OF ALTERNATIVE SERVICES
1B: The Gathering of the Community
2B: The Beginning of the Liturgy
3B: The Grace
4B: The Collect for Purity
5B: The Act of Praise
6B: The Collect of the Day
7B: The Lessons and Psalm
8B: The Gradual, Gospel & Sermon
9B: The Creeds
10B: The Prayers of the People
11B: The Confession and Absolution
12B: The Sharing of the Peace
13B: The Offertory Hymn
14B: The Collection and the Gifts
15B: The Preparation of the Altar and the Prayer Over the Gifts
16B: The Eucharistic Prayer (The
Construction of the Eucharistic Prayer)
17B: The Lord's Prayer
18B: The Agnus Dei and the Fraction Sentence
19B: The Gifts of God
20B: Holy Communion
21B: After Receiving Communion
22B: The Prayer after Communion
23B: The Doxlogy
24B: The Blessing
25B; Dismissal & Post-Dismissal:
Our Work in the Church and in the
of Common Prayer]
Gathering of the Community
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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Beginning of the Liturgy
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
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.
an anthem or hymn sung at the beginning of a Eucharistic service
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
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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.)
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
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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Collect for Purity
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.
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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Act of Praise
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.
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.
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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Collect of the Day
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.
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.
Gathering of the Community is the rite, which unites the assembled
people as a community, to prepare them to listen to Gods word and
to enter into the Eucharistic celebration..
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Lessons and Psalm
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.
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.
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.
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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Gradual, Gospel & Sermon
Proclamation of the Word has two distinct forms and functions:
hearing the Word spoken to us as we listen to God's voice through
the words of the scripture, and hearing God's work broken apart that
we might delve deeper into its meaning, find our own understanding
of its relevance in our lives today, and be exhorted to not just
hear the Word but to live it as well.
we have listened to the lessons from the Old & New Testaments,
& 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 sequence of Gradual,
Gospel & Sermon serves to set apart what we are listening to,
and indeed what we are doing. 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 Sequence we are about to participate in draws us to a higher
Gradual is meant to state - in song and music - that what we are
about to hear is not only the words of God but it is the Word of God
incarnate. The Gradual provides the fanfare that announces the
arrival of something great, which demands our attention in a new
Gospel lesson itself, 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 our
proclamation of the Gospel, Christ is present in our midst.
sermon is a time of reflection and 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.
sermon should break open the worlds we have heard and help us to
hear them with deeper understanding. It is not a time to cheer
us as a community on. The sermon provides opportunities for us
to open our hearts to what God is spurring us on to do. It
should provide us with our marching orders. It should push us
to pray: "Lord, work in me that I may decrease and you may
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the Christian Church we share and affirm our faith in the forms of
creeds. Credo = I believe. The shortest of the 3 Creeds, and the one
used at all Baptismal services, is the Apostles' Creed. Our 2nd
Creed, used most Sundays and at every BCP Holy Communion service, 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 traditionally been used on Trinity Sunday or during
Christmastide and Eastertide. This Creed contains the most detailed
teaching on the Trinity and Incarnation.
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.
we recite our beliefs in the words of the Creeds, we stand and face
the east. This is derived from the tradition of celebrating the
Eucharist at an eastward facing altar. Although many altars no
longer face 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.
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Prayers of the People
prayers of the people are the response of the community to the
proclamation of the word. They are a moment when the gathered
community exercises its baptismal role. Baptized into Christ , and
made one in his body, we pray with Christ, who makes perpetual
intercession for us and for all of creation. The Prayers of the
People are also an initial step in a commitment to action. While we
pray for the world as we envision it perfected in Jesus Christ, our
intercessions also need to be grounded in the present reality. For
example, while a petition to "bring an end to all famine"
is clearly grounded in the vision of the new creation, there is also
an implicit demand that the Christian community make a tangible
response to that petition. The petition would ring hollow if a
community did not also respond in contributions to the local food
bank, the Primate's World Relief and Development Fund, and a
heightening consciousness of the root problems perpetuating world
hunger. So, at the same time, the prayers would appropriately
include some specific petitions for the local solution. We cannot
pray for something we ourselves are not prepared to become involved
prayers serve to provide focus and direction for the gathered
community. They are a response to the word proclaimed, they grow out
of the context of the community and the content of the proclamation,
and they prepare the people for the active response of the Christian
life. In the prayers of the people the community is invited to enter
actively into the work of worship.* (*Let Us Give Thanks: A
Presider's Manual for the BAS Eucharist)
in the past it was traditional for people to assume a kneeling
posture for any & all prayer, there has been a liturgical
renewal throughout the last 30 years that calls us to assume
different postures of prayer. Many people still kneel and that is
completely appropriate for prayer, as it is a posture of humility,
and only within the recognition of our own need to be humble can we
go before the Lord, while humbly presenting our petitions to God.
