What to Expect When Visiting Us

© Photo by Margaret Almon under Creative Commons license


The moment you walk in the door you will be met by honest, authentic people just like yourself; people on a journey, seeking to discover God and integrate him in every aspect of their lifestyles and expressions of worship. This page will give you a flavor of the church, and the unique descriptives of who we are as and Anglican Community of Faith.

For Families with Children

As a young family with children you need to know that we place a high priority both on the safety and spiritual formation of all your child. Children are welcomed and included in much of the service.

After the initial songs of praise, the children are invited to follow the acolyte out to the Atrium for an age-friendly lesson (Preschool-Grade 5). They return from the “Catechesis of the Good Shepherd” and shortly before receiving Communion so the Eucharist can be received as a family. For more on our children’s program see Children’s Ministry.

A Word on Anglican Worship

Anglican worship, or liturgy, differs from many other traditions in the sense that it has greater structure, or progression, and carries an expectation of participation from those seated in the pews.

As you look around the place you will see people standing, sitting, singing, bowing, and verbalizing congregational responses. Some will cross themselves at unique times in the service. Others may bow as a cross passes by. These movements may seem like much work, and indeed they are. (The word “liturgy” itself means work of the people. It’s a way to lift a sacrifice of praise to the Lord.) These movements are not in any way a sign of religious snobbery. Instead they are an expression of personal piety and intended to enhance our cooperate worship of the Trinity. It’s all about drawing near to God and expressing our devotion to him with all our heart, mind, soul, and bodies.

In general, Anglicans tend to:

• Stand when singing, hearing the Gospel, and reciting the Creed.
• Sit or kneel during times of prayer.
• Sit for most other parts of the service (such as listening to the sermon, readings, and so on).

We encourage participants in the Liturgy to make worship their own. By this we mean that if you are in a moment where you feel like sitting while others are standing, or by standing when others or standing, you are invited to do so. Physical posturing plays an important role in our worship and we invite the worshipper to draw near to his or her God in one’s own deeply personal way.

An excellent video on the how’s and why’s of liturgical worship can be seen here.

Music

“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and come into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” (Psalm 100:4)

Music at St. Timothy includes a mixture of ancient hymnody and modern worship choruses. It is prayerfully chosen and led by a gifted worship team with purpose and intent. Music lifts the heart. It reminds us of who God is, his promises to us, and gives us hope for the future.

We are taught that when worship happens, the presence of God fills the praises of his people with love, grace, peace, healing, and encouragement. In short, our worship goes far beyond merely the singing of songs. It becomes an avenue of relationship between a Father and his children.

Scripture, Sermon

While there is much Scripture interwoven throughout the liturgy there are also times when the Bible is read aloud, psalms are recited, times when we rise and hear the words of Jesus proclaimed from the midst of the people.

Usually after the lessons are read all are seated to hear a teaching by one of our priests or trained lay leaders. This runs for about 25 minutes. Afterward, and in response to the sermon, we rise and recite an ancient document of belief, the Creed.

Our affirmation of faith is our way of responding to the words of what was preached, and receiving them in our hearts. It’s as if the sermon asks, “Do you believe?” In the reciting of the Creed, we answer, “I believe.”

Prayers

Following the Creed we are invited into a time of prayer. Some may wish to kneel, sit, or even stand with outstretched hands (which is a very ancient way of praying).

Along with the scripted prayers times of spontaneous prayer are also offered, wherein the congregation is invited to voice their own petitions, either silently or aloud, to the God who hears our prayers. (Psalm 34:17)

Confession of Sin and the Peace

Jesus’ forgiveness is made real as we confess our sins and appropriate his forgiveness in our hearts.

We pray a common confession, for ourselves and others in the Church, confessing those things – in thought, word, and deed – that stray us from the love of God, our motives of the hearts, destructive addictions, and selfish ways. Of course we are not all guilty for the things we are confessing. But some of us are. That’s why we use a common confession. We are praying as a body to Christ, praying for ourselves and for the needs of others gathered there before the throne of Grace.

After the confession the Priest stands and pronounces God’s forgiveness over the congregation. Liturgically speaking, this is when we are lifted from the burden of sin and shame and infused with the power to carry on in his grace. It is a powerful point in the service. The blood of Christ, when received by faith, has the cleansing power to forgive all our sins, no matter how big or how small. Having had a firsthand knowledge of our temptations and failures (Hebrews 4:15) Jesus understands the world we live in and rushes in and forgives our greatest shortcomings.

After the pronunciation of forgiveness the priest invites us to stand and receive the Peace of the Lord. Like the first breath of a newborn, we receive a fresh breath and are filled anew with the Spirit of God. Often people go out of their way to exchange the Peace with another, perhaps one with whom reconciliation is warranted.

Communion

Holy Communion (or the Eucharist) is offered each Sunday. All baptized Christians are welcomed to receive the Sacrament (bread and wine), including children, regardless of denominational background.

Communion is served with real wine and hand-pressed wafers of bread. Gluten free wafers are available. After approaching the railing communion may be received one of three ways:

• Bread and Wine. Cross one hand over the other while receiving the bread and assist the chalice to your lips.
• Intinction. Cross one hand over the other while receiving the bread and dip the host in the smaller chalice to consume.
• Bread only. Wine may be excluded for personal reasons. This does not affect the intent of the Sacrament. Some gently touch the chalice with their hand as it passes, honoring the substance within, while others simply indicate to the chalice bearer their desire not to partake.

All are invited and encouraged to approach the railing. Yet there are times when a person may choose not to receive, as in the case when the person is not a follower of Christ, unbaptized, or during a season of self-imposed repentance. Crossing your arms across your chest will indicate to the priest your desire not to receive. He will lay his hand on your shoulder or head and pray God’s blessing on you.

Why a common cup?

When Christ instituted the Sacrament of Holy Communion with his apostles he shared with them a common cup. Even though, being Passover, everyone at the table had their own cup of wine, Jesus shared his cup with each one as a powerful reminder that they were all individuals of one Body.

The Church has continued this practice for 2000 years. Even in the midst of terrible plagues and illnesses the common cup has survived. Indeed, it is scientifically proven that the combination of the alcohol in the wine, and the wiping of the chalice with a cloth, kills 99.9% of all viruses (including HIV).

After receiving Eucharist we thank God and ask him to send us out into the world to spread the grace we ourselves have received throughout the service. A special hymn wraps up our time and the service has ended.

After the Service

On most Sundays coffee and snacks are provided. Often coined as “the eighth sacrament,” this time is a wonderful time to meet other people, share, hear, and enjoy fellowship with those you have just worshipped with.

Summary

So, in short, as you join us on Sundays for worship at St. Timothy, these are the things you can expect:

• We confess our sins to God and receive his forgiveness.
• We sing songs of praise to God.
• We hear passages of Scripture read and interpreted by a trained speaker (preacher).
• We pray for the world and its needs, including our own.
• We share a Communion meal of bread and wine with thanksgiving.
• We return to the world with gratitude and a renewed commitment to serve God everyday.

If you have other questions about the liturgy, please contact us with any questions you might have. God bless you as you worship at St. Timothy’s.