Why And How
Worship is at the heart of all we do at the Episcopal Church of the Advent. Gathering as the body of Christ affirms and reminds us that we are members of God’s family, equally loved and valued. Our worship inspires and empowers us to show Christ’s light in the world.
If you have not worshiped in the Episcopal Church, here are some things that might be helpful to know:
Our worship is liturgical in form. Our services use a consistent structure of words and actions, much of which comes directly from Scripture. The liturgy practiced in the Episcopal Church has developed through the ages and has been inspired by centuries of Christian life and worship. As our understanding of God has changed, the liturgy has also changed and continues to grow. The language, rituals, and manual acts involved in Episcopal worship grounds us in and serves as continual reminders of the story of God’s love manifested in Jesus Christ. Learn more about liturgy at episcopalchurch.org
The Episcopal Church’s liturgy is found in the Book of Common Prayer. The very first Book of Common Prayer dates back to 1549 and was created in England to unite people in worship using the vernacular or “common” language. Up to that time, worship was conducted using Latin, which was not widely known by people in England. The Book of Common Prayer connects us with ancient traditions and speaks to our contemporary lives. It contains the various liturgies (and many other things pertaining to the Christian life) used throughout the Church Year and guides us through our worship. On Sundays, we have the liturgy in a bulletin to assist participants and enhance the experience of worship for all in attendance. Learn more about the Book of Common Prayer at episcopalchurch.org
Our principal worship service is the Celebration of the Holy Eucharist. In this liturgy, we hear again the story of salvation, of humanity’s turning away from God, and God’s reconciliation with us through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. We experience fellowship with each other, and with Jesus, in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The priest (Celebrant) takes bread, gives thanks, blesses the bread, breaks, and gives it to those who desire to receive the grace and benefit it provides. The Celebrant does likewise with the cup of wine. By participating in this mystery, we receive the sacramental body and blood of Christ and experience the fullness of God’s love for us and the world. All those who have been baptized in the Christian tradition are invited to receive Holy Communion. The Sacrament is brought to the person for whom the chancel is not accessible. If someone does not wish to receive the Sacrament, they are invited to receive a blessing from one of the priests. Learn more about Eucharist at episcopalchurch.org.