Saint James Anglican Church

Joseph Howe Drive at the Armdale Rotary, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada             


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Copyright to the individual images is retained by the individual parishioner. The contents of this web site may not be duplicated, altered, or reproduced without the written permission of St James Anglican Church. Every effort is made to provide information which is relevant and as complete, up-to-date and accurate as possible. However St James Anglican Church cannot be held responsible to users of the information or any other person for any errors or omissions, or for any losses, costs or claims which arise as a result of relying on such information or advice.

 

Learning the Liturgy

Liturgy for the Book of Common Prayer

Liturgy for the Book of Alternative Services

 

BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER

Lesson 1A: The Gathering of the Community

Lesson 2A: The Beginning of the Liturgy

Lesson 3A: The Lord's Prayer and the Collect for Purity

Lesson 4A: The Ten Commandments

Lesson 5A: The Kyrie and the Mutual Salutation

Lesson 6A: The Collect for the Queen

Lesson 7A: The Collect of the Day

Lesson 8A: The First Lesson

Lesson 9A: The Psalm and the Epistle

Lesson 10A: The Gospel

Lesson 11A: The Creeds and the Sermon

Lesson 12A: The Offertory Sentences, Alms & Oblations

Lesson 13A: The Preparation of the Altar

 

BOOK OF ALTERNATIVE SERVICES

Lesson 1B: The Gathering of the Community

Lesson 2B: The Beginning of the Liturgy

Lesson 3B: The Grace

Lesson 4B: The Collect for Purity

Lesson 5B: The Act of Praise

Lesson 6B: The Collect of the Day

Lesson 7B: The Lessons and Psalm

 

Lesson 1

The Gathering of the Community

September 22, 2013

As we gather to worship God each Sunday, we should enter the Church with a sense of awe and mystery. It is traditional that each member of  the congregation would take some time for silent prayer; centering themselves in the peace of the Church and preparing to meet God within the service or liturgy.  While this time of quiet prayer and contemplation does lend itself to a careful balance of solitude within community, it should not lead to self-awareness alone.  As each gathered member settles into a prayerful-worship posture, they must always be aware of those around them.  Welcoming newcomers is part of the worship.  Being aware of people, who do not seem familiar with the liturgy or do not know which book to use or what page to turn to is the responsibility of all who gather.  As you prepare to worship the Lord, make yourself aware of the people with whom you will worship.  At the 10:00 am service, we are blessed with the gift of church music, which lends itself to prayer and worship. Some prepare to worship through quiet prayer; others greet their pew neighbours.  All of this is to be encouraged.  We worship with different books and we sit, stand, kneel and move.  Newcomers, guests and visitors may need our help.  Always be aware of who is around you and do not be shy to offer help, with a smile!

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Lesson 2A

The Beginning of the Liturgy

September 29, 2013

In the last section we learned about gathering in the Church, preparing ourselves for worship and becoming aware and attuned to the people who gather with us, especially guests or people unfamiliar with our service.

 

We look next to the Entrance Rite and the Lord's Prayer. At the BCP Holy Communion service, the Priest begins the service by moving directly to the Altar.  As the Priest proceeds to the Holy Table, she recites the Introit appointed for the day.  Once the Introit has been recited, the Priest stands at the Table and prays the Lord's Prayer.  During the Lord's Prayer, the people shall kneel.  The first Lord's Prayer of the liturgy is prayed aloud only by the Priest.  The origin of the Priest alone saying this prayer precedes the Prayer Book.  Originally, the Priest would offer the Lord's Prayer and the Collect for Purity while he was vesting in preparation for the service.

 

Introit: An anthem or hymn sung or said at the beginning of a Communion service

Vest(ing): To clothe or robe oneself, as with church vestments

Vestments: any or several ritual garments of the clergy

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Lesson 2B

The Beginning of the Liturgy

September 29, 2013

In the last section we learned about gathering in the Church, preparing ourselves for worship and becoming aware and attuned to the people who gather with us, especially guests or people unfamiliar with our service.