Standing in God's presence is recognition of the gift that we have
received through Jesus Christ. Since the sacrifice of Jesus on the
cross, and through his sacrifice, a once and for all atonement for
all sin, we have been granted the privilege of standing before God.
That being said, we must always remember that to stand before God is
a privilege granted to us, and not a right we have of our own
the community of faithful believers is also the reality that many
people are unable for health and comfort issues to kneel or stand
for any length of time. If arthritic knees or tired feet become a
hindrance to prayer either standing or kneeling, God will understand
if you were to offer your prayers seated!
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Confession and Absolution
seasons of Advent and Lent are penitential seasons; time the Church
has set aside that we might attend to the need we have to receive
God's mercy and forgiveness. While we do not dwell on our nature as
"fallen" human beings, we cannot afford to forget that
nature. Taking time to remember that we need the forgiveness Jesus
secured for us through his sacrifice on the cross and which we are
reminded of each time we receive the Sacrament of Holy Communion, is
not just important. It is essential because it helps us to not take
for granted what has been freely given to us and it reminds us of
our need to embrace our humility before the Lord.
Confession and Absolution is used every time we celebrate the
Eucharist, with the exception being a service of Holy Baptism.
Because it is used ritually, week by week, it is easy to lose the
meaning it holds and impact it yields.
cannot afford to take the prayer, or what we are doing when we use
it, for granted. On one hand, we do fall short of what we should do
and who we should be. On the other hand, we are reminded that God is
loving and merciful, recognizes that we are sinners and reaches out
to us nonetheless.
the prayer of confession, we humble ourselves before God, asking for
mercy. When the priest pronounces absolution, we are assured that
God has looked upon us with mercy and we have been forgiven of our
sins. We can then move forward to the sacrament of Holy Communion
with clear consciences and prepared hearts.
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Sharing of the Peace
Peace is an encounter, a reconciliation, and an anticipation. As an
encounter it reminds us that we meet Christ in others and without
that encounter it is impossible to meet God. As reconciliation it
dramatizes the call we have to be "reconciled to your brother
and then come
" (Matthew 5:23-24) As an anticipation it
dramatizes the Eucharist as a foretaste of the banquet of the
kingdom. The peace and unity experienced provide a glimpse of the
kingdom, which is yet to come.
Peace began in our liturgy, in the BCP, as the recognition of our
need to encounter, reconcile and anticipate within our souls as we
prepare to receive the Eucharist. In our liturgy today, we have
recognized that we do not approach the Lord's Table or Communion in
isolation, but rather in community. Therefore, we encounter,
reconcile and anticipate together, as a community.
the Passing of the Peace we must remember that we are encountering
the holy in each other and the service. We are not "checking
in", saying hello, or catching up with each other. We do not
choose to greet some and not others. We look for Christ in all whom
we meet around us.
To": it is appropriate to grasp hands or hug another, if both
parties are comfortable. This is a sign of love and respect. If you
are concerned about germs, it is quite sufficient to simply bow your
head or raise your hands together as in a sign of prayer.
"Knuckle-bumping" isn't really an appropriate sign of the
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Offertory Hymn is not merely cover music to play over the actions of
receiving the gifts the people offer back to God and the preparation
of the altar for Eucharist. It is a prayer the choir and the
congregation offer in thanksgiving for the gifts God has so freely
shared with us. It is incumbent upon every member of the
congregation to sing this prayer, whether or not you believe you can
sing. If you are unable to sing, (for reasons such as a sore
throat!), it is quite appropriate for you to follow the words and
read the prayer as the congregation sings around you. Seldom is the
offertory hymn meant to be an anthem offered only by the choir. It
is a participatory song in which all of God's people share their
thanks and praise. The Offertory Hymn itself is usually chosen for
one of two reasons: (1) it reflects the story and theology of the
gospel and/or (2) it reflects our desire and necessity to offer back
to God some of the abundance God has shared with us. A lot is
happening within the Offertory hymn and we should be keeping our
eyes, ears and hearts open that we might recognize it all.!
