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The Anglican tradition has historically been both catholic and reformed. The word “catholic” means universal; we affirm the doctrines of the universal church taught in three ancient ecumenical creeds: the Apostles’ Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed. Similarly, we observe the seven sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, Reconciliation, Eucharist, Marriage, Holy Orders, and Anointing of the Sick. We also uphold the historic threefold church hierarchy of bishops, priests, and deacons in an unbroken line of succession that can be traced back to the apostles. However, we are not part of the Roman Catholic Church. We believe in the three solae of the Protestant Reformation: Sola Scriptura (Scripture is the only infallible authority for doctrine and practice), Sola Fide (justification through faith alone), and Sola Gratia (salvation is accomplished by God’s grace, not human effort).
Unlike the Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox churches, Anglicans do not claim to be the one true church. We see ourselves as part of the one true church along with all other members of Christ’s Body, including Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant Christians.
Our understanding of Jesus is best summarized by the definition given at the Council of Chalcedon in A.D. 451, which states:
“Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.”
On the basis of Scripture and the consensus of the church throughout history, we teach that marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman, and it reflects the marriage between Christ and his bride, the church.
We affirm the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but unlike the Roman Catholic doctrine of transubstantiation, we do not attempt to define how this occurs.
We believe that Baptism is the sacrament through which God unites the believer with Christ and washes away original sin. Given that we see Baptism as something God does for us (a means of grace), rather than something we do for God (e.g. a public declaration of faith), we believe in baptizing infants.
We believe that Christ will return to judge the living and the dead, and that He will establish the everlasting kingdom of God in the new heavens and the new earth. However, we avoid speculating about when Christ’s second coming will occur.
Our worship services are liturgical and traditional. We use the 1928 Book of Common Prayer and the 1940 Hymnal.
On Sundays we have Morning Prayer at 7:30 and Holy Communion at 8:00 and 10:30. We also have Holy Communion in the side chapel on Wednesdays at 10:00. We have additional services during our cycles of nine days of prayer and throughout Holy Week.
Our services are about an hour and fifteen minutes. The only exceptions to this are special events such as baptism and confirmation.
We do not have a dress code, but most parishioners tend to dress up.
Prior to communion, our priest invites all baptized Christians to receive the sacrament of Christ’s body and blood with these words from the prayer book:
“Ye who do truly and earnestly repent you of your sins, and are in love and charity with your neighbours, and intend to lead a new life, following the commandments of God, and walking from henceforth in his holy ways; Draw near with faith, and take this holy Sacrament to your comfort; and make your humble confession to Almighty God, devoutly kneeling.”
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Our worship services are multigenerational; rather than having children leave for part of the service to go to a separate kids’ service, we think it’s best to have the entire church family worship together.
It can be difficult to know what to say and when to stand, sit, and kneel in a liturgical service. We have booklets in the pews that make the liturgy easier to follow. The general pattern is standing to praise God, kneeling to pray, and sitting to receive instruction. But don’t worry if you make a mistake—everyone else will be too busy keeping up with the liturgy to notice.
The majority of our service remains the same each time we gather for worship. The hymns, collects, Scripture readings, and sermons change every week, and the musical settings change over the course of the church year. We see this repetition as analogous to practicing for a sport: by repeating the same movement over and over, it gradually becomes second nature to the athlete. Likewise, we find that our repeated use of these tried-and-true prayers teaches us how to pray, forming us in the mold of the long line of Christians who preceded us.