 

We look next to the Entrance Rite.  Our service begins each week with a Processional Hymn (sometimes called Introit, Entrance Song or Gathering Hymn).  The Processional Hymn begins our worship of God. Usually, the Processional Hymn is a song of praise and adoration of God, calling us to draw our focus away from ourselves and toward the Lord.  This hymn is intended to lead us into a liturgy, which draws our focus back to God, and allows us to devote ourselves, heart and souls, mind and strength, to the One who calls us to worship.  This hymn also allows for the movement (procession) of the Chancel party (choir, servers and priest) to move to their seats for the service.  This hymn is our call to worship and we stand together as we begin our liturgy.

 

Introit: an anthem or hymn sung at the beginning of a Eucharistic service

Chancel: the space in a church for the clergy, servers, and usually the choir, often separated from the rest of the church by a screen or railing

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Lesson 3A

The Lord's Prayer and the Collect for Purity

October 20, 2013

In the BCP Holy Communion liturgy, the Introit and the first two prayers (The Lord's Prayer and The Collect, or "Collect for Purity") are said by the Priest alone as he stands at the altar.

 

The theology expressed in the Prayer Book is one that was very much present in the Church in the 16th century, as the Anglican Church or the Church of England came into being.  The theology is such that it was/is understood that the priest is a spokesperson for the members of the congregation.  The priest acts as an intermediary speaking to God on behalf of the people and interpreting God's words for the people.

 

The recitation of the Lord's Prayer by the priest is a beginning to worship, which places the focus of our worship directly on God from the first prayer offered. The Collect, or Collect for Purity, asks that God will mercifully prepare the people (including the priest) to worship Him. The Collect for Purity recognizes that without divine purification, we would not be able to kneel in God's presence at all, let alone worship Him with all of who we are. Hence, the Collect for Purity really is a prayer of preparation, offered by the priest on behalf of the congregation.

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Lesson 3B

The Grace

October 27, 2013

"The Grace" is the liturgical or Church "way" of saying hello and welcome. The Grace welcomes people into the space and the worship in such a way as to introduce us to our host and the "guest of honour" for whom, and in whose name, we have gathered. By invoking the Trinity (Father, Son and Holy Spirit), the priest welcomes the members of the congregation into God's house. (We must remember that while we are sons and daughters of the Lord, and we are always welcome in His house, the Church is still God's house and not ours.)

 

The Grace expresses God's words of welcome to all who have gathered. This is why in the Anglican liturgy the priest should not then offer up more words of welcome. Doing so would be equivalent of saying hello to someone who comes into your home after you have said hello when you opened the door to them. The Grace is the Church's way of saying hello!

 

The Grace also serves to center the congregational focus on God. Clearly the liturgy and people's worship should, and will be completely focussed on God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

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Lesson 4A

The Ten Commandments

October 27, 2013

The Ten Commandments are the first "rules" of community that God gave His Chosen People to follow. As people of the Book, Christians share the Ten Commandments with Jews and Muslims alike. They remind us of our call to live in community together, respecting God, respecting each other and honouring all of our relationships.

 

Every time we gather for Holy Communion as a BCP community, we are expected to recite the Ten Commandments (or the Two Great Commandments). The rubrics of the BCP state that: "The Ten Commandments shall always be read at least once a month on a Sunday." It has been our custom to simply use the Two Great Commandments (also known as the Summary of the Law) each week. The new custom within this Church will be to follow the rubrics, and on the first Sunday of the month or at the beginning of new liturgical seasons, we shall recite the Ten Commandments, as expected in the BCP.

 

Rubrics: a direction or rule as in a prayer book, missal or breviary
Missal: the book containing all the prayers, lessons, etc., for the celebration of mass throughout the year

Breviary: a book of daily prayers, etc., for the canonical hours.

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Lesson 4B

The Collect for Purity

November 17, 2013

In the contemporary tradition of the Anglican Church, the community is welcomed to the liturgy with the recitation of "The Grace," which is the Church's way of saying "hello."  Immediately following the Grace is recited the Collect for Purity.  Unlike the older BCP theological understanding of worshipping, in which the priest would recite the prayer on behalf of the people, the people offer this petition to God in their own voices.

