Posted by: celticanglican | August 19, 2014

Of Thine Own Have We Given Thee….

This is the point in the service where the collection is taken.  However, the emphasis here is on the bread and wine, rather than the money. The bread and wine used in communion are typically purchased ahead of time, rather than furnished out of homemade bread and wine, as was commonplace in ancient times.

However, they are still presented by members of the congregation. We offer them to God and God gives them back to us in the form of Christ’s Body and Blood.

The priest prepares the table and this may be done by a deacon if there is one. There is often a special choir anthem sing during this time. A presentation hymn is sung at the end of the offertory and this is typically the well-beloved Doxology.

Posted by: celticanglican | August 10, 2014

…and Also with You!

The Kiss of Peace, similar to today's passing the Peace

The Kiss of Peace, similar to today’s passing the Peace

The Peace. It can be one of the nicest parts of the service for newcomers. Depending on the size of the church, this can consist of a few friendly handshakes with those closest to you or it can involve lots of hugs. Though the Peace can be exchanged right before communion, it’s more common to have it just before the Offertory.

This practice takes its inspiration from the Kiss of Peace that was exchanged during early Church services (see 1 Thessalonians 5:26). This was a common greeting during the time of Jesus. In keeping with more current customs, the greeting is more customarily a handshake, or possibly a hug if between family members or good friends.

When we “pass the peace”,  it’s more than a way of saying hi. It’s a way of demonstrating being at peace and harmony with each other before receiving Christ’s Body and Blood.

Posted by: celticanglican | August 3, 2014

A Clean Conscience

Even though private confession is an option in the Episcopal Church (see the video above), most people prefer the general confession that usually takes place before exchanging the peace. (It can also take place at the very beginning of the service). When we say the confession together, we acknowledge our need for God’s forgiveness in our lives and our willingness to accept that gift. We need to be aware of God’s forgiveness in our lives (1 John 1:9)

The priest pronounces absolution, this helps serve as reassurance that our sins are no longer held against us. The Christian walk should never be about waiting to see if there’s even one slip-up.  A healthy view of confession and absolution helps us keep sin and forgiveness in a proper perspective.

One of the advantages of a general confession, especially when said just before exchanging the peace, is that it also gives us the opportunity to examine ourselves and make sure that we are at peace with those we will break bread with.

Posted by: celticanglican | July 27, 2014

Let Us Pray for the Church and the World

No worship service is complete without praying for the needs of others. This is also the ideal time to bring our own prayer needs before our fellow parishioners. When we offer our intercessory prayers, known as the prayers of the people, we remember the needs of:

  • The Church
  • The World
  • Local Concerns
  • The Sick
  • The Departed

These prayers are often read aloud by a deacon or Eucharistic Minister. Many congregations opt to have a parishioner read the prayers from the midst of the congregation. Time is always given for the people to add their own prayer requests if they like.

Posted by: celticanglican | July 20, 2014



It’s often said that the Episcopal Church is a creedal church, not a confessional one.  This means that the basis of belief is in the form of creeds, or statements of faith generally accepted by Christians of many backgrounds. In this case, it is typically in the form of the Nicene Creed, which originated at the Council of Nicea in 325.

By using a creed that has its basis in the ancient, undivided Church, we are acknowledging our larger place as a part of Christ’s one Body. This stresses Christian unity in a way that many confessions can’t, having been based on interpretations specific to one group. There have, of course been a couple of variations worth considering:

  • The Rite I (traditional language) version of the Nicene Creed begins with I believe, instead of We believe, reflecting an emphasis on the Nicene Creed also being a form of personal affirmation of belief.
  • In Eastern Orthodox churches, the clause about the Holy Spirit mentions proceeding from the Father, instead of the Father and the Son. Episcopalians have often speculated about adopting the Orthodox usage.

During some choral Eucharistic services, you might even hear this creed sung!

