piety and discretion of the individual. Gestures when they are used reflect the courtesy and protocol of service in the court of a king, in this case, the King of kings.

If you are new to St. George's, the following will help you to understand the practices and why Anglicans to what they do.

The sign of the Cross is marking of someone or something with the Cross of Christ. It was once a secret sign amongst persecuted Christians. Now it is a public announcement of someone or something that belongs to Christ.

When to make the sign of the Cross