Saint James Anglican Church

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


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Learning the Liturgy


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 8B: The Gradual, Gospel & Sermon

Lesson 9B: The Creeds

Lesson 10B: The Prayers of the People

Lesson 11B: The Confession and Absolution

Lesson 12B: The Sharing of the Peace

Lesson 13B: The Offertory Hymn

Lesson 14B: The Collection and the Gifts

Lesson 15B: The Preparation of the Altar and the Prayer Over the Gifts

Lesson 16B: The Eucharistic Prayer (The Construction of the Eucharistic Prayer)

Lesson 17B: The Lord's Prayer

Lesson 18B: The Agnus Dei and the Fraction Sentence

Lesson 19B: The Gifts of God

Lesson 20B: Holy Communion

Lesson 21B: After Receiving Communion

Lesson 22B: The Prayer after Communion

Lesson 23B: The Doxlogy

Lesson 24B: The Blessing

Lesson 25B; Dismissal & Post-Dismissal: Our Work in the Church and in the World


[Book of Common Prayer]


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 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 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 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 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 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 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 8

The Gradual, Gospel & Sermon

February 09, 2014

The 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.


After 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 plane.


The 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 way.


The 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.


The 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.


The 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 increase."

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Lesson 9B

The Creeds

February 16, 2014

In 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.


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 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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Lesson 10

The Prayers of the People

March 02, 2014

The 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 in.


The 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)


Although 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 accord.


Within 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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Lesson 11

The Confession and Absolution

March 09, 2014

The 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.


The 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.


We 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.


In 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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Lesson 12

The Sharing of the Peace

March 16, 2014

The 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.


The 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.


During 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.


"How 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 Peace.!

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Lesson 13

The Offertory Hymn

March 23, 2014

The 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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Lesson 14

The Collection and the Gifts

March 30, 2014

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 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.


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 don 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 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.


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. 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.


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 the wine are gifts we offer to God, so too is the money we offer to God.

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Lesson 15

The Preparation of the Altar and the Prayer Over the Gifts

April 06, 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 (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.


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 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.


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 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.


The 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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Lesson 16

The Eucharistic Prayer

May 11, 2014

The 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.


The 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 biblical material:
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.


The 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 members."


Eucharistic Prayer 1 - This prayer is anew composition and aims at a rich expression of the history of salvation.


Eucharistic 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.


Eucharistic 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 that day.


Eucharistic Prayer 4 - This prayer uses language of praise for creation and salvation, using contemporary imagery.


Eucharistic 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 in mind.


Eucharistic 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.


Posture 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.


Redemption: to pay the required price to secure the release of one from one's sins


Sanctification: the process of being made holy resulting in a changed life-style for the believer

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The Construction of the Eucharistic Prayer


1. 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.


2. 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.

This 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 prayer itself.


3. The Preface: It is indeed right … you renewed your promise of salvation.
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 sacrifice.


4. 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.


5. Sanctus: Holy, holy, holy Lord … Hosanna in the highest. Here we name that which is sacred, holy, hallowed, consecrated and inviolable.


6. Benedictus: Blessed is he … Hosanna in the highest. Here we participate in an act of naming and blessing.


7. 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.


8. 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 presence.*


9. 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 again.


10. 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.**


11. The Doxology: Through Christ … in the unity of the Holy Spirit … almighty Father … This is an ascription of glory to the Persons of the Holy Trinity.


12. 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.


Consubstantiation = 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


Transubstantiation = 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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Lesson 17

The Lord's Prayer

May 18, 2014

The 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; Luke 11).


For 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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Lesson 18

The Agnus Dei and the Fraction Sentence 

June 01, 2014

The 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.


The 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.


Generally, the fraction takes place immediately following the Eucharistic Canon, or prayer, and the Lord's Prayer.!

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Lesson 19

The Gifts of God

June 15, 2014

The 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.


This 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.


"The 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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Lesson 20

Holy Communion

June 29, 2014

The 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).*


When 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.


Although 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.


Posture: 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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Lesson 21

After Receiving Communion

July 06, 2014

After 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.


While 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.


After 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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Lesson 22

The Prayer after Communion

July 13, 2014

Once 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.


The 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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Lesson 23

The Doxology

July 20, 2014

A 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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Lesson 24

The Blessing

August 3, 2014

The 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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Lesson 25

Dismissal & Post-Dismissal:

Our Work in the Church and in the World

August 10, 2014

The 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.


The 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.


Our 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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