Posted by: celticanglican | July 13, 2014

The Sermon: Practical Life Tips

Sermons have been preached in Christian communities from the earliest days when the New Testament epistles and Gospels were still being written. To this day, preaching still plays a role in the life of the Church. normally, a sermon is preached by a bishop (if present), priest or deacon.

Some smaller congregations without weekly access to clergy may train lay worship leaders to preach sermons as well. Giving a member the authority to preach a sermon isn’t a matter taken lightly. This is why only designated people preach sermons.

Most of the time, the designated preacher* for the day preaches a sermon or homily (shorter sermon) about one or more of the lectionary readings. Some might try to preach a sermon based on all 3 lessons for the day, while others might focus most of the sermon on a single reading. Occasionally, you might hear a sermon about some aspect of our worship or a current social concern.  The sermon might be preached from the pulpit, or from the center aisle of the church in the midst of the congregation.

*Preacher designates a certain job that clergy fulfill as part of their profession, however, in the Episcopal Church tradition, a clergy member is not generally referred to as “a preacher”, nor is the term used as a title.

Posted by: celticanglican | July 4, 2014

Independence Day

Lord God Almighty, in whose Name the founders of this country won liberty for themselves and for us, and lit the
torch of freedom for nations then unborn: Grant that we and all the people of this land may have grace to maintain our
liberties in righteousness and peace; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one
God, for ever and ever. Amen. (Book of Common Prayer)

We’ll return next week – happy 4th!

Posted by: celticanglican | June 29, 2014

Hear What the Spirit is Saying….

Bible opened to Isaiah

Bible opened to Isaiah

You will hear quite a bit of Scripture during a service in the Episcopal Church. Rather than simply hearing “The Bible says…” you will hear the words for yourself.  At least two readings, one of them being from the Gospels, are read, with three readings being most common. A lectionary is used, which is a schedule of readings that allows the majority of the Bible to be read from over a three-year cycle.

A psalm is often used between the Old Testament reading and the New Testament reading. This might be read aloud responsively between a layperson and the congregation, or in unison. It might be chanted using traditional Anglican, Gregorian or Orthodox chants. A hymn based on the verses of the psalm can also be sung.

The Old and New Testament readings are read by lectors or Eucharistic Ministers. However, the Gospel reading is always read by clergy. This reading is read from the pulpit, or, more typically from the middle of the center aisle.  The participation by both laity and clergy shows how important these readings are for all God’s people.

Posted by: celticanglican | June 22, 2014

“Collecting” All the Prayers

A woman praying

A woman praying

You’ll notice that the priest says a prayer that’s called a collect. Why is it called that, specifically? Mainly, because it is a form of collective prayer, meant to “collect” the prayers of the congregation. We join our friends in the Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches by the use of these prayers.

These are prayers that focus on the occasion being celebrated that Sunday, and you’ll find that the words used in the collect share a common theme with the Scripture readings for the day (which will be addressed in the section for next week). You’ll find that not only do these prayers paraphrase Scripture, but they are also Trinitarian in nature. They’re a great example of how we truly offer prayers “in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”.

From prayers that were included in the 1549 prayer book and adapted into modern language to modern prayers written during the Civil Rights Movement, these collects show how we’ve maintained a practice of being willing to pray for all things.

Posted by: celticanglican | June 16, 2014

More Praise: Gloria, Kyrie and Trisagion

There are three common hymns of praise that typically follow after the Collect for Purity: the Gloria, the Kyrie or the Trisagion.

The Gloria is always used during Christmas and Easter seasons, and has its basis in the angels’ hymn of praise in Luke 2:14. It is never used during Lent.

The Kyrie is an ancient form of prayer, modeled after the prayer in Luke 18:9-14. It is often used during Lent as an alternative to the Gloria. This may be sung in English or in the original Greek (as heard below).

The Trisagion is used as an entrance hymn in Eastern Orthodox churches and is sometimes used as an alternative to the Kyrie.

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