 

The Collect for Purity asks that God will mercifully prepare the people to worship Him.  This Collect also recognizes that without divine purification, we would not be able to kneel, or stand, in God's presence at all, let alone worship Him with all of who we are. Hence, the Collect for Purity is a prayer of preparation, offered to God by God's people, who are expressing their desire to be made worthy of worshipping the Lord.

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Lesson 5A

The Kyrie and the Mutual Salutation

November 03, 2013

Following the recitation of the "Rules of Life" we have been given - The Ten Commandments or The Summary of the Law - the congregation continues kneeling with the Kyrie and a mutual salutation or spiritual greeting.

 

The Kyrie is a Lesser Litany in a Trinitarian form.  The first appeal is made to the Lord, our Father, the second appeal to the Lord Christ and the third to the Lord, the Holy Ghost.  This recitation expresses an attitude of humility or deep reverence before God, because we live as sinners forgiven, and reminds us that we continually seek His mercy.  An eminent Canadian Anglican theologian, Dr. Robert Crouse, has named this attitude "penitential adoration."

 

In preparation for the Collects of the Day and Service we move into the mutual salutation between the minister and the people.  "The Lord be with you"/ "And with thy spirit."  For a moment we are not speaking to God but to each other under God's gaze.  It is drawn from the greeting Boaz gives his reapers (among them his future bride, Ruth), which can be found in Ruth 2:4. Then the minister invites the congregation to prayer.

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Lesson 5B

The Act of Praise

December 8, 2013

The Act of Praise in this service is an opportunity for the congregation to move from The Grace (being welcomed into God's home and presence) and the request that God would purify us and make us worthy to worship Him (the Collect for Purity), into an overt and pointed act of praising the Lord.

 

The hymn "Glory to God" is used during the Christmas season and from Easter Day through Pentecost, but it may also be used throughout the year on Feast Days and Sundays in Ordinary Time.  During the Penitential seasons of Advent and Lent it is not used.  The more penitential songs of praise (somewhat more subdued and mercy-focused), like the Kyrie Eleison and the Trisagion, are used for Advent and Lent.

 

Other canticles and hymns may be used as an Act of Praise as well.  The aim of the Act of Praise is to set the tone for the liturgy, which will unfold.

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Lesson 6A

The Collect for the Queen

November 17, 2013

lmmediately following the Kyrie and the Mutual Salutation, we find the Collect for the Queen.  This collect is a prayer, which is offered by the Church for the care and keeping of the Head of the Anglican Church.

 

The monarch is still, technically, the Head of the Anglican Church. Queen Elizabeth II is responsible for the final decision as to whom will be appointed the Archbishop of Canterbury.  Our current Archbishop is The Right Reverend Justin Welby.  Just as we pray each day for the bishops and clergy who maintain the sound doctrine and teaching of the church, as well as its ministrations, so too do we pray for the Head of the Anglican Church (aka the Church of England.)

 

Within the prayer itself, we ask God to have mercy upon the whole Church and to rule the heart of God's chosen servant that she might make good decisions and exercise just rule over the people God has placed in her care.  The prayer assumes that the Queen will always remember with humility that she is in the headship by God's choice and not by any effort of her own.  The prayer also offers up a request that we, the people who are under her monarchy, might respect and honour the Lord through our proper service and servitude to the monarch.

 

The assumption rightly made is that those who hold authority within the Church will be subservient to the Lord and will exercise appropriate and merciful authority over God's people within the Church.

 

In essence, this collect expresses our prayer that the Queen will always be a faithful servant of God, hence praying for and working with the Church in God's will. This collect also expresses our acknowledgment that we must exist, live and worship, recognizing that we cannot be, nor were we ever meant to be, authorities unto ourselves.  There is always someone to whom we turn for leadership, someone in whom we place our trust and for whom we pray ceaselessly.

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Lesson 6B

The Collect of the Day

January 5, 2014

A “collect” is a “brief prayer that changes with the season or occasion.” It is a prayer that quite literally collects the intentions of our worship service and focuses our worship.  Each Sunday there is a different collect written to be paired with the readings and it centres the liturgy.

