What in the world is Anglican?
That is a great question. If you can imagine all the beauty of ancient church practices combined with passionate, relevant teaching from Scripture and contemporary expressions and applications to life -- that is what an Anglican service is like.
It is a home for people seeking something different, something more connected to the past without feeling old and being disconnected from the present, a place where reverence is valued and slowing down is appreciated. An Anglican service is not like everything else in our life. It is different. It helps remind us we are citizens not of this world, but of the age to come.
If you can imagine a church that looks kind of Catholic, but believes Protestant, that is Anglican. Unfortunately, that is too simple, and depending upon how you view Catholics or Protestants will give each person a different idea of what Anglicanism is. However, the Anglican church has become a home for many mixed denominational marriages. Where does a couple go to church when she is a Baptist and he is a Catholic? After years of searching, many have found a home in Anglicanism. Why? Because we look like the Catholic is used to and we sound like the Baptist is used to when we preach and share the gospel.
Most of the staff of Redemption came into Anglicanism from other traditions. We came because we discovered a rich depth in Anglican worship that connected us to the past, challenged us in beautiful ways in our relationship with God, gave us a firm, time-tested way of living out the spirituality and offered something fresh that felt real and full. Each of us had to learn and is still learning the heart of Anglican worship. While Anglicanism can and should be taught, to truly understand it, it needs to be lived. Anglicanism is a way of worship, of spirituality and of life. It is a way of ordering how we live for and relate to God and others.
The following will offer the basics. You will notice what may appear to some as big strange words. You are not alone. They are kind of big and strange, but they help convey the heart of the Anglican Way.
Anglicanism rests solidly on the Bible. Anglicanism teaches that the Bible is the inspired Word of God and contains all things necessary for salvation. In Anglican worship, you will hear the Bible read, preached, sung and prayed. It is absolutely fundamental to Anglicanism.
Anglicanism is not a new faith. It is time tested. It is bigger than an individual or individual church. Our central doctrine is expressed through the ancient creeds going back to the first few centuries of Christianity. Our chief practices and expressions are rooted in the early worship and writings of the ancient church. We are connected to our past and stand firmly in line with believers from across the ages. However, we do not shy away from current expressions of faith such as contemporary music as we blend ancient and present together. Our goal is not to be relevant, but to connect with and worship God by making use of the full arsenal of Christian practice and tradition as it conforms to Scripture.
While on earth, Jesus gave us the Lord's Supper and the Baptism. These two sacraments serve as cornerstones to our spiritual lives. The Lord's Supper is celebrated every Sunday.
Anglicanism is a faith celebrated and lived out by the people of God. Liturgy means: “work of the people.” A key element in the Anglican way of living out the Christian faith is the involvement of people in an ordered service of worship. Anglicans believe that the church service should involve not only the pastors of the church, but also the people of God. Therefore, during our services, there are many roles for the people to engage in from praying to serving at communion. We have fixed forms, but also plenty of moments for spontaneity. Like much of Anglicanism, it is a beautiful blending of powerful, fixed traditions and open, free expressions.
The Anglican church has its roots in simple artisans and traders that came to the British Isles as early as the first century and shared the story of Jesus with a culture that did not know Jesus. That same spirit of missionary work can be seen throughout the history of the Anglican Church in such people like St. Patrick in the 5th century, who helped establish Christian belief in Ireland, to Boniface in the 8th century who helped establish it in Germany, to the Anglican Church in North America today that is planting 100's of new churches every year across North America to bring the gospel to people in their own communities and neighborhoods. We are a church that believes the good news of Jesus Christ and takes seriously the Great Commission to make disciples of all nations. We are a church made up of 85 million people from 165 different countries all connected through our faith and practice.
At the heart of Anglicanism is the Book of Common Prayer. For many years leading up to the Reformation in the 16th century, church services were done in a language other than what most people spoke. Religion for a period of time was pulled away from the everyday, regular person. During the Reformation, the Anglican Church continued to hold onto much of the beauty of the historic church of the previous 1500 years, but it also embraced the truth of Reformation theology and produced a book of prayer in the language of the people founded upon Scripture that could be used to worship together. The Book of Common Prayer is the Bible put to prayer for the all the people of God to use together in worship. In fact, over 85% of the BCP is scripture arranged for worship.
That is a lot of information. There are two good ways to learn more. First, you can contact Fr. Jason+. He would love to buy you a cup of coffee or even come to your home and talk with you more about Anglican worship. You can also come to our Redemption 101 classes offered every other month. These classes are a chance to learn about Redemption Church as well as ask questions regarding Anglicanism.