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Anglican Worship

Anglican Liturgy

What is "Liturgy?"  It is basically the order or program of the service at an Anglican church, whether it is the Sunday service, a marriage, or baptism, or more traditional services such as monrning or evening prayer.  It seems that the Anglican Church, like the Roman Catholic Church, has a liturgy for every occasion.  While many like the tradition and formality of the services, some are put off by that same formality.

 "Anglican liturgy can often feel like the Sunday morning work-out of the people of God: Sit. Stand. Kneel. Bow. Turn. Cross yourself. Walk. It’s morning gym at your local church. Spiritual aerobics. That should not surprise us. The word “liturgy” is derived from the Greek word for “work of the people”.  Jesus didn’t leave detailed instructions on worship. He did say “do this in memory of me.” So Anglicans DO things in their services."
-Bosco Peters, www.liturgy.co.nz

While the liturgies for various occasions are all found in the Book of Common Prayer, the actual practices at any church can be "high church" and "low church."  This does refer the the ranking of the church within the Diocese, but refer to the "elements" that are part of the service.  A liturgy at a high church will have more pomp and ceremony that at a low church.  But both churches follow the same liturgy, and all of the elements carry the same meaning and significance within the liturgy. 

Every church and demonination of Christianity has an order to their worship service, whether it is a rigidly followed program, with a certain etiquette to be followed, or a highly flexible program.  Whatever the order of service is, it order brings us each week to a place that is familiar, reinforces our relationship with God, and reminds us that we are gathered together to worship and praise God.

"When first encountered, Anglican liturgy can appear foreign, counter-cultural. But persevere . . . Anglican liturgy is about transformation: bread, wine, me, our community, our culture and world. In this picture God doesn’t change us and then we do liturgy. . . In this picture I join the community that does liturgy and find, little by little . . . God changes me."
-Bosco Peters

This website offers an explanation of some of the parts of the liturgy, including some more commonly found in a high church. There is also a video, "The Nuts and Bolts of Liturgy," with Fr. Eric Dudley that explains elements of the liturgy and the altar.  The video is an hour long, but Fr. Dudley gives "an entertaining and enlightening talk."

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