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Collection and the Gifts
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 we 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.
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 don work
in God's name that utilises the talents God has bestowed upon us.
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 the
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.
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. It is appropriate that we graciously give back to God
the alms (charitable donations of money or food given to the poor)
that God has so graciously shared with us.
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.
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 the
wine are gifts we offer to God, so too is the money we offer to God.
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Preparation of the Altar and the Prayer Over the Gifts
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 (but not
in Lent!) to show the care and attention we have paid for our Guest
of Honour. We carefully set the table with every thing necessary for
a grand feast, and we recognize the special-ness of the occasion in
which we are about to participate. At the Eucharist, our guest of
honour is Jesus Christ himself.
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 the 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.
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 placed on the
altar and there is a reason for its placement. If you would like to
know more about how to prepare the altar and what is placed where,
please speak to a member of the Sanctuary Guild or to the Rector.
Prayer over the Gifts reflects the themes of the liturgy of the day
and focuses not only on the gifts of bread and wine, but on the
whole work of the People of God, which is the offering of the
Church. Through this prayer we are asking God to receive back from
God's people what we have been blessed with by God's hand. This is
one of the truest ways that we can give thanks to God and invite God
to continue to work through us in the world.
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Eucharistic Prayer, or the Great Thanksgiving, is the great prayer
of blessing said over the bread and the cup on the model of the
Jewish table prayers of blessing. It is a prayer of faith addressed
to God the Father, an act of praise and thanksgiving for the whole
work of creation and redemption. The prayer is a unity from the
opening dialogue to the final doxology and Amen. In the
Eucharistic Prayer the Church expresses the meaning of the whole
Eucharistic action in which the memorial of redemption is made, and
the Church is united with Christ in offering and communion through
the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.
Person and Work of Christ in the Eucharistic Prayers - The
biblical imagery employed in the Eucharistic Prayers to express
meaning of Christ's life, death and resurrection for our salvation
is rich and varied. Three images in particular stand out in the
1) the interpretation of Jesus' death as an act of vicarious
suffering on behalf of the people on the analogy of the figure of
the suffering servant of Isaiah 53
2) the interpretation of Jesus' death as a sin-offering on the
analogy of the expiatory sacrifices offered in the Temple, and
3) the interpretation of the death and resurrection of Christ as an
act of divine deliverance from the power of sin and death.
close link between offering and anamnesis (remembrance) in
the ancient liturgies makes it clear that the offering of the gifts
and the community are entirely dependent upon the one sacrifice of
Christ. Cranmer (the crafter of the Book of Common Prayer and hence,
much of our Anglican theology) insisted on the once-for-all and the
"full, perfect and sufficient" character of the sacrifice
of the cross, but Cranmer's liturgy failed to give adequate
expression to the unity between the Church's offering and the
offering of Christ expressed in the ancient liturgies and in the
patristic theology of the "whole Christ, head and
Prayer 1 - This prayer is anew composition and aims at a rich
expression of the history of salvation.
Prayer 2 - The model for this prayer is that which is found in the
Apostolic Tradition of Hippolytus (c. 215). This is one of the most
ancient Eucharistic prayers that has come down to us.
Prayer 3 - The model of this prayer is Prayer B in the Book of
Common Prayer of the Episcopal Church U.S.A. This prayer requires
the use of a variable preface. These prefaces are an attempt to
enrich the prayer by offering a more extensive thanksgiving for the
particular aspect of the mystery of salvation being celebrated on
Prayer 4 - This prayer uses language of praise for creation and
salvation, using contemporary imagery.
