29th October 2022
Rt. Rev. Keerthisiri Fernando

A Very short introduction to the Worship in the Anglican Church

Introduction and Background

Primarily the worship in the Anglican Church depends on the very nature of the Anglicans as Reformed and Catholic. Therefore in its worship, it is evident that the three pillars of the Anglican Church namely the Scripture, Tradition and Reason are taken seriously. First and foremost Anglican worship depends on a sound scriptural foundation. This foundation is enriched by the traditions of the church throughout the ages by comprehending God as the God of history. The scripture and traditions are implemented in the present context of human reason to keep the worship both emotional and intelligent to make it relevant to the everyday life of people.

Life and Worship

Anglicans firmly believe that worship embraces the whole life. Therefore worship is done by using all senses of humans (sight, taste, smell, hearing and touch) appropriately to adore God who is the ultimate reality. In this regard, today, to enrich the traditional three pillars of the Anglican Church many Anglicans take experiences and various cultures of people equally important in formulating and practising worship in their everyday life.

Word and Sacraments

This is liturgically done in two main components of the worship called the ministry of the word and the sacrament. In the ministry of the word, God's Word is explored through the human word by using God-given wisdom. This is accomplished by using human words, starting with a text of God's word and then relating it to human context and vice versa. Here the emphasis is on human words accompanied by signs and symbols. Ministry of the sacrament enables the people to receive God's grace through outward signs. Like other Protestants, we Anglicans accept the two sacraments instituted by our Lord Himself, Baptism and the Holy Eucharist. Also, it is generally accepted by some Anglicans that there are other five sacraments namely Confession, Confirmation, Holy Matrimony, Holy Orders, and Holy Unction, which are also traditionally called sacraments by the church. The others call them institutions according to Article 25 of the 39 Articles of the Anglican Church. There are some other Anglicans who would go a step further and say that there is a sacramental nature in all created things respectively in the world.

Individual and Corporate

In every Anglican worship, people are advised to have a balance between the main aspects of worship, Praise, Thanksgiving, Confession, Intercession, and Petition. All these aspects are derived from the Bible and taken theologically and implemented contextually. It is the Anglican view that the corporate and individual nature of the worship should be handled with a proper balance and tension to comprehend the place of the individual in the community and the place of the community for the individual in the salvation history of God.

Liturgical Calendar

Anglicans follow the annual liturgical calendar comprising all festivals of the church. The pivotal movable festival of the calendar is Easter, which is the festival of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Easter is the foundation of the Christian church as well.