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.