WHAT TO EXPECT
when you visit our Church
The Place of Worship
As you enter, you will notice an atmosphere of worship and reverence. Anglican Churches are built in many architectural styles; but whether the Church be small or large, elaborate or plain, your eye is carried to the front of the Church where you will see the altar, or holy table, and to the cross. So our thoughts are taken at once to Christ and to God whose house the church is. On and near the altar there are candles to remind us that Christ is the "Light of the world'' (John 8:12). Usually there are flowers, to beautify God's house and to recall the resurrection of Jesus. On the left hand side at the front of the Church, there is a lectern for the proclamation of the Word; here the Scriptures are read. On the right hand side is the pulpit and the sermon is preached from here.
The Act of WorshipOn your way in you will be given a service booklet, a hymn book & a "week sheet". Large print copies are available if required, please ask. The service booklet contains the actual service, both what the priest will say and what the congregation say.
You may be worried about when to stand, sit or kneel, when to bow, genuflect or cross yourself. Please don't worry as practices vary, even among individual Anglicans! The general rule is we stand to sing hymns, to say our affirmation of faith (the Creed) and for the reading of the Gospel in the Holy Eucharist. We sit during readings from the Old Testament or New Testament Letters, the sermon, and the choir anthems. We stand or kneel for prayer to show our gratefulness to God for accepting us as children or as an act of humility before God. Many people find kneeling for any length of time difficult or uncomfortable and sit with bowed head instead.
The Regular Services
The principal service is the Eucharist (also called Holy Communion).We celebrate this every day of the week at St Annes, and twice on Sundays! It is celebrated quite simply, without music, early on Sunday morning (8am) and our main Parish Eucharist (with choir and organ) takes place at 10:30am on Sunday. Our weekday celebrations are usually without music, and without sermon.
While some parts of the services are always the same, others change. At the Holy Eucharist, for example, two or three Bible selections are read. These change each Sunday and are printed in the weeksheet. Hymn numbers are also printed in the week sheet and are displayed on hymn. boards around the Church. If you get lost, please do not be embarrassed just ask the person next to you for help.
In the middle of the service we "share the peace" where it is customary to shake hands with those around you and say "peace be with you". This is indicated by the Vicar saying "Let us offer one another the sign of peace". A collection is normally taken during Sunday services (during the offertory hymn), small yellow envelopes are available on the pew shelf in front of you for this purpose. Towards the end of the service people go forward to receive the Eucharist (bread & wine). If you are a confirmed member of a Christian Church, you are welcome to receive the Eucharist with us. Otherwise please feel free to come forward carrying your service booklet and the priest will give you God's blessing. You can also stay in your seat if you would prefer not to come forward.We hope you will find our services beautiful in their ordered dignity, God-centred, and yet mindful of the nature and needs of human beings.
Before and After
It is the custom upon entering church to kneel in one's pew for a prayer of personal preparation for worship. Most people also bow or genuflect to the altar on entering and leaving their pew as an act of reverence to Christ.
We try to use the time in Church before a service as a time for personal meditation and devotions. At the end of the service some people may also choose to kneel for a private prayer before leaving. Our main Sunday service is usually followed by coffee either at the back of Church or over in the Parish Rooms, we would be delighted if you would join us.
Coming and Going
When you arrive there will welcomers (called sidesmen/women) to greet you & given you a service booklet/hymn book. They can answer any questions you have about the service, show you where toy bags & toilets are etc., so please ask them for help if you need it. Pews are usually unreserved so please sit wherever you like. Following the service the priest usually greets the people by the door as they leave.
What Clergy WearTo add to the beauty and festivity of the services, and to signify their special ministries, the clergy and other ministers customarily wear special clothes called vestments. The usual vestment is the alb, a white tunic with sleeves that covers the body from neck to ankles. These are worn by the priests and altar servers. At the Holy Eucharist the leading priest usually wears a chasuble (a circular garment that envelopes the body) over the alb. Assisting priests wear a stole, a narrow band of coloured fabric around their neck. Stoles, chasubles, as well as altar coverings, are usually made of rich fabrics. Their colour changes with the seasons and holy days of the Church Year. The most frequently used colours are white, red, violet, and green. Choir vestments consist of a blue undergown called a cassock and a white, gathered overgown called a surplice.
The Church YearThe Anglican Church observes the traditional Christian calendar. The season of Advent, during which we prepare for Christmas, begins on the Sunday closest to November 30. Christmas itself lasts twelve days, after which we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany (January 6).
Lent, the forty days of preparation for Easter, begins on Ash Wednesday. Easter season lasts fifty days, concluding on the feast of Pentecost.
During these times the Bible readings are chosen for their appropriateness to the season. During the rest of the year - the season after Epiphany and the long season after Pentecost to Advent (except for a few special Sundays) - the New Testament is read sequentially from Sunday to Sunday. The Old Testament lesson corresponds in theme with one of the New Testament readings.
You Will Not be EmbarrassedWhen you visit our Church, you will be our respected and welcome guest. You will not be singled out in an embarrassing way, nor asked to stand before the congregation. You will worship God with us. Should you wish to know more about our Church or the Christian faith, the priest will gladly answer your questions.