Prayer 5 - This is a newer composition. It was written for use as a
sung text with a common refrain and with celebrations with children
Prayer 6 - This prayer is the work of an unofficial ecumenical
committee of Roman Catholic, Episcopal, Presbyterian, Lutheran and
Methodist scholars. Its source is the Eucharistic Prayer in the
liturgy of St. Basil of Caesarea. This prayer brings to our
tradition the richness of the Easter tradition as well as
representing an ecumenical achievement.
for the Eucharistic Prayer: As the prayer is a unity from the
opening dialogue to the final doxology and Amen, it is not
appropriate to stand for the opening dialogue and then kneel after
the Sanctus and Benedictus. The prayer is one complete action and
our posture should reflect such. While for many generations it was
the custom to kneel for prayer, in the past thirty years, with the
introduction of the new liturgies (Book of Alternative Services),
the Church has been embracing the theology expressed in Eucharistic
Prayer 2 that through Christ's gift of our redemption and
sanctification we have been made "worthy to stand in your
presence and serve you." Again, like the Prayers of the People,
we must recognize that kneeling is not the only acceptable posture
for prayer to God. Many people still kneel and that is completely
appropriate for prayer as it is a posture of humility, and only
within the recognition of our own need to be humble can we go before
the Lord in prayer. If you wish to kneel for the Eucharistic
Prayer, please kneel for its entirety - not just after the Sanctus
and Benedictus. There is also merit in standing before the Lord
while humbly presenting ourselves and our prayers to God. Standing
in God's presence is a recognition of the gift that we have received
through Jesus Christ.
to pay the required price to secure the release of one from one's
the process of being made holy resulting in a changed life-style for
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Construction of the Eucharistic Prayer
Salutation: The Lord be with you. And also with you.
This is the introduction to prayer; an invitation to join with the
Priest as the community prays together.
Our preparation in prayer: Lift up your hearts. We lift
them to the Lord. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. It is
right to give our thanks and praise.
opening dialogue is not a separate prayer from the Eucharistic
Prayer. It is part of the whole. It is understood that the Priest
will pray on behalf of the people, and this dialogue begins the
The Preface: It is indeed right
you renewed your promise
The preface is an attempt to enrich the prayer by offering a more
extensive thanksgiving for the particular aspect of the mystery of
salvation being celebrated. The preface often opens up some of the
history leading up to the mystery of our salvation through Christ's
The Introduction of the Sanctus and Benedictus: Therefore,
with them, and with all your saints who have served you in every age
to proclaim the glory of your name.
The community is invited to join the Priest as we say together the
Sanctus and Benedictus.
Sanctus: Holy, holy, holy Lord
Hosanna in the highest.
Here we name that which is sacred, holy, hallowed, consecrated and
Benedictus: Blessed is he
Hosanna in the highest.
Here we participate in an act of naming and blessing.
Remembering Christ's presence on earth: Holy God, source of
life and goodness
In all things he fulfilled your gracious will.
We offer to God our thanks for the many and wondrous gifts Jesus
offered to us while he was incarnate as man.
The Words of Institution: (The Dominical Words): "Take,
eat: this is my body
" The institution narrative is a
part of the prayer which is offered to God with the whole community,
although only the Priest offers the words aloud. The words and acts
of Christ at the institution of the Eucharist stand at the heart of
the celebration; the Eucharistic meal is the sacrament of his real
The Proclamation of the Mystery of Faith: Christ has died
Together the community echoes our belief in the glorious mystery
we participate in: Christ's death, resurrection, and his coming
The Epiclesis: Send your Holy Spirit
upon these gifts
The petition for the consecration of the bread and wine in the
Eucharist which asks the Father to send the Holy Spirit upon the
bread and wine to make them into the Body and Blood of Christ.**
The Doxology: Through Christ
in the unity of the Holy
This is an ascription of glory to
the Persons of the Holy Trinity.
The "Amen": A Hebrew word meaning 'verily.' It is used
to express assent or agreement. When we say "Amen"
together, we are essentially saying that we are in agreement in and
through our prayer.
The theology of the Eucharistic Prayers as found in the BAS does not
admit a position of 'moment of consecration'. The whole Eucharistic
Prayer is an act of praise and thanksgiving in which the bread and
wine become for us the body and blood of Christ.
In Anglican theology it is acceptable to consider the consecrated
elements to have been either consubstantiated or transubstantiated.
= the belief that the substances of both the Body and Blood of
Christ and of the bread and wine co-exist in union with each other
= the conversion of the whole substance of the bread and wine
into the whole substance of the Body and Blood of Christ
"Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry" - Faith and Order Paper
No. 111 - World Council of Churches, Geneva , 1982.