 

The Collect of the Day completes the first portion of our worship: The Gathering of the Community: and it provides the transition to the readings for the day.  The Gathering of the Community is comprised of the Processional Hymn, The Grace, the Collect for Purity, the Act of Praise and the Collect of the Day.

 

The Gathering of the Community is the rite, which unites the assembled people as a community, to prepare them to listen to God’s word and to enter into the Eucharistic celebration..

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Lesson 7A

The Collect of the Day

November 24, 2013

A "collect" is "a brief prayer that changes with the season or occasion."  It is a prayer that quite literally collects the intentions of our worship service and focuses our worship.  Each Sunday there is a different collect written to be paired with the readings and it centers the liturgy.

 

The Collect of the Day completes the first portion of our worship - The Gathering of the Community - and provides the transition to the readings for the day.  The Gathering of the Community is comprised of the Opening Sentences or Introit, the Lord's Prayer, the Collect for Purity, the Summary of the Law, the Kyrie and the' Mutual Salutation, the Collect for the Queen and the Collect of the Day.

 

The Gathering of the Community is the rite, which unites the assembled people as a community, to prepare them to listen to God's word and to enter into the Eucharistic celebration.

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Lesson 7B

The Lessons and Psalm

February 02, 2014

The purpose for the Proclamation of the Word: The Eucharistic Community is the assembly of the baptized who are gathered to hear the word of God and to celebrate the Eucharist.  Word and sacrament stand in a dynamic relationship to each other.  The readings and the psalms establish the foundation of learning and remembering our history and our faith foundations as we prepare to celebrate the Eucharist or sacramental celebration.

 

The readings used in the authorized services in the Anglican Church consist of an Old Testament reading, a psalm, a New Testament reading and the Gospel.  The Eucharistic readings are assigned in the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), which is used in most mainline, liturgical denominations in North America.  (Ideally, we should be sharing the same scripture as all other Anglican churches and other denominations each Sunday.)  The RCL has been created to ensure that if followed daily for the three years of its entire cycle - Years A,B,C - the Bible will be almost completely read from cover to cover.

 

The psalms are used because they are rich in scriptural themes; they continue the proclamation of the word of God; they sum up the response of the People of God; and provide the ideal vehicle for the community's reflection on the readings.

 

The balance of Old and New Testament lessons with the Psalms provides the listener with a sense of history and the moving of God's Holy Spirit throughout all the ages.  This participation in the "past" of our faith provides a wonderful counter-balance to the "future" of our faith that we experience in the Eucharist, or Holy Communion.

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Lesson 8A

The First Lesson

December 1, 2013

The Book of Common Prayer has been described as "Scripture order by prayer" (arranged for prayer).  Scholars who have analyzed the text line-by-line, estimate that well over 80% of the BCP is taken directly from the Bible.

 

In the traditional understanding of the Book of Common Prayer, only one lesson was appointed for a service of Holy Communion, in addition to the Psalm appointed for the day and the Gospel lesson. With the exception of the Octave Day of Christmas, The Baptism of Our Lord, and The Sunday Next Before Advent, all Sundays are supplied with lections from the Epistles, the Acts of the Apostles or the Book of Revelation.  Old Testament lessons were not provided for in the general service of  Holy Communion in the Book of Common Prayer.

 

Our custom as Anglicans in the 21st century is to read the Scripture along the path of the RCL (Revised Common Lectionary).  The RCL has been created to ensure that if followed daily for the three years of its entire cycle -Years A, B, C -the Bible will be , almost completely read from cover to cover.  We have begun reading from the Old Testament (the First Lesson) in recognition that we must hear and participate in the words of the First Testament in order to more fully comprehend and live out the meaning of the New Testament and the Gospel.

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Lesson 9A

The Psalm and the Epistle

December 8, 2013

Traditionally, the Service of Holy Communion contained only an Epistle reading and the Psalm appointed for the day, in addition to the Gospel lesson.  The Psalm was placed after the reading of the Epistle as a response to the lesson.

 

Psalms are prayers written many ages ago by a few people who chose to turn to God in every aspect of their lives.  We are called, through worship, to do the same.  God speaks to us through the psalms and we can speak back to God using the very words He has given us.

 

The Psalter has nourished the spirituality of more Christians than any other book in the Old Testament.  St. Benedict (480-550 CE), the founder of the Benedictine monastic order, made it a requirement of his rule that the whole Psalter should be said or sung each week in monasteries and convents.

 

The Epistles, or sometimes the Acts of the Apostles, or the Book of Revelation, are read each week and share with us both the revelation of God's truth through the working of the Holy Spirit in the early Christian Church and the stories of how the early Christians lived out their faith.  These letters and books are written by those who were the earliest followers of the risen and ascended Jesus Christ and they give us guidance in how we might live out our lives in faith.

 

The readings that we use today are arranged and appointed through the Revised Common Lectionary (RCL), which is used in most mainline, liturgical denominations in North America.  (Ideally, we should be sharing the same scripture as all Anglican Churches and other denominations each Sunday). The RCL has been created to ensure that, if followed daily for the 3 years of its entire cycle -A,B,C -the Bible will be almost completely read from cover to cover.

 

The balance of the Old and New Testament lessons with the Psalms provides the listener with a sense of history and the moving of God's Holy Spirit throughout all of the ages.  The participation in the "past" of our faith provides a wonderful counterbalance to the "future" of our faith that we experience in our participation in Holy Communion.

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Lesson 10A

The Gospel

January 5, 2014

After we have listened to the lessons from the Old and New Testaments and the Psalm which speak to us of what God has done in and through the world, we then move to hear God's word that speaks to us of what God has done in Jesus Christ.  The Scripture we have shared before this is of vital importance to our faith and development, to our understanding of God and God's work in the world.  The Gospel we are about to hear draws us up to a higher plane.  The Gospel lesson speaks of that which the Bible surrounds: God incarnate in His Son, Jesus Christ.  The Gospel is always about Jesus and it is always something that is greater than anything else we do when we worship together, with the sole exception being that of Holy Communion.  While we remain seated to listen to God's Word proclaimed, we stand when Christ is present, and in the proclamation of the Gospel, Christ is present in our midst.

 

In the tradition of the Church, the reading of the Gospel is attended by marks of special honour.  As was just mentioned, all stand and face the Gospel Book or Bible and the reading is preceded and followed by special acclamations.

 

In the tradition of the BCP, the people respond to the pronouncement of the Gospel by saying, "Glory be to thee, O Lord."  The people's response to the Gospel of Christ is "Praise be to thee, O Christ."  The Gospel is read by the deacon, or in the absence of a deacon, the concelebrating presbyter (assisting priest).  If there is neither a deacon, nor an assisting priest present, the Gospel is read by the priest.

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Lesson 11A

The Creeds and the Sermon

January 19, 2014

In the Christian Church we share & affirm our faith in the form of the creeds. Credo = I believe.   The shortest of the 3 creeds and the one used at all prayer services in the BCP is the Apostles' Creed. Our 2nd creed, used most often on Feast days in the BAS and at every BCP Holy Communion, is the Nicene Creed. The 3rd creed is the Creed of St. Athanasius.  It can be found beginning on page 695 of the BCP.  This creed is the longest and has been traditionally used on Trinity Sunday or during Christmastide and Eastertide.  This creed contains the most detailed teaching on the Trinity and the Incarnation.  The Apostles' Creed is a statement of faith used in the western Church.  Despite its name, it was not composed by the Apostles, but evolved from a creed used in Rome in the 2nd century.  It summarizes the faith of the apostles, as taught in the New Testament, and professed by new converts at baptism. It has remained the baptismal creed ever since, and it became a part of the daily prayer offices of the church between the 7th and 9th centuries.  When we recite our beliefs in the words of the Creeds, we stand and face east.  This is derived from the tradition of celebrating the Eucharist at an eastward facing altar.  Although our altar is no longer facing the east, it is appropriate that we look to the east in our desire to see the second-coming of Christ.  We must remember that we need to say the Creeds to remind us of the promise that soon God's Son will be with us again.

