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.

Posted by: celticanglican | June 8, 2014

The Collect for Purity: Preparation Time

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

Archbishop Thomas Cranmer

Almighty God, to you all hearts are open, all desires known, and from you no secrets are hid: Cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you, and worthily magnify your holy Name; through Christ our Lord. Amen.

This prayer was originally one of the prayers that priests said before the Mass as a form of preparation. It goes back to at least the 11th century. Archbishop Thomas Cranmer translated this prayer into English for the 1549 Book of Common Prayer. Although the version said by Episcopal priests today has more modernized language, we’re uniting ourselves with Christians of centuries past when we pray prayers like this one.

What are some of the things that the priest is praying for when he or she says this prayer?

  • Acknowledging that nothing we say or do is hidden to God. However, rather than seeing this as an indictment of our ability to sin, we should see it as encouragement that the same God who knows our hearts knows our prayer needs – sometimes before we even see them ourselves.
  • The Holy Spirit inspires us to perfectly love God and in doing so, we have a better attitude towards the people in our lives
  • The prayer is also a supplication for us to worship God in a worthy way – when we worship God in spirit and truth, there is no place for big egos or personal agendas

For further study:

Hebrews 4:1 – 13

Luke 10:26-28

John 4:19 – 24

Posted by: celticanglican | June 1, 2014

Acclamation: The Call to Worship

An Episcopal Church

An Episcopal Church

If you’ve ever attended services at Catholic, Lutheran or some Protestant churches, you’ve probably noticed that the priest or pastor presiding opens with a greeting that the congregation responds to. We do that in the Episcopal church as well. It’s called an acclamation, although some groups prefer to refer to it as a call to worship.

The usual acclamation is:

Blessed be God: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
        And blessed be his kingdom, now and for ever.

In keeping with the festive nature of the season, the Easter acclamation is:

Celebrant     Alleluia. Christ is risen.
         The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.

During Lent, because of the more penitential nature of the occasion, the acclamation is in the following form:

Celebrant     Bless the Lord who forgives all our sins;
People         His mercy endures for ever.

In short, it’s not only a call to worship, but also a call to reflect on God’s greatness. When the service opens and closes with praise, it keeps us more focused on what we do during the service and in the larger world.

Posted by: celticanglican | May 29, 2014

What We Leave Behind


RIP+, Maya

Originally posted on Cast Light:

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

I sighed when I read Maya Angelou passed away today. What an inspiration, artist, creator, model, survivor, thriver, poet, leader, writer, lover of life.

What will we leave behind?   Not just at the end of our life, but at the end of each day as we pass through people’s lives.

Seeds or weeds
Inspiration or angst
Light or shadow
Joy or pain
Laughter or tears
Kindness or callous
Soft or hard
Delight or doom
Passion or indifference
Faith or doubt

What power we have each day to leave a something lasting behind, to be missed when we leave, to cast light in an often dark world.

You will certainly rest in peace Maya Angelou since you offered so much peace and love…

View original 49 more words

Posted by: celticanglican | May 25, 2014

Songs of Praise

Stained glass windowc depicting a church procession

Church procession

One thing that you’ll notice about the Episcopal Church right away is that we use hymns, and a lot of them. At most Sunday services, the service will open with a hymn and procession that includes the clergy, acolytes, Eucharistic Ministers and choir. This helps “set the stage’ so to speak, for the joyousness of the occasion. The Christian life is a journey, after all and we are pilgrims. Processions with hymns pre-date Christianity, and some of the Psalms (120 to 134) were used as processional hymns on major feasts.

The hymns sung in Episcopal churches can include any or all of the following:

  • Ancient hymns going back to the earliest days of Christianity
  • Paraphrases of the Psalms used by early Anglicans and Presbyterians
  • Some of the oldest Baptist and Methodist hymns
  • African-American spirituals
  • Modern Catholic music
  • Other contemporary Christian music

Various types of instruments have always been used in worship. Although the New Testament doesn’t mention instruments being used, it is likely that instruments simply weren’t used due to Christian worship being driven “underground”, rather than a NT Church rule against them.  We do know from Ephesians 5:18 through 20 that early Christians did place a lot of emphasis on hymn singing.

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