The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church
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use of the Lord's Prayer at this point in the liturgy is
particularly appropriate in view of the petition for
"daily" bread, which had Eucharistic associations in the
early Church. The petition for the coming of the kingdom also serves
to remind us that the Eucharist is not only a memorial of
redemption, but also an anticipation of the future banquet in the
kingdom of God. The petitions for forgiveness are another way in
which the Eucharist as an act of reconciliation is expressed.* The
Lord's Prayer is the prayer instituted by Jesus himself (Matthew 6;
many, this use of the Lord's Prayer is a part of the personal
preparation the communicant makes while anticipating the reception
of Communion. It is not a part of the liturgy, but often people will
also recite the Lord's Prayer following Communion after they have
returned to their pew. This derives from the older liturgical
practices of the Book of Common Prayer when the Lord's Prayer was
recited by the gathered communicants following the reception of
Communion by all gathered.
Book of Alternative Services p 180
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Agnus Dei and the Fraction Sentence
Agnus Dei is the formula beginning with the words 'O Lamb of God'
recited shortly before Communion. Its scriptural basis is John 1:29,
which is derived from Isaiah 53:7. It had its origins in the liturgy
through the Gloria in Excelsis, but in approximately 610 AD, Sergius,
the Patriarch of Constantinople (the Orthodox Church) instituted its
use and ordered it to be sung at the time of the Fraction.
Originally it was said only once but by the beginning of the 11th
century it was said three times, though the third 'have mercy upon
us' was changed to 'grant us peace'. Although it is usually said or
sung three times, it may be said or sung any number of times.
Fraction is the formal breaking of the bread which in all
Eucharistic liturgies take place before the Communion. It goes back
to Christ's action at the original institution and was a
sufficiently striking element in the primitive rite to make the
'breaking of the bread' a regular name for the Eucharist.
the fraction takes place immediately following the Eucharistic
Canon, or prayer, and the Lord's Prayer.!
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Gifts of God
phrase "The gifts of God for the People of God" serves as
an invitation to receive the sacrament. It is at one time both a
practical part of the liturgy, communicating to the people that it
is now time to ready and present themselves at the Altar to receive
Communion, and it is a reminder of the immensity of the action that
the people are about to participate in.
is no small thing that the congregation is about to share in. The
body and blood of Christ, the bread and the wine, are holy gifts
being given by the Divine (God) to humanity (the people). The gifts
of God are, by their very nature, greater than any gift we could
offer to another and they are the greatest gift we could ever
receive. And as the People of God, we have been chosen by God
Himself to receive this incredible and incomprehensible gift because
God has chosen us to be in relationship with Him.
gifts of God for the People of God": at once an invitation to
approach God's altar, and at the same time a reminder that we are
God's Chosen people!
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Eucharist is essentially the sacrament of the gift which God makes
to us in Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. Every
Christian receives this gift of salvation through communion in the
body and blood of Christ. In the Eucharistic meal, in the eating and
drinking of the bread and wine, Christ grants communion with
himself. God Himself acts, giving life to the body of Christ and
renewing each member. In accordance with Christ's promise,
each baptized member of the body of Christ receives in the Eucharist
the assurance of the forgiveness of sins (Matt.26:28) and the pledge
of eternal life (John 6:51-58).*
we receive the Eucharist or Holy Communion we are opening our minds,
bodies and souls to the great and perfect goodness that Jesus shares
with us completely. It should always be a moment of mystic
connection, when our human bodies are joined through the bread and
the wine with the eternal divinity of Christ. We are not only
encountering the Hoy in Communion, but we are being infused by it.
there have been arguments made through the years that Holy Communion
is too important and special to be received on a regular (daily or
weekly) basis, we take our cues from Christ himself who exhorted us
to participate in the Breaking of the Bread whenever we gather in
his name. We should never think that Communion is so holy we should
hold it in high esteem and only participate in it once in a while.
As baptized Christians we should be receiving communion as often as
possible, seeking out that moment of mystic connection, being
nourished and encouraged by Christ that we might have the strength
to do his work in the world.
While it has been the tradition of the Church to kneel to receive
Communion, it is perfectly acceptable to stand for reception. This
is particularly important for those who experience, knee, hip or
back pain. Assume the posture for receiving Holy Communion which
will best allow you to recognize the power and nature of what you
are participating in, rather than assuming a posture that causes
your mind to be on your body or yourself, distracting you from the
beauty and awe of what you are sharing.
Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry," Faith and Order Paper No. 111
World Council of Churches, Geneva 1982.