 

The sermon is a time of reflection & anticipation.  We are given time to reflect on what we have heard proclaimed and we are given time to listen and prepare for God's anticipation of what we will do with the Good News of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ.

 

The sermon should break open the words we have heard and help us to hear them with a deeper understanding.  It is not a time to make us feel better about ourselves.  It is not a time to cheer us, as a community, on.  The sermon provides opportunities, for each and every one of us to open our hearts to what God is spurring us on to do.  The sermon should provide us with our marching orders.  If it has been prayerfully and faithfully prepared, the sermon should provide a push from God, working through the preacher, to become less as individual so that we can become more as a Christian.  As was once prayed, "Lord, work in me that I may decrease and You may increase."

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Lesson 12A

The Offertory Sentences, Alms & Oblations

January 26, 2014

The Offertory Sentences are shared with the congregation to establish the right heart-set for the gifts of alms and oblations, which are about to be given to God by the Congregation and through the Church. Each sentence invites the congregants to prepare their hearts for giving that their gifts may be true in intent and given in joy as a response to God's generosity.

 

When we gather before God we give thanks to God for the tremendous gifts God has so freely shared with us. We have been blessed with a church within which to worship, homes to provide us with shelter, food to eat, schools to attend, recreation to share with others. We cannot help but look around and recognize the abundance that we share by God's glorious generosity. As faithful followers of God we are expected to offer back to God a tithe. A tithe has traditionally been understood as 10% of our income or product. In farming communities, farmers would be expected to tithe their grain, beef, etc. In the Church of 2014 we recognize that Christians offer their tithe in many and varied ways. We offer money gifts to charities that have become important to us, as well as the Church. We offer a tithe of our time when we volunteer at Church and in the community. We tithe our talents when we do work in God's name that utilises the talents God has bestowed upon us. Our tithe is not something we give out of guilt. It is something we give out of our joy. Our gift to God through the Church should never be whatever is left over at the end of the month - a gift from our remainder - but our tithe should be gleaned from our first fruits - a gift given from the abundance we have been given by God. When you offer that first gift, say a prayer of thanksgiving and release. When gifts are given with joy and gratitude that we have something to offer back to God, we find that we have more to offer - to God, the world and ourselves.

 

The collection we offer provides the Church and our community with the resources we need to do God's work in the world. They are given in joy and hope and they are used to share joy and hope. It is appropriate that we graciously give back to God the alms (charitable donations of money or food given to the poor) that God so graciously shared with us.

 

We also bring forth the gifts of bread and wine to share with the Lord. The bread and wine offered to God by us becomes the body and blood offered through Jesus Christ for us. As with all gifts to and from God, they are brought forward and placed on the altar to be blessed and used to God's glory.

 

The gifts or collection of money presented to God are left on the altar during the service to indicate that we are giving thanks to God and we give back to God with grace and glory. Just as the bread and wine are gifts we offer to God, so too is the money we offer to God.

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Lesson 13A

The Preparation of the Altar

February 02, 2014

The Preparation of the Altar is similar to the preparation of a dining room table for a great family feast.  We set the table with our finest linens.  We light the candles and arrange the flowers to show the care and attention we have paid for our guest of honour.  We carefully set the table with everything necessary for a grand feast, and we recognize the specialness of the occasion at which we are about to participate.  At the Eucharist, our guest of honour is Jesus Christ himself.

 

While referred to as the Lord's Table, the Altar should never simply be considered something as commonplace as a "table".  It is the altar upon which we commemorate the sacrifice Jesus made for all humanity in giving himself up to death that we might share in new life.  It is perfectly acceptable to think of this altar as a "table" but always beware that we cannot diminish what this altar represents: a tremendous and self-giving sacrifice made for us and for all people out of divine love.

 

When preparing the altar, care and attention to detail must be made.  No action is made in haste.  No element of the setting of the altar is made without cause.  There is a place for every item on the altar and there is a reason for its placement.  If you would like know more about how to prepare the altar and what is placed where, please speak to a member of the Sanctuary Guild.

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