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receiving Communion it is important to take some time in prayer and
reflection to give thanks to God and to allow our souls to be at
peace as we are feeling/experiencing the effects of the infusion of
the holy into our lives and beings.
people are often uncomfortable with prolonged periods of silence, a
time of quiet is still necessary for our minds and bodies to have a
chance to process the holiness of the moment. Silence need not be
scary or disconcerting. It is within the silence that we are most
able to hear God's voice and to recognize His touch.
you have received Communion, go back to your pew and offer yourself
completely to God, expecting the Holy to change you and to make you
whole in body, mind and spirit. Give God some of your time to catch
your attention and then pray that once He has it, you will know what
you are being called to do.
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Prayer after Communion
all members of the Congregation have received Communion and have had
opportunity to take time in prayer and reflection, a final
post-communion prayer is offered. The priest alone says this prayer.
It is a prayer in which the Church asks God to grant the effects of
the Eucharist to His people. We ask to become in action what we have
received in Sacrament.
Prayer after Communion is usually a variable prayer. It generally
recaptures the theme of the Collect and Prayer over the Gifts used
that day. There is also an invariable prayer (BAS p 214) provided
for after Communion, which may be used instead of the variable
prayer and the doxology. The theological intent of the prayer is
similar to that of the variable prayers but without relating
specifically to the Propers of the Day.
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doxology is an ascription of glory to the Persons of the Holy
Trinity. The Greater Doxology is the "Gloria in Excelsis".
The Lesser Doxology is the Gloria Patri: Glory be to the Father and
the Son and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning, is now and
ever shall be, world without end. Amen. The Doxology we share at the
end of the Eucharistic liturgy is Biblical (Ephesians 3:20-21). This
prayer, recited by the entire congregation is a very important part
of our liturgy, which could not be sufficiently replaced by a newer,
more contemporary prayer. First of all, scripture offers the
greatest of prayers, uniting us with our forefathers and with the
generations who will follow us. Secondly, this prayer is one that
truly states what we wish and believe will happen for us, in us, and
through us because of the gift we have just received: the body and
blood of Christ. We are offering our profound praise to God because
God has chosen to work through us and promises to move beyond
anything we could imagine or conceive of on our own. We finish the
prayer celebrating our praises to God through the generations of the
Church, which will follow in our footsteps. This is quite possibly
the most hope-filled, energetic and promising prayer/act of praise
we can offer. It should be recited that way as well!
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Blessing is the authoritative pronouncement of God's favour. In
Christian practice blessing finds a frequent place in the liturgy,
especially at the blessing of the elements in consecration. The
Blessing of the people at the end of the Mass did not become general
until the Middle Ages. In the Anglican services of Holy Communion or
Eucharist, the blessing concludes all services, and it is given from
the altar. The right hand is raised to bless and the sign of the
cross is made during the pronouncement of the blessing. While it is
a part of the liturgy, if the priest knows with certainty that every
member of the congregation has indeed received Communion, the final
blessing may be omitted. The omission of the blessing is seldom
happens in case someone has entered the Church or may have been
overlooked at Communion. It may be omitted because the people who
have received Communion have received the greatest blessing there
is: the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist.
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Work in the Church and in the World
Dismissal is our reminder that through the worship we have just
participated in (especially Eucharistic worship) we have been given
the rest and nourishment we need to sustain our own lives, and we
have been given the gifts we need to go out into the world to serve
Christ in others.
Post-Dismissal work we are called to do is two-fold: the work of the
Church and the work we are called to do in the world - the mission
field. The work of the Church includes the fellowship of the
faithful (like coffee hours), participating fully in the life of the
Church through fellowship opportunities, Bible and Book Studies,
stewardship of your time, talent and treasure. The work we are
called to do out in the world, in the mission field, is to share the
Good News of Christ through word and action: willingly speaking
about our faith and our faith community when opportunity arises,
showing people through what we do and what we choose not to do who
we are as Christians. Whatever we do, whether it is volunteering for
Big Sisters, driving a neighbour to an appointment, or even striking
up a conversation with the person next to us in line at the grocery
store or on the treadmill at the gym, we do so first and foremost as
Christians - people who have faith, hope and joy.
identity as Christians must be present and accounted for wherever we
go and whatever we do. If we are truly being faithful to God, and to
our baptismal vows, we must become fully integrated people:
Christians in all that we do, allowing our worship to continue out
in the world, wherever we may be, and not just leaving it at the
door of the Church after the final words of blessing and dismissal
